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1st try at colorizing...
When I was growing up this portrait, along with two of me alone, always sat on my grandmother's dresser. There existed at one point a black and white version and a hand colored version. For some reason we have been unable to locate the hand colored version. After reading Brundage's section on colorizing, I thought I'd take a try at it. I tried to be subtle with the color--kept the opacity of the layer I was working on at maybe 40%, and the opacity of the color was low, too. I dug up photos of my dad to match his skin tone and eye color as closely as I could without being too heavy handed. For my skintone I used some photos of my daugher at around 3. I think I used those for my mom as well. I know her dress was brown and black, mine a very pale blue. I was told my dad's sportcoat was brown, but found out today that it was an olive green. I gave my folks a copy of the print today and they loved it! I still have the other two portraits of me alone to colorize, although I think I will concentrate on just one. I'd appreciate any help or advice anyone can offer before I start to work on the second. When I put the second through an adjustment layer--levels, I had one area of the picture become very black--back of my head as I am sitting sideways--so it was a bit in shadow, but it looked better to me before I did the levels adjustment, so I may just forego that on that portrait. On the current I did adjustment layers before working on the color. I didn't like the background, so added one of my own. Any suggestions for a better background?
I thought of a clitch I ran into when I removed the background of the original. After I selected the family and removed the background we had a strange halo around us. I didn't notice it when I just had the checkerboard background, but as soon as I added the new background it was quite noticeable. I used the background eraser tool to remove these smudges from various places on the background, but it was time consuming. Is there a way to make a selection without having those smudges/halos after removing the background? Thanks!
I appreciate any and all comments. This is my hobby, and I want to improve, but I'm not seeking to be a pro at this--just want to learn from the best!
First of all, colourising isn't really one of my strengths, so I won't comment much on that, other than to say that the colours seem far too muted for me.
You asked about isolating your subjects from the background, minimising halos, and here I may be able to help a little.
What I did, was use the picture itself to generate a mask.
I first looked at the channels, to see which gave the best contrast between figures and background, I chose the red channel, and copied this to create an alpha channel, which I named mask.
Now I applied levels to this, to further emphasise the contrast. Then I used a combination of dodge and burn, and black and white brushes, to create the mask. This was the inverse of what I actually wanted, so I inverted it to get the mask I needed.
To apply the mask to your image, I first duplicated it. Then I went to the channels palette, and ctrl+clicked the mask channel to select it.
Now I just clicked on the duplicate layer, then in the layers palette I clicked on the mask symbol to apply the mask to the layer.
Now create a new channel, fill it with mid grey, and move it between your background and duplicate layer.
By switching the grey layer on and off, you can see how successful your mask is. Any inconsistances can be rectified by hand, by painting on your mask, using black and white brushes.
Sounds a bit involved, but really did'nt take too much time.
I've posted a copy of my layer stack, and channels stack below.
For a much better explanation of this technique, see
and scan down to Advanced masking.
Hope this helps.
Subtle was my goal--the original hand colored version was very subtly colored. Just a hint of color. I wanted it as close to that as I could get.
Thanks for the hints on selecting using the different channels, right now I'm using elements without any add-ons. I have the Hidden Power book, so once I load the tools, I should be able to use the method you gave. Thanks for responding to my message Have a great day!
ETA: Hey again, Gary. I went in and increased the sat on the layer with the color and below is what I got. I admit, it does look better. What do you think?
Last edited by JenPSE3; 04-17-2005 at 07:25 AM.
Works better for me.
Just a little tip.
Increasing Saturation can sometimes pull the colours a little if you use high settings.
To increase colour density,try duplicating the layer and setting blend mode to multiply, then adjust colour density by varying layer opacity, this can often give you finer control.
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