Hand tinting

Hand tinting photographs is as old as photography itself and in recent years has experienced a revival as artists and photographers seek to make pictures that have that very special magic that hand tinting can give. This step-by-step example will explain the techniques needed to get the right degree of color in the final picture.

The starting point is the picture of Hodge Tarn as seen in Figure 10.19. The original color slide has been desaturated and lightly toned in \Figur^0J^ Original photograph after desaturation.

Hand Tinting Photos

preparation for the hand coloring. It often helps to add a tone prior to hand tinting so that areas left unpainted will have a residue of color.

Step 1 File> Open> DVD> Step-by-step files> '10 Hodge Tarn'. Step 2 Open the Mixer palette, which is ideal for hand tinting. If it is not on screen go to Window> Color palettes> Show Mixer. You will also need the Colors and the Layers palettes open on screen.

Step 3 Click the brush tool icon at the bottom of the Mixer palette and add a selection of colors to the mixing pad from the color swatches at the top of the palette. Figure 10.20 will give you a guide as to the range of colors needed. As you can see the colors are mainly reds, greens and yellows for the trees and some blue for the sky.

Step 4 Click the palette knife tool and mix the colors together as in Figure 10.21. More colors can be added later on if you need to.

Figure 10.20

Loading the mixer

Figure 10.20

with colors.

Loading the mixer

Figure 10.21

Mixing the palette

Figure 10.21

colors.

Mixing the palette

Step 5 Make a new empty layer by clicking the new layer icon. The color for each main element will be painted on a different layer, this retains maximum flexibility in the finishing stages as the layer opacities can be adjusted as necessary.

Step 6 Change the layer composite method to Color, this is an important step to take for all the layers as it makes the paint translucent so that it does not cover up the picture beneath. Rename the new layer 'Grasses' via the Layer> Layer Attributes dialog box or by double clicking the layer.

Step 7 Select the Tinting> Bristle Brush 10, brush size 4.6 and opacity 20%. Step 8 Click on the eyedropper icon in the mixer palette and then with the Tinting brush active, click into the mixer color to select the painting color. Paint into the grasses using short dabs rather than large brush strokes and change the color continually to get a wide variety of hues. Figure 10.22 shows how this should look.

Painting the grasses.

Step 9 When you have completed the grasses, make another new layer and name it 'tree on left'. Remember to change the layer composite method to Color.

Step 1O Change the brush to Sponge> Sponge, size 56, opacity 33%. This brush gives an attractive dappled texture that is ideal for trees and foliage. Dab the brush over the tree starting with bright yellow then gradually changing to brown and red. If the colors in the mixer are not sufficient you can change the tones by moving the cursor in the inner triangle of the colors palette either to the black corner to darken, or towards white to lighten. Figure 10.23 shows the tree after tinting.

Step 11 Make another new layer in Color composite method and title it 'ferns'. Paint them using brown and bronze tones. Each of the main elements needs to have a slightly different color range in order for them to stand out from the other trees and bushes. Step 12 Make another new layer in Color composite method and title it 'tree on right'. Use the sponge brush again starting with yellow then moving into the green tones. Remember that trees are normally lighter at the top and darker underneath and that the leaves on some branches will not have changed color as much as others. Figure 10.24 shows the picture so far.

I have emphasized how important it is to change the layer composite method to Color while making a hand tinted picture, so to illustrate the difference between the normal and color methods, Figures 10.25 and 10.26 show both types. In the picture on the left the mode is Default while on the right it has been changed to Color. At first sight the tree foliage may look pretty good in the Default mode but when you look closer a lot of the branches have been obscured.

method.

Step 13 Make another new layer in Color composite method and title it 'sky and reflection'. Use the Tinting brush again and lightly paint in bits of sky between the trees in the centre, then using a deeper blue color, brush in the reflections in the water using downwards brush strokes. Step 14 Make another new layer for the background trees and paint them with the Sponge brush. Use a larger brush here size 175 and opacity 5% to cover the whole area lightly. Keep changing the colors, the brush size and opacity to get more variation. Step 15 Make another layer for the reflections and the colors in the water and change the brush to Airbrush> Soft Airbrush size 30, opacity 2%. This will give smooth gentle reflections. Repeat the colors that are in the bank and trees. Figure 10.27 shows the Layers palette with separate layers for each element, the final picture is below

This completes the first part of the hand tinting exercise and as you will have seen the result is really very attractive. I have always found it very enjoyable to make these pictures and hope you do also.

Figure 10.27

Final Layers palette.

Figure 10.27

Final Layers palette.

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