colorizing B&W in Photoshop?

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    • #39495

      A group I belong in at school is doing a documentary on the Battle of Lake Erie during the war of 1812. We’ve got a lot of old maps in black in white. We have no idea what their original color was, and we want to colorize it. I’ve checked up on many sites, and all the tutorials on colorizing black and white have you make a mask and put the color in yourself. Any other ways to add color?

    • #170615

      You may try to fix it with hue and saturation

    • #170616

      There’s software that makes this very easy
      Recolored (trial)

      check out the tutorial here

    • #170617

      try this:
      in photoshop, convert your image to greyscale (image:mode:greyscale).
      then apply duo (or more) tones (image:mode:duotone)
      apply three colors (I’d recommend black, yellow, and orange to give an antique look).
      adjust the curves of each color to mix up a multicolor image.

    • #170618

      thanks for the tips. will be trying them out

    • #170619


      Some solid guidance in earlier posts for modifying your maps using Photoshop.

      Heres another perspective, relevant or not, but offered anyway!

      From time to time I have shot stills and video of art and I have a philosophy of not altering for color, tone, etc. whatever the original artist put down and whatever the passage of time (decades/centuries) have added to the work. I just light and shoot to as closely reproduce the art as it is.

      I am also an antique map collector, with several maps in the 200 to 300 year range. Really ancient maps have a lot of craftsmanship and were (IMO) true works of art, as well as mathematical and scientific marvels. All of my maps (now framed and protected under glass) appear to have come out of atlases, that would have contained many maps. These maps have a seam down the middle, where the page would have been turned. Old maps were not created for dcor, except maybe for real Kings and Queens, but were designed for their function as maps and were in living black and white. (Tinting on a mass basis came in later, like a hundred years ago.)

      My educated guess is that your maps, if they came from the 1800s, were originally in black and white, but crisper black and white than today. If you had a goal of maintaining some historic authenticity, the main effect I would consider would be increasing the contrast to whiten the whites and darken the blacks, and using other tools towards this objective. A toned matte wouldnt hurt this effect. On the other hand, if you want to make a lively story out of it, you could create simplified maps with highlighted enlarged out of scale features and creeping lines with blood stains going across to show the progress of the conflict! A reference might be the map opening the classic motion picture Casablanca, showing the whereabouts of Casablanca because back in that day, who the heck knew.

      A cool effect might be to dissolve/cross-fade from the historic maps to the fantasy maps that show what is going on. You never know about COOL until you see if it works.

      Best of luck on project!

      REGARDS TOM 8)

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