Colorizing - B&W Images into Color

Photoshop Tutorials


Click on thumbnailed images to enlarge

Okay, since I have been noticing the increasing number of colorizations lately and the increasing number of questions on how to make colorizations, Iíve decided to write a detailed tutorial on colorizing. Iíll teach you my way of how to turn a black-and-white image into a colored one. Here are some examples of colorizations:

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
Those images were both turned into color from original black-and-white-images. Okay, so letís begin.

1. Okay, first open up your desired image in photoshop. It can be a black-and-white image or a colored one. If itís a colored one, then at the top, press Image>>Mode>>Grayscale, so your image will then be black-and-white. After your image has become black-and-white, then press Image>>Mode>>RGB Color. This will allow you to turn your grayscale image into color. Iíll be using this image of Rachel Bilson:

Click to enlarge

2. Next, grab your polygonal lasso tool. It should be the second one down in the first row of the little toolbar at the left. If itís not there, just hold the lasso tool until more options pop up, and the polygonal lasso tool should be there, like so:

User posted image

3. Now that you have your polygonal lasso tool, use it to select parts of the image to colorize. Iíll start with the skin first. Then I would right-click on the image and press feather. Feathering the image would smoothen the edges, so they wouldn't turn out all rough after you fill it with color. Iíd feather anywhere between 2-5 pixels, depending on how large the selected area is. On Miss Bilsonís face, I feathered about 3 pixels.

User posted image

4. Then choose a good foreground color for the skin. I chose #FFDEAA. Then, with the polygonal lasso tool, right-click on the image, and select fill. With the settings, select Use: Foreground Color, and set either Color or Overlay as the mode. Feel free to try both to see which one looks better. Play around with the opacity as well. Hereís what I used:

User posted image

5. I know, it doesnít look like skin color, but weíll fix that. After the areaís been filled, press ctrl + J, or duplicate the layer. You might want to name all your layers, just so you could keep track of them. Next, double-click or right-click>>blending options on the duplicated layer. Select color overlay and select a good skin color with color/overlay/soft light as the blending mode. Once again, play around with the opacity. Click OK. The skin color may still be off and may look weird when the other parts are colorized, but thatís okay. You can always go back to that layer and fix the color and you may also click Edit>>Adjustments>>Brightness/Contrast or Hue/Saturation to tweak the colors. Whatever works. You might want to wait and colorize everything else before you fix the face colors, though. Anyway, here is what I did. These will not be my final colors, however.

User posted image

6. Again, with your polygonal lasso tool, just select the other parts of the image to colorize like you did with the face. Just keep repeating the process. When youíre done colorizing everything, you can enhance each color with color overlays or you can change the hue/saturation or brightness/contrast, like I already stated above.

Hereís my final product:

User posted image

I played with the hue/saturation on her face, so now it looks like actual skin color and isn't all yellow like before.

If this tutorial didnít help, Iíll be majorly disappointed because it was very time-consuming. Haha. :smile:

Tutorial Comments

Showing latest 7 of 7 comments

that was really hard cuz i had to transfer it over to gimp :) but thank you

By brokenbeatbeauty on Dec 20, 2009 10:12 am


By bstone804 on Jun 14, 2009 8:48 am

Nice picture colouring work. Thanks.

image coloring

By sblgraphics on Apr 24, 2009 1:49 am

oh my that's awesome!! now my pics dont have to be boring old b&w.

By goth-nina on Oct 10, 2008 10:07 am

Thats really neat!

By dilligrout on Sep 22, 2008 5:23 pm

ty so much! totally helped and great tutorial.

By sarahxboys on Dec 26, 2007 3:33 pm

omg.ty so much!

By diana170 on Jul 18, 2007 6:38 pm

Tutorial Details

Author sharerol View profile
Submitted on Feb 16, 2006
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