This is the second part to adding colour or tinting an old photo for part one see colourising or tinting an old photo – Part 1
With the colour swatches obtained in the previous part we can select a set of tones that will suit the skin of the figure we are working on. In this instance I have simply grabbed a few to make a custom set to suit my image, but most sets will do.
You should initially create a layer stack of each colour in order from the lightest to the darkest. Each layer should be a fill of the plain colour with an overlay mode of “colour”. Set up a mask to “hide all” on each and every layer. Your image to be coloured should be on the bottom of the stack.
Starting on the paler tones and with a soft, white brush set to around 10 to 20 % opacity paint over the whole face on the mask layer. Avoid the eyes and lips, teeth and hair. On the next tone do the same but over the areas of next darkest tone, thats everything but the highlights. Proceed through the layers like this, with the various tones as they get darker.
You can add reds for lips and cheeks and pink areas at the top of the stack. Paint the lips and add colour and life to those areas that may get flushed with red tones, perhaps where the skin is thinner on the face or in folds, on ears and around the eyes.
When you have painted them all go back to the bottom layer and adjust the opacity slider of each layer. The paler yellower tones should be fairly subtle and the darker tones may need a bit more encouragement to show through as shown in part 1.
The above shows the final stack with one added tone of blue for the eyes. As this figure is one of many in the final photo the amount of colours chosen for the skin was a mere handful, if it were a large image of just one face then many more shades and tones would be needed. Perhaps even some greenish blue tints as well for temples or necks where veins sometimes show through.
The dark brown coloured layer was set to vivid light which added some contrast to the dark tone whilst preserving the highlights and tinting to a darker shade.
The idea is you can adjust the layers as you see fit matching the intensity of each layer to suit the different effect or skin tone you are after.
Remember this is just one way to tint an old photo, there are others!
Hand colouring old photos – Skin
I’m sure you have seen photos that have been hand coloured when a photo restoration has been made. They might be the old photos you own or photos you have seen on the net, coloured by “restoration artists”. Old photos were often tinted with inks, this post is about digital colourization or hand colouring using a computer.
Firstly there are many ways to add skin tone and tint photos, this post just describes one of them. Perhaps you have never seen it done this way before but this is good for toning skin and lower resolution images where other techniques may not be appropriate.
We start with a black and white image, its best one with a good tonal range, for the colour to “stick”. Images with hardly any shades of grey are difficult to tone. There needs to be some texture and tone to colour.
Here is a small image showing 3 tones of grey “coloured” (an overlay layer set to colour) with the same shade of skin. Using an overlay layer set to “colour” in the blending mode options dropdown is the basic way to add colour to an image.
You can see how the colour is denser on the darker shade or grey. The lighter shade of grey takes on just a touch of colour. If the image you are trying to add colour to, needs to have a darker skin tone but the shades of grey are very light then it will be tricky to achieve this using the “colour” alone.
We can use the below technique to darken the shade. Using the same colour tint as above and
by using different blending modes the colour tone can be darkened to affect the image in different ways. Sometimes when toning an image its not obvious which of these will give the best results, so it’s best to try variations and also to vary the opacity slider on the overlay to alter the affect the overlay mode has on the image. You can see that “linear burn” has the greatest affect here, giving the darkest or most saturated tone.
Let’s try this with a texture and see how it affects a multi tone image.
I have used the same colour tint and changed the blending modes or each overlay layer to show how each mode affects the underlying image. With this knowledge it is possible to use these modes to make the colour “stick” to the image to make a convincing colour tint.
When you introduce some texture into the equation you will find that this changes the way the over laid colour looks. It will not be the same as on plain tone grey.
To obtain convincing skin colour tones from the internet just search for “DeviantNep” who gets a credit here for some super swatches and colours for creating skin tones.
In the part 2 colourising or tinting an old photo tutorial ill cover the process of actually tinting the photo.
My last post was bout software and reference and scanners this one is about graphics tablets.
Ive been around long enough to know that a tablet will help you with any design, art, photography or film based application, amateur or professional. I grew up with a mouse, a three button BBC micro computer mouse! It was cream and had 3 red buttons, nice! Ever since then Ive used a mouse. I’m not proud of my stubbornness to change, its just that i’ve been really good with a mouse. A laser mouse on a precise mouse mat with a clever little program I found to smooth your mouse strokes made me as good as anyone with a tablet or so i thought. Yeah fine I could do things everyone else could do but maybe when it came to shading or building up texture it may have taken a little longer.
The mouse falls down where you need to stroke through a brush line, or build up texture or shadow, oh sure you can just set the sensitivity low and build up slowly which is how ive done it for years but its so much nicer with a tablet.
I looked at various reviews of the Trust Canvas Widescreen, but ruled that one out as it has no drivers for my operating system. I looked at the Hanovan Artmaster III which looked great but there were no real reviews in English and I was loathed to buy a Wacom, after all the world couldn’t all be about Wacom could it. Well thats all that was left in the game at this stage. I understood that some older versions were available on ebay but a bidding frenzy would always ensue and be up at the price range or reconditioned latest versions. I then had the good fortune to find a Intuos 4m on a website with a damaged box but still with warranty. There is no point paying the full price is there.
Well all i can say is wow! Its great, sure it takes a little getting used to but now its like Ive never gone without. If you haven’t got one get one you wont regret it! If you want a full review of this tablet there tons of the out there, this was just a short story of how i came to buy one!
I mainly bought it to help with my restoration and retouching but here is a quick painting i did.