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Adding color to greyscale pic - first time

Last post 02-24-2012, 7:38 PM by Digital Dave. 6 replies.
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  •  02-24-2012, 1:10 AM 375130

    Adding color to greyscale pic - first time

    Attachment: Color2greyscale.jpg

    Hey all,

    I'm presently working on a pic where I worked it up in greyscale first, & think I'm about ready to start applying color. Since this is my first time working in this manner, I've been doing some research on proper techniques, or advices, on how to add color without taking away from the greyscale version. ... From what I've read thus far, there seems to be a few ways to do this, but the most common way is to use a layer set to color. (says it doesn't affect the values that have already been placed in. But there are a few things that it doesn't address) the first being what is the best brush to use for applying color? ... (Now this is just my personal thoughts here, and I may be wrong?) But I would think that since the values & textures have already been added in while working in greyscale, would it therefore be correct to assume that the airbrush would be best for this? My thinking is that unless you are trying to add additional texture, that you are basically just adding colors to the existing pic. I would also assume that working with the airbrush (with it's soft edges) would allow you to place the color down in layers, using a low opacity, and building it up slowly? Am I correct in my thinking, or am I missing something?

    ... And lastly, I came across a small section/article in this months' IFX issue, (March 2012 - page 41) in reference to adding color to a greyscale pic. The only thing is, it was only shown in 3 steps, was very brief, and with very few details. But some things that were mentioned I don't really understand, or maybe have different thoughts on? (I have attached a screen shot of this which I hope is ok? if not, please let me know and I will remove it) ... but the author mentions two things I question. First - flattening the whole image before adding color? Though I can understand this, my present thoughts for this particular piece I'm working on, was to keep it broke down in 3 layers, or sections. A background, mid-ground & fore-ground. (as I have it now) My thinking was after adding color, I could then manipulate these three sectors separately, without having to adjust the pic as a whole? Is this correct, or should I flatten the image as a whole, as it suggest? ... Secondly, as you can see below, it states in step 2: 'create a new layer and set the layer mode to color. (And here's the part I'm not getting) is states 'Before you go any further, lay down a 100 percent opacity coat over the entire image to act as an under-painting colour.??? ... Few things, first - is this done on a separate layer, or the same layer you will be working on? Also, 100 percent opacity of a color? or just set the layers properties to these settings and flatten it to the image? (what does this actually do, and is it needed?) ... I hope I'm not coming across stupid here, it's just that with the minimal information that is provided in this article, coupled with the fact this being my first attempt at doing a piece this way, I'm just not understanding this step?

    Thanks in advance for anyone who might be able to provide insight on these questions, and sorry if I've been long winded here. I'm really trying to get solid information and learn the proper ways to do all this, instead of just fumbling around and just doing it in a way that simply works, but doesn't do the picture itself any justice. ... thanks again. :) - Oh, and in case anyone wants to see the pic I'm referring to, it can be found here. http://community.imaginefx.com/forums/storage/7/374996/SeaHorse.jpg



    My Sketchbook ... My Gallery
  •  02-24-2012, 8:19 AM 375142 in reply to 375130

    Re: Adding color to greyscale pic - first time

    Hey Dave,

    I haven't done many greyscale to colour images, but in my understanding you can work in a variety of ways. When it comes to your questions:

    1) Brush for colouring - in my experience the neatness of the colouring isn't very important when the greyscale values and edges will still show the viewer what everything is. A bit of "bleed" between coloured areas is therefore not much of a problem. But personally I'd still choose a harder brush and try to make neat egdes between coloured areas just the same. You can of course always try adding colour with a soft airbrush and see if you like the effect. If not, it's easy enough to clear the layer and start over Wink

    2) Flattening or not - You could follow this artist's advice and save the image with a flattened greyscale layer as a new copy (in case you regret it!) or you can try having three greyscale layers. When I've worked in greyscale I have usually kept background and foreground layers and also had separate layers for the colouring of them - to be able to easily change things, e.g. if you want to move an object in the image or something... Basically, no you don't have to flatten. (I'm not sure how a colour layer affects multiple layers below it, though, or rather is affected by...)

    3) Colour coating - I'm not sure he means a separate layer or the colour layer, either. But I'm guessing the idea is that it'll tie the whole image together and also give you less of your piece to colour. For your underwater piece for instance, if you used some blue-green as base colour, you might not need to add much more to the background at all... I'm guessing he means for it to be done on the colour layer before you add any other paint, but I could be wrong.

    Hope this helps you somewhat and if not, I'm sure others can offer better advice. Smile


    www.charlotteahlgren.com
    IFX Gallery
    Elfwood Gallery
  •  02-24-2012, 9:38 AM 375143 in reply to 375142

    Re: Adding color to greyscale pic - first time

    Hey Dave,

    From my very limited experience, I find there is no one layer type when it comes to adding the colour, and I may have to use Multiply for some parts and Overlay or Colour on others.

    Going from greyscale to colour is something I'm trying to get my head around too, so let us know what you discover Smile


    http://infinatepixel.deviantart.com/
  •  02-24-2012, 2:23 PM 375151 in reply to 375143

    Re: Adding color to greyscale pic - first time

    Hey there Charlotte, thanks for the advise. My thinking was the same as to not flattening to a single layer, so changes could then be made independently. ... and yeah, I just don't understand the artists' wording above as to the 100% opacity in color mode over the entire image, or what this could possibly do? I thought the same, how could it interact with other layers? (at least that's how it reads) But figured it was probably me not understanding what they were saying. :) But hopefully, someone can shed some light on this, and maybe describe it better for a clearer understanding of it. ... Thanks again! :)

    Hey Zinc, thanks for the input and ideas. I was already thinking of trying both the color and overlay modes, but didn't even think of using multiply. (Still new to using layer modes in general, so not sure how each works, or where they are best used) ... I'm going to continue to research this some more, but think it might be beneficial to also try Voluspa's idea above, and try working up the pic using different methods, and just keep them in separate files. ... It's just that the information I found in the article above came across confusing to me, and I was hoping to get a better understanding of it.

    Thanks again, 


    My Sketchbook ... My Gallery
  •  02-24-2012, 6:04 PM 375159 in reply to 375151

    Re: Adding color to greyscale pic - first time

    Digital Dave:

    I just don't understand the artists' wording above as to the 100% opacity in color mode over the entire image, or what this could possibly do? I thought the same, how could it interact with other layers? (at least that's how it reads) But figured it was probably me not understanding what they were saying. :) But hopefully, someone can shed some light on this, and maybe describe it better for a clearer understanding of it. ... Thanks again! :)

    This is actually something I normally do when using the Grey>Colour process. I fill a layer with a base colour and set it to colour mode. Partly it's just to cover everything and get a base to work on that wont leave me finding big greyscale gaps when I've finished where I've missed something. But it also gives me a good base colouring to relate the rest of the artwork to. Usually I go with whatever is going to be the most prominent colour in the image and work from there.

    [edit] And no, you don't need to flatten the greyscale layers, but by this point you will normally have completed all those so may as well flatten. Up to you and how you want to do things. I usually save and unflatted copy before moving on.


    http://www.madhamsterstudios.co.uk
  •  02-24-2012, 6:12 PM 375161 in reply to 375159

    Re: Adding color to greyscale pic - first time

  •  02-24-2012, 7:38 PM 375170 in reply to 375161

    Re: Adding color to greyscale pic - first time

    Thank you kindly, gentlemen. Yes

    Marcus, the way you describe this method in detail, makes perfect sense to me now. If this is indeed what the arthor above was trying to say, I can see why one would do this beoforehand. I actually like the idea of using the promanant color as an overall base, and think this is how I will start my coloring process, hopefully tonight. Thank you again, sir!

    And thanks Joe, I really enjoyed the link you provided. Very cool the way he worked this picture up. I also caught the fact he mentions using something similar to an airbrush in Painter, for adding the color, but I will have to check out the Gradient Map he mentioned in PS. Not sure I've ever even seen this before? ... Heck, I've been doing some searches on-line for this type of work, but keep getting tuts on how to add color to B&W photographs. ... thanks again.


    My Sketchbook ... My Gallery
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