B&W to Color

One of my favorite techniques to create a unique look is to hand color photographs.  What I do is start with a B&W photo such as this.

Original in B&W

Original in B&W

Then I add solid color layers.  I set the blending mode to color and then simply paint the mask to show the color where I want it.  I use a separate color layer for each element allowing me to change the color of each as needed.  I will also adjust the opacity to fine tune the color.

The end result is something like this:

Hand Painted Ballerina

Hand Painted Ballerina

To save time I will invert the masks to black first before I paint in the color.  I find a soft edge brush works  best.  It can be very time consuming as you work on small details.  This example wasn’t too bad.  The eyes and lips were a bit tougher, but nothing I wasn’t used to doing.

Typically it takes a few hours to create this look, but I find it to be worth the effort.

Dean Farrell – Orcatek.com


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