All I can say is that I definitely tip my hat to you. That is truly one of the best coloration jobs I've seen, you definitely have a good eye and I'm jealous at what you've done?
Yes, practice does reduce the time that you do such things, but practice always allows you to do things more quickly anyway.
One thing I did notice, was that there seemed to be a slight darkening around the lips, though.
other than that, it's a wonderful job.
Did you use any plugins at all?
If you don't mind, and if you can remember, an excellent example of a before and after picture as well the steps that you did would truly be appreciated.
Last edited by Rick; 08-28-2001 at 08:44 PM.
Rick, I don't have time to type in the details of what I did until later today, but I WILL post it here soon (as well as the "before" photo.) -Jeanie
Wedding photo restoration and colorization process
OK, I found some time I didn't know I had. ;-) Let me preface this by saying that I have NO previous experience or even book knowledge about how to colorize a photo. I used the (limited) knowledge that I have of selections and layers, combined with a couple of tips from Doug and “vogonpoet”, and just “went for it” as they say. That being said, here is what I did…
Before coloring, I needed to restore the photo a bit, as it was turning yellow and had some stains along the edges as well as some black lines along the left side where the mat had been stored in stuck to the photo. To restore the photo, I worked in RGB mode and examined each channel separately. What I found was that the staining along the sides of the photo almost disappeared in the red channel, but the faces and white shirt looked washed out. The light and shadows on the faces looked the best in the green channel; and the blue channel contained detail showing the wrinkles in the white shirt that the other channels didn’t. So, I decided to work with the green channel, but copy the background of the red channel on top of it, as well as the white shirt from the blue channel. (If you don’t need the details on how I did that, skip the first paragraph in the next message.)
I've attached the original scan of the photo here.
Wedding photo restoration and colorization process (cont'd)
I have no idea if there is a faster way to do this or not, but it works for me.
First I created a “new” photo with the same dimensions (in pixels), resolution and mode (RGB) as the original photo.
Working in the original photo, I clicked on the green channel. Selected the entire photo, then copy/pasted that selection into the NEW photo. (The “new” photo now contained only the green channel of the original photo.)
Back in the original photo, I clicked the red channel and selected the background (using a feathering between 3-8 depending on how sharp the line was along the selection path.) I SAVED the selection, then copy/pasted that selection in the NEW photo. I think I had to move the selection around to make it line up correctly, but that was fairly simple using the arrow keys to “nudge” a pixel at a time when I got it close.
Back in the original photo, I clicked on the blue channel and selected the white shirt. Again, I varied the feathering depending on the area I was selecting. For example, the shadow area on the right side of the selection had a larger feathering than the shoulder. And again, I SAVED the selection, then copy/pasted the shirt from the blue channel into the NEW photo and moved it around until everything matched up.
The resulting “new” photo now had three layers and each of the RGB channels were identical. I flattened the image (merged all of the layers) and started cleaning up the stains/marks that still needed attention. Once done, I saved the “new” photo as the restored version of the original.
I've attached the restored photo here.
Wedding photo restoration and colorization process (final)
Working on the restored version, I decided to work on one piece at a time. The basic process was:
1. make a selection of the piece I wanted to color (e.g., my grandmother’s face)
2. save the selection, make a new “layer via copy”
3. load the selection while working on that new layer
4. change the blending mode of the layer to “color”
5. choose an appropriate foreground color(*)
6. “fill” the selection
7. change the opacity of the layer to make it “look right”
(*) I found choosing the appropriate color to be extremely time consuming for the faces and lips. Even though I used Bruce Beard’s skintone color charts that are in the resource section of this site, I found myself endlessly tweaking for more or less yellow/red and experimenting with the opacity setting. Perhaps part of my problem was that I know what my grandparents’ skin tones were – AND once I was happy with the colors I chose for my grandmother, I also had to make my grandfather’s skintone look realistic, but also look good against the color I’d used for my grandmother. Yes, I did use different tones for both of them.
In the end, I had 12 layers and a HUGE file! Since the photo is 8x10 at 300dpi and I wanted to keep it that way, the file size of the final version before flattening the image was 171MB!! Luckily I’ve got about 450M RAM. (I knew I bought all that memory for something. ;-) I suppose I could have flattened the file as I went, but it seemed well worth it to have all of the layers in the end, because I could go back to any layer (i.e., any piece of the photo) and tweak the color, opacity, curves, etc. to balance the overall color and/or brightness.
If you’re interested, here are the layers (selections), along with the color and opacity that I used. (Remember, all layers were blended using "color".)
1. Woman’s face minus eyes and lips – #F0D6BF – 80%
2. Woman’s lips – #820700 – 35%
3. Iris of eyes (man and woman) – #5B7898 – 50%
4. Woman’s hair – #DCD0BA – 65%
5. Woman’s shirt – #B4C1EC – 60%
6. Man’s face – #FFE0C6 – 75%
7. Man’s lips – #420D01 – 70%
8. Man’s hair (and eyebrows) – #554838 – 100%
9. Brass buttons and gold trim on shoulder – #FFCC00 – 70%
10. “Patch” on shoulder – #2A2A4E – 65% (I have since learned that the patch should be black, so it was easy to go and delete this layer to return the patch to the correct color.)
11. Background – #273D9A – 15% (not a typo, that’s fifteen %)
12. Woman’s teeth – #FFFFE3 – 50%
In addition to that, I made a few tweaks on the background layer. Specifically, I loaded the selection for my grandfather’s face and used curves to lighten it slightly. I also loaded the selections for both sets of lips (separately) and used curves to lighten my grandmother’s and darken my grandfather’s. I also used curves to lighten a selection of my grandmother’s teeth. I used an airbrush at 20-30% opacity to give a hint of color to the cheeks on both.
I saved the 171MB file with all of the layers and selections as a Photoshop file (to make it easy to update based on feedback – it also allowed me to go back and provide the details above, since I hadn’t written those down as I worked), then flattened the image to make it a more manageable size. Once it was flattened, I loaded all of the selections for the heads/faces and increased the saturation by 20%.
Looking back on the process, I’m sure it would have been easier just to paint the color in the various areas (on different layers?), but I also think it was nice to have all of the selections at the end when I wanted to tweak individual pieces. Now I think I’ll go read a couple of books and find out how the pros do it! ;-) I’ve attached a side-by-side before/after comparison here.
Last edited by jeaniesa; 08-30-2001 at 08:40 PM.
I don't think I ever addressed Rick's comments/questions:
1. Create a new (empty) image in your favorite photo SW.
2. Choose the eliptical (or square, or any one that you want) selection tool and "select" a large area.
3. Choose a bright foreground color (I chose something close to magenta) and fill the selection.
4. Invert the selection.
5. Choose another bright foreground color (I chose green) and fill that selection.
6. At least in my sample, I get a dark ring near the outside of the magenta.
Perhaps this is a case of feathering too much, or not completely understanding how feathering and inverse selections work (probably both). So, something more to learn.
I'm totally impressed. I might snatch this picture and see if I can do something along those same lines, if you don't mind.
Looking more closely at the original, the Darkening seems to be in there too. It could simply be that she put on the lipstick a bit heavier there and (for the lack of a better word) sucked in the light and made it appear darker then the surrounding areas.
Definitely good work, I can only imagine what you'd do with a little bit of polishing, if you need it at all.
<tosses a couple of pennies>
Absolutely beautiful work. The description of your procedure is a way I haven't come across but it sure works well. The colortones you used are perfect. What a wonderful gift that will be.
Jeeminy. That is just wonderful. Your work, yes, but especially your description.
The huge file sizes are an unfortunate byproduct of this technique, but the amount of control is unbeatable (and you can always burn it to cd and delete it when you're done).
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