nezbitten's blog

Hand tinting or colouring black and white photos

posted by nezbitten, Apr 25, 2011 9:55 AM — 0 comments

Firstly there are many ways to add skin tone and tint photos, this post just describes one of them. Perhaps you have never seen it done this way before but this is good for toning skin and lower resolution images where other techniques may not be appropriate.

We start with a black and white image, its best one with a good tonal range, for the colour to “stick”. Images with hardly any shades of grey are difficult to tone. There needs to be some texture and tone to colour.

Here is a small image showing 3 tones of grey “coloured” (an overlay layer set to colour) with the same shade of skin. Using an overlay layer set to “colour” in the blending mode options dropdown is the basic way to add colour to an image.



You can see how the colour is denser on the darker shade or grey. The lighter shade of grey takes on just a touch of colour. If the image you are trying to add colour to, needs to have a darker skin tone but the shades of grey are very light then it will be tricky to achieve this using the “colour” alone.


We can use the below technique to darken the shade. Using the same colour tint as above and



by using different blending modes the colour tone can be darkened to affect the image in different ways. Sometimes when toning an image its not obvious which of these will give the best results, so it’s best to try variations and also to vary the opacity slider on the overlay to alter the affect the overlay mode has on the image. You can see that "linear burn" has the greatest affect here, giving the darkest or most saturated tone.

Let’s try this with a texture and see how it affects a multi tone image.



I have used the same colour tint and changed the blending modes or each overlay layer to show how each mode affects the underlying image. With this knowledge it is possible to use these modes to make the colour “stick” to the image to make a convincing colour tint.

To obtain convincing skin colour tones from the internet just search for "DeviantNep" who gets a credit here for some super swatches and colours for creating skin tones.

In the next part ill cover the process of actually tinting the photo.

Part 1 brought to you by photo restoration
and repair at image-restore.co.uk

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