My short bio: Hi guys! People have been requesting me to do this for quite some time now, so I decided to give it a try! My name is Marina Amaral, I'm 22 and I live in Brazil. One day I decided to combine my fascination with history and skill using Photoshop by restoring and putting color into photos that were originally black and white, allowing people to see history from a new and colorful perspective. Each photo is made to be realistic by recognizing the value behind each one of them, respecting and preserving their stories, paying attention to the finer details and maintaining their original essence. Every completed work has gone through long and in-depth research and is supported by the opinions of experts in each particular area if necessary, to faithfully reproduce the original colors and atmosphere. My work ranges from simple portraits to complex and detailed images, taken from various historical periods covering a wide range of topics.

I've been doing this professionally for two years. I work with several publishers, magazines, TV stations, production companies, museums and institutions from different parts of the world. WIRED magazine has made an incredible story on me and my work, which you can read here.

I'm working on several exciting personal projects at the moment and I'll be glad to share some of my thoughts with you!

You can have a look at my work here: || Facebook page || Instagram

My Proof:

EDIT: You can commission me to colorize family photos as well:

Edit 2: I've been answering the questions for 7 hours and will continue doing it tomorrow morning. Really impressed by your support and interest. Thank you! x

Edit 3: I'm back!

Edit 4: This AMA is finished. I did my best to respond everyone and I hope you guys had a great time! Thank you so much for your support. Let's keep in touch via my social media channels because I have big news to announce soon. THANK YOU!

Comments: 927 • Responses: 100  • Date: 

coyoteOntheblock1153 karma

How do you know what color to use when colorizing a photo?

marinamaral1282 karma

The colors are almost always based on historical research. You can find visual descriptions, drawings and paintings from that era that will give you a pretty good idea of the colors. But sometimes a lot of guesswork is necessary to colorize random objects, such as regular clothing, hats, shoes, a chair, etc.

OrCurrentResident724 karma

Do you know about this site? I guess the guy advises people who are painting old houses but there are tons of examples you might find useful.

marinamaral629 karma

Wow, this is fantastic and extremely useful. Thank you so much.

ClassWarfare-25 karma

I have to admit, I was bothered by the level of artistic "freedom" I see in some of your pictures, particularly with eye coloring. There seems to be a tendency to favor a European/ Western standard of beauty, giving most of the pictures blue/green eyes over, say, hazel.

marinamaral20 karma

This is not my choice nor an artistic freedom. The grayscale (how dark or bright is that shade of gray) is what will tell me the color of the eyes.

ClassWarfare-15 karma

Is there anyone here that can comment as to the accuracy of this? When working with grayscale images, only the intensity of the colors could be judged, but would not give any indication as to the actual color.

marinamaral5 karma

This information works together with the historical research.

i124nk8340 karma

I absolutely love your work.
How long does each image take to colourise?
Do you follow a prescribed process? What is it?
Do you plan on making tutorials on YouTube? I would absolutely love that. I have family photos of my mum, passed away, that I would love to colourise.
Do you recommend any particular technology? Mouse/tablet/software?

marinamaral430 karma

  1. Thank you! The time really depends on the complexity of the photo. So while a simple portrait can take me 40 minutes, a more complex shot can take me several days of work. I'm such a perfectionist, so I never stop adjusting things until my eyes are pleased with the result.

  2. The process is quite simple, but it's time-consuming if you aim to achieve a realistic result. I don't use any special techniques.

  3. I don't plan on making tutorials on Youtube because I'm planning something much bigger than that! ;) Can't give you too many details right now, but I promise I'm trying to get in terms with the right people to make it happen soon.

  4. Photoshop is the way to go, at least for me, but I've never tried a different software.

appslap141 karma

As a designer I would love to see some sort of time lapse/process you take to do this. Please report on here this project idea.

marinamaral156 karma

Thanks! I actually have made some crappy videos showing a few steps of the process, but these are really useless. I promise I'll let you all know once I manage to put into practice what I've been planning to do.

Dropkeys40 karma

Your going to assist in the process of bringing Star Trek Voyager to High Definition? THANK YOU SO MUCH! I LOVE YOU!

marinamaral44 karma


Dropkeys24 karma

intensely wispers I believe in you.

Seriously though your work is absolutely phenomenal.

marinamaral17 karma

Thank you so much

Tyralyon17 karma

How about Schindler's List?  

marinamaral6 karma

I like it!

questionsqu31 karma

Can people send you some family photos and pay for you to colorize them?

marinamaral42 karma


i124nk819 karma

Do you use a mouse or a tablet?

marinamaral39 karma

I use a tablet.

dwardrian12 karma

Which tablet?

marinamaral46 karma

It is a very basic one by Wacom.

squidwardsmellsgoood6 karma

I love your work and would love to see whatever plan you have in the future!! This is so cool

marinamaral8 karma

Thank you so much!

lukepatrick274 karma

Really enjoy your work. You cover a great range of topics.

Which historical topics do you enjoy the most?

Are requests for prints available? e.g. Can we get your Muir/Roosevelt?

marinamaral244 karma

I don't know what happened, but when I saved this picture it generated such a small file, so I don't have it in high resolution anymore. I'll need to re-colorize it to be able to make it available. Might do this someday! People really like this one.

nickhollidayco44 karma

When I've lost or corrupted hires versions of heavily colour edited photos, I take the colour information from the low res image and the texture information from the hires image and combine them with a small Gaussian blur on the colour layer and then using a highpass on the texture, and layer them with the blend mode set to soft light. Basically a quick frequency separation. It isn't perfect but gets you 95% of the way there almost instantly, making the final edits a LOT quicker.

marinamaral10 karma

Thanks for the tip!

vagabondhermit208 karma

How often are you tempted to just color everything in the weirdest way possible?

This giraffe? It's pink now.

marinamaral169 karma

Hahaha I've never done this before, but I should definitely try.

justscottaustin136 karma

Ok. Let's settle this once and for all!!! You are a professional colorist.

What color was that damned dress?!?!?!

marinamaral71 karma

It took me a while to understand what you were talking about haha

jtn19120107 karma

It's pretty fascinating. Can you ever be 100% sure you got the right colors other words, how much is guesswork?

Are most colorists women? Colorblindness is more common in men (I'm mildly colorblind) and I've heard that women see subtle variation of color more accurately.

marinamaral143 karma

Thank you. Yes, in the case of military uniforms, for example, you have plenty of material (drawings, paintings, visual descriptions, etc) to give you this information. It's the same when it comes to famous landscapes, scenarios, buildings, signs, labels, historic objects... Guesswork comes when you need to colorize most usual/random things, such as dresses, hats, shoes, etc.

jtn1912088 karma

Did you ever get someone to desaturate a modern photograph to practice?

marinamaral124 karma

Yes, I did this once a while ago. It's a fun and helpful way to understand the fundamentals.

obh36103 karma

Have you seen the colorize bot? How long til it puts you out of a job?

marinamaral141 karma

This is gonna take a while. I'm in contact with a group of scientists that are trying to develop this thing. Their goal is not to overpass what we are manually doing, but to be an additional help to cut off the time that we need to spend working on the images. Honestly I don't think this will happen anytime soon though.

12-juin-304987 karma

What is your favourite photograph you've colourised?

marinamaral378 karma

That's a tough one, but I think it is that one of the little girl that was murdered in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. I posted this picture during the Holocaust Remembrance Day and the way it was widely shared and the way people received it / reacted to it was pretty impressive. She has blood in her mouth, she is crying, she knows what will happen to her. My goal was to add a sense of humanity to the picture, which in my opinion was lost in the black and white version. When I completed the work and looked at her face for the first time, it was a shock. I realized she was a human being just like me. She had dreams, fears, friends, family, ambitions and a life ahead. But she lost it all.

basilwuf51 karma

Thank you for applying your talents to such an important and thought provoking photograph. My heart goes out to this young girl. Do you have plans to do other Holocaust photos?

marinamaral131 karma

I do, but I will never do it again without the assistance of an Holocaust institution/organization because this is a very sensitive subject and I don't want to run the risk of being offensive or disrespectful.

IssaDubro8 karma

You made a sensitive colorization.

I didn't know photos like those existed. I guess that's because the Nazis ordered the photos destroyed. I'm glad that brave man rescued some of the photos.

The girl looks defiant and angry in the center photo and so lost and sad in the profile photo on the right. As you said "she knows what will happen to her."

I also wonder what she had already been through.

marinamaral28 karma

Brasse's memories of photographing Kwoka: "For days after viewing the photographs, I could not shake the girl's expression from my mind. She is around 16 [sic] years of age and looking directly into the camera. The girl has only recently arrived at the camp. On her lower lip there is a cut. Her eyes stare directly into the lens and the fear transmits itself across the decades. She was so young and so terrified. The girl didn't understand why she was there and she couldn't understand what was being said to her. So this woman Kapo (a prisoner overseer) took a stick and beat her about the face. This German woman was just taking out her anger on the girl. Such a beautiful young girl, so innocent. She cried but she could do nothing. Before the photograph was taken, the girl dried her tears and the blood from the cut on her lip. To tell you the truth, I felt as if I was being hit myself but I couldn't interfere. It would have been fatal for me. You could never say anything."

Too_Drunk_To_Write69 karma

What is the most interesting conflict in history to you? Greetings from germany

marinamaral85 karma

I've always been into the World War II, but now I'm fascinated by the World War One. Other than that, I really like reading about the medieval era and everything that happened back then. I've been working on a project that has given me the opportunity to know of so many conflicts from different parts of the world that I didn't even know existed. Every day I'm discovering and learning something new.

IronSchmiddy73 karma

I found the Christmas Truce to be the most powerful and compelling story I've ever read about. This commercial brings me to tears every time I watch it.

marinamaral23 karma

Thanks for the video!

Molerus25 karma

Sorry, just a bored EFL teacher here: you don't need an article ('the') with WW1 and 2. I really cant fault your English apart from this so maybe it's petty, but school ended a week ago and I'm a bit lost 🤐

Thanks so much for the post btw, I'm actually thinking of commissioning you for a birthday I've got coming up :)

marinamaral53 karma

I wish I could have you whispering in my ears and correcting me every time I say something wrong.

Molerus24 karma

That might be one of the nicest things anyone's ever said to me, thanks love 😊

marinamaral17 karma

I'm being serious here! I'm trying to improve my English so this would be extremely helpful.

Molerus19 karma

Well feel free to PM me if you need someone to take a quick look at your writing, although I'm not sure how active you are on Reddit. You can add me on FB as well if you want.

Also, I'm a big fan of /r/languagelearning and /r/englishlearning, if you ever have any questions about your English.

*Edit: I looked at your profile, seems you're a regular redditor. I can add you as a friend and stalk your posts if you really want me to...? 😝

marinamaral15 karma

That would be amazing! Send me a PM please so that I don't forget to get in touch. Thank you.

Lilmonsty5 karma

Being in Australia, I'm blown away by bi-lingual people. I don't think it's a skill as prevalent here as in other parts of the world. I must say, further up the thread I was marvelling your English!

marinamaral10 karma

Thank you, I love you! I get more excited when people praise my English than when they praise my work! This is not common here in Brazil as well. I don't know anyone who speaks English fluently or at least on a decent level.

IssaDubro8 karma

I didn't know you were ESL until the teacher corrected you. I assumed "the WWI" was just a typo.

marinamaral6 karma

You just made my day :)

jimthesoundman63 karma

Do you purposely choose a limited color palette and pale colors to attempt to replicate the "hand tinted" look, or are those the only colors that work properly when overlaid on the grayscale original?

marinamaral89 karma

Realism is the ultimate goal, so I never have this hand tinted look in mind when I'm working. The quality of the colorization is very related to the quality of the original photograph though. I actually prefer to work with saturated colors.

jimthesoundman20 karma

Do you have any sort of methodical process or formula you use when colorizing, such as a certain RBG color for a face, or using a spectrograph, or do you just "wing it" and play around with the sliders until you like what you see?

marinamaral29 karma

I'm not a very methodological person, so my layers and adjustments are always all over the place. I do not follow a predetermined path. I play with colors until the entire piece is looking the way I want it to look.

jimthesoundman17 karma

Do you do any editing such as fixing cracks in glass negatives or removing distracting objects in the background? Or do you try to avoid that and just let the picture stand as it is?

marinamaral59 karma

I never ever remove "distracting objects" because I'm dealing with historical documents and I don't want to manipulate them in any way other than by adding colors (as accurately as possible) to them. But I do remove scratches and cracks.

ReadsSmallTextWrong6 karma

Do you use Color layer blending mode or do you find that another method works better? I've been playing around a bit on /r/colorizationrequests but I'd like to learn a bit more.

marinamaral14 karma

I use color, overlay and soft light, basically.

Tkent9134 karma

What level of accuracy would you say your colorizations are? How much guess work is there? For example if a sign was actually blue but you painted it green would there be clues to tell you it's a certain color?

marinamaral64 karma

This is the kind of information that I can only find if I dig into historical documents. There is no software or tool that will automatically tell you the colors. I always try to be as accurate as possible, but since I'm not an expert, I'm very open to commit mistakes. I try to reduce this risk by partnering with experts and historians.

ajmooch23 karma

Have you taken a look at any of the machine-learning driven automatic colorization tools out there, such as this? I'd be curious to get a professional's opinion on the automatic results.

marinamaral28 karma

I think this is nice, but I honestly don't think AI will overcome what we are manually doing anytime soon. I'm in contact with a group of scientists that are trying to develop this thing. Their goal is not to overpass our techniques, but to be an additional help to cut off the time that we need to spend working on the images.

Nuclear_F0x27 karma

Where and how did you learn these techniques?

Also what advice would you give to someone who is interested in trying their hand at /r/colorization or the /r/estoration of vintage photographs?

marinamaral59 karma

I learned by practicing a lot. I've always enjoyed using Photoshop in my free time since I was 12 or something, so when I started I had a pretty good idea of the possibilities offered by the software, but I had no idea of how to achieve a realistic result. So I started gathering a lot of information from different areas of expertise, such as physics, photography, traditional painting, etc, and I never stopped practicing. Not even a day goes by without me opening Photoshop to colorize at least a flower. So my suggestion is to practice a lot, identify your weaknesses, observe modern day photographs and never be satisfied with the quality of the work you're currently producing.

libteatechno18 karma

Is the goal of photo colorization to depict reality as we would see it if we were there or to depict a color photograph? The reason I ask is that so many colorized photos look almost like wide dynamic range at best or often have a washed out painting quality, but in both scenarios lose the qualities/traits of photography. I'm not sure if I'm making sense with this, but do you try to preserve/incorporate light leakage of the camera, do you think about how different film brands (e.g. Fujifilm dxf 800) would have captured the scene and have the traits of a particular film's color and shadow rendering in mind? To what degree are you asking, if this was still a film picture, but using color film in a similarly constructed camera, how would it have rendered the scene vs. how would the human eye directly perceive this scene in color?

marinamaral17 karma

At least in my case, realism is the ultimate goal. That's why I'm always studying concepts from different areas to expertise such as physics, photography, traditional painting, etc. Most colorizations look fake indeed, but there are several factors involved in this. Many people do this as a hobby, many do not care with historic accuracy, many do not want to achieve a realistic result, etc. I always restore a picture aiming to make it look like a color photograph.

kraanwater13 karma

Have you had any reactions from historians to your work and if so were they positive or negative?

marinamaral31 karma

Yes, they are an essential part of what I do. I'm not an expert, so very often I don't have access to the historical information/record that will give me the descriptions that I need in order to reproduce the original colors of a given object. That's when I need to ask for their help. They are always extremely generous and helpful.

theregoesmyeye10 karma

Have you ever just finished up a long session of colorizing a photo when a historian looks it over and says you used to wrong color?

marinamaral26 karma

Yes, and I like when it happens because it's better to spend a few minutes adjusting the colors than to publish an image where I don't have the colors right.

lrs-19 karma

Love the quality of your work Marina. In your experience, what would be the one tool/plugin you wished you could have that doesn't already exist?

marinamaral10 karma

Thank you! I wish I could find a way to automatically identify the original colors of all objects in a photo. I had to give up restoring many amazing shots because I couldn't find enough information to reproduce the original colors of the main subjects, and I don't feel comfortable using a color unless I'm 99% sure it's right choice (historically speaking).

SM1boy8 karma

As someone who has tried this before any tips on making skin color look more real?

marinamaral15 karma

Observe modern photographs, trying to understand how light interacts with skin and how the surrounding environment and objects will affect it.

AgustinEugenioPlasen8 karma

Hi! First question is when you coloring how do yo know if the grey belongs at a color or the oposite and second, do not feel rare coloring portraits of dictators, murderes, etc? thanks you. Agustin from Argentina

marinamaral9 karma

It is a bit weird to spend hours looking at Hitler's face for example, but these people are part of history too!

zoombazoo8 karma

When will colourizing old movies improve? My Laurel & Hardy colour movies look goofy.

marinamaral11 karma

I have no idea of how people colorize old movies, but I imagine there is a ton of work involved and it is much more difficult to achieve a realistic result than when you're dealing with still photos.

DubbieDubbie7 karma

What is your opinion of the colorizebot?

marinamaral12 karma

I think I can continue to sleep well for a few years

stevebobeeve6 karma

A couple years ago I saw a photo series of modern soldiers done with 19th century photo techniques.

Have you seen/heard of these? I can't remember the photographer's name, but I've been trying to track them down for years.

marinamaral5 karma

I've never seen these, but I'd love to!

patrickmitchellphoto6 karma

Do you ever have a downtrend? I've been coloring for a while but I've had a trend downward in the quality of my work and haven't posted anything . I can't really figure out what I'm doing wrong. If you do go through something like this what do you do to get back on your horse?

marinamaral5 karma

Very often. I try to do something else and get back to it later. Or I watch a documentary to be inspired again!

BodegaBalada5 karma

I've been following your work for a while. Seeing pictures in colour reshape the way I think of the past. One of my recent favourites was of the D-Day landings. The addition of colour helps me relate to historical events where black and white images are all that's available!

Could you tell us about your learning curve?

Are there any particular sources that you recommend for somebody who is interested in learning the basics?

marinamaral6 karma

Thank you! I'm really proud of that series.

My learning curve - I'm kinda of obsessive, so I've never stopped practicing and studying since the first day I decided to give it a try. I'm always trying to develop new techniques and approaches, always trying to learn something new. I push myself very hard. /u/zuzahin has made a video that can be really helpful to those who are starting:

Elthwaite4 karma

Your work is striking and beautifully emotional!

Have you ever gone back and changed something if you received more information later on that confirmed a color was different than your guess? (E.g. You guessed a dress was red but after publishing the image, are contacted by someone who can confirm the dress was orange).

Have you done this with any of your family's personal history photos? What has been the reaction of someone who had been there for that moment in real life, to see an image of it colored the way they remember it in their head?

Are there any specific image requests you've turned down? (Not for reasons of the image being uninteresting, or not feasible, but for some other reason like an emotional reaction or fear of getting it wrong.)

Thank you for taking the time to do this!

marinamaral11 karma

  1. A few times! I'm always grateful when someone points this out to me. It is better to spend a few minutes correcting the colors than to publish a photo with the wrong colors.

  2. I restored some of the photos of my grandmom's wedding. She loved it! But there's a problem when you do this kind of work - some people of your family often think you only need air to live and they are not willing to pay you for the job they want you to do

  3. I turn down an image when I know it will not look good enough. I'd rather lose a few dollars than deliver a crappy photo.

BaskinsRedd1 karma

I too am curious if there have been any images that you've refused to colorize because "it just wouldn't be appropriate in this particular case", whatever that reason might be?

Along those same lines, are there some well known images you're aware of that just shouldn't be colorized, by anyone?

Not trying to put you out of work or anything, but everything has its time/place.

marinamaral1 karma

I avoid colorizing photos of the Holocaust where the faces of the deceased are exposed.

J-Wh1zzy4 karma

Wow, your work is incredible!! I've heard of colorizing black and white films and photos but it usually feels somewhat fake. Your work however feels incredibly real and I keep having to remind myself that I'm not looking at a re-enacted scene. Your work is incredibly important for giving the world a glimpse into the past.

Have you ever worked with textbook publishers to create history lessons?

marinamaral2 karma

Thank you! I'm actually doing something like this right now :) So exciting! I wish I could give you more details.

JaceLightning4 karma

What are you going to do once computers take over your job completely?

marinamaral13 karma

This is gonna take a while :)

thisispants3 karma

Do you have talent with drawing in general? Or do consider it a different skill set?

marinamaral8 karma

Definitely no! A 3-year-old kid draws better than I do.

Hopeful_lamp_rubber3 karma

If you found a lamp, would you rub it and kind of hope it was a magic one?

If a genie popped out and granted you three wishes, what would they be?

If the magic part wans that after vigorously rubbing the lamp instead of a genie popping out, the lamp would reach orgasm, would you be happy that you had found a magic lamp or disappointed that you were now covered in lamp cum?

marinamaral6 karma

lol I was not expecting this question. Let me think

unimade3 karma

I din't know you were only 22 years old!

When do you started colorizing photos?

marinamaral11 karma

I'll be 23 in September! I started in 2015 in the most random way possible. I was looking at some website and stumbled upon a collection of photos from the WWII in color. I decided that I wanted to try to reproduce the technique and haven't stopped since then.

Beebeeb3 karma

Do you know any photographers still working in black and white?

I learned to previsualize images in the grey scale and I think there is something to be said for purposefully shooting for black and white. Are there any images you wouldn't want to touch or is any monochrome picture fair game?

marinamaral2 karma

I do not work with photos that are copyrighted. Other than that, I have no major restrictions.

Beebeeb3 karma

I meant is there any photos you don't think should be in color?

Many artists continued to shoot in black and white after the invention of color film. Ansel Adams for example was known for his mastery of greyscale. I don't think his photos would be improved by colorization. As someone who does that for a living is there any photos you think are best left as is?

marinamaral6 karma

I don't think so, because I don't want to improve the photos. I just want to offer a second perspective.

view-master3 karma

I want to hear your technique. I have done a bit of this as a hobby. Honesty most of the online examples of people doing this are far inferior to mine, but I still struggle with each image. Skin of course is extremely difficult, but so is shiny metal. You need the white reflections in shinny objects to still be white for example. I use several different types of color layers on top or under the black and white image.

Do you have different workflows for different materials?

marinamaral8 karma

Can I see some of your work?

marinamaral6 karma

No, my workflow is the same. What makes the difference is that I'm always studying things that apparently have not to do with what I do, but they actually have a lot, such as physics and traditional painting techniques. I push myself very hard and I practice every day to try to better understand how every different object and texture will interact with the lightning and the ambient surrounding it.

swimstud563 karma

In the first picture of your portfolio what is the context? Also why is the guards eyes (to me , a color blind person) seem like he's straight from hell?

marinamaral6 karma

Because he is. That's Hermann Göring, leading member of the Nazi Party, at the Nuremberg trial in 1946. The Nuremberg trial was a series of military tribunals, held by the Allied forces after World War II. The trials were most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, judicial and economic leadership of Nazi Germany, who planned, carried out, or otherwise participated in the Holocaust and other war crimes.

tinyraccoon3 karma

I don't know if this is something you work with, but I have some black and white line drawings that I would like to color digitally. What software would you recommend for that?

The drawings are mostly portraits, btw.

marinamaral2 karma

Photoshop for sure.

janosdamiano2 karma

Do you create your own filters/algorithms/tools or is there a favorite utility to help you decide what the correct colors should be?

marinamaral4 karma

This is the kind of information that I can only find if I dig into historical documents. There is no software or tool that will automatically tell you the colors. I always try to be as accurate as possible, but since I'm not an expert, I'm very open to commit mistakes. I try to reduce this risk by partnering with experts and historians.

Mixtape_2 karma

On a scale of 1-10, how great is the quick select tool?

marinamaral2 karma

In most cases it works very well! I'd say 7.

soxson2 karma

How often do people ask you to color a family photograph of some sort whenever you tell them about your career?

marinamaral4 karma

Every day. Especially my neighbors.

Tidder802b2 karma

Is there a picture you keep revisiting because you're just not happy with it, can't get right, or re-imagine it?

marinamaral3 karma

I'm always revisiting most of them and adjusting a thing or two.

TheLiberalHunter2 karma


Chillvab3 karma

Colorizebot vs u/marinamaral! Go!

marinamaral3 karma

Challenge accepted!

orangeneon2 karma

This may be a dumb question, but how do know what the colors should be? Do you guess? Is there a methodology you use? Thanks!

marinamaral6 karma

This is the kind of information that I can only find if I dig into historical documents. There is no software or tool that will automatically tell you the colors. I always try to be as accurate as possible, but since I'm not an expert, I'm very open to commit mistakes. I try to reduce this risk by partnering with experts and historians.

Billlll_Brasky2 karma

I personally love black and white photos and don't think we should colorize photos except for personal pleasure. What are your thoughts on this? I'm always looking to broaden my horizons and change my point of view. Are there any photos which you think having them colorized is a necessity? Are there any photos you think keeping them black and white is a necessity?

marinamaral8 karma

Think about the photo of the girl that was murdered in Auschwitz. You have no idea of how many messages I receive literally every day from people expressing how emotional they became after seeing the photo in color, and most important, many of them say that they were able to truly understand what the Holocaust represented only after seeing her photo in color for the first time. My photos are used in classrooms, and teachers always report how the interest of their students in history classes have improved since they began to use them.

ChateauJack2 karma

I follow you on social media and your posts on reddit, it's always great to see your work.

  • You mentionned that you started to colorize picture since 2015 only. What career did you envision before being succesfull as a colorist ?

  • Your work seems to be very appreciated and recognized, and it's true that most colorized pictures I've seen are underwelming. What's your secret for having such skills so young ? If it's practise and practise only, do you have some of your early days work that you could show us ?

  • I'm also a big fan of WWI/WWII, and the history of totalitarism in general, I've watched many documentaries about it. One in particular, Apocalypse ( french documentary on WWI ) got my attention. It's got colorized archived movies from 1914-1918, but the quality is very poor. Is colorizing videos that much harder ? Is it done picture after picture, or can you use tracking algorythms to make it easier ?

marinamaral3 karma

  1. I was lost. I have a weird past and I've made some "decisions" that kind of throw me into a spiral where I had no perspectives at all. I have always suffered from depression, anxiety and other similar issues. My grandfather died in 2008 and that was kind of the downfall, which made me drop out of school before I even completed high school. That may sound normal to an American (where home education is legal/normal), but that certainly made me an alien here in Brazil. I spent 6 years at home, "locked" in my room. I had/have no friends. Today I strongly believe that nothing happens by accident, because it was during this period that I began to unconsciously build the basis that allowed me to become what I am today. I began studying English, what today is something essential to me, and I spent hours watching Photoshop tutorials on youtube. I went to college in 2015 to study International Relations but I was not passionate about it. Thankfully the colorization thing came into my life, otherwise, I have no idea what I would be doing today.
  2. This was one of the first ones I completed. Awful.

  3. I think it is much harder, yes!

lolalolagirl2 karma

How do you determine skin tone and color?

marinamaral3 karma

By looking at the greyscale.

henkdevierde32 karma

What do you think of colorizing movie classics like Citizen Kane?

marinamaral3 karma

I think colorization will always be welcome, as long as it is done with responsibility for maintaining the essence of the original material. I will never use pink to colorize a military uniform, for example, nor remove an object from the photo only because I think it is distracting. I always have in mind that I'm dealing with historical documents.

danmoxon11 karma

whats your favourite colour ?

marinamaral2 karma

I don't have a favorite color

BlueMacaw1 karma

Where do you find the images to colorize? Are they all public domain photographs?

Sometimes seeing such high quality images taken over a century ago is every bit as amazing as seeing how you bring them to life with color!

marinamaral5 karma

They are all public domain. I find the photos in the collections made available by museums, libraries and government organizations. Sometimes I buy the license on GettyImages or get permission from the legal owner to colorize the photo.

Wooed2nite1 karma

The realism in your work is amazing.

So i have a general rule when im painting a figure from imagination. I paint in the local color of the skin, then i make the 1/2 tone darker and more saturated, the occlusion even darker and less saturated, and the highlight less saturated. The shadow seems to be unsaturated and tinted blue if the figure is outside.

I was wondering if this somthing that you conciously keep in mind while working. If not, what are some formulas that you keep in mind while working.

Also, do you use the colorize layer?

marinamaral2 karma

I have no formal education in arts, photography or whatever, so the choices I make are kind of instinctive. I observe modern-day photographs and try to understand how one object interacts with another, how the lighting will change the base color of a given material, etc.

uWonBiDVD1 karma

Have you ever worked on a photo that was challenging on a moral level, but you believed it was important to complete?

marinamaral3 karma

Yes, the one of Czeslawa Kwoka. I get messages every day from people saying that they have begun to understand the impact of the Holocaust only after seeing this photo in color for the first time. That's what motivates me to do what I do.

SapientHorse1 karma

Thank you for your amazing work. What has been the most challenging picture to colorize so far?

marinamaral9 karma

Thank you! Hard to say because there are two different parameters: the most challenging in terms of complexity and the most challenging in terms of emotional impact. Going for the latter, I think it was that one of the little girl that was murdered in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. I posted this picture during the Holocaust Remembrance Day and the way it was widely shared and the way people received it / reacted to it was pretty impressive. She has blood in her mouth, she is crying, she knows what will happen to her. My goal was to add a sense of humanity to the picture, which in my opinion was lost in the black and white version. When I completed the work and looked at her face for the first time, it was a shock. I realized she was a human being just like me. She had dreams, fears, friends, family, ambitions and a life ahead. But she lost it all.

Rhoobarb20021 karma

Do you only use photoshop, or do you use other software or plugins as well?

marinamaral3 karma

Photoshop only

liamquane1 karma

How can you be sure of the colours you're adding?

marinamaral2 karma

Not always.


Do the limits of technology make your job any harder? Is there a process that could be much easier if computing power were greater?

marinamaral2 karma

It would be much easier if I had a way of figuring out the original colors of a given object without the need to spend several minutes/hours researching.

Amsklei1 karma

What was the most troublesome photo you've colorized?

gnome_where1 karma

Amazing skills. What do you think about recent AI projects like this?

A reasonably dedicated hobbyist AI developer could put this together in a few days, using open source technologies.

It's a different space than the one you occupy. It can't necessarily know what colors are "right", just that they "look real".

Another blog post with more details (I haven't read the whole thing). Scroll down for some examples that don't work as well.

PS the auto-mod bot could be updated to use sentiment analysis, rather than searching for a question mark ;)

marinamaral2 karma

I think the idea is cool and I'm actually in contact with the scientists that are developing this tool. Their goal is not to overpass our techniques, but to be an additional help to cut off the time that we need to spend working on the images.

Alwayspriority1 karma

How do you determine the original color? Do you just use artistic license?

marinamaral3 karma

The colors are almost always based on historical research. You can find visual descriptions, drawings and paintings from that era that will give you a pretty good idea of the colors. But sometimes a lot of guesswork is necessary to colorize random objects, such as regular clothing, hats, shoes, a chair, etc.

kirlisabun1 karma

Do you use adjustment layers for colouring or brush tool with different blend modes?

marinamaral2 karma


wcjs1 karma

Amazing work!

How did you turn this into a profession? :)

marinamaral9 karma

I don't know! I started sharing the photos, eventually my work gained a lot of attention in the media and people started contacting me, then I left college to pursue my passion and to dedicate myself entirely to this. I had an extremely boring life and next day the BBC was at my house. It was the most insane, unexpected and cool thing that ever happened to me.

wcjs3 karma

That's amazing!!!! I wish you all the best, truly. Can't wait to see more of your work and what you have planned!

marinamaral5 karma

Thank you so much! I have some big news to announce soon!