Colorizing Black and White
... is easy with blending modes
Our reply to a question sent in by: Dilip Kumar Sengupta
Help add colour to a BnW:
Please Help ! Please inform me how to add colour to a B & W Photograph in Photoshop
- Sure. It's great fun, and I wish I had more time to do it myself. The problem is, when you ask an open ended question like that, the answer could easily cover a dozen pages -- up to several hundred pages. In Photoshop and Elements colorizing an image can be taken as far as your imagination and time allow. There's really no end to what you can do.
I assume you've scanned in the image, and you have your Photoshop file open. There are several techniques you can employ. Since you didn't specify exactly how you want to colorize the image, I'll mention all three.
Make sure you visit the Windows menu and make sure your Layers and Color palettes are showing.
- Simple and quick color?
- If you want to act on a single element in the image, you will want to make your selection now. Once you've selected the area to colorize, you may want to go to the Selection menu and slide all the way down to "Save Selection." Give it a meaningful name, and you're off and running. If the active selection (racing ants) is lost or deselected, just return to the menu and select "Load Selection."
Now with your selection active, go to the Layer menu and slide down to the New Adjustment Layer pull out. There are a number of great selections there -- you might want to select Hue/Saturation first. When the dialog appears experiment with the sliders and explore the variations you can get from manipulating the raw Saturation. Next click on the button that says "Colorize." You'll be treated with a colorized image, and sliding the hue, saturation and lightness sliders let you act on the entire image, or just your active selection. Keep in mind that the adjustment layer is non-destructive and you can merely turn it off (Click the 'eye' icon on the layer palette). You'll notice too that you can always come back and change this layer again and again.
- Painterly Color
- Now if that doesn't suite your taste, simply turn the previous layer off and now click to start a new, standard layer.
Here you can use the painting tools to begin hand-coloring the image. Paint directly on the layer, or first make selections from the image to restrict the painting within those selections. Experiment with different brush and color settings. In the Layers Palette, click on the pull-down button ("Normal") and slide down to "Multiply." Presto, your colors blend with the photo.
This offers the most variety and opportunity -- you can actually wear yourself out just experimenting with all the various tools and settings. Create a new layer to color other areas of the image.
- The sky is the limit
- Try selecting areas of the image and using the cloning tool to 'sample' textures and tones from an actual color photo. Try painting with solid colors and changing opacity or adding "painterly" textures and filters.
Remember always that the sky is the limit and time is really your only constraint.
Be sure to take a look at Bert Monroy or Sharron Steuer's books in our Photoshop Bibliography" you'll get a lot of really cool artistly effects you can do real easily.
PS: If anyone would like to share their techniques with our readers, we'd love to hear from you. Just let us know!
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