Masterclass in Photo Colorization



Vera Zvereva, CODIJY Team

Plunge into the peaceful atmosphere of the turn of the century. Learn to colorize the sky and waters for practice and creative pleasure!

this tutorial requires

Working on this lovely turn-of-the-century photograph will introduce you to water and sky coloring techniques.

We will show you how to apply stroke masks to the waves, splashes and highlights using a ready-made palette. We will also practice coloring the sky.

To work, you’ll need to download a ready-made example and open the History tab in the panel on the right. Here you will find the color palette of the document.

->  Open a file in CODIJY 
->  Draw color masks
->  Generate color preview in CODIJY
->  Export the colored result to JPEG or other image 

Cinderella. Circa 1899. Collection of the Library of Congress. 

get Prepared

To follow this tutorial, open the example file in CODIJY Colorizer Pro or Recoloring.   Open the Color History (1). You may close all other panes, except for the Color Picker (2) and Navigator (3).  

Enable the Pen in the Freehand Mode . Set the brush size to 5-6 pixels. 

Colorize the sky

Pick the first color from the History and outline the sky area. Draw strokes between the clouds. In future, you can us use any library of the sky tones. 

Add the dots of the less saturated shade of blue to highlight the clouds. Tip: Using any light or white tone may return the unnatural hue in the color result.  

Colorize the Yacht

Now lets colorize the yacht. Switch to the line mode . Outline the sails, hull and shoreline. For the strip of woodland on the right, use a less saturated shade than for the illuminated part of the shoreline. 

It’s time to generate the color preview Make sure the borders look clean. 

Colorize the Water Surface

We will start with drawing the emerald strokes. This hue matches the colors of the sea or ocean water. Apply it to the waves on the right as shown in the screenshot. 

The strip of water along the coast and the dark shades among the waves are highlighted with a muted shade of blue.  

Let’s check our progress.  

Now move on to sparkles and the water foam. Despite their seeming whiteness, we are going to use the lighter shade of blue. If you try to apply pure white, the sparkles may turn gray.

Apply this tone in simple dots – all over the highlights and foam. This will be faster and the result will be more accurate.

It’s almost impossible to tell that the water colors have been added by hand! 

Still, to enhance the shining of the water, we will apply a more saturated shade on the glittering waves, thus creating the effect of a sky reflection. As a result the whole surface produces a stunning impression.

Now we can finalize the details and fix the inaccuracies.

You can change the overall mood if you play with the brightness, contrast and tones of the image in any image editing software.

We hope that this exercise has been a real treat for you, as colorizing nature is incredibly inspiring. We will thank you for your feedback and invite you to share your results in our group and community! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask us – we will be happy to answer them!  

How to pick colors for complex landscape features

The choice of water colors can be tricky. If you are using CODIJY Colorizer Pro, we recommend picking colors from the color images with the help of the  Color Capture tool.

Alternatively, try the “Waters: Calm”, “Waters: stormy” and “Rivers and Lakes” Libraries for matching shades.

Here is the reference of colors we used for this example.