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I bet we all have some old black and white photos at home. So, if you didn't tried this by now, let me show you how to color them. And if your image is damaged, like mine is, I'll show you how to restore it.

By adri02, on January 15, 2011, under Photoshop Tutorials
 

I bet we all have some old black and white photos at home. So, if you didn't tried this by now, let me show you how to color them. And if your image is damaged, like mine is, I'll show you how to restore it.

  • Resources needed:
  • Stock Image LINK

 

Final Result Preview

 
 
 

Step 1:

 

Open the image in Photoshop. If you want to use your own photo, scan it at a high resolution.

For restoring the image start with the Healing Brush Tool. Select the tool, hold down the Alt key and click on the area you want to copy and then click on the area you want to "heal". Play with the brush size and hardness. For the Healing Brush I almost always use "0" for hardness.

 
 

Now, do this until you're satisfied with the result, or you can save this image and skip this step if you don't have enough patience. You can use Clone Stamp Tool where Healing Brush doesn't do the work as you want.

So, here is a before and after preview :

 
 

Step 2:

 

In this step you'll start adding colors.

For coloring her skin I'll use Curves adjustments. For that I need to convert the image to CMYK Mode : Image > Mode > CMYK Color. Now go to Quick Mask and select the girl's skin (or use the Pen Tool for selection).

 

If you used the Quick Mask you'll see that Photoshop selected all but the skin. Go to Select > Inverse and now you have the right selection.

 

Hold down the Alt key and go to the bottom of the Layers Palette and select "Create new fill and adjustment layer" and from here choose "Curves". That way you can come back later and make changes to the adjustments layer if you need to.

If you use Image > Adjustments > Curves the adjustments will be applied directly on the image, without the possibility for future changes.

 
 

Create the skin tone by adjusting the four channels separately. Start with cyan. Select it from the drop down list and drag the line down to lower the amount if cyan from the image. Select the other three channels but for them you need to increase the amount of color. Play with the curves until you like the color of the skin.

 
 
 
 

Step 3:

 

Let's color her head now. Make a new layer and name it "eyes". With a hard brown brush color her iris.

 

Set the Blending Mode for this layer to Soft Light and reduce the Opacity to 60%. Create a new layer and with a black brush define her pupils.

Repeat this step for her lips, teeth and eyelashes.

Hmmm .. I think that it wasn't necessary to leave her eyebrows open for another color. Go to the Curves Layer, select the icon with the black and white girl. You'll notice that the foreground and background colors are now changed to black and white. You can use black to delete areas from the selection covered by the Curves Layer or you can use white as your foreground color to add to the selection.

So make sure you have white for the foreground color and brush over the girl's eyebrows to apply the skin color over them.

 
 

Step 4:

 

Using again the Quick Mask select her hair and color it. Don't forget to inverse the selection : ) Set the Blending Mode for this layer to Color, Opacity to 78% and Fill to 54%.

 
 

Step 5:

 

Select her dress using the Pen Tool this time. First, the part form the dress that's between her arms. After making the path, click on it and choose "Make Selection" from the menu. For "Operation" choose "New Selection". Now continue to select the rest of the dress, but this time, choose "Add to selection" from Operation.

 
 

Fill the selection with color and set the Blending Mode to Color Burn, Opacity: 48% and Fill: 63%.

 

All you have to do now is to continue to select part of the picture and to color them.

 
 

Final Result:

 

The final image looks like this :

 

Hope with this Photoshop Tutorial you've learned something new today !