Practice makes…

Well, not perfect. That’s a long ways off. Practice makes things better is remarkably true. My professional life did not make use of color, or at least rarely. Much of the design that I produced had to by printed in-house, and in those days it wasn’t in four color process, or even two color spor. It was B&W, and tones. Unless I was willing to run the color and clean the press afterwards. Needless to say, my work experience did not improve my color skills.

Of course I still taught the principles of color, not only ambient but projected. My photography classes were filled with color practice and information. It’s just that sitting down and making a reasonable working palette was not something that I normally did, day in and day out. I felt unknowing.

So I few years ago I start a project of colorizing black and whit photographs. Instead of just using random screen shots from the web, I picked Hollywood headshots of the stars from 1920-1960s. It didn’t really matter so long as they were high res, and with a great gray-scale factor.

The benefit it that the photos were generally people that I know, so my end product should look like them. And the real big plus is that the photographers knew what they were doing. Unfortunately they were often hired by the studios and no credit was given to them.

I worked about three months on a little more than 100 photos. I learned a lot, and it was progressive, so I got better. My technique was to use filters that I made in PhotoShop to produce color shifts that were pleasing but somewhat surprising. I never knew how much green and blue are undertones in skin.

Eventually I found some free apps that had filters that did about 80% of what I wanted. I manually entered a layer for the other 20%. Filters almost always harms details, so I entered other layers for hair, eyes, mouth, eyebrows, and even color foundation.

By the end of the project I felt somewhat knowing. With other projects the knowing became more complex, so now I feel that I might want to go back and re-do those first images. That that any were gross, well, a few were.

In the end, I just found more headshots, and for the last month or so I’ve been making a bunch of color. This is my new Hollywood Headshots.

Vivian Leigh
Norma Shearer
Vivian Leigh
Rhonda Fleming
Anne Baxter
Vera Ellen
Colleen Gray
Cyd Charisse
Rosalind Russell
Martine Carol
Olivia de zhavilland
Miriam Hopkibs
Hedy Lamar
Rita Hayworth
Ann Miller
Jayne Mansfield
Marian Marsh
Madeline Carroll
Sally Blaine
Kim Novak
Martha Vuckers
Martha Hyer
Yyonne de Carlo
Vivian Blaine
Mary Hatcher
Rita Hayworth
Lizabeth Scott
Peggy Castle
Loretta Young
Pier Angeli
Joan Bennett
Lana Turner
Eleanor zpsrker
Martha Berti
Anita Page

Anita Page

Lana Turner
Audrey Geoburn
Ava Gardner
Maureen O’Hara
Ava Zfardner
Greta zGarbo
Doris Assyrian
Constance Bennett
Ann zfrancus
Maude zfealy
Maud Allan
Maude Fealy
Lilian zgish
Gladys Cooper
Vivian zleigh
Maud Darnell
Veronica Lake
Brigette Helm
Future, Brugette Zelma
Brigette Helm

About johndiestler

Retired community college professor of graphic design, multimedia and photography, and chair of the fine arts and media department.
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