Monochrome Part 5 Digital Hand Coloring

The hand coloring of images is an old process, but doing it digitally offers so many advantages.
Digital Hand Coloring

Digital hand coloring is a different process, though similar. Here we
have two options. The first involves a direct digital analogue of
traditional hand coloring, where we use the paintbrushes to apply color
to an image using a blending mode that allows the underlying tonal
values to show through. The second involves the full use of PhotoShop’s
selection and masking abilities to isolate parts of the image for color
application.

Let’s walk step by step through the first process.



Digital Painted Hand Color

Here is one sample process:

1.    Open your image to be hand colored in Photoshop.

2.    Convert it to grayscale if necessary, then convert to RGB.

3.    Adjust the contrast and brightness of the image to
suit your aim. Use Adjustment Layers so that you can adjust this as the
color is added if it is necessary.

4.    Create a new layer above your background image.

5.    Choose your color.

6.    Change the layer’s blending mode to Color.

7.    Pick a soft brush and start painting onto the layer.

8.    I like to use different layers for each main color
and/or area. This makes it very easy to adjust the color by use of
Adjustment Layers.

9.    Keep building the image up until you get what you want.

10.    The last step will usually be to adjust the
opacities of your color layers to give exactly the right effect you are
after. (7)

Using Selections and Masks

This method works the same way as above except that we make use of
selections and masks to control where the color is applied rather than
painting the color in carefully by hand.

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