Hand-tinted photography has been popular almost as long as has photography itself. It started back in the day when photos were all monochrome. Then, it became a way to create a nostalgic look (Kim Anderson's art has always been one of my favorites), and now that it can be done digitally, recoloring can be used either for the same purpose or to just give images a creative look.
We've talked previously about how creating wallpapers can be a great way to promote your business online and in the mobile market. You may also find yourself wanting to update the look and feel of the photos used for your website theme or blog wallpaper/background. Here are three quick, easy (and free!) ways to digitally manipulate your photos, and give them that "hand-tinted" look.
Smart Recolor in Photobucket
The look of the "after" photos in the above series of snow-covered forsythia blooms and the below series of a half-mast flag were tinted using Photobucket's "recoloring" tool (sign in, upload then "edit" your photo, go to the "geek" tab, and select "smart recoloring." There's even a video of how to do it. Basically, you select the colors you want to keep, and those you want to change, and the software does the rest. For these, I kept the color of the flowers and the flag that I wanted to highlight, and changed the tint of everything else to a light gray.
Unsaturate, then Copy/Paste
This can be done in any software program that allows you to adjust the color saturation of a photo, then select copy/paste parts of the original photo in color to the new, unsaturated photo. Just save the first photo on your hard drive as-is, then unsaturate it and "save as" under a new name to create a new photo. Then, carefully select, copy and paste from the old photo to the new one, or vice-versa. That was the technique used on this series of photos taken by a Coca-Cola fan on the Japan Dream Kenjin sim on Second Life.
Colorize in Gimp
Gimp is a free download available online that has a lot of the most common features of Adobe Photoshop (which is pretty expensive). The "after" photo (of the Second Life artists charity wall on Malandi for the victims of the recent earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan) below was used by uploading the first photo into Gimp, unsaturating the color then "selecting" a spherical shape, and "colorizing" it to red. The resulting affect is a stylized tribute to Japan's flag.
Also see: Cool ways to help the people of Japan, and our collection of posts on "photos" here on WebRev.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.