Join John Derry for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Brush tool to isolate individual color areas, part of Colorizing Black-and-White Photographs with Photoshop.
To a degree, isolating areas of the photograph is a lot like the coloring books we grew up with. Pick a color and fill in an area. The difference is, that it is up to you to provide the outlines that are filled. There are two primary techniques I use to create these outlines. In this video, I'll describe the first technique, which is how I use the brush tool to basically paint the areas. Now I also want to point out, at this point, that I have these adjustments that I've done earlier.
At this point you can go ahead and collapse all of this and just make it a flat layer. You've got that as a backup if you need it as a separate file, but going forward I want the background to just be the flat, adjusted, black and white image that we've been working on. And now from now on everything above it will be the colorizing layers. So let's talk about a bit about the brush tool, and where I would use this are in this areas that are simpler shapes.
And a good example if we go up to 100%, is a tie that he's wearing, okay? So I'm going to go ahead and paint that. And I'm going to grab the brush tool and I do want to show you something. Now on a Mac you can hold the Option and Ctrl key, and what that does is it lets me see this profile of the brush, and I can control both its hardness as well as its size. You want the brush to be hard, so I'm going to take that all the way down to full hardness, and I'm also going to reduce the size a bit.
And now I need to run my colorizing action before I get painting. You don't want to paint on the background, that's for sure. So let's go to our actions, and we're going to run a new colorizing layer. And we can bypass this, we've read this before. And I want to pick this, and right away I'm going to call this tie, so I know what it is. And this is, you need to really be sure and you don't want to call it yie, you want to call it tie. And I'm also going to name that group the same thing, so when it's closed later on I can also identify it. So, I know this is going to be my tie.
I'm going to go in here. And sometimes I'll even work a little above 100% to do this. So I'm going to go in here and I'm just going to start painting this. Now I know it's not going to be orange, but I need, I need some color to start with. So I'm going to start with orange as a way to just see what I'm doing here. It looks like this is going to go back here. Now you'll see, right now I'm just kind of drawing with one size brush, but I will change it and go back. And then this kind of folds out a bit.
And we'll just quickly paint this in, just like we did when we were coloring in coloring books. Now there's a few areas that I need to adjust here. What you want to be sure you do here is, to the best of your abilities, get this, and now I'm using the left bracket key to make my brush a little smaller, so I can get into these corners. Now, I am bleeding outside of the area a little bit, but I can fix that in a moment. And to fix that, I'm just going to grab the eraser tool in this case and I'm just going to clean up some of these edge areas.
There's some up here. So you know you want to stay in the lines as much as you can, but you do have the option of just letting, now see there I went a little too far, so I'm going to undo. And just take a little bit of that out. There's a little bit right here. Looks like, but what I'm getting at is, you want to be sure you're describing the exact area. But you don't want to go outside the lines. So there's my initial cut at that. Now this is one of those elements I, I could not find anything that told me, you know, men in Edwardian era always wore green ties or anything.
So I do have to use a little bit of you know, what I think looks good on here and I thought kind of a dark red tie, and if we just kind of adjust this and I'm going to take the saturation down, might turn lightness down a little bit. Now remember, I'm always going to be able to go back and adjust this so I'm not concerned that, you know, oh, if it's not right I can't go with it. As I start adding more colors I may realize I need to change the tonality of that. But that's basically how you can take advantage of the brush tool.
Now in the next video I'm going to show you the pen tool which is probably most of this image I ended up using the pen tool on. Because if you start to look at some of these elements like this chair. I mean, that's a fairly complex shape and it would take a bit of time to try to do with the Brush tool. I find that the pen tool is more like an X-Acto knife where I can go in there and isolate an area very precisely, so we'll take a look at that in the next video.
- Importing John's colorization workspace and actions
- Understanding resolution
- Maximizing dynamic range
- Using layers to manage color
- Applying fine-tuned adjustments
- Using the Brush and Pen tools to separate color regions
- Tweaking color with Hue/Saturation
- Using noise to add complexity
- Applying global tonal adjustments and color correction