elleryqueen replied to your photo


How do you paint a picture? You add color. Even if the image doesn’t start out in black and white, make it into black and white. Always do so by using the “gradient map” layer instead of clicking “desaturate”. This way you get to play with the levels—maybe you want more black or maybe you want more white—or maybe you just want to give it more of a gray feel before you start coloring.

Colorizations are new to me. I just started doing them after noticing that about 95 percent of Cary’s photos are in black and white (and well, so are the greater half of his movies)—but if I can do it, anybody can do it.

Do the skin color first—just make sure you add a layer for every color you’re going to paint with. Don’t paint on the original image. Use one of your “lasso” tools and outline the face (and the ears—any of of the skin that you see, even if it’s arms, feet, hands—whatever.) Next, find your “smudge” tool and start smudging the edges of the image. You’re always going to miss little bits of flesh, so this is why smuding comes in handy. Also, it gives it a soft look instead of that sharp-choppy look where it clearly shows you added a layer of color.

When smudging doesn’t do everything you want it to do, and it won’t, go for the “Gaussian blur”. Play with the levels, but don’t make it “blur” completely. Don’t go past the half-way mark because then your color layer will blur around the entire image more instead of where you want it (the face/skin)

Next cut out the eyes and the mouth from your skin layer (use one of your lasso tools), and start working on those. Add light yellows/reds/grays to the whites of the eyes so it’s not so blinding and it gives it more of a natural look. Other colors may work as well, but I always seem to go with those. Use the same type of G-Blur for the whites of the eyes a well.

That’s all it is. After you get the colors in where you want them and you smoothed out things so it looks like the colors belong on the image, then just play with the levels, the brightness/contrast, and the curves level. ALWAYS use these in a “layer” format, so that way you are able to go to your “Layers Tab” and use some of their blending options. Here you can also regulate the “opacity” and “fill” color.

When you work with these kinds of layers, you’re bringing an impact to the image. You’re sharpening it in color and you’re really making it pop.

Sometimes “Multiply” will work best for the overall skin-tone layer of your image. Sometimes “Overlay” or “Soft Overlay” will work better. It all depends on the color you chose for the skin-tone to begin with.

This is not usually how I do my tutorials, and I probably won’t do a proper one for colorization (since it’s really all up in the air, depending on the image you use and so forth), but I can give tips and this is the way I do them. :)