Do you want to see your old black and white photographs,coloring black and white photos in color? If so, then you will be glad to know that it is indeed possible to enhance your old black and white with vivid colors!
I will show you how in this tutorial, using a very old and worn-out image that is more that a century old. The steps are really simple, so let's just start.
Open the black and white photo that you want to color. If you are working on a very old photo as I am, then you must restore it in advance as I have done.
Medicine Crow's portraits by E. Curtis, 1908
The next step is great fun: painting. The best way to do this is to cut individual parts of the image and color or paint them individually. You could start by cutting the face and the hair first. However, you can cut parts in any order you wish.
Now, select the head in the picture and a number of tools like:
Quick Selection Tool (W), Vagic Wand Tool (W)
Usually hair and other details with respect to the facial boundary will have fuzzy edges and hence the selection should also be done appropriately. Tools like Quick Mask (Q), Brush Tool (B), Eraser Tool (E) can be used to get the effect shown below:
Now, work on the color adjustments to improve the shadows, midtones.
image _ Adjustments _ color / balance (Shadows, Midtones, Highlights)
Now that you have selected and defined the areas, change the color of the hair, eyebrows, and wherever you wish on the other fragments of the face. Use the sponge tool (which is a retouching tool most commonly used to change the saturation of a certain portion of the image) to desaturate the portions as indicated below.
Change the color of the hair, eyebrows, and some fragments of the face.
Sponge Tool (O) Desaturate 7-35%
Use Bush Tools to add colors. Yellow and red colors have been used in the image below, but you can experiment or choose different colors.
Add color, Brush Tools.
Brush Tool (B) 3-5%
In the next step, you should pick a suitable color for the dress. For instance, in this image, the color brown would be best. Simply move the slider in the color balance to select the color.
Next, just color the remaining objects, such as the beads in this image. You can simply select the objects in the image, copy in a new layer and add color using the Image (Ctrl+U) tool.
TOP secret. Once all the elements of the photograph have been painted, in order to give it a natural look, you have to saturate and desaturate certain portions using the sponge tool. Look at the picture below and check the areas which have been saturated (indicated in RED) and desaturated (indicated in BLUE).
Sponge Tool (O) 15-40%
Blue - Desaturate
Red - Saturate
Finally, sharpen the image as shown below:
Filter _ Sharpen
The final result. The work is done in 50 minutes.
I will share one more secret. To color and enhance photos, sometimes I use Photoshop plug-ins, such as:
1. Alien Skin Blow Up 3, to obtain accurate images without artifacts when clients send images that aren't of high-enough resolution.
2. Imagenomic Noiseware, a specialized noise-suppression tool that will both remove noise and sharpen at the same time, making it a really useful addition to Photoshop.
3. Imagenomic Portraiture, which automates the process of retouching portraits. It automatically smooths skin tones, removing stains.