making color where there is only black and white

i’ve been toying with tri chromes, or tri chrome-esque photographs for a few years now.  i first learned about trichromes after reading and seeing the photographs made by the russian photographer before world war 1. (http://mentalfloss.com/article/29615/100-year-old-color-photos-pre-revolution-russia )

i knew this process existed, even before i saw those beautiful russian photos when i visited an uncle and he told me you can take 3 black and white negatives, one with a red filter, one with a blue and one with a green and print them on color paper together and make color photographs.  i never did this until a few years ago, and i was hooked.

 

i’ve even thought about buying an big old rickety camera that takes 3 exposures at once, but i’ve settled on an old polaroid camera called a portrait land 600 that takes 6 exposures at once on a sheet of 4×5 film.  its a passport camera and was given to me by my friend whitey, a collector of fun-stuff, and great photographer to boot !   well, this entry isn’t about making trichromes using black and white film, or black and white separation negatives in-camera but something i have been trying to figure out for a couple of years:  how to take a regular black and white photo and turn it into a  color one.  i figured it wasn’t one of those things that was super hard, after all ted turner colorized all those classic movies, but it was something that i couldnt’ figure out until today.

i frequent dpug ( digital photo user group ) and have posted the question there but i always got complicated answers.  i made the mistake of doing the 10 day free trial for afinity photo ( i didn’t get it, long story short, no customer support ! ) and didn’t get it, BUT i did manage to see interesting videos on how to do stuff, and one was a technicolor photo effect.  affinity doesn’t work completely like photoshop, and i have been using PS since the 90s, so i was looking for hints …  it was extremely complicated making layers and nesting cmy adjustment layers.  the guy made it look really easy though.

 

today i watched youtube photoshop tutorials for doing similar things.  one guy just gets rid of the blue layer and adds a green one it was kind of fun.  another guy showed how to make SIMPLE separatoin negatives. so i took what i needed from affinity ( what levels to put the cmy levels ) and the simple separation files and this is what i did … sorry i don’t have charts or graphs &c but it is pretty simple, and i have done it with b/w files and it was fun to turn them into color photos …

 

you open your image file and get your channel / layers dialog box, and click color channels.  there is a little arrow and click it

and use the ” channel splitter ” it will give you 3 identical files labled red green blue  and for each one go to mode and change

them each from grey scale to rgb.  go to hue / saturation  for each file and click “colorize”

for red put the top slider at 180 (cyan ) for blue put the slider to 60 ( yellow ) and for green put it to 300 ( magenta ).

now select the whole image edit>copy  and file new and go into the channel palette and drop each file

into the individual color channels r -g-b and at then … there you go, you have a color photograph

or, sort of a color photograph

 

trichrome technique

centerville mill

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