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Color Car Tutorial
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Color Car Tutorial
Created by:Joyce Turner

If you have a black-and-white picture which you wish to color, first you need to eliminate the scratches and tears. This tutorial uses a picture already having had the flaws removed.
Download the attachments for this tutorial Download Files

The download file on the left contains the picture, the selection (*.sel) files, and the gradient used in this tutorial.

Place the ".sel" files into the Selections folder and the "carsky.jgd" into the Gradient folder of the Paint Shop Pro program folder.

When working with your own photos later on, you'll have to make selections that correspond with your pictures. Here's how this can be done with the Freehand (Lasso) Tool:
Using the Lasso Tool.

Standard Toolbar - Open (image) button

Paint the Car

First, open your picture (colorcarstart.jpg from your download) in PSP and duplicate it with Window || Duplicate or Shift+D. Then close the original.

Load the "Car Outline" selection (caroutline.sel): Go to Selections || Load from Disk, navigate to the folder where you put the selections, then select the file you want to use.

Save your work as a .psp file.






Layer Palette - Create layer button






Tool Palette - Flood Fill tool

The "Background" layer of your picture is highlighted in the Layer palette. Go to Selections || Promote to Layer, then right-click on the layer and rename this layer "Body".

Right-click again on the "Body" layer and choose "New Raster Layer" from the popup menu. Name this layer "Color".

Set the styles and colors:
Foreground Style = Solid Color
Foreground Color = Blue (Red = 39, Green = 111, Blue = 197)
Background Style = Solid Color (color doesn't matter for now)
Foreground and Background Textures = None
Lock = checked

Click on the Floodfill tool in your Tool palette and then, with the "Color" layer still selected in your Layer palette, click into the selection to fill it with the blue color.

In the Layer palette, set the Blend Mode of the "Color" layer to "Burn" and the Opacity = 39.

Right-click on the "Color" layer and choose "Duplicate" from the popup menu; the duplicated layer will be called "Copy of Color".

Then set the Blend Mode of the "Copy of Color" layer to "Overlay" and the Opacity = 53.

Save your work.

Brighten the Colors

With your selection still active, right-click on the "Copy of Color" layer, select "New Adjustment Layer" from the popup menu and choose "Levels" in the sub-menu.

On the "General" tab, set:
Blend Mode = Lighten
Opacity = 75

On the "Adjustment" tab, set:
Channel = RGB
Input levels = 74 / 1.29 / 211
Output levels = 26 / 255

Click on OK to close the "Layer Properties" dialog box.

You can now deselect with Ctrl+D (Selections || Select None).

Now your car should be of a pretty blue color with highlights and reflections from the road.

Save your work.

Your Layer palette should look like this:
Levels: Opacity = 75, Blend Mode = Lighten
Copy of Color: Opacity = 53, Blend Mode = Overlay
Color: Opacity = 39, Blend Mode = Burn
Body: Opacity = 100, Blend Mode = Normal
Background

Highlight the Antenna

Go to Selections || Load from Disk and load the "Antenna" selection (antenna.sel). Then activate the "Color" layer in the Layer palette and hit the Delete key.

Now select the "Copy of Color" layer and hit the Delete key again, then select the "Levels" layer and hit the Delete key once more. This should make the antenna show well.

Select the "Background" layer with the original picture. Right-click on it and choose "Promote to Layer" from the popup menu, right-click again and rename it "Picture".

Color the Tree

Go to Selections || Load from Disk and load the "Tree" selection (tree.sel). Then to Selections || Promote to Layer. Rename this layer "Tree".

With the "Tree" layer still active, go to Effects || Enhance Photo || Manual Color Correction.

With your mouse just select a section in the left pane of the dialog box. Then go to the bottom and select the color category "Foliage". Have "Preserve lightness" checked and "Preserve saturation" unchecked. Then choose the color "EvergrnSun".

Click on OK. and deselect with Ctrl+D (Selections || Select None). This should have colored the tree.




Tool Palette - Paint Brush tool










Tool Palette - Retouch tool







To touch up the ends of the branches, first set the Foreground color to a Green (Red = 92, Green = 101, Blue = 73).

Select the Paintbrush tool and set the brush to:
Shape = Round
Size = 1
Hardness = 0
Opacity = 34
Step = 1
Density = 20

Use the brush to lightly touch up the ends of the tree sticking into the sky.

Then use the Retouch tool set to soften with these settings:
Retouch mode = Soften (set this option first!)
Shape = Round
Size = 6
Hardness = 0
Opacity = 28
Step = 1
Density = 32
Click on tab 2:
Sample Merge = unchecked

Go over the color you added and soften it so it blends into the picture. See the image on the left. The ends in the left part of the image have been softened and the ends in the right part have not been softened yet.







Layer Palette - Create layer button






Tool Palette - Flood Fill tool

Color the Sky

If you haven't done so yet, copy the gradient file "carsky.jgd" into your gradient folder.

Create a new layer above the picture layer, name it "Sky".

Click on the little arrow in the Foreground Style box and select "Gradient" (second icon from the left). Then click into the Foreground Style box for the Gradient dialog:
Gradient = "carsky"
Style = Linear Gradient
Angle = 0
Repeats = 0
Invert Gradient = checked
Click on OK.

Use the Floodfill tool to fill the layer with the gradient.

Now go to Selections || Load from Disk and load the "Skydelete" selection (skydelete.sel). Hit the Delete key this will get rid of the blue colorcast around the tires of the car, the window and the door of the house.

Set the Blend Mode of this layer to "Darken" and the Opacity = 45.

Deselect with Ctrl+D (Selections || Select None).











Layer Palette - Create layer button Tool Palette - Flood Fill tool

Color the Trees

Go to Selections || Load from Disk and load the "Trees" selection (trees.sel).

Select the "Picture" layer in your Layer palette, then go to Selections || Promote to Layer. Rename the new layer "Trees Woods".

Set the Blend Mode of the "Trees Woods" layer to "Overlay" and the Opacity = 48, then drag that layer above the "Sky" layer.

Create a new layer above the "Trees woods" layer and name it "Brown for Trees".

Change your Foreground Style to Solid Color again and set your Foreground Color to brown (Red = 92, Green = 46, Blue = 46), then select your Floodfill tool and fill the selection with the brown color.

Now set the Blend Mode of the "Brown for Trees" layer to "Exclusion" and the Opacity = 28.

Deselect (Ctrl+D) and save your work.









Layer Palette - Create layer button







Tool Palette - Paint Brush tool
























Tool Palette - Retouch tool

Paint the House

Go to Selections || Load from Disk and load the "House" selection (house.sel). Select the "Picture" layer in the Layer palette and go to Selections || Promote to Layer. Rename this layer "House".

Create a new layer above the house layer, name it "Colors for House". Set the Blend Mode to "Soft Light". Move both layers above the "Sky" layer.

Set the Foreground Color to a dark grey (Red/Green/Blue = all 45) and the Background Color to a pale brown (Red = 160, Green = 140, Blue = 118).

Select the Paintbrush tool and set the brush:
Shape = Vertical
Size = 9
Hardness = 0
Opacity = 34
Step = 1
Density = 61

Now first paint the roof of the house with the foreground color. Then change the brush settings:
Shape = Round
Size = 9
Hardness = 0
Opacity = 24
Step = 1
Density = 15

Now paint with the right mouse button to use the brown background color for the siding of the house. You will have to make the brush smaller around the tree branches and along the far side of the door.

Then change your Foreground Color to white and whiten the door frame and window frame. You will need to use the vertical brush shape and increase the opacity and density. Decrease it again along the top where the shadow hits the doorframe.

Then use the Retouch Tool to soften the colors. Leave the Retouch mode = Soften and set:
Shape = Horizontal
Size = 23
Hardness = 0
Opacity = 30
Step = 1
Density = 32

After softening the colors a little, deselect (Ctrl+D) and save your work.











Tool Palette - Flood Fill tool

Color the Road

Go to Selections || Load from Disk and load the "Road" selection (road.sel). Select the "Picture" layer in your Layer palette and then go to Selections || Promote to Layer. Rename this layer "Road".

Right-click on this layer and choose "Duplicate" from the popup menu, then move these two layers above the "Sky" layer. Keep the duplicated layer ("Copy of Road") above the "Road" layer.

Set the Foreground Color to brown (Red = 77, Green = 53, Blue = 30) and the Background Color to green (Red = 138, Green = 173, Blue = 137).

Select the Floodfill tool and, with the "Copy of Road" layer active, click into the selection to fill it with the brown foreground color.

Set the Blend Mode of this layer to "Soft Light" and the Opacity to around 55 or until it looks right.

Deselect (Ctrl+D) and save your work.




Layer Palette - Create layer button

Tool Palette - Paint Brush tool




Color the Grass

Create a new layer and name it "Grass". Then use the Paintbrush tool and the green background color for the grass and a second green (Red = 57, Green = 147, Blue = 96) to touch up the bush near the house. Use these settings:
Shape = Round
Size = 16
Hardness = 0
Opacity = 59
Step = 1
Density = 22

Set the Blend Mode of that layer to "Soft Light" and the Opacity to about 78 and save your work.

Select the "Picture" layer, right-click on it and go to New Adjustment Layer || Brightness/Contrast in the popup menu. Try these settings:
Brightness = 6
Contrast = 28

Color the Bumper and the Wheel

Go to Selections || Load from Disk and load the "Bumper" selection (bumper.sel). Highlight the "Picture" layer in your Layer palette and go to Selections || Promote to Layer. Rename that layer "Bumper" and move it above the "Sky" layer.

Right-click on the "Bumper" layer and go to New Adjustment Layer || Brightness/Contrast in the popup menu, then set:
Brightness = -1 (minus 1)
Contrast = 22

If you don't like these settings, adjust it until it looks good.

Then go to Selections || Load from Disk and load the "Wheel" selection (wheel.sel). Select the "Picture" layer in your Layer palette and go to Selections || Promote to Layer. Rename this layer "Wheel".

Go to Colors || Adjust || Brightness/Contrast:
Brightness = 11
Contrast = 22

Then set the Opacity of this layer to about 67. This layer should be below the "Brightness/Contrast" layer that we created for the "Picture" layer.

Deselect (Ctrl+D) and save your work.








Tool Palette - Eraser tool








Tool Palette - Retouch tool









Tool Palette - Zoom toolTool Palette - Retouch tool




Tool Palette - Crop tool

Finishing Touches

Now go to your "Trees Woods" layer in the Layer palette and adjust the Opacity = 77. Then adjust the Opacity of the "Brown for Trees" layer to 42. Adjust it further to suit your taste.

Highlight the "Road" layer in your Layer palette and use the Eraser tool with these settings:
Shape = Round
Size = 17
Hardness = 0
Opacity = 36
Step = 1
Density = 26

Gently erase a little of the road where it meets the grass so it blends. Do the same on the "Copy of Road" layer. Then use the Retouch tool with Retouch mode = Soften to blend both layers where you used the Eraser tool.

Save your work.

Duplicate your image (Window || Duplicate or Shift+D). In the new image, merge layers with Layers || Merge || Merge All (Flatten).

Now you must go all over the image and soften edges with the Retouch Tool. Set it to:
Retouch mode = Soften
Shape = Round
Size = 6
Hardness = 0
Opacity = 28
Step = 1
Density = 32

Go over the picture and soften any place where the edges of layers met. Zoom in very closely to do that.

Finally use the Crop tool and crop the image a bit to correct the left edge. Now you should have a very nice picture of a blue 35 Ford Convertible.

Your photo is now finished. Enjoy painting black-and-white photos!