Colorizing Black and White

This is a few methods to colorize your photos using blending modes. This especially has a nice effect on black and white photos.

1. Select your image. Here is my stock BW photo:


2. Open the photo in photoshop, unlock the original layer, and add a new layer right above it

3. Group your new layer by doing Layers – Group Layers. This will make a group for your selected layers:


4. Set the blending mode of the new layer group to “color.” This is done by selecting the group, and  finding color in the pulldown tab directly under the top of the “Layers” panel.


5. Now you are set to to colorize your selected portions of the photo. There are two main ways to do this:

a. Use a selector tool like the magnetic lasso or magic wand to select the portion of the photo you want to color. In my photo, I selected the hat on the boy on the left. Next, I used the Edit – Fill function to add a fill color to the selected area. This can also be done by using the paint bucket tool. After this, you can change the opacity of the fill layer to make it look more realistic. I continued and colorized a few other features on the boy on the left, like making his shoes green and his lips pink.


b. The other way to colorize, which you can make more accurate and precise, is using the brush tool. Same process of making a new group and layers, but instead of using the fill option or the paint bucket, you manually brush it yourself. It helps to zoom in very close to make it as precise as possible. Select the brush tool, brush the space you want with your desired color, and change the opacity of the layer the same way as the first process. With the brush, I colored the skin, hair, eyes, and bow tie of the boy on the left:Image

If you look closely, you can tell the brush mode was much more accurate than the selection mode. But it also took more time. This process can become helpful when using BW photos. Giving a BW photo a small color flair makes it much more interesting, and automatically attracts the viewer to the color.


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