Coloring photographs

I have had a good deal of fun this week working on photographs for the image assignment. On the plus side, I am going to do a work related image assignment and the research into the coloring that I need to use allowed me to learn a lot of the minutiae that I would have never forced myself to learn otherwise. For instance, in 1917-1918, the Marine Corps wore a lot of US Army equipment, because it was easier to supply the larger quantities to France and simplified the supply lines. When the Marines left from Quantico, among other places, they generally wore a Marine Corps uniform that was a deep forest green made of wool. When it wore out, they received an army sage green colored uniform. It is hard to tell which is which in a black and white photograph, but generally there are distinguishing features, such as the cut of the pockets or the cuff of the sleeve. Finding these features tells me which color to use in the colorization process.

On the negative side,  there was huge amount of information to learn in Photoshop this week which has me feeling some confused.  The tutorial with Teddy Roosevelt  was great, but the Roosevelt’s face seemed bright and ready for color. I have some darker colored faces I’d like to show which I cannot make colorize very well. Also, I am having trouble with the dark colored uniforms being to grey in the original to take on much color. color either seems nonexistent or gaudy and garish.


And, while the tutorials are great, there is so much information so fast, I am left behind. I recognize that more practice will probably help me understand what is going on. It didn’t help that I asked an illustrator that I work with to help me with the colors, and another illustrator overheard the advice, disagreed and I was in a 30 minute conversation about when to use levels or colors or Bezier curves to create color levels. Their final consensus was there were different ways to skin a cat which was good, but unhelpful for my task at hand.


I have commented on Mark’s blog, Joshua’s blog and Claire’s blog.



About Kater

I work at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

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