Colourization in the Boyles period

A number of original Charles Boyles photos were hand-coloured and then published in newspapers. Comparing the original to the colour version, the first feature of note is that the backgrounds have been removed. This would have been done to remove the clutter, but also so that the background did not need to be coloured.

To colourize the image, the newspaper would be sent through the press multiple times, with a new colour added each time. Because of this process, these Depression-era coloured images have only a few colours added.

122_026 - Carlton Senior Team 1929

Original
Original
The Australasian 15-June-1929
The Australasian 15-June-1929


122_087 - Collingwood Senior Team 1934

Original
Original
Weekly Times 26-May-1934 Collingwood
Weekly Times 26-May-1934 Collingwood


Examples of Colourized Photos:
1928 Weekly Times Team Photos
1929 Weekly Times Team Photos Series
1929 Australasian Team Photo Series
1934 Weekly Times Photo Series

Modern Colourization

Today, colour can be added to old photos using computer software. The following images have been colourized using Photoshop.

Adding colour to the images is not an exact science and involves an interpretation of the original colours. It is also a time-consuming process to add colour to a photo, as the colours must be hand-painted onto the photo one colour at a time.

Modern colour photos have millions of colours in each photo, with each pixel varying in colour from it's neighbour. By contrast, hand-coloured photos have a single colour brushed over larger areas. This difference provides the hand-coloured photos with a distinctive look.

Techniques

I have used Photoshop to add layers of colour on top of the images (New Adjustment Layer - Colour Balance). Each colour had to be chosen, then carefully painted onto the appropriate areas with a small brush at a high zoom. Painting a pink skin-tone onto a team photo took around an hour to complete, as each face, leg and hand had to be individually painted within the edges.

Image

Due to the time taken to paint each layer, I painted as few layers as possible. Most images include only three to four colours: a skin-tone, the jumper, and a foreground (usually grass) to add to the image depth. Other colours could easily be added for eyes, eyebrows, hair, lips, etc. In a close- up portrait these extra colours make a big difference, but less so in the wider team photos. This minimal use of colour also means the modern colourized images resemble the older colourised images.

The choice to not colour the backgrounds was partly due to time constraints, but also due to the need to highlight the coloured sections and ensure that the players 'popped out' of the photo.

The colours have been matched as best as possible. The colours would be easier if a CMYK/RGB colour could be assigned, but the colour balance layer technique used does not (as far as my skills go) allow this. Therefore, the colours are a best guess. Also, the process of exporting the image into a web-friendly jpg file alters the colours originally painted onto the photo, meaning that the jpg files do not always represent the colour selections made in Photoshop.

For me, colour enhances the photos and makes them much easier on the eye. I just wish it didn't take so long.

The most difficult colours have been the grass, and Carlton's blue. It would be easy if I could assign a particular RGB value..but that is the joy of it.

As a side comment, adding colour means spending a lot of time with each photo at a very high zoom, and allows one to enjoy the details of the photo in more detail. Although I do wish it was a quicker process, it was still enjoyable.

122_156 - Carlton seconds, 1939

Original
Original
Colour Added
Colour Added


122_152 - Ted Pollock - Carlton (VFL)
Original
Original
Colour Added
Colour Added


122_120 – Bob Miller - Fitzroy (VFL)

Original
Original
Colour Added
Colour Added


122_114 - Footscray Football Club 1942

Original
Original
Colour Added
Colour Added


122_070 - North Melbourne thirds 1946

Original
Original
Colour Added
Colour Added


122_020 - Richmond senior team 1933

Original
Original
Colour Added
Colour Added


122_107 - Richmond senior team 1941

Original
Original
Colour Added
Colour Added


122_110 - Bill Perkins - Richmond (VFL)

Original
Original
Colour Added
Colour Added


122_229 - South Melbourne senior team 1949

Original
Original
Colour Added
Colour Added


122_222 - Unidentified South Melbourne player

Original
Original
Colour Added
Colour Added


122_046 - St Kilda past players

Original
Original
Added Colour
Added Colour


122_050 - Ian Synman - St Kilda (VFL)

Original
Original
Colour Added
Colour Added


122_059 - Northcote senior team 1933

Probably the most difficult to colour. The original version of the image displays an array of jumper styles, some new, some old and frayed. A team from a working class suburb in the middle of the Great Depression. Probably a few different shades of yellow and green.
Original
Original
Added Colour
Added Colour


122_109 – Williamstown senior team 1940

Original
Original
Colour Added
Colour Added



122_241 – RAAF Inter-services premiership team 1942

Original
Original
Colour Added
Colour Added


122_244 - Army Services team in Richmond-style

Original
Original
Colour Added
Colour Added




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