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Colors for Colorization

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  #1  
Old 02-15-2006, 04:40 PM
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LonK LonK is offline
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Colors for Colorization

I think I'm getting the hang of colorization, but I often hit a roadblock. That is deciding what colors to use.

I have a scan of a photo of my grandfather taken some 100 years ago. He was born in 1899 if you want to guess. I've prepped it to the point where I'd be comfortable starting to add some color -- i.e. reducing the grain impact, bringing in detail in highlights, slight sepia tone, etc. It's generally at this point that I get stuck. What colors are appropriate? All I know is that he was Irish (nee Kelley).

Here's what I've done (the original on the left is 100% size of my .tif source.) I've no problem with skin tones, but eyes, hair and clothing is up for guessing. How do y'all choose colors for something like this?

(BTW, I use Ulead's PhotoImpact 8 as my primary editor.)
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Old 02-15-2006, 06:28 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Nice picture! I'm guessing that because the eyes are rather light, the eye color is blue or green. Brown eyes generally photograph darker. Now we get to the hair. Are there any redheads in the family that would be directly related to him? The hair appears maybe a little too dark to be blonde. Could also be light brown. These are strictly guesses. Now to the clothing. You should be able to find vintage clothing (or reproductions) online. Check them out for possible color usage for the period of time. Others might have different opinions, and I'd like to see what others have to say. Welcome to RP!

Ed
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Old 02-16-2006, 01:25 AM
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OnAir OnAir is offline
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Very good correction. I would choose balanced, nearly sepia colorization, just some tiny differences in color. His dress is well detailed, so, if we add too much color, it would be distracting.
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Old 02-16-2006, 10:49 AM
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LonK LonK is offline
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Yes, it is a pretty nice photo, Ed. I'd probably go with blue eyes -- just because I have blue eyes. As far as hair, hard to say, he was an only child, but all/most of his younger half-siblings (7 of them) were quintessential freckle-faced redheads. Of course he didn't have much hair left by the time I came along

I did look for vintage clothing, but most of what one can find is women's wear -- not much for men. It looks like for the most part, colors were very "earthy", muted, if you will. It sure is a crapshoot, innit? Any sources anyone might have would be appreciated.

OnAir, I always try to get a good base, thanks. Your go is probably quite close. I like it, but still feel more color is justified. I guess it's just a matter of educated guessing

Anyone else like to give it go? Y'all sure are helpful and supportive...
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Old 02-16-2006, 12:00 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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hair and eyes you've already covered, but blue and light brown seem ok to me. on his suit, as a guess, i'd say wool or wool-like, and that, for that time period, means black, with the lace as white. so, that's easy enough. so, the only real question here is not what color but how much. i like On_Air's, but i tend to agree, a bit more would be appropriate. if you can find any of the older 1900 to 1940 era photos where they were hand colored by the studio where they were taken, this is the way i would go. the colors are obvious, but a bit muted and often a bit grainy. my folks have some of these and if i have a scan of one somewhere, i'll try and post it for reference.

having just checked what i have on hand, i dont seem to have any of that type currently. i've got some old proofs, but those are different.

craig
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Old 02-16-2006, 10:49 PM
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Craig, you say, "...and that, for that time period, means black, with the lace as white. so, that's easy enough."

But is it? In another thread, Vikki wrote, "Finally, it doesn't appear as if you've colored his shirt. You'll have to add color to that, as nothing should be left gray."

I asked what should be done in the case of the white shirt, but got no reply. That confused me a bit.

Well for better or worse, this is what I came up with. Is there anything I might have done to make this even better?
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Old 02-17-2006, 12:16 AM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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that's a DAMN fine job!

i completely forgot about the shirt. as a guess, i'd say it wasnt blue, but more white-ish... but that's just a guess. one reason i say not blue is because i was coached in my early years not to wear blue with brown. so, if the coat is brown, the shirt likely isnt blue. however, i still believe the coat was originally very dark, probably black. and i'm not quite sure why you would 'leave nothing gray', but then she was talking about the shirt. if the original was gray, then leave it gray. if it was black, leave it black. but then, i'm not a colorizer either.

i like the eye color and the hair looks to be a compromise between those leaning towards red and those leaning towards light brown. i'd say it's also a good choice.

i'd say your skin tones are marvelous. the shading on the face is good; maybe just a shade dark on that one side, but good.

i think you lost a little texture in the coat. if i'm right about the wool, the coat would have a bit more of a fuzzy look to it. not much; brushed wool wasnt very fuzzy, but it did have texture. your coat is just a bit smooth. and maybe it's because of the smoothness, but the color of the coat seems a bit too saturated; not much and like i say, it may just be the smoothness fooling me there.

i love that you brought out the detail of the lace, the face, and shirt. great job there.

overall, i'll repeat..... DAMN fine job!

craig
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Old 02-17-2006, 01:24 AM
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I'l put my five kopeck Agree with Kraellin, really looks fine. Agree again, I'd choose the color for his shirt more warm gray, but not bluish. Also for the background could be good, if you will add some blue (less reddish, than now and lighter a little) around his head, very tiny, just to feel the difference. Also you lost some color in upper left corner. I would make it more yellowish. Thus, you willl make it less flat. Anyway, what you did is great
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Old 02-17-2006, 11:31 AM
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LonK LonK is offline
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Craig, after reading your post, I toyed with it somemore and agree with your assessment. I made the shirt more of a light tan and the jacket less red, more brown (almost black) and added some texture with grain. I won't bother showing as I'm sure you know what I mean.

OnAir, the background is almost completely replaced with one of the painted portrait backgrounds I have. The lighter "blotch" in the upper left bothered me as it seems to be a background light misdirected -- made the photo look unbalanced. I purposefully went with cooler blue, which recedes and brings more dimension to the photo. This is all so subjective.

I really appreciate your feedback.
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Old 02-17-2006, 12:23 PM
MajorSONAR MajorSONAR is offline
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Lonnie,

You did an awesome job with the coloring! I'm having a hard time creating realistic skin tones. Could you tell me what steps you used to color the skin, or perhaps post a link?

Thanks,
Kevin
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