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colourizing photographs with Photoshop


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Hi there,

 

I am not sure where to post this thread, so I put in this forum. If the Moderators think it is better placed elsewhere, feel free to move it .

 

A few days ago I started experimenting with colouring photographs with Photoshop. I figured out that it is very easy and great fun.

 

Although I am actually not a fan of present day colouring of pictures myself, it was done in WWII already in magazines and propaganda posters. With that in mind I think it is fun to do it for myself, being able to see the original as well as the colourized picture. But I hate the colouring of films for documentaries or of black and white Hollywood classics as much as anybody else.

 

Here is how I do it:

 

Here is the original photograph of a AAC air man on a rainy day.

 

post-9199-1302125533.jpg

- Sjef -

By God, I think the Devil s#!+$ Dutchmen. [sir W. Batten, 1667]

Actively seeking: WWII USAAF, ETO and PTO bomber crew related items.

 

My collection

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I use Photoshop CS 4, but the tools I use are also available in much older versions.

 

First open the picture in Photoshop, and create a new layer (for every different item I am going to colourize I create a new layer). I presume if you know Photoshop you know how to work with layers.

 

When you create a new layer it’s default setting is on [Normal]. Open the menu indicated with the red circle.

 

post-9199-1302125636.jpg

- Sjef -

By God, I think the Devil s#!+$ Dutchmen. [sir W. Batten, 1667]

Actively seeking: WWII USAAF, ETO and PTO bomber crew related items.

 

My collection

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After that choose a colour you want to use -> 1. This does not have to be a perfect mach, you can fix that later!

Than select the brush tool -> 2 and select the proper thickness -> 3.

Leave the [Opacity] and [Flow] of the brush in the horizontal tool bar at 100%.

 

post-9199-1302125839.jpg

- Sjef -

By God, I think the Devil s#!+$ Dutchmen. [sir W. Batten, 1667]

Actively seeking: WWII USAAF, ETO and PTO bomber crew related items.

 

My collection

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Than start painting. Don’t worry about being a little bit messy at this stage, you can fix that later on.

 

Repeat these steps for every separate item that you are going to colourize. (Don’t forget to make a new layer for each item).

 

post-9199-1302125934.jpg

- Sjef -

By God, I think the Devil s#!+$ Dutchmen. [sir W. Batten, 1667]

Actively seeking: WWII USAAF, ETO and PTO bomber crew related items.

 

My collection

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For Caucasian faces use a kind of orange colour instead of pink. It looks better!

 

post-9199-1302125994.jpg

- Sjef -

By God, I think the Devil s#!+$ Dutchmen. [sir W. Batten, 1667]

Actively seeking: WWII USAAF, ETO and PTO bomber crew related items.

 

My collection

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Leave as little gray areas as possible because they tend to stick out ones the rest is colourized. For the wall I choose grey with a touch of brown. (In the end I also colourized the eyes.)

 

post-9199-1302126123.jpg

- Sjef -

By God, I think the Devil s#!+$ Dutchmen. [sir W. Batten, 1667]

Actively seeking: WWII USAAF, ETO and PTO bomber crew related items.

 

My collection

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Notice in the previous picture that I painted over the lenses, the shoulder decal and his eyes with the wrong colour.

I will fix this with one of the neatest tools Photoshop has to offer, the [layer mask].

Tap the icon indicated with -> 1.

A mask (a sort of extra layer) will pup up in the layer you selected. Simultaneously you will see the primer and secondary colour change to black and white -> 3. Whatever black you add in the mask layer deletes what is visible in the layer it is linked to. If you change your primer colour to white you can undo whatever erasing you have done with black.

The best tool for this purpose is the brush. You can go back and forth with this as often as you like.

 

post-9199-1302126246.jpg

 

Now tidy up the mess you made earlier.

 

If you want to work in the real layer again instead of the mask layer simply select the actual layer ->4. You will see the primer and secondary colour change back to its previous colours.

 

If you discover that you need to add some more colour in a genuine layer you can suck up the correct colour with the [Eyedropper Tool] if you change the setting of the layer from [Overlay] to [Normal] for a moment.

After you have sucked up the correct colour you change it back to [Overlay] again.

- Sjef -

By God, I think the Devil s#!+$ Dutchmen. [sir W. Batten, 1667]

Actively seeking: WWII USAAF, ETO and PTO bomber crew related items.

 

My collection

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Now you have nicely tidied up every layer. But with these colours the brave air man looks more like a clown!!! :think:

 

post-9199-1302126438.jpg

- Sjef -

By God, I think the Devil s#!+$ Dutchmen. [sir W. Batten, 1667]

Actively seeking: WWII USAAF, ETO and PTO bomber crew related items.

 

My collection

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You can fix this by doing the following: select [image] in the upper horizontal toolbar, than [Adjustments] and than [Hue/Saturation].

 

post-9199-1302126519.jpg

- Sjef -

By God, I think the Devil s#!+$ Dutchmen. [sir W. Batten, 1667]

Actively seeking: WWII USAAF, ETO and PTO bomber crew related items.

 

My collection

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Than play with the three sliding arrows until you are satisfied with the colour. (remember to enable [preview] in this window.)

 

post-9199-1302126615.jpg

- Sjef -

By God, I think the Devil s#!+$ Dutchmen. [sir W. Batten, 1667]

Actively seeking: WWII USAAF, ETO and PTO bomber crew related items.

 

My collection

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donation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gif


		
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The lenses are a different matter. I can play with [Hue/Saturation] as long as I like but it will never look good because the colour is to thick. Therefore I change the [Opacity] of this layer until it looks right.

 

post-9199-1302126699.jpg

- Sjef -

By God, I think the Devil s#!+$ Dutchmen. [sir W. Batten, 1667]

Actively seeking: WWII USAAF, ETO and PTO bomber crew related items.

 

My collection

donation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif
donation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gif


		
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As a final touch to make colours more in harmony with each other I add an extra layer which I leave [Normal], but I set the layer [Opacity] very low, so it is very subtle.

Because this pilot is standing in the rain, it is probably a gray and cold day so I chose light blue as the colour. For sunny pictures I choose copper yellow. (Actually in Hollywood they use a similar trick with lenses to create a difference between rainy and sunny weather.)

 

post-9199-1302126788.jpg

- Sjef -

By God, I think the Devil s#!+$ Dutchmen. [sir W. Batten, 1667]

Actively seeking: WWII USAAF, ETO and PTO bomber crew related items.

 

My collection

donation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif
donation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gif


		
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Et voilà! The end result

 

post-9199-1302126906.jpg

 

This was only a quick job to create a tutorial. If I spend more time on the details it will look better.

 

If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask.

 

 

God bless, and happy painting!

- Sjef -

By God, I think the Devil s#!+$ Dutchmen. [sir W. Batten, 1667]

Actively seeking: WWII USAAF, ETO and PTO bomber crew related items.

 

My collection

donation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif
donation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gif


		
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Thanks guys!

 

Although Photoshop is a comprehensive program and provides a huge variety of tools and options, it is very user friendly.

It is very accessible for inexperienced users.

Some people only use one or two tools for simple adjustments to their photographs (e.g. for cropping, adjusting the brightness and contrast or sizing down the file size).

 

Take it step by step. Follow a few on-line tutorials and you will be amazed by what you can create after a few rainy Sunday afternoons.

 

:thumbsup:

- Sjef -

By God, I think the Devil s#!+$ Dutchmen. [sir W. Batten, 1667]

Actively seeking: WWII USAAF, ETO and PTO bomber crew related items.

 

My collection

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donation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gif


		
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That Looks amazing WOW well done it sure is well worth knowing how to do it with the Old B/W Photos

it sure does pay off in the long run,, and well worth the patience and effort as that example Photo same out Very Well :thumbsup:

 

There is also another software that looks very similar to PhotoShop its called GIMP2 I'd say its very similar to what you have

being showing us there step by step Thanks for sharing it with us WELL DONE :thumbsup: . J

 

Regards

Tomás

http://www.Paratrooper1944.Com/

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IN MEMORY OF IRISH/AMERICANS FROM MY COUNTY.
Cpl: Patrick Gallagher, 3rd U.S.M.C Div K.I.A 30/03/1967 Navy Cross
Sgt: Patrick Nevin, B.Co. 1st Bn, 12th Cav, 1st CAVALRY Div K.I.A 23/02/1966

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Awesome job! I have always wondered how to color B/W photos in PS. I'll try it out sometime. Well done!

~Sean

WANTED: Philippine Department & Division patch variations, uniforms, & other items.
~In honor of Private Placido Conejos, 14th Engineer Regt. (Philippine Scouts). KIA on Bataan, 02/13/1942

My links: Lolo's (Grandfather's) WWII Service | My Mini-Museum of Sea Lions and Carabaos ASMIC Newsletter Editor (4653) | PSHS Nat. Secretary & Webmaster

 

 

 

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Thanks again for the favourable comments!

 

I am not familiar with GIMP2, but from what I can see on their website it looks indeed very similar.

I have played with Photoshop for many years now and learned almost everything by fooling around and doing online tutorials. I would consider my tutorial suitable for beginner to intermediate Photoshoppers and I would really like to encourage everyone to just give it a try.

 

If you need additional advice or a link with very helpful tutorials don’t hesitate to PM me.

 

 

Cheers!

- Sjef -

By God, I think the Devil s#!+$ Dutchmen. [sir W. Batten, 1667]

Actively seeking: WWII USAAF, ETO and PTO bomber crew related items.

 

My collection

donation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif
donation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gif


		
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  • 3 years later...

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