Colorizing Old Photos & extracting
I have tons of old black and white photos...sepia..and every color inbetween. I have successfully recolored photos in the past, because I like to use them with my LOs, art journals, etc....but it seems that only super bright colors seem to work on them...(pink is actually the best)
Does anyone know of any good tuts or know how I can better recolor or colorize photos??? I have PSE9 and I would like to be able to colorize them more realistically.
Also does anyone know what the best way to extract is? I use the magic extractor alot...but i still end up having to erase and then my lines end up all bumpy and not real smooth....any hints or tips on doing this an easier or better way?
Extracting and Colorizing
A good way to extract an image with lots of colors in it that has similar colors in the surrounding area is to create a new duplicate layer and paint around the image with an off color that is not even close to anything in your photo; zoom in and change brush size (use a hard round brush generally or a square one on straight edges) to get all the outside area around your image. If you make a mistake, switch to erase. Save often so you don't have to redo from scratch. Then set the tolerance to a value that works and check the Contiguous box. When you are satisfied with your result, extract using the Magnetic Lasso tool.
I haven't done colorizing, but I have a great book, Digital Restoration from Start to Finish, Second Edition, by Ctein that will show you how to do it.
Extracting is a time-consuming job, for sure, and I don't know any way around it, but there are some tips for extracting using various tools, channels, and masks. You can Google tutorials for this (see especially the ones done on the Photoshop Roadmap series, and Deke McLelland's video tuts) and add to your arsenal of techniques.
Personally, the tools I use the most are the polygonal lasso and pen tool for selecting areas to delete, then a meticulous course around the object with a small eraser. Use a set of Quality Control styles/actions to check your progress, getting rid of stray pixels, dark or light edges, etc.
For the purposes of some layouts, a blended photo, without full and careful extraction, will suffice, and be a whole lot easier. You can use gradients to soften the transition between the background and the image, or use a very soft-edge eraser to get rid of the large background areas around the image (see this month's Photography Challenge for examples).
With respect to recoloring b/w or sepia-tone photos, you can only really tint the whole photo, like applying a photo filter or color balance adjustment, or you can use the color replacement tool to add color to a particular part of the image (be sure to change the mode of the photo from grayscale to RGB first). This would look like the old hand-tinted photos of the past, and can be effective if not used with a heavy hand.
Last edited by donakat; 01-15-2012 at 10:57 AM.
Thanks!!! I have recolored several old photos...I LOVE old flapper pics..and love bringing them into color...I just want a wider color spectrum to use I guess!!! I have bought several collage sheets from Itkupilli...she is a digital designer and she recolors old photos and extracts them and I love it....mine just never come out as well as hers....although she has alot more experience than I do by miles...alot of times I just use her images because they are easier....although for Outside the Box's new Workshop I did do a piece that I was seriously happy with my extraction and colorizing but its really the first one that Ive been happy with!
Originally Posted by donakat
Originally Posted by criostirado
withe the interest and energy that you have, I give you a month and you will be miles ahead of where you are now in extraction. Personally, I have tried many tools and come back to the eraser every time. With a pen and tablet it is fairly easy. That and plain ol' practice.
Thanks Amanda!! I have a pen and a tablet..but havent used it yet!! Im kind of a roller ball mouse freak....I hate the regular mouse. I keep thinking i have to try it....dunno...i guess it is trying something new and Im a stick in the mud with my computer equipment!
Originally Posted by Amanda
Give yourself a few days using the pen and NO MOUSE!! you will never go back, so much more control with the pen. I DO still use my mouse with regular internet stuff, but with designing- pen all the way.
Oh, I agree with Amanda, I always use the tablet to edit with the eraser, pen & lasso, etc. Soooo much easier than the mouse. But watch out, heavy use of the pen can get your hand cramped up just like in real life--writer's cramp! But the improved control is the best part.