Colorization Tutorial #1 – Prepwork And Getting Started


 * Disclaimer – This is an extremely basic tutorial to get you started. I will be posting more detailed tutorials along with videos in the near future.  

 Its freezing this week in Bangor Maine, the high is around 0 and the wind chill has gotten as low as -35. Not entirely a bad thing though,it gives me time to catch up on some writing on the novel I am currently trying to finish and Ive had some extra time to commit to posting on this Blog. I figured I would begin posting tutorials about what I have learned along the way through trial and error and criticisms from others. In no way do I say this is the “right” way to do it, because I think everyone has their own style and way of doing things. I use Photoshop for all my colorization and I use a PC. So lets start from the beginning.

  First your going to want to find a good black and white picture. I usually google things like “1930s Starlets” or “Powerful black and white images” . I usually set my search preference to “Large” because it allows you to zoom in and get the small details.


  You obviously want the highest definition of the image as possible. It can get somewhat difficult if the image is in poor definition. You get halfway through and you cant tell where the grass starts and the sky begins. 
  OK, so once you have found the image you want to color, load it up in Photoshop. For this tutorial I chose this picture of Angela Lansbury when she was very young.


  The first thing we want to do is go to the top of the page and click on IMAGE and then MODE and check RGB COLOR if it is not checked already.

  Once that is checked we can go to IMAGE/ADJUSTMENTS/BRIGHTNESS/CONTRAST. Once the window pops up you can either adjust yourself or hit AUTO like I do. You can check and uncheck
k the box “PREVIEW” to see if adjusting the brightness did your image better or worse. Sometimes adjusting this beforehand can make the image worse. Afterwards do the same with IMAGE/MODES/LEVELS and we should be good to go.

 Alright Ms. Lansbury is prepped and ready to go. First we go to the far bottom right and select the NEW ADJUSTMENT LAYER button .

                     Looks like this.



 Then a color selection window will pop up and the image will fill completely with the current color selected. Don’t worry, we will get rid of this.

  I usually start with the skin of the model and I begin with a soft pink color like #da6e6e or #b25050(which can be entered at the bottom of the color selection window). Once we have a color selected, hit OK and then left click the white box on the right once in the layer you currently have selected.

  Then you will press the following keyboard combination.CTRL + A + DELETE. and the color will disappear. and we are back to this.

  It seems like we didn’t do anything, but that part is extremely important. Every time you add a new color to this image we will do that process every time.  

  So a recap – 

1. New Adjustment layer- Solid color
2. Pick color
3. Left click once on the white box to the right
4. Press CTRL + A + DELETE at the same time

  Now we have one more thing we need to look at before we start coloring, The BLENDING in the layer which is located here. 

 Click on it and change the mode to SOFT LIGHT.  I personally think SOFT LIGHT is best for coloring 70 percent of the time( I will go over different blending for different things in another tutorial) so we will choose that.

  Now were are done with the boring(but necessary) stuff and can get down to coloring. I will continue this tutorial in my next post. I will go over approaching the image and applying the color to the image and adjusting the opacity. 



All photo colorization found within Metacolor is completed by hand using a Wacom Graphic Tablet and Adobe Photoshop CC software. All website design, writing and photo colorization/restoration found within is the sole work of Wayne Degan.

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