Ville de Colour

That's funky-talk for Color Town.



I came to a real road-block in colorizing photos. I used to do this a lot, but now it just wasn't working.

I did something very cerebral and mature, for a change: I went back and looked at the good ones and asked, "Why did it work?"

Naturally, at first, nothing came of it. Then as I reasoned my way through the mental brambles I came to the old pathway.


Original Photo


Open any image in Irfanview. If it's color, make it greyscale or desaturate. Reduce color depth to 8.

You now have a BW photo made of 8 different shades of sand. The Irfanview dithering or indexing "algorithm" creates a wonderful sand-like texture while maintaining the original image's structure quite well.



The graphics program I use, the GIMP, has a greater choice of indexing algorithms but none of them look as good as the single one in Irfanview.

Continuing down this well-worn path we first switch the image to RGB mode from Indexed mode. Next, I may adjust the contrast and see if it makes for a more promising starting point.



Now we gradient map. It looks good or it doesn't look good. Try inverting the color (negative) it might look better. If it doesn't look great, move on to another gradient. Don't save the kinda-nice ones, wait for one that has a flash of excitement in it.

If it does look good, index the image choosing 8 colors and select "no dithering." If you dither, then the original Irfanview appearance will probably be destroyed by the different dithering algorithm that the GIMP uses and also in turn mess up your colors.



And it's all about color and dithering. If your graphics program doesn't do this or if you can't figure it out, just copy the image to the windows clipboard and paste it into Irfanview and reduce it to 8 colors there.

I downloaded a whole truck-load of gradients compliments of Adrian somebody who took a bunch of Fractint map (palette) files and converted them to GIMP gradient files.



The colors include just about every combination and hue, and that's where most of the creativity in my colorized photos comes from. Thanks, Adrian and thanks Fractint users for giving me the keys to Color Town.
 

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