Photoshop Colouring

To use this technique you will need to create a layer for each colour that you lay down within your picture. The number of layers can be quite considerable, it can also take a long time to do. However, the results can be both surprising and very rewarding in the end.

We start with, in this case, a B&W picture that my Aunt gave me recently. My aunt has just lost her third husband, and had virtually no pictures of her second husband that she also lost. So these pictures represented something very special to her. This first picture is from a very early B&W Polaroid print. The print was scanned at 800 dpi.

As you can see the quality is poor to say the least. The picture had to be cropped, the finger print removed (centre top right), and likewise the person in the back ground (centre left)  as well. The picture was then adjusted, for brightness, and contrast. This sort of picture cant be sharpened, because of the lack of original detail.

At this point, I was going to stop, but then I remembered that I had recently use a colouring technique on some other pictures, more about those later. So decided to give it a try on this one. A lot of the colours were guess work, because I was not there when this picture was taken. It took me about 3 hours to finish. I initially did the my Aunts dress in pale blue. But then thought no, I am not sure that is right. So I changed it to a very pale yellow. However, after showing her the picture my Aunt told me is WAS pale blue. How spooky is that.  So I changed it back, and here is the finished picture.

This second picture is also from my Aunt. I have included it because it is a little different. This time it was a poster, that had to be photographed, and reduced down to A4 size. The person in the background also had to be removed. So here is the original, taped to a piece of mount board, so that I could photograph it.

Now, because I wanted to retain all of the colour and shadow detail I used an HDR technique. By taking 3 pictures and blending them together using Photomatics. Recently I have been using another program called SNS, more of that later. This picture only then required cloning out the person behind my uncle Del, doing contrast, brightness a little cloning was also needed to remove the creases where the original was rolled up. I also added a nice touch by finding my Aunt had written ‘My Del Aug 1989’ on the back of the original. This I scanned enhanced and added to the bottom left of the picture. Just to make it that much more personal. The finished picture was then printed out using my trusty Epson 1500W to A4 glossy 230 gsm photo card for her to frame. Here is the finished copy:

This next picture is a recolour. Again in Photoshop, and just goes to show that you don’t need to start with an old B&W picture,to use this technique. My sister did some horse riding when she was little. This picture was taken by one of her friends Dad’s. Framed by my Mum and then faded in the light over the years. It was handed to my with the words ‘see what you can do’. So here it is.

So as you can see, its not very good. However, this is an example where the colouring technique can come to the rescue. As you can see below many layers were used in Photoshop, and don’t forget the layers blending mode MUST be set to colour for this technique to work successfully.

And after a few hours work voila, the final picture, ready to be printed and reframed.

Here is the final picture,in this sequence, so far. This is a picture of my Dad when he was 20, and serving in the army. My Dad passed away five years ago, and my Mum is now 88. Its her favourite picture, but its only ever been B&W, because of when it was taken. So in the case it was going to be a sup rise for her. So here is the original. Scanned and enhanced.

Photoshop to the rescue again. This time I looked up the original colours for his battle dress uniform, and tried to replicate this in the final picture.

This is now definitely my Mums favourite picture, no doubt about it.

So there you have it.

A simply technique that can reap fantastic results.

More importantly it could make someone very happy.


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