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My first effort at coloring an old B&W photo

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  • My first effort at coloring an old B&W photo

    This is my first attempt at coloring a B&W photo.
    My goal was a watercolor rendition of the photo.

    This photo taken in early 1930's is of my maternal G.Grandparents. We have very few photos of them. I knew my Mom would like the restored b&w version, but I didn't expect her to like the colored version, because she normally she likes to keep the photos very true to the original, but she surprised me - she liked the watercolored version a lot.

    - First I restored the photo using a combination of PhotoImpact 6 and Picture Window.

    - Second, I used PhotoImpact 6 to add watercolor brush stokes.
    Effect > Natural Painting > Watercolor

    - Third, in PhotoImpact, I colored it using the
    Retouch > Colorize Pen

    I would appreciate your feedback, opinions, tips, thoughts, etc. on how I could make it better.

    My BEFORE/AFTER images:

    - To see my BEFORE image, click here

    Or see my post titled "See Lilla's BEFORE image here..." posted on 24 Aug. This shows the original image.

    - To see my AFTER image, which includes the changes I made based upon feedback received in this thread, click the link below:

    Or see my post titled "See Lilla's AFTER image here..." posted on 24 Aug.

    Thank you, Lilla
    Last edited by Lilla; 08-24-2001, 03:55 PM.

  • #2
    You'll need to attach it or give us a URL
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning


    • #3
      Doug, thanks. I added a link to my original message.

      I tried to upload the file along with the message, but it would not take it even though it was less than 102,400 bytes. I decided it was due to server problems because it was not responding normally, and after I gave up, I found I could not access any of the forums.


      • #4
        Yes, there were server probs last night. Sorry you got caught in the midst.

        Very nice colorization (great pic, too)

        Only advise I could offer is to even out the saturation. Some areas are lots more saturated than others, which is fine for artistic effect, but for realism the eye says 'something's off here'.
        Learn by teaching
        Take responsibility for learning


        • #5
          Lilla; NEAT PICTURE!!!! Have you tried printing it on watercolor paper? I think you've got a keeper there. I like the style and, again, I would suspect that printed on either Watercolor type paper or a felt type would produce exceptional results. ANOTHER PICTURE WINDOW USER---YEA!!! Tom


          • #6
            OK, Tom, meet me over in the Software forum and explain what the heck this 'Picture Window' is
            Learn by teaching
            Take responsibility for learning


            • #7

              I like it just the way it is. I am drawn to vivid colors and you did a great job on that one. You really highlighted the trees and shrubs well too. It really stands out nicely and I personally would leave it just the way it is. Excellent job!!


              • #8
                Dear Lillia,
                Learning to color b&w photos is of particular interest to me.From my trial and error I have learned that less is more. I personally would have made the color values weaker unless you want that particular effect. It's important to use a color blend mode so that the tonal qualities show through. Also start out with a very low opacity when you paint on the new color.Use the skin and hairtone file on this site and take samples of grass color etc. from photos that youv'e scanned in.I also like the effect of creating a sepia tone image and then adding some spots of color. I did this with a wedding picture and it came out beautifully. Something else I did which turned out nice was I took an old b&w photo of my mother as a young woman and placed her(keeping her b&w) in a colorful flower garden.She's been deceased for a few years now and I wanted to create a special gift for my Dad.


                • #9
                  Doug, thanks for the feedback.

                  You are right, my goal on this piece is an artistic rendition, rather than a realistic rendition, but perhaps there are places where a more even saturation would be better even for my artistic rendition. I will experiment with this.

                  I'm glad you like the photo and the way I colored it! And, again thanks for the feedback.



                  • #10
                    Thomas, I'm so glad that you like the photo and the way I colored it.

                    I have, so far, only printed it on Epson Photo Paper, and it looks good. Your idea of printing it on a watercolor paper, or perhaps a felt paper, is intriging. I have the Canon S800, I'll investigage those papers.

                    Question: Would a matte paper be about the same as a felt paper?



                    • #11
                      Lilla, The Matte papers are not as heavy or have the same ink absorbtion properties /texture as the watercolor or felt papers. I have found that when printing on them(the felt/watercolor type) I use a medium quality setting as printing at a high res. can result in over saturation and consequent dulling of the image on the paper. For art type prints which simulate painted or sketched subjects the best results will be on the "art papers". Heavy matte paper is excellent for its fade resistance and longevity as well as being a bit more economical. I use the Epson heavyweight Matte ALOT especially for restores I suspect will not be displayed behind glass or in some other protected manner. Hope this helps. Tom


                      • #12

                        I'm a big Heavyweight Matte fan
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                        Take responsibility for learning


                        • #13
                          DJ, thank you so much for those words of appreciation.

                          This is the first photo that I was drawn to add color to. And from the start it was the vivid colors that I visualized.

                          I'm glad you like it "as is". I'm happy with it "as is" too, although I'm perfectly willing to experiment further.

                          One thing I'm noticing is that her legs seem a bit dark compared to her face, I'll try lightening her legs a bit.



                          • #14
                            DOUG!!!! THE SMILIE FACE!! IT'S MOVING!!! IT'S ALIVE!!!! IT'S ALIVE!!! tom


                            • #15
                              oh lilla,

                              i really really like it. i like it a lot.

                              as it was loading, i thought, oh, it's gonna be too bright; but when it arrived - gee, i just really like it.

                              thanks for sharing it.


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