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Photo Retouching "Improving" photos, post-production, correction, etc.

Coloring with gradient maps & fill layers

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  #1  
Old 12-19-2004, 12:21 PM
MaryLynn MaryLynn is offline
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Location: Renton, Washington
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Coloring with gradient maps & fill layers

I've always been intrigued by this photo of my sister and had a make a try at coloring it. I am using PS Elements 2 and had to play with making layer masks. What worked perfectly one day was a total disaster the next because I would forget a crucial step.

I copied and pasted hair detail into the area that was over exposed.

I used a gradient map for the skin tone and fill layers for the hair and background and sweater.

Next a little adjustment of the hue/saturation and airbrushing of face contours.

Application of Gaussian blur at 1.5 pixels

I'd appreciate comments and I'd like to see how others might approach this.

MaryLynn
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File Type: jpg Jan-rescan-orig-copy.jpg (85.3 KB, 51 views)
File Type: jpg Jan-rescan-copy.jpg (88.9 KB, 59 views)
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  #2  
Old 12-19-2004, 03:44 PM
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byRo byRo is offline
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Hi there, MaryLynn,

Looking at the greyscale photo of your sister, I'd say that exactly the same thing that "intrigues" you in this photo is what makes the colourization more difficult.

The photo is "high-key" - meaning that a lot of the lighter tones have limited out to pure white. While this can be a useful device for making striking (or, intriguing) photos, it is also happens to make colourization very difficult (if not, impossible).

In pure white all channels are at 255. We see colour by the differences in the channels. As the channels are "maxed" out, normal colourization techniques simply don't work.

I did a retouch (or maybe, a restoration) trying to get back from the "high-key" photo to a more "normal" greyscale (attachment 1). After this the colourization gets easy (attachment 2). In fact I use exactly the same methods that you described - gradient map for the skin and colour layers for the rest (attachment 3).
(as always, I went too far, and fixed that by mixing in 50% from your original)

Ended up mixing in using your original 100% and it still came out OK (attachment 4).

byRo
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Jan-byRo-gray.jpg (97.7 KB, 27 views)
File Type: jpg Jan-Mary-byRo.jpg (99.8 KB, 42 views)
File Type: gif Jan-byRo-palette.gif (20.4 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg Jan-Mary.jpg (99.1 KB, 38 views)
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  #3  
Old 12-19-2004, 08:49 PM
MaryLynn MaryLynn is offline
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Improved the grayscale

Thanks, byRo, that really helped! Of course, restore the grayscale, why didn't I think of that?

She is a natural brown-eyed, brunette but I think the sun-bleached effect is much more interesting.

Here's another attempt. First I put in a desaturation layer, then an inverted layer. After that I put in the gradient and fill layers.

Most of my retouch work will be on much older black and white photos, but I am having a lot of fun learning how to do these techniques. My thanks to you and all the other great people on this forum. You are great!

MaryLynn
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File Type: jpg Jan-Repro-2.jpg (90.7 KB, 27 views)
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Old 12-20-2004, 08:09 AM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Hi everybody,

Roland,

Great result!!!

MaryLynn,

restoring the grayscale, as Roland suggested, is the way to go .... but just a few words of advice....

toning down white (blown out) spots, tends to lead to 'flat' gray 'blobs' .... on which, in my opinion, you can put as much colour as you wish, but it remains 'flat' .....

When colouring a portrait, careful with the teeth .... if completely desaturated they tend to look unnaturally gray and, sometimes, darker ....

When correcting the blacks, careful to not overdo it otherwise the tone and contrast between light and dark parts of the picture is 'unbalanced' and the light parts seem to be 'pasted' on the over-corrected dark parts ....

I'm not very good at colouring, but, with my example, I wanted to show the importance of
* keeping a 3-dimensional feeling in any picture, but specially in a portrait,
* balancing light, shadows, tone and contrast.

Hope this helps...
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File Type: jpg F_Jan-rescan-orig-copy.jpg (97.2 KB, 52 views)
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  #5  
Old 12-20-2004, 10:23 AM
MaryLynn MaryLynn is offline
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Balance and contrast

Fantastic, Flora! Thank you so much for your help on this photo. You have corrected some things I had struggled with.

Thank you for your comment about the teeth. Yes, I didn't like the effect I was getting but didn't really know why it was wrong.

I notice the addition to the blown-out area of the hair. On a previous attempt I had tried pasting in hair but I think I overdid it. Mental note to myself, sometimes less is more!

I especially like the shading in the cheeks and chin. It helps define the lower lip and looks much more natural than the attempts I had made (and discarded) to reconstruct the lips.

The background effect really gives depth as you said, instead of the pasted on look. And the light in the eyes gives it life!

Ah, so much to learn! Thank you again.

MaryLynn
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  #6  
Old 12-20-2004, 01:17 PM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Thanks MaryLynn!
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