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Author Topic: "Colorized" photos.  (Read 622 times)
creagmor
Zeppelin Captain
*****
South Africa South Africa



« on: April 18, 2014, 11:01:25 pm »

Would black and white photos be period for the Sherlock Holmes era? If not, how difficult/expensive would it be to have a store (e.g. Kinko's, in the US) copy them in sepia? These are images which were downloaded from the internet so I have no negatives.
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“Love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that cold true reason which I place above all things.” Sherlock Holmes, in The Sign of Four.
Camellia Wingnut
Snr. Officer
****
United States Minor Outlying Islands United States Minor Outlying Islands


Take my camel, dear. . . .


« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2014, 11:26:41 pm »

My Dear Sir,
Nothing is easier than to turn any picture sepia. If you have a computer, download the free Paint.net graphic program. There is an option under 'Adjustments' (I think) at the bottom of the menu, called (naturally) sepia. You have only to choose that and then print the result. New-fangled to old-fangled instantly!
C.W.
P.S. I find that the roots of the verb 'fang' are to catch or grasp. Hope you can. . . .
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Take my camel, dear, said my aunt Camellia, climbing down from that animal on her return from high mass. The camel, a white Arabian Dhalur (single hump) from the famous herd of the Ruola tribe, had been a parting present, its saddle-bags stuffed with low-carat [sic] gold and flashy orient gems, from a rich desert tycoon. . . .
creagmor
Zeppelin Captain
*****
South Africa South Africa



« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2014, 12:11:34 am »

Thank you kindly Ms Wingnut. Incidentally, I couldn't help noticing the mention of camels in your signature and thought that I'd note that I live very near a place called Kameeldrift (Camel gulch, or ravine, in Afrikaans); so named because a local farmer keeps a pair of the titular beasts in that area. 
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George Salt
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2014, 01:17:54 am »

Merely applying the filter marked "sepia" is the equivalent of sticking a cog on and calling it steampunk..

You do get genuinely black and white images from the Victorian period, but the sepia-ish tints that you more commonly see are a result of several stages in producing a photograph, and subtle diferences are the result of different methods.  The most glaring fault with many modern photographs that are "vintaged" is usually the aspect ratio.

If you're having this printed is it for a prop?
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creagmor
Zeppelin Captain
*****
South Africa South Africa



« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2014, 09:24:27 am »

I'm guessing you could call them that. They are just a few images presently in my computer, destined for a small Sherlock Holmes homage in my neo-Victorian living room. They will be about 5X7 when enlarged by copier. hope that answers your question adequately. Obviously if black and white photos are period this question becomes a rather moot one.
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George Salt
Zeppelin Captain
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United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2014, 10:58:08 am »

There are basically two standard sizes for photographs in the Victorian period, at least as far as most non-photographers of the period would have been aware - and I think either of these would be appropriate for your intended use.

The smaller was the carte de visite, this might be too small for your needs but they were very common.  The photo is pasted onto a piece of card 2.5" x 4" which usually has details of the photographer on the front and reverse.  The photo itself is very roughly 2.125" x 3.5", but these are often hand-cut with scissors and there's a degree of variation. But the size of the card backing is always accurate.

The larger was the cabinet card.  Again the photo was pasted onto a card back, but with these the card was larger being 4.25" x 6.5".

I've started posted genuine examples of Victorian photographs on this thread.


The stick-a-cog-on-it problem isn't so much the application of sepia toning, it's really a matter of making sure the image is then presented as a Victorian image would have been presented.  Make a card back to the right dimensions and with the right look, and paste the image (using the right proportions) on to it.  The photograph itself would have been on very thin paper, so printing with a laserjet/inkjet onto standard copier paper is better than using photo paper.
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creagmor
Zeppelin Captain
*****
South Africa South Africa



« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2014, 11:58:40 am »

Thanks for the information, and the rapid response. I think I have a handle on what I need to do now, and how to do it.
Ian S.
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Camellia Wingnut
Snr. Officer
****
United States Minor Outlying Islands United States Minor Outlying Islands


Take my camel, dear. . . .


« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2014, 09:51:14 pm »

My Dear Sir,
Incidentally, I envy your proximity to Kameeldrift. I believe that camels are truly obnoxious, and yet, and yet. . . . These neighbours of yours are probably actual descendants of the recruits for some Camel Corps; would you think there is a military/Imperialist Camelpunk there somewhere? (Have you read Doyle's 'The Tragedy of the Korosko'?)
Most interesting; thank you.
C.W.
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creagmor
Zeppelin Captain
*****
South Africa South Africa



« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2014, 06:59:24 am »

No I haven't read it, but I will check it out. I will also check around and see what more I can dig up on the Camel Corps (Kameel Korps?)  

Mr. George Salt; I have some photos taken in South Africa that seem to be taken sometime before 1920. two of these are about the size of a cabinet version and one is a bit larger. Might I send you a PM in regards to them?
« Last Edit: April 20, 2014, 10:24:18 am by creagmor » Logged
Mr. Boltneck
Zeppelin Admiral
******
United States United States


« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2014, 07:58:42 pm »

Also, it's been a while since I looked at GIMP, but it tends to track most capabilities of Photoshop, so if you are going to do a lot of invented imagery, you may want to take a look. The main thing is that once you have the ability to work in layers with different blending methods, you can not only add and remove color, but also textures to make modern images look damaged by time and abuse, as well as simulating optical vignetting, emulsion problems, tintypes, and all the other stuff we tend to see that tells us we are looking at 19th Century photos.
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
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United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2014, 08:20:58 pm »


You do get genuinely black and white images from the Victorian period, but the sepia-ish tints that you more commonly see are a result of several stages in producing a photograph, and subtle diferences are the result of different methods.  The most glaring fault with many modern photographs that are "vintaged" is usually the aspect ratio.




Er, slight pedantic note, here, for the sake of clarity in regard to the origin of the sepia tone.

The "Sepia" tinge seen in actual old B&W photographs is most often a result of two main sources:
1.Faulty* black-and-white photographic development, in the case of new or relatively-new prints or repros,

2.Or in the case of Victorian-era silver-based photoreactive printing (which is what (most) paper photos of the period actually were) on prepared paper ground, a process of aging that includes a slow chemical reaction over many months or years, similar in process to the faulty or mistakenly-executed step in the initial development process of making photographic prints. In essence, an aging result of acid acting on both the image and the paper itself.
---
To stir and confuse the plot, however, there were and still are several methods of tinting photographs using the actual photographic process to sepia, verdigris, and several other hues. In addition, photos were also tinted or colored by hand (We used to have a set of water colors (in foil tubes) and tools for doing so from around the 1930s in Dad's old amateur photography stuff). They could be done up as color photos, tinted in one color, or two or three, for "artistic" effect.


*Or perhaps deliberately (intentionally?) 'faulty' for either commercial or "other" purposes.

----Edited to hopefully mitigate my utterly Icky writing. (*gag*)----
« Last Edit: April 20, 2014, 08:29:39 pm by MWBailey » Logged

Walk softly and carry a big banjo...

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oldskoolpunk
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States


WWW
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2014, 08:48:08 pm »

Hand-tinted photographs from that era exist.  They were a lot of work, so they weren't common. Here's a good one.


Paris Exhibition, 1900.

That's the famous moving sidewalk.  This is a black and white photo which has been overpainted by hand with colors. There's little detail in the colors; all the detail is in the black and white image. Much like analog color TV.

This effect, inevitably, can be faked in Photoshop.
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George Salt
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2014, 10:07:27 pm »

Er, slight pedantic note, here, for the sake of clarity in regard to the origin of the sepia tone.

This is why you really need to be clear on which process you're trying to emulate when faking a vintage photograph.

The first step to better fauxtography for most people is getting aware from "press the sepia action in Photoshop and call it vintage".. Black and white or sepia toned, getting details such as the backing card right and not printing it on glossy photo paper makes a greater difference than the actual tone.


NB.  There were several options available to deliberately tone a photograph during the print process, including Sepia officinalis..  but as the emphasis tended to be cheap and fast (certainly with carte de visite) I suspect a degree of cost-cutting may have been involved.
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von Corax
Squire of the Lambda Calculus
Moderator
Immortal
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Canada Canada

Prof. Darwin Prætorius von Corax


« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2014, 02:49:41 am »

Echo the suggestion of gimp or Photoshop (although both have a positively Himalayan learning curve Roll Eyes) or any other tool which supports layers. The idea here is that you place the original image in the bottom layer, which you then lock against modification, and then apply the effects in the upper layers. This means, among other things, that you can switch individual layers on/off to show/hide one effect while you work on another, and that an effect you don't like can be removed simply by deleting the layer that contains it.

I should also think the original image would need to be desaturated and desharpened (if those're the correct terms.) Images taken on "modern" high-speed film or CCD sensors tend to be far sharper and have higher dynamic range than was possible with most period equipment.
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