The process of colorization has been in existence ever since the art of photography evolved. Adding colors to black and white pictures has rather become a common phenomenon. Hand tinting traditionally referred to manually adding color to pictures using conventional sources of colors such as watercolors, oils, crayons, pastels, dyes etc. The tools used to apply these colors were brushes, fingers, cotton swabs, airbrushes etc. The developments in science and technology had its impact on hand tinting as well and thus was born the revolution of digital hand tinting.
There are numerous softwares available such as Photoshop, Tint Photo Editor, Paint Shop Pro etc., which enable you to indulge in the art of hand tinting and achieve spectacular results. The photograph to be tinted should be in black and white format. Photos which do not have a lot of pitch black or pure white areas will be beneficial as the output will be better. Monochromatic images can also be used for Hand tinting. It also helps to select a picture that does not have delicate and intricate details as hand tinting gives a decorative and subtle effect as opposed to a true life-like impact.
Typically, the black and white photo to be tinted needs to uploaded and opened as a digital image. A new layer should be created to work on by choosing the Duplicate Layer option. The entire hand coloring should be done on the new layer and thus, it is important to make that layer active and convert it to black and white. There are numerous tools that can be used for hand tinting. It is possible to adjust the contrast, sharpness and add different colors to different parts of the image. If you are using monochromatic pictures, it is important to completely zoom in on the area to be colored and use a soft eraser brush tool with a very low opacity (10-20%) to get a subtle yet radiant effect. If you are not happy with the output, you can always start over as you have been working only on the duplicate layer and not on the actual image. Once you have gained experience, you can add layer masks to the black and white picture’s duplicate layer and add color to areas that you want to mask off. This helps tremendously to make changes to your work by easily painting white in the mask layer which has excessive color.
The digital hand tinting techniques can be used to tint as much or as little of an image as we like. Hand tinting is truly a fun technique that enables us to add a splash of nostalgia to our art!