Monday, June 6, 2016

Digital Hand Coloring

Digital Hand Coloring

Before color photography, photos were sometimes colored by hand. It is easy to create the look of hand-colored photographs using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. You will learn to use different selection tools- magic wand, magnetic or polygonal lasso, selection brush, etc. based on whichever is most appropriate fro the section of the photo you are working on, and how to adjust color with the hue and saturation tool. The benefit of using the hue and saturation tool is that it maintains the value changes within your selection, allowing you to keep the details.
To see the lesson plan and download a handout, check out the resource I created on the smARTteacher.

Supplies needed
Old black and white photos
Student computers
Photoshop (we started the year with Adobe Photoshop 3.0 and it worked as well as updated versions for this task.)

1.    Scan a black and white photo with a resolution of 300 ppi or higher. (300 will allow you to print at the actual size, 600 will allow you to double the print size.) *If you do not have a black and white photo, you can start with a colored photo and then convert it to black and white.
2.    Open your scanned photo in Photoshop. Decide which area you’d like to start with. If I’m working on a portrait, I usually start with the skin.
3.    Use the most appropriate selection tool to select all of one section- all of the skin, all of a piece of clothing, etc. My students were usually the most comfortable with the selection brush. If the object you are selecting has clear edges and a lot of contrast with the adjacent areas, you may be able to use the magic wand tool, or the magnetic lasso tool. If the area you are selecting has straight edges, you can use the polygonal lasso tool.
4.    Open the Hue and Saturation menu. Shortcut= Command+U or Ctrl+U.
5.    Click the “colorize” box.
6.    Drag the arrow for the hue to change the color, for the saturation to change the intensity of the color, and lightness to change the value. When you are satisfied, click ok and then deselect the area. (Command+D or Ctrl+D).

7.    Repeat the steps until finished.  You may color the entire photo or just select areas. It is helpful to zoom in closely to make sure you didn’t miss any edges.
Here is a photo I digitally hand colored as a Christmas gift when I was in college. The photo is of my great grandma, my grandpa (oldest child), and his brother. Grandma Pat said she thought the dress in the picture really was green so I guessed correctly!

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