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Natural looking colorization??

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  • Natural looking colorization??

    Hello, all!

    I posted a few times many, many moons ago, but haven't gotten much time to keep up lately. However, I'd be crazy not to ask the question that continually plagues me concerning photographs. I do restoration work, which I love. My clients seem very pleased, and I'm happy doing it. My biggest shortcoming is colorization of photos. I've tried various peoples' tips, tricks, etc. to get a nice, natural looking color on black and white or sepia photos, but mine always look like they've been "colored." Not in a subtle, ethereal way like well done hand colorizations.

    So shoot all your best at me. It's an aspect that I'd really like to get into for my clients, but I've always been of the mind that I'd rather tell them No than do work that I'm not 100% proud of!


  • #2
    Attach a sample of youcr colorization work that you're unhappy with and we'll try to help. Good colorization is tough, though. There's no set of tricks that will guarantee natural-looking results. It also requires a great deal of taste and finesse.
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning


    • #3
      I'll look for something this weekend and try to post it. I guess my problem is that, while I have an extensive arsenal of tools at my disposal for bad/damaged, etc. photos, I don't have the same array of tools to colorize.

      I.E., if I get a photograph that's badly scratched, there are about 2 dozen ways I can try to get rid of the scratches in the most natural way possible.

      What I'm looking for is just a big inventory of tricks to try while I'm getting my feet wet in the whole colorization pool. You know, like layering color upon color in order to get different results, changing blending modes, etc.

      I'm like a sponge when it comes to stuff like this--I want to over-inform myself so that I can handle pretty much anything that comes along.


      • #4
        Nice to see you back. You might check out this link for a good tutorial on getting rid of cracks. You can also download an action for it. It might make a nice start to your collection of tips and tricks. Check out the other tutorials and there's a good tips section in the forum under the Restoration, Retouching, and Manipulation forum.


        • #5
          Look at the top right hand section of this webpage and click on "search", then fill in natural colorization -- you'll find some threads with some good tips.

          I tried to make a link to one of the threads, but it didn't work. The "search" button will work, tho....
          Last edited by CJ Swartz; 02-12-2002, 10:17 AM.


          • #6
            Gina, Jim Conway posted this link in another thread. Looks like it might help you. Mostly I think, it is about directly coloring.

   - Contact us for any business inquiries

            Let us know whatever methods you find that work best.



            • #7
              Natural Colorization

              Hi Gina,

              I'm fairly new here and have just started hand coloring myself. I have found this tutorial to make a great deal of sense and it's what got me started.

              Photoshop Cs2/CS3 tip on adjusting an image's contrast and tone using the Levels command.

              (The later is a great resource page for restoration)

              You might also want to try looking in the alt.binaries. I've found a great number of tips and discusssions about colorization at:



              Both have discussions regarding colorization right now and one even mentions a link to good ole' retouchpro.

              Good Luck,

              If you have any more questions, I'd be happy to help


              • #8

                I use an alpha channel created from the black and white image. I also use other photos to create my colors. That way I don't get the solid color fill look. Colors as the go in and out of shadow actual change in saturation and hue. The image alpha channel can help isolate the shadow areas so you can change your added color.

                On this example I was able to add a sky by using the channels. I pasted in a sky image. I activated the image alpha channel. I cut and then pasted to a new layer. deleting the layer that hid the trees. then went in and erased all the useless parts of sky.

                Attached Files


                • #9
                  Thats fantastic Nik. You should post that in the gallery. You did a great job of getting the sky in without loosing the details in the tree and I don't see any halos. The coloring is excellent also. Hey, have you considered a tutorial on it? Would be a good one.


                  • #10

                    I agree with DJ -- beautifully done with no signs of it 'being done'. I'd love to see your tutorial for this... hint, hint...


                    • #11
                      Beautiful job, Nik!


                      • #12
                        I must agree with everybody else, a wonderful job and I too would love to read a tutorial on it. (is that enough pressure yet?)


                        • #13
                          Nice Work!

                          If this type of work is a repeatable pattern for you, your fortunes are made!!! One of the best I've seen from digital work.

                          Jim Conway


                          • #14
                            Super job Nik, and another request for a tutorial. How many does it take?



                            • #15
                              This is wonderful stuff...SO WHERE ARE YOUR TIPS!!! Seriously,
                              your work looks very naturalistic. Congratulations.


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