My #challengeyourcamera post last week caused a bit of a stir! It was based on the technique known as Photo Splash with which you convert an image to monochrome, then recolour certain parts of the image, usually just a single colour. Here’s an example:
I’d posed this as a challenge partly for entertainment reasons thinking that it would be something new for people to try, bringing a little light into these dark days. Also there is a definite learning advantage from mastering the technique that goes beyond just playing with a new app for a day and reminiscing about those colouring books from childhood. It trains your eye to see photo opportunities differently, to notice colours more, even to seek out certain colours against the best backgrounds. I often view it like seeing opportunities for macro photography, in my case I’ve done macro photography for so long I can’t go on a country walk without grubbing around amongst leaves and twigs seeking out insects or miniature fungi, or patiently waiting for a bee to settle on a flower in the garden. So it is after practicing photo splash for so long, back to nature walks again where I see a single poppy in a field of wheat and in my minds eye instantly remove the background of wheat, knowing that here’s an opportunity. Or, walking around Oxford one day and seeing a young student with a red coat propping up her bicycle against some railings around the Radcliffe Camera building. It was too good an opportunity to miss, especially with a background library building called “Camera” and after quick chat she posed for me and here’s the result after I got back home and “coloursplashed” it.
There are some general guidelines that make photo splash easier as a technique, mostly common sense and nothing technical:
1. Choose your image carefully, have some strong colour in the scene of the colour that interests you, and make sure that the colour item is large enough to “fiddle with”. Trying to colour in a red tiny button on a yellow jacket isn’t easy!
2. Choose your app based on its features, specifically whether the recolouring is done automatically with a single click, or manually using your finger or a stylus.
3. Manual recolouring can be made much easier by zooming in on the area for change. This can be done using two fingers on the touch screen and spreading them outwards to zoom. Also, some apps have a magnifier facility, so when you touch the screen and start to recolour a circle will appear at the top of the screen showing in big close up the tip of your finger and stylus. Watch the circle NOT your finger.
4. A touch screen stylus makes life a lot easier, there are many different types ranging from the common rubber tipped for £1-£2 in phone shops and stationery stores up to the Apple Pencil which is very fine tipped and costs …….. a lot!
I use Moldiv for automatic recolouring and Color Splash for manual recolouring, I have them both on my iPad and iPhone. I’ve had them for a few years when they were free, but now they are not. Moldiv is free to download then I think it’s £7.99 for a filter pack, Color Splash is £1.99. But ……. as I’ve already said above, learning this technique is not just about apps and a few photos, it is training your eye for better possibilities, not just for colour splash but for refining the choices you make, when to photo something and what to photo. Here’s a few more examples to illustrate and hopefully encourage you to persevere.