Colourisation



I'm back in college! This is one of the first assignments of the year; to colourise a black and white photograph that has something to do with the 1916 Easter Rising. The photo I chose was taken in 1915, in Cork City. It's of a group of the Irish Volunteers, including my great-grandfather, Sean Scanlan (second from the right in the back row). Click through to see the original photograph and my progress with it.



The picture when I found it was in a pretty bad way; there were fingerprints, tears, scratches, and splattering all over it. So the first step in the process was trying to repair as much of it as I could. After some thought, I decided to crop and straighten it, then used the spot healing tools and adjustment layers to make further repairs.



Next up: masking everything out. Using garishly obvious colours to keep things separate I selected various parts of the image according to what colour I wanted them to be in the final version. So all the green uniforms fell under one mask, all the pale faces fell under another, and so on until everything in the image was some form of violent hue.


Once everything was selected, it was a case of tweaking the colours, and making overall adjustments to the image. Using all the reference I could find from the time and from uniforms and things that have survived, I tweaked it until I was happy.