Digital Imaging

Week 1 Part II: Manipulation vs Enhancement

Lesson Objectives

At the end of this lesson you should be able to:

  1. Discern whether a photograph can be used freely under the Public Domain
  2. Discuss the ethics of image manipulation
  3. Observe subtle color variations in an image
  4. Restore an old photograph by removing artifacts and scratches
  5. Work with a layered image
  6. Create and share a Google Drive folder


In this first lesson we will go over some issues with digital manipulation from ethics to copyright. We will talk also about retouching photographs and we’ll try out some ways to fix up old photographs.

Image Ethics

This explanation of Copyright is simple and very good (although perhaps with an annoying narration style, sorry about that!):


There are various ways that you can digitally combine color with a black and white photograph.  

One way we are focusing on this week is by hand tinting. On a printed photograph, this is done typically using oil or watercolor paints and a brush such as in the vintage photos below. We can do this with digital tools using the brush tool on a new layer and blending modes. It involves the addition of new color over the top of the image.  

examples of hand tinted photography

There are apps that help you colorize images quickly and even some cameras that will do this for you but they don’t always produce high-resolution professional level products, so it’s good to know how to do this by hand which is what we’re doing this week.

Photographs and films can be styled to encourage a specific feeling or atmosphere when you use colorization techniques and even integrated into the narrative itself. This can help you tell your story more completely or with the emphasis you are looking for. Films like Pleasantville used selective color for the underlying narrative and others like Sin City used it for focused effects.

Watch this video on Color Variation:

And this one on what it takes to be a professional colorizer:


Tool Demos


Understanding how layers work is a key element in most professional level image editing software. If you are new to software that uses layers or if it’s been a while, please view the videos from this tutorial from Adobe (takes about 30 min).   Adobe Photoshop Tutorial on Layers: Working with Layers


The tools you will be using are the healing brush, spot healing brush, patch tools, and the clone stamp tool. Sometimes it’s tricky to know when and why to use one tool over the other. The clone stamp tool and the healing brush tool are very similar for example. Optional – you can watch this video about the difference if you like –  When to use the Clone Stamp Tool VS the Healing Brush Tool in Photoshop.


There are a few different methods for adding color to an image in Photoshop. I will be showing one method where we use multiple layers with a blend mode applied and the paintbrush. This should be done after you fix the scratches and imperfections on the image.

There are many ways to accomplish the same thing in Photoshop and sometimes it’s great to get a second explanation. Don’t hesitate to Google for tips that work best for you. If you end up finding and using a different video demo, please post the link in your Journal reflection so others may benefit. Here is another example of how to fix and color an old photograph using a slightly different technique.

PS interface with basic locations for colorization

Additional Resources & Activities

Remember, check out the Photoshop workspace review links  if needed.

Repair Tools


Further Reference




Retouching & Colorization

  1. Click on  one of these image files (to get the larger version) of a historic black and white photograph and download to your computer *See information about usage for these images below.
    a.    b.
  2. Remove the wrinkles, dust, and scratches from the image.
  3. Use your drawing tablet to add colors to create a realistic ‘hand-tinted’ photograph
    Pay attention to skin tones and other details. Remember, colors in nature are never simple and if you paint people’s hands and faces the exact same color, it will look artificial. The sky should have a gradual color change, etc.
  4. As you work on the image, make note of what your process and any challenges you encountered.
  5. Save As PSD file.  Do NOT   flatten your layers.
  6. Upload your PSD (Photoshop Document) file with layers to your Google Drive folder that you have shared with    (See Google Drive Help Page for how to do this.)

Please see Grading Criteria for how this exercise will be graded. Note:

  • If work is not uploaded to the shared Google Drive Folder, there will be no credit given.
  • If format uploaded is not a .psd document no credit will be given.

*Image Sources:
a. Public Domain:  Library of Congress
b. “Two Prospectors from the Beaver Party on a Caribou Hunt”,  Alaska State Library, Claude Hobart Photograph Collection

Note: Use of image b for this exercise was kindly permitted by the Alaska State Library Historical Collections with the following condition:

The items may not be altered, superimposed, transposed or cropped in any way that significantly changes the meaning or context of the image or compromises its authenticity as an historical document.

I’m turning in a usage form for all of you in the class to the Historical Collections, so we can use the image. Please do not make drastic alterations as mentioned above. Also, please understand that we don’t have permission from them to publicly display the images from this exercise beyond this course website.

Journal - Blog Post

Post Your Exercise   + Write Two Reflections

  1. Create a new post on this course website
  2. Upload a JPG of Week 1 Part II Exercise   into your post
    (to export from Photoshop, use the Top Menu -> Export -> Save for Web (Legacy) option at 100% quality JPG).
  3. Give your post the category of “Week 1”
  4. Reflection   – Write a short reflection on the process you used to create your image. Were you successful? What do you like about it? How could it be improved?

Note: Put your Reflection and Exercise JPEG on the same post and title it “Exercise Week 1 – Your Name or Alias”.

See also Grading Criteria for Journal Posts.


  1. View other students’ introduction posts and welcome each other to class.
  2. Post a response to the Ethics Discussion topic for Week 1. Feel free to respond to others as well!