Monday, June 14, 2010
Colorizing Black-And-White Photos—06/14/10
Using Photoshop to create a classic hand-painted effect
- Working with Photoshop, first ensure the image file is desaturated but in the RGB color space. Create a new empty layer on top of the black-and-white original and, with the lasso tool, select a large area that will primarily be one color—say, a face in a portrait which will be the skin tone, or a tree in a landscape photo that will mostly be green. Once you’ve made a fairly accurate selection, save it in case you’d like to return to it later and then feather it a few pixels just to soften the edges.
- Now it’s time to fill the selection with the appropriate color. For skin tones, I usually make selections with the eyedropper tool from other color photos of people whose skin tones are appropriate. If the skin tone in another image seems similar to the look you want, select the color with the eyedropper and use the fill tool to place it in the selection area of your black-and-white image.
- When the color fills in the new layer it will be opaque, but we want it to apply the color and allow image detail to show through. You might think adjusting the layer options to “color” would be the best approach, but actually choosing “overlay” mode tends to produce the ideal result. Select overlay on the painted layer in the layers palette and watch as the image details emerge from the layer below. Part of your picture is now colorized.
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