ADDING COLOR TO BLACK-AND-WHITE PRINTS
| Copied with permission of Eastman Kodak Co.
Turn black-and-white prints into colorful pictures by toning or
hand-coloring. Just vary your technique and materials to be as
realistic or as abstract as you please to transform ordinary
black-and-white prints into unusual color photographs, create moods
in a picture, or recreate the atmosphere or the original scene.
Use hand-coloring for movie posters, record album covers, magazine
and book illustrations, product ads, calendars, photo decor, works
of art, etc.
There are many techniques and materials for adding color to
black-and-white prints, from selective applications of special oils
to overall baths in chemical toners. And you can get a variety of
existing color effects that are not possible with conventional
color printing processes. You can transform an ordinary,
black-and-white print into a realistic full-color print using
products such as Marshall's photo-oil colors. Or you can tone the
same print using commercially prepared or home-made toners,
transparent dyes, watercolors, food colors, coffee, tea, or
felt-tipped marking pens.
When you hand-color or tone prints, you have total control over
the application of every color. Hand-color or tone the entire
print to varying amounts of saturation and color. Or selectively
color only those elements in the photograph that you want to
Toning prints chemically is a relatively simple way to add color
to black-and-white prints.
Chemical toning converts the black silver image into a color. Tone
the entire print at one time or use selective toning in stages to
add multiple colors. The process takes little time and can be done
in normal room lighting. Also, the chemicals are usually premixed
so that only dilution with water is required.
There are several prepared toners made by Kodak and others that are
available from photo dealers. Toners include KODAK POLY-TONER,
KODAK Brown Toner, KODAK Rapid Selenium Toner, and KODAK Sepia
Toner. Each toner has its characteristic hue and produces
variations of its original color when used with different papers.
If you are interested in converting your black-and-white images to
more exotic colors and would like the option of tinting the entire
print, try some photo toners that contain organic dyes. Mix
together various toner combinations to achieve an even greater
variety of colors.
Selective toning produces two tones on the same print--the normal
image tone of the paper in areas you've selected and a second tone
in the remaining areas. With this technique, cover the areas that
you do not want toned. This is an excellent way to separate the
foreground from the background, as in a seascape scene, or accent
a center of interest in a complex composition.
You can make homemade toners from food such as coffee or tea.
Unlike conventional toners, that give clean highlights and borders,
these homemade toners produce an overall tint. To make a pastel
color, put 10-20 drops of a liquid retouching watercolor in a tray
of water and soak the print in it until you achieve the desired
effect. Or tone a print by soaking it in a normal brew of coffee
or tea. After toning, rinse and dry the print in the usual way.
Food colors are the most versatile materials found in the home for
making your own toners. You will need artist's brushes, a bottle
of white vinegar, print trays, and food colors. Prepare the toning
solutions by adding 10-20 drops of the desired food color to a
quart or liter of warm water with about 2 tablespoons of vinegar.
The vinegar helps the food colors adhere more easily to the print.
Vary the color intensity by varying the amount of food color you
add to the toning solution.
To begin toning, submerge the print into the toner and agitate
until you obtain the desired color saturation. Then remove the
print and rinse it in cold, running water before drying. When
toning resin-coated prints, hold the base side of the print under
running water until all color is removed from the back of the
Multitone a print with food colors by using a small brush and
coloring one area at a time. Blot dry each toned area before
applying the remaining colors. Repeat this procedure until you
have applied all desired colors to the print. Blot the print dry,
rinse it in cold water, and dry. To make the colors more stable,
spray the print with a protective lacquer spray.
TRANSPARENT WATERCOLORS AND FELT-TIPPED PENS
You can use transparent watercolors and felt-tipped markers to add
color to black-and-white prints.
When using watercolors, dampen the print surface first with a
cotton swab soaked in water. This will allow the watercolors to
be absorbed evenly on the paper surface. Use a brush on small,
detailed areas and cotton swabs on larger areas. Build up color
saturation by applying several layers of color to the same area.
Brush-applied transparent watercolors or felt-tipped pens work
effectively in small, detailed areas of a print where you want to
add color for impact.
KODAK RETOUCHING COLORS
Dry-cake dyes are excellent for applying light colors to large
areas of black-and-white photographs. To apply a dye to a print,
breathe on the cake of dye and then pick up a sufficient amount of
the dye by rubbing a tuft of dry cotton over it. Transfer the
cotton tuft to the print and begin rubbing gently. Rub the cotton
in a circular motion on the desired area of the print. Buff the
area with clean tufts of cotton until the dye is evenly applied.
Remove unwanted dye from surrounding areas in the print by applying
the reducer to those areas with another clean tuft of cotton. Use
a cotton-wrapped skewer or a cotton swab to clean off small areas
adjacent to the colored areas. After wiping off the reducer, hold
the print over steam (boil water in a pot or use an inexpensive
vaporizer) until the surface marks caused by the dye application
disappear. This will make the dyes permanent. If you want to
increase the density of the color saturation, add more dye to the
area and steam the print again. Repeat this procedure until you
obtain the desired color saturation.
KODAK LIQUID RETOUCHING COLOR SET
These ready-to-use colors, designed for retouching color prints
with a brush, work well for hand-coloring small areas on
black-and-white prints. You can apply them with a brush or cotton
swabs to fiber-base or RC papers. If you don't like your results,
just soak the print in running water for a few minutes to dissolve
away the colors. Then dry the print and begin again.
HAND-COLORING PHOTOGRAPHS WITH TRANSPARENT OILS
Hand-coloring photographs offers additional creative outlets- -to
go beyond conventional color printing techniques. And, it gives
you complete control over every color in the print. Simply color
in the details, regardless of their original color, or limit the
color to emphasize only special areas.
All photographs to be hand-colored should be printed on a matte
surface paper. If you prefer using a resin-coated paper, select
N surface. With fiber-based papers, G, N, and R surfaces are all
good choices. Choosing a paper surface depends primarily on the
subject matter in the photo. Duller surfaces, such as N surface,
absorb the colors better and are better suited to commercial
products, landscapes, and any other subject that can be enhanced
by stronger color saturation. In general, the duller the paper
surface, the greater the color saturation. Experiment with a few
different papers to see how the color hues of the print will differ
on various papers due to their varying tonal properties.
Although any size print can be hand-colored, it's usually best to
work with 8 x 10-inch or 11 x 14-inch prints. Print quality is
Brown or sepia images, being less dense, reveal more color
saturation than black-toned images. To obtain warmer flesh tones,
first sepia-tone the print. Oftentimes, the strong contrast of
some black-and-white prints hand-colored without toning is very
dramatic. If the print to be hand-colored is not first
sepia-toned, make it slightly lighter than normal in the shadow
areas, as the transparent oils reveal very little color in the
PRINTING BLACK-AND-WHITE NEGATIVES IN COLOR
Another technique for adding color to black-and-white images
involves enlarging your original black-and-white negatives into a
color material such as KODAK EKTACOLOR Paper.
The resulting print will be one color, but it will
show a range of tones of that color. Because these color materials
are designed to be used with color negatives that have a built-in
color mask, the mask is usually necessary for good color prints.
Make the mask by processing a piece of unexposed color-negative
film. Place the mask in the filter drawer of your enlarger or tape
it to the negative carrier above the negative. Use this mask,
together with your standard filter pack, in the enlarger whenever
you print black-and-white negatives on color materials. Once the
mask and filter are in place, print your black-and-white negative.
Process it normally.
To get saturated colors, print through "sharp-cutting" filters.
These filters transmit only one color of the spectrum. They also
produce their complementary colors when used with color printing
material designed to work with negatives. Following are some of
these filters and the colors they produce:
KODAK WRATTEN Gelatin Filter Resulting Color
25 Red Cyan
58 Green Magenta
47 Blue Yellow
44 Cyan Red
32 Magenta Green
12 Yellow Blue
ADDING ADDITIONAL COLOR
When printing color negatives or slides, you can intensify or
change the overall color for a creative effect by manipulating
printing filters. For example, if you remove red (magenta plus
yellow) filtration when printing a color negative, the resulting
print becomes more red. With the appropriate subject, you can use
this technique to enrich the tones of a sunset or create a late-day
mood where none existed.