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First Try at Colouring an Old Sepia

View Poll Results: I used Hue and Saturation and Solid Colour, was this the right way to go?
Other ways of colouring? please advise 0 0%
Do you think the colours are accurate for the period? 1 100.00%
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  #1  
Old 09-12-2007, 08:03 AM
HILDA WOOD's Avatar
HILDA WOOD HILDA WOOD is offline
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First Try at Colouring an Old Sepia

This is my very first go. Kept the colours a bit dull and washed out because I think that may be how it was back then, but would welcome your thoughts.
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File Type: jpg Old-Large-one-mendedcolouredoptimized.jpg (99.6 KB, 83 views)
File Type: jpg Old-Large-oneas-sepia-optimized.jpg (97.5 KB, 32 views)

Last edited by HILDA WOOD; 09-13-2007 at 03:28 AM. Reason: Wrong size pics
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  #2  
Old 09-12-2007, 09:10 AM
Cassidy Cassidy is offline
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Re: First Try at Colouring an Old Sepia

Hi Hilda,

Unfortunately your image sizes are way too small, maybe another can find Flora's tips for resizing please
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Old 09-13-2007, 03:29 AM
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HILDA WOOD HILDA WOOD is offline
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Re: First Try at Colouring an Old Sepia

OK, Thanks, Ive read Floras notes and the files are now correct size.
Thank you.
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Old 09-13-2007, 04:33 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: First Try at Colouring an Old Sepia

First thing that hits me is it is incomplete.

None of the characters have any skin tone, and there are a whole other areas without any colour.

You do need to colour everything if you're going to colour at all.

I won't comment on the actual areas you have coloured, I realise you're at an early stage in learning to colour, besides without colour in the other untouched areas it is hard to judge what the overall effect might be.
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:32 AM
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HILDA WOOD HILDA WOOD is offline
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Re: First Try at Colouring an Old Sepia

Thanks for your interest Gary. Actually I did put a skin tone on them all, perhaps its too weak. Even the buttonholes have a pale yellow on them. I wasnt sure what to do about the mens suits, as grey seemed to fit the period. ~Do you think I should have done something with them. I was sort of mindfull of less is more...
I hope you will look at my second attempt at another old photo which Im posting later. Thanks again.
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:41 AM
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HILDA WOOD HILDA WOOD is offline
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Re:Second Try at Colouring an Old Photo

OK, this is my second attempt at colouring. At least here I coloured everything, even the eyes, and I added lighting. I took the old background out as it looked more like a cave wall than a room.
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Old 09-13-2007, 09:53 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: First Try at Colouring an Old Sepia

Had a quick play with your coloured image.

I'm not much good at colouring, so there'll undoubtedly be others along to do a better job. I just wanted to hand on a few tips. I've tried to keep as much as possible to the colours you chose.

First, when putting something into a new background, try and ensure the edges aren't obvious, by a little cloning and blurring I was able to reduce some of the more obvious ones you'd left.

Secondly, when colouring, try to use more than one tone in any coloured area. The highlights and shadow colours will not be the same as the mid-tone colour. You can use Blur to hide any obvious colour transitions.

This is by no means a finished picture, but hopefully will give you a few ideas.
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File Type: jpg B&A.jpg (184.6 KB, 49 views)
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Old 09-14-2007, 06:07 AM
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Re: First Try at Colouring an Old Sepia

Agree your colouring is much more realistic. What do you use for skin tones? Since your comment yesterday I have been colouring the wedding photo completely, - they even have lippy!. Do you think its any good now, or are there still some glaring mistakes.
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File Type: jpg Wedding-Party-Coloured.jpg (86.8 KB, 41 views)

Last edited by HILDA WOOD; 09-14-2007 at 06:14 AM. Reason: Pic not sharp
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  #9  
Old 09-14-2007, 12:24 PM
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Graphics23 Graphics23 is offline
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Re: First Try at Colouring an Old Sepia

Hi Hilda and welcome to RetouchPRO.

Your first go was quite ambitious! I recommend you start with smaller, less intricate images with a single subject and work your way up to multiple subjects as you gain experience.

Your second image is a good example with which to start.

Check out this tutorial. It's considered by many to be the best method for colorizing B&W photos.

However, I prefer colorizing in LAB and painting directly into the A&B channels.

Go to Image>Mode>LAB Color

Paint directly into the A & B channels. Use a soft brush with a VERY low opacity and flow (10% or so) until you get a feel for what you're doing.

To begin:

Hit the D key to get the default colors.

Open the Channels palette. This step is optional. Display the palette only to keep track of which channel is being worked on. Once you're confident with the technique displaying the channels palette is not necessary.

Use Cmd/Ctrl 2 to select the A channel. This channel affects green-magenta.
Use Cmd/Ctrl 3 to select the B channel. This channel affects blue-yellow.

After selecting a channel hit the tilde ~ key to view the composite image so you can see the changes.

Painting with black on the A channel will send the pixels towards green, white will make them magenta.

Painting with black on the B channel will send the pixels towards blue, white will make them yellow.

Black in both the A & B channels will create cyan, white will create red. However, you can't paint in both channels at the same time.

50% gray in both channels is neutral, no color at all. These are your whites, greys, and blacks. This is what your A & B channels will look like at first.

To remove color or erase mistakes paint with 50% gray.

With all this painting you will never harm detail.

Your A & B channels should end up being very subtle, blurry shades of grey. To help get an idea of what the A & B channels should look like when you're done, open a color image which is similar to your working image and convert it to LAB. Then view its A & B channels.

As a final step you should convert the image to RGB (Image>Mode>RGB).

This can be a very fast and painterly technique. Once you get the hang of it the actual mechanics boil down to changing brush size and opacity, hitting the X key to swap black & white, and switching channels to target colors.

Here's a before and after which I did using this technique.

Let me know if you try it and what you think.

Here are my thoughts on your second image:

The first thing I noticed is the extremely harsh edges throughout. Colorizing is very much about transitions and attention to detail. Your masking is much too obvious.

One solution to soften transitions is to use a slight Gaussian Blur on your masks followed by a Levels adjustment to fine tune.

Also notice the hair around the forehead. You've painted the skin tone onto the hair. And the area under the subject's right forearm not only doesn't follow the arm but also spills onto the desk. This is why attention to detail is so important.

I think replacing the background is a mistake. There's quite a bit of detail back there, such as the wainscoting, which adds to the charm of the picture. It also makes the subject look like she was cutout and pasted on like a Monty Python cartoon.

I hope my comments don't appear too harsh, but this is the Critique room.

If you have any questions about the LAB technique don't hesitate to ask.

Good luck,

Michael

Last edited by Graphics23; 09-14-2007 at 04:56 PM.
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  #10  
Old 09-14-2007, 01:29 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: First Try at Colouring an Old Sepia

i thought your 1st image looked good, but as others have pointed out the edges need to have a better transition.....i actually prefer the subtle colors, but you have to color everything in the photo, i normally convert a grayscale image to cmyk and use adjustment layers...this allows you to go back and adjust not only the hue and luminosity but the masks as well...i find that as i am working on an image, certain areas the looked fine by themselves will tend to need some sort of adjustment once the rest of the image is colorized and that's where the advantage of the adjustment layers come into play...
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