Anything Photoshop or Photography

HOW TO HAND TINT A VINTAGE IMAGE AND CREATE A BRUSH TO DO THIS

Vintage image of ladies chatting at lunchLoved this vintage image from Shorpy.com, my favorite site for the old historical images, taken in 1902 at the National Cash Register Company‘s restaurant in Dayton, Ohio. I wonder what they are talking about? I found an older tutorial on hand-painting a vintage image and decided to share the technique. Previously I created a blog called How to Colorize an Old Photo blog using Solid Color Adjustments Layers, but this blog technique produces a more subtle hand-painting result. I guess this is why I have a hard time getting rid of my old resources – you never know when something will catch your eye!

Below are the basic steps to create this effect:

1.     This technique was found in a book called Special Effects – Restouching and Restoration by Tim Daly in the Chapter Restoring Hand Tints. Basically he suggest you scan your image, or in my case I downloaded an image from Shorpy’s – select an image that is more light-toned rather than dark-toned. As you can see in the original below, this fits the criteria. To lighten your image a little more, use a Levels Adjustment Layer and move the center tab called the Midtone slider so image is lighter.
Original Vintage Image of women from 1902Also, be sure to go to Image -> Image Size and check out the size and resolution of the image – the B&W above was set to a Resolution of 980 ppi and a Width of 0.837 inches and Height of 1.521 inches. The image was changed to a Width of 8 inches and a Height of 6.627 at a Resolution of 300 ppi.

2.     Next need to create a brush to use for adding the color tint. Open the Brush Engine (Windows -> Brush). Select a 45 px soft round brush. Down the side check the Buildup section – this turns on the Airbrush effect in the Options bar (or can just turn on the Airbrush icon in the Option Bar itself). Smoothing should be on in the Brush Panel. In the Options Bar, set the Mode to Color – this preserves the underlying image detail while painting. Set Opacity to 40% and Flow to 100% to start. At this point, I would definitely save the brush by clicking on the Create New Brush at the bottom of the brush Panel (it looks like a piece of paper with a bottom corner folded up). Since there are changes in the Options Bar, I also saved the brush as a Tool Preset – just go to the first (Brush) icon in the Options Bar, click on the down arrow next to it, and select Create New Tool Preset Icon and name it. The brush will now appear at the bottom of your list with the correct settings for both the Brush Panel and the Options Bar.

3.    Now the image should be turned to a sepia color, or whatever overall tint that is pleasing. For me a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was opened and the Colorize box was checked – the Hue was set to 27, Saturation 18, and Lightness +9. A stamped layer was created on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) to incorporate the two adjustment layers, and the layer blend mode was changed to Color and the Layer Opacity can be lowered to taste.

4.   Time to paint using using the new brush. Open the Swatch Panel, select a color, and paint in your image – I painted directly on the image above, but individual layers for each color is a much better way to control the color shades (as done in the tint image below). If the color is too bold, reduce the Opacity and the Flow sliders of the brush in the Options Bar. Tim Daly recommended starting to tint with the smaller areas with similar colors first. In my image above, only the focal point area was painted.

That is all there is to it! Very fun and relaxing. To finish up, add your own effects to the image. In the above, on a New Layer a hatch texture was set added to the brush in the Brush Engine and it was set to Multiply blend mode. The table cloth was then painted to give it a little subtle pattern effect. This is where you can add some of your own creative ideas into the image. A Color Fill Adjustment Layer set to white was used to make the hatched brush texture really white. Adjustments Layers can add all kinds of interesting effects to these tinted images. This image also used Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Texture Effects – based upon their Crisp Morning Run preset. Just added the oval Border and a white Color Overlay with a low 0.31 opacity.

TIP FOR WORKING WITH VINTAGE GRANULATED IMAGES: You might notice that some of the vintage images have a lot of grain in them, especially in the shadows. A great way to remove this problem is to use a Noise Reduction filter, then add a black layer mask and paint back over just the really obvious areas where the noise is bad. In the above, the faces had a lot of noise. Topaz DeNoise 6 was used, but Nik’s Dfine plug-in which is now free, or Photoshop’s Camera Raw filter-the Detail Section could be as effective. Just adjust to where the really noisy areas look good even if the whole image gets blurry. By adding a black mask (CTRL+I in the white mask) to this layer and using a very low opacity regular soft round brush, paint with white back in the really noisy areas.
Color Tinted Image of the Raleigh Hotel, Miami, FL in 1941Thought I would show you what a landscape type image looks like color-tinted. This image is of the Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida on March 4, 1941. I think one of the reasons I am enjoying this technique is that it gives me a chance to really look at the image and see a story in it. To me this is really fun – and it gives a vintage postcard effect to the image. I look at all the people at this resort back during WWII and wonder who these people are – and this hotel is still very popular. What is also interesting about this image is that it is not all hand tinted – mainly just the foreground area has been painted in. Below is the original image so you can see what can be done with this type of image.

Original Raleigh Hotel image from Shorpy

Instead of a sepia tone image to begin the process, this one used a cyan-toned tint. Since the image detail is rather obscure the further back one looks, it is not so noticeable that the color is missing. In fact, the palm trees in the center back were actually lightened a little by clipping a New Layer on their layers where the color was applied and light dots of white were applied to softly blend them into the background just a little. Also after painting this image, Topaz Glow was used to make the tint colors stronger in the image – the cyan was to be the main color since it reminds me of resorts and warm water. Topaz Lens Effects was used to add a slight Golden Reflector effect from the right side to play on the palm tree fronds and a very soft cyan vignette was placed around the image as a last step. This image used 22 layers for the different colors and objects. Several mistakes were made using the wrong color and it was easy to just clip (ALT+click between the layers or click on the first icon at the bottom of the panel) a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to the layer and change the color to match perfectly. Therefore I would recommend using separate layers for colors. And do create the brush – it is very useful for this technique!

Hope you give this a try on one of your scanned black and white images or an old vintage image. Lots of fun here!  Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
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9 responses

  1. GrutBrushes

    I love the tinting you did. Perfect job, and I’m a huge fan of Shorpy’s too, one can really get lost in that site for hours.

    06/18/2016 at 8:48 am

    • Thanks for the nice comment! I have been following Shorpy for several years – one of my favorite sites.

      06/18/2016 at 3:18 pm

  2. Very useful. Love what you’ve done.

    06/18/2016 at 9:15 am

    • Thanks Sarah – this technique reminds me of some of your beautiful effects! I love the vintage feel!

      06/18/2016 at 3:20 pm

  3. Fantastic result! I have never painted in cyan, but have been thinking of it lately. I will definitely use your tips.

    06/20/2016 at 5:52 pm

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  5. Hi Inese – the brush really helps with this technique. Glad you enjoyed the blog!

    06/21/2016 at 8:41 am

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