Introduction: Colourizing Black & White Images

Picture of Colourizing Black & White Images

This tutorial will teach you how to add colour to a black and white image using Photoshop.

Step 1:

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Materials required are:

  • Photoshop or an equivalent program (any version should be fine).
  • A mouse
  • A black and white image
  • (Optional) A Graphic Tablet (This is not required, but makes colouring so much easier)


Furthermore, you will need basic knowledge of Photoshop or a different graphics program, or else you will struggle with following the steps.

Step 2:

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Open up your image in Photoshop. If it is not black and white yet, open the adjustments window and add a black and white layer gradient (Image -> Adjustments -> Gradient map). Merge the layers once you are done.

Image from here

http://yourssmiley.deviantart.com/art/portrait-275374399

Step 3:

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Create a layer above your base image. Set the mode of the layer to “Colour”.

Step 4:

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Select a brush of your choice, and choose the colour you want to make the skin. You may also change the opacity and the flow of your brush to your liking.

Step 5:

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On the layer set to “Colour” mode, begin painting the skin with your brush. The colour should come up on the black and white image.

Step 6:

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Create a new “Colour” layer and paint the other parts of the portrait. I recommend you do all of these on separate layers so you can change them later on if the need arises. For colouring smaller areas, simply reduce your brush size and zoom in. If you own a graphic tablet, switching to that might help you colour more accurately.

Step 7:

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Once you are done, you can make certain areas neater by using the eraser and brush tool.

Step 8:

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Once you are finished with colouring, save your file as .psd and then merge all layers into one. Then you can correct or enhance the colours using the different options in the adjustment window.

Here, I set the vibrance to +32 and the saturation to +1 .

Finally, don't be afraid of experimenting! Try how using different colours and filters will have an effect on your image, maybe even add some freckles, but most importantly have fun!

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