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Thread started 14 May 2018 (Monday) 13:56
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B&W to Color Conversion

 
Calicajun
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May 14, 2018 13:56 |  #1

I'm looking for a book on how to colorize B&W photos to color. I have tried Youtube videos but the ones I found are not up to date with the current PS CC and don't work for me. Need a current book as I like to mark up pages with notes. Using a book also allows me to go at my slow pace without hitting the pause button and rewinding (backing up) all the time.

Problem I am having with colorize is the first few steps work and then nothing responds, works about 1/4 of the way through the tutorials then stops. The tutorials usually show steps that have been change/rename in in the current PS, so that leaves me confused.

So anyone know of any good books that cover colorizing B&W photos?

Thanks,
Craig


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DagoImaging
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May 14, 2018 17:59 |  #2

Thats gonna be tough as PS is perpetually updating and for a book to current would be tough. i still think YT is your best option.


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Calicajun
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May 15, 2018 00:05 as a reply to  @ DagoImaging's post |  #3

You may be right. Just so many Youtube videos and they all show a different way of doing the conversions it gets confusing.


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May 15, 2018 00:48 |  #4

That's because there are a lot of different ways. I've done some of this work, and there is no single method that works for every photo, or even every part of a photo. In any given photo I'll use any or all of Levels, Hue/Saturation, Photo Filter, Solid Color layers with blend modes, etc.


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May 15, 2018 04:44 |  #5

Calicajun wrote in post #18625890 (external link)
You may be right. Just so many Youtube videos and they all show a different way of doing the conversions it gets confusing.


Damo77 wrote in post #18625905 (external link)
That's because there are a lot of different ways. I've done some of this work, and there is no single method that works for every photo, or even every part of a photo. In any given photo I'll use any or all of Levels, Hue/Saturation, Photo Filter, Solid Color layers with blend modes, etc.

There is this, which is perfectly true, but also colourisation of black and white images also covers a very wide area, with a lot of different styles. You go from simple spot colour, with a single colour, through replication of Victorian period hand colouring with dyes, all the way through to a full hopefully accurate colourisation of the entire image. I have even seen TV shows where they have attempted to fully colourised WWII newsreel footage for a modern audience. The problem being that in all probability a simple search for the current thread title is likely to provide hits on all of these possible variations. This is going to be one of those situations where you will need to significantly increase the specificity of your searching.

When it comes to teaching materials I also have to say that I really do like written content, and prefer it to be printed on paper. I come from a time when if they wanted to show us AV content in school they had to set up a 16mm projector, or the program was being broadcast live. The BBC did used to have a schools service using the BBC2 network that did just that during school hours. So I grew up with mostly using books, and now that I have a health condition that affects my short term memory I like them even more, as I can consume them at my own rate. The text based nature of places like POTN is one of the reasons I like it so much. I can read posts at my speed so that I can assimilate the information at a speed that suits how my brain is operating at any given time.

Then you come to the other issue with learning from the internet, the accuracy and veracity of the information you are looking at. Unfortunately there are no really good ways to know if what you are being told is in any way correct or accurate. When I look at information on the web about subjects that I really do know about, and see so much absolute rubbish spouted, it makes me realise just how bad it must be for all subject areas. One advantage in my mind of the old school publishing process was that in some ways it helped to weed out some of the more wacky and way out stuff. Since you did have to get it through the publishing process. Most reputable publishers will have built up a reputation for publishing good work that they will try to be a bit careful to maintain that reputation. The web gives you nothing, although I its guess not such a huge issue for areas like image editing, since in general following not so good advice is mostly only likely to waste your time, not your money, and at least you learned how not to do it.

So when it comes to instructional material on say Photoshop I would start off looking at the tutorials on Adobe's own website, also Adobe TV as they call it is very good. I would look to see who is producing stuff for Adobe, and then go look at their own content. It should at least get you started with people who know what they are talking about.

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kirkt
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Post edited 9 months ago by kirkt. (4 edits in all)
     
May 15, 2018 09:01 |  #6

I would consider looking for materials that teach the art of hand coloring black and white photographic images and then use your understanding of Photoshop, regardless of version, to emulate the hand-done techniques.

There is no "hand color this" command in PS that has changed or moved. There are basic image processing and manipulation tools that have pretty much remained unchanged regardless of the version of PS. Understanding how to hand color an image will guide you to the most useful PS tools. This goes for photographic image processing and editing - instead of watching a You Tube tutorial that says "All you have to do is this to make you image look great!" it pays to learn what basic characteristics of an image help make your photographic images look like you envisioned the final image, and then figure out how to implement edits in whatever software you choose to use to achieve that look. How are you going know what PS feature or tool you want to use if you do not know what it is you are trying to accomplish?

For example:

https://www.ilfordphot​o.com …?___store=ilfor​d_brochure (external link)

and his book

https://www.amazon.com …esses-Photo/dp/2880465516 (external link)

and Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.o​rg …-colouring_of_photograp​hs (external link)

and this:

https://petapixel.com …-hand-tinted-photography/ (external link)

Etc.

Study the processes and you will figure out how you can emulate them in PS.

good luck!

kirk


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Calicajun
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May 15, 2018 10:42 |  #7

kirikt "I would consider looking for materials that teach the art of hand coloring black and white photographic images and then use your understanding of Photoshop, regardless of version, to emulate the hand-done techniques."

I have done hand painting of B&W photos back in the late 70s using a paint brush and oil paints. That bit of art works proved to me the reason I use a camera and not a paint brush and canvas to capture art.:oops: I have a pretty good idea of what I want as a finish product/picture, just having a hard time getting there within PS.

If no books are available then I will just keep looking for a Youtube tutorials or maybe even an online class. So far the problem I am running into is tutorials (or me) are not working. Example: following instructions "first convert picture to CYMK, then layer to Smart Object, now start coloring" this doesn't work on my computer. My computer comes back and says to Razorize the layer first. None of the videos watched so far instruct me to Razorize the layer.

Oh well, as we use to say at work when things didn't work right, back to the drawing board. :)

I find it funny that back in the 70s and 80s I hated most any type of dark room trick photography (post editing as we call it now) back then, now it seems the first thing I think of is "what can I do to this picture". Times and peoples minds change as time goes on.


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May 25, 2018 05:00 as a reply to  @ Calicajun's post |  #8

If possible, get a Wacom tablet. You probably don't need a big or expensive one, but painting with a mouse is torture.

I'm no hand colorist, but try this:

Open the image. Create a blank layer change the blend mode to color. Select the brush tool. Set the flow low (try 10% to start). Click on the foreground color to select your first color. Apply it to appropriate areas. Because flow is low, you are layering it on slowly. Repeat.

This will look more tinted. If you want actual brush strokes, you will need a different process. Brush strokes can also be added after color as a texture layer, if desired.

If the results are not satisfactory, you can seek out other techniques or experiment, but at least you can start with something which should work with most versions of PS.


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May 25, 2018 14:29 as a reply to  @ F2Bthere's post |  #9

Think I have one, well a tablet for sure, just not sure what brand is on the label. The tablet was a give to me about ten years ago and I never really use it. May hook that tablet back up and see if it helps me paint better than using a mouse. Then again I keep buying new cameras to help me take better pictures too without them helping much at all. :)


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May 25, 2018 15:26 as a reply to  @ Calicajun's post |  #10

A new camera won't change your skills.

But trying to do brushstrokes with a mouse is like trying to paint with the brush in your mouth. Sure, there are a few who can learn to do so, but you will have a better experience with your tablet. :)


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Jun 30, 2018 05:54 |  #11

Here is a video fro Vox that showed up recently in my FB feed that offers an interesting perspective on colorization of monochrome images. A good interview too.

https://www.facebook.c​om/Vox/videos/80706704​9480899/ (external link)

Kirk


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Jun 30, 2018 06:54 |  #12

I agree with F2Bthere on using a tablet for editing. Doesn’t really matter what brand as long as it has pressure sensitivity. That, along with opacity/flow/hardness adjustments should allow you to very smoothly and precisely build up and blend colors into your image. A certain level of painting skills would be really helpful here as well.

If your tablet doesn’t have pressure sensitivity, I’d recommend the Wacom medium size (I’m using the older Intuous 4) if your budget allows. If not, the Huion tablets on Amazon are excellent for a fraction of the Wacom’s price. I bought the $40 Huion 580 for my teenage daughter who constantly wanted to use my rather expensive Wacom, and I’ve been very surprised at how well it performs. The main differences are the pen of the cheaper tablet requires a battery, and the Wacom has multiple customizable function buttons and more robust software for custom options/setup... but it looks as if Huion has many more advanced tablets now, so that may have changed.


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Jun 30, 2018 07:56 |  #13

Agree with Lyndon. I, too, use the Intuos 4. I asked many people in the know about a Wacom upgrade and was told not worth it the money. Also agree on the Huion. I bought a 610pro on sale for less than $50. Excellent tablet for the money, and some reviewers call it better than the Wacom. One drawback is there is no Art Pen to can be optionally bought. I haven't checked in a year or so, but none back then. I use the Intuos 4 with the art pen and it works well.


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Calicajun
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Jun 30, 2018 12:09 |  #14

My bad, went to the other house (getting it ready to rent) and forgot to bring the tablet back with me. Do have the tablet's mouse and pressure pen here but they don't work well without the tablet. :)

Thanks for all the tips,
Craig


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Remember, Stressed spelled backward is Desserts.:)
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Jul 02, 2018 01:23 |  #15

Wacom makes an inexpensive tablet for $80. I have one and they work fine. You can't use the art pen with the inexpensive one, but it doesn't need batteries.

My understanding is that Wacom has patented the battery free pen technology.

The more expensive tablets have many features, exchangeable pens and the art pen lets you do twirling moves you can't do without it.

Do think about desk space before deciding which tablet you want :).


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