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Colouring an old photo with gradient maps

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Photoshop Tutorial: Colouring intricate parts of an old photo with gradient maps

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Colouring an old photo can take some time, its best to work with as many techniques as you can to get the job done. Many people use coloured layers to mask out an area and then paint in the colour. The best analogy i can think of,  is that it is like adding to colour with a piece of stained glass above the image. Switch on a light behind the glass and the image is flooded with colour. Paint out some of the stained glass with black and only some of the colour shines through, affecting certain parts of the image.

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Gradient maps still use the stained glass analogy s but when the light shines through it uses the dark and light tones as a tool to apply the gradient colour. You can use many colours in gradient map or just two.

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This example shows how this technique can be used to colour a tricky or fiddly part of an image.

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Interior retouching

Interior retouching is similar in principal to property retouching  as in our previous blog post. The inside of buildings get retouched too! It is not just people that get retouched.

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Interior retouching. Showing interior at their best

Interior retouching. Showing interior at their best

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Like de-clutering the outside of the property its the inside in this example that we need to correct. For this project, careful use of the central wooden panel would be the key to its completion. We were able to replicate and reconstruct the interior to the shelves and cupboards. The donor panel was stretched and then noise added and blurred to match the grain of the original photo. It was then tweaked using transform to comply with perspective and scaling of the patterns on the boards to ensure its looked real.  Then it was extensively shaded with burn tools. The element that brought it all together was the meticulous use of realistic shading, blending an otherwise flat shape into a cupboard with depth shape and form. TV and grills were then added at the end.

Property Retouching

Property retouching is valuable when the building needs to be either “finished” or de-cluttered for the promotional photos.

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Its not always possible to get to the property to take the “finished build” photos before the sale is made. With houses being sold so fast and people moving in just as the builders move out, arranging that photography slot is not always possible. The builder, developer or architect will want images for their folio, this is where the retoucher comes in.

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Property retouching

Property retouching

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In this example the patio has been de-cluttered and rebuilt to remove the outside furniture.  A huge use of cloning in perspective using “vanishing point“, fully explained here in an earlier post. We also lightened the shadows and rebuilt wall. The large patio heater had reflections in the windows and the Christmas lights were also removed. A complex photo retouch to an excellent building.

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