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Colouring B&W photos - need help!

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  • Colouring B&W photos - need help!

    I recently started putting colour to a B&W photo but have run into some trouble with skin tones (just the girl) and also putting colour to the grass.

    The method I use is applying a new layer, colour what I want, set the layer to colour and then hue/saturation to get it right. Any help would be great. Thanks.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Colouring B&W photos - need help!

    Andrew, welcome to RP!.
    Most of the time using Color blend mode does not produce acceptable results. One suggestion would be to try the following: Sample a grass color from another image that has similar grass. Add a new layer and fill that layer completely with the color. Now add a Layer Mask. If it is white, just invert it to make it black. Now with a white brush, and the mask icon active, just paint over the area where you want to have green. If you over run an area, just switch the brush to black and paint over what you want to correct. The mask allows you to infinitely correct and fine tune without having to throw out the layer and start over.
    After you have finished revealing the green area cycle through the blend modes using the down arrow key. Depending on the lightness or darkness of the b&w layer, you will see that the blend mode that gets you the best results may be overlay, or screen, or color dodge, etc. When you get relatively good results then begin to vary the opacity of that layer whcih will give you another wide range of adjustment. When you are done with that color, just add a new blank layer on top of the stack and fill with another color and another layer mask.
    For the quick sample below, I used an emerald green color. On the 1st layer I painted a bit of grass and set the blend mode to Hard Light and reduced the opacity to 50%. On the 2nd layer I used the exact same color green on the bush but because the foliage was very dark I used Color Dodge blend mode at 100% opacity.
    The other suggestion I have for you is to adjust the lightness and contrast of the B&W image before you start. If you have a good range of contrast you will find the whole image easier to colorize and you won't need to play around too much with Blend Modes.
    Another technique to try is to use a gradient adjustment layer instead of a blank layer.
    If you goole Colorizing B&W images you will find a ton of tutorials out there.
    Regards, Murray
    Attached Files


    • #3
      Re: Colouring B&W photos - need help!

      Thankyou very much Murray! I will definitly hit google up for a few searches and give what you said a go!



      • #4
        Re: Colouring B&W photos - need help!

        I'm only new and a novice myself, and only have photodeluxe at the moment
        but with that' i do simalar to what your saying, just add a BW layer color it and i just erase the top layer and do as you do! adjust the hue and satuation till you get what you want and then just erase the top layer and then adjust the color layer to suit and then when your done just turn down the satuartion AGAIN it's always the way. when you think your wright, it still needs to have it turned down more. less is more!
        I had a go at yours thisrv, i hope you dont mind.
        Attached Files


        • #5
          Re: Colouring B&W photos - need help!

          My preferred method of colourizing is to add a curves adjustment layer for each element.. eg, skin, shirt, shorts etc. Adjust curves until you get the required colour. As you add more, you may find that you need to go back and adjust the others which is easy as they are all on their own layer.

          There's a lot of selecting involved with this method.

          Your pic didn't have a very high resolution, normally i would add colour to lips , eyes etc, but there wasn't really enough detail to do this.
          Attached Files


          • #6
            Re: Colouring B&W photos - need help!

   are you adding colour with a curves adjustment layer?


            • #7
              Re: Colouring B&W photos - need help!

              I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I don't recommend any of the methods listed below. In order to achieve quality results, you can not select and fill an object/area with a single color.
              Hands down, the technique that gives the best results:
              Check out my gallery to see the results of this method. I should add, attention to detail and appropriate color choices are key to quality results.


              • #8
                Re: Colouring B&W photos - need help!


                The work in your gallery is absolutely superb, proving that the primary method is indeed the way to go. I have used this method, but find that it requires a bit more artistic flair than I possess at this moment. But, I continue to practice!


                After making the selection, I add the curve adjustment layer and then, within the curves dialogue, adjust the individual red, green and blue channels until I get the colour I require.


                • #9
                  Re: Colouring B&W photos - need help!

                  Haaaaa.....I see. Thanks.


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