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Black/White Colorization Tutorial

Discussion in 'Colorized Period Photographs' started by Zuzah, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. Zuzah

    Zuzah Sergeant Major

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    You have to actually press once on the layer mask, then ctrl-A->Delete.

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  3. Zuzah

    Zuzah Sergeant Major

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    Reddit.com/r/Colorization has some amazing tutorials in the side-bar (far-right).
     
  4. Jcaprada

    Jcaprada Cadet

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    If you are on a MAC it is Command + A (instead of CTRL)
     
  5. civilwartalk

    civilwartalk Lieutenant General Owner & Webmaster

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  6. Zuzah

    Zuzah Sergeant Major

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  7. WhistlingDixie

    WhistlingDixie Private

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    How about if I just pay you to do one for me?
     
  8. jay gale

    jay gale First Sergeant

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    I learned something tonight......thank you
     
  9. Zuzah

    Zuzah Sergeant Major

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    My e-mail is Zuzahgaming@hotmail.com, you can always e-mail me your budget, the photograph, and any deadline you have in mind, and I'll see what I can do. :smile:
     
  10. WhistlingDixie

    WhistlingDixie Private

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    Thanks.. Check your inbox
     
  11. glenhunter

    glenhunter Private

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    I would love to be able to colorize some photos I own but am quite sure I may not possess the ability to complete said project. It sounds rather confusing to me and I'm not a computer novice. Is it easier than it sounds? Thanks
     
  12. civilwarincolor

    civilwarincolor 2nd Lieutenant

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    I have been doing colorizations for about three years and found it much easier than I thought. It can be a bit time consuming and research is a major time factor. The results can be fantastic and very rewarding. You can start with just a PC/Mac and a mouse, if you get more serious I would suggest getting a drawing tablet as it will greatly improve your technique. I would suggest you try it with the mouse first and see if this is something that you want to invest time into.

    I have to say I really enjoy it and find the outcome a real thrill.

    Zuzah has some great tutorials, I have a book on the subject and you can also get a copy of Photoshop CS2 for free. If you think you might be interested it would be worth spending some time exploring it. Let us know if you have questions, you can either post them here, or PM.

    Good luck!

    David
     
  13. wilber6150

    wilber6150 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Its actually quite easy to do, once you get used to the commands and do it a couple of times..As posted you can download CS 2 for free or the latest version of photoshop elements isn't that expensive, or you can get some of the other versions of elements dirt cheap and they contain all the features you need to do colorizations...
     
  14. beeghleyj

    beeghleyj Cadet

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    I created videos on how to do this:

    Part 1:


    Part 2:


    Jim
     
  15. civilwarincolor

    civilwarincolor 2nd Lieutenant

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    Jim -

    Welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing your videos. It is interesting to see this done in GIMP. I had a look at your videos and would encourage you to do a few things.

    1. Have a look at the videos that @Zuzah has done. They use Photoshop, but the principles and techniques are the same, they might help you with some more advanced work.
    2. I would suggest investing in a drawing pad and pen. They can be had for under $100 and even less used. This has made an enormous difference for me and will help everything you do from your colorization's to your then/now photo blending.
    3. Research the colors you use. I watched both of the videos and noticed that you selected your colors by looking at a color chart in GIMP and choosing one that looked good. The challenge with this is that what looks "good" on a color chart can end up looking wrong, either from a historical, or just visual perspective. I would suggest that you find a reference image for what you are trying to color and sample that. For example if you want to colorize a uniform get a photo of an original or reproduction uniform and use the color sample tool to help you pick exactly the color you need. I keep several hundred photos as my reference library and then store pre-sampled layers that have the proper colors so I don't have to find them again.
    4. Explore some of the other blending modes. In your videos you used "Overlay" for everything. I would suggest exploring "Soft Light" and "Color". Also not sure if GIMP has this, but an adjustment layer is a great way to help fine tune the end result.
    5. Layer colors. This one took me a while to try and explore, but it really helps. Skin tones, for example, have multiple colors to them. Explore adding some red/pink to help bring that natural look. Add some color to the face to bring out a "5 o'clock" shadow. Add some color to the lips and cheeks, etc. Add some highlights
    6. Change the intensity of your brush. Not sure how this works in GIMP, but in Photoshop you can set the flow rate when painting an area so that it is not 100% all the time. This will allow you to just lightly add some color, emphasize a particular feature, etc. I often will paint an area with the flow set at 8-10% and then go over it 2-3 times until I start getting it to look the way I want. If I get to much then I set my erase brush to a similar flow and then lightly remove color until I get it where I like it.
    7. Sky's. In your "3 prisoners" video you did not show how you chose the sky color, but I would suggest using a gradient layer to go from a "sky blue" at the top to a white or near white at the bottom. For my images I do not usually change the blending mode, but just have the sky replace everything. It ends up looking very natural when done with the gradient and will improve your sky's tremendously. One of the trouble with these period images is that it was not possible for them to capture the sky so you end up with just a white/blank background for most images. For mine (not everyone likes or does this) I also add clouds. You can do this by taking photographs of real clouds and blending them in, or as I do now, create a custom cloud brush that will allow me to create random realistic clouds.
    I hope these suggestions help, it is always good to see someone else show their take on these classic images.

    David
     
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  16. Waterloo50

    Waterloo50 Major Silver Patron

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    Honestly, I had no idea there was so much involved, it makes me appreciate your work that much more. I really enjoy your work.
     
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  17. civilwarincolor

    civilwarincolor 2nd Lieutenant

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    Thanks so much, always good to hear when someone likes our work! :smile:
     
    Waterloo50 and Zuzah like this.

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