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Adobe Photoshop CS3

Colorizing Black and White Photos

Photoshop CS3 allows you to give black and white images and photos new life and vibrancy by adding color to them. This document explains two different ways Photoshop allows you to colorize your black and white images.

return to topColorizing with the Color Replacement Tool

Colorizing an image with the Color Replacement Tool allows you to quickly and easily add color to an image or photo. This is the simplest method of adding color, however, the colors produced are often light and unconvincing.

  1. Open your scanned or saved black and white image or photo
    NOTE: If you are not able to apply color to your image or photo, you may need to change the Image Mode to RGB Color.

  2. From the Toolbox, select the Eyedropper ToolEye-drop tooland choose the appropriate color
    OR
    Use the Color Picker dialog box to select a color

  3. Click and hold the BRUSH TOOLBrush tool
    This will reveal alternate options for the Brush Tool.

  4. Select the Color Replacement Tool Color replacement tool
    NOTE: If you use any other paint tool besides the Color Replacement Tool, you will be coloring over the image thereby losing the image's distinct shapes and characteristics.

  5. From the Options bar, select the desired Sampling option
    Continuous
    colors the areas you drag over.
    Once
    colors only the areas that are the same color as the area first clicked. (If you first click on a white area of your picture and drag, only the other white areas will be replaced with color).
    Background Swatch
    colors only areas containing the current background color.

  6. From the Options bar, in the Limits pull-down list, select the desired limit
    Discontiguous
    colors the pixels you drag your pointer over
    Contiguous
    colors pixels that share a common border within a given tolerance level
    Find Edges
    colors pixels that share a common border and preserves the definition of the shape's edges

  7. Using the Color Replacement Tool, hold down your mouse button as you color the selected area
    NOTE: To ensure that you only color exactly what you want, use a selection tool and highlight the particular area you wish to color. With an area selected, you may only color within that area. If you wish to color outside of the highlighted area again, simply deselect it.

return to top Colorizing with Image Adjustments

You can also colorize a black and white image or photo using Color Balance, Hue/Saturation, or Variations. All of these options are located in the Image menu under Adjustments. Using these options to colorize your image or photo may take more time and effort; however, the color produced will be much more life like.

NOTE: These instructions assume you have selected an area to colorize. For more information, refer to Selecting an Area.

Color Balance

The Color Balance option allows you to increase or decrease numerically the color values of the Cyan/Red, Magenta/Green, and Yellow/Blue channels. By incrementally increasing or decreasing the amount of these color channels in your image or photo, you can create a color to your exact specifications.

  1. Select an area of you image or photo to colorize

  2. From the Image menu, select Adjustments » Color Balance
    OR
    [Ctrl]+[B]
    The Color Balance dialog box appears.
    Color balance dialog box

  3. Use the color sliders and the Tone Balance options to create a precise color for your selected area
    NOTE: With the Preview box selected, you will be able to observe the changes in color occurring to the area selected as you move the color sliders.

  4. Click OK
    The changes you made will be reflected in your image or photo.

Hue/Saturation

The Hue/Saturation option allows you to use color sliders to impact the amount of Hue, Saturation, and Lightness.This option allows you to produce a distinct color, but you cannot impact the Shadow or Highlight attributes of your selection.

  1. Select a color

  2. Select an area of you image or photo to colorize

  3. From the Image menu, select Adjustments » Hue/Saturation
    OR
    [Ctrl]+[U]
    The Hue/Saturation dialog box appears.
    Hue/Saturation dialog box

  4. Select Colorize
    The color sliders will move to display the color that is currently selected in your Color palette.

  5. Move the color sliders until you create the precise color for your selected area
    NOTE: With the Preview box selected, you will be able to observe the changes in color occurring to the area selected as you move the color sliders.

  6. Click OK
    The changes you made will be reflected in you image or photo.

Variations

The Variations option allows you to add more of one individual color channel or degree of lightness/darkness to your image. This image adjustment option is the most time consuming; however, it will produce the most customized and realistic color for your image or photo.

  1. Select an area of your image or photo to colorize

  2. From the Image menu, select Adjustments » Variations...
    The Variations dialog box appears.
    Variations

  3. Select what you want to change
    EXAMPLE: Shadows

  4. Select the degree of adjustment by moving the Fine/Coarse slider

  5. Add the desired color by clicking a color thumbnail

  6. To adjust brightness, click the LIGHTER or DARKER thumbnail
    Changes are reflected in the CURRENT PICK thumbnail.

  7. Repeat steps 3-6 until you have the desired effect

  8. Click OK
    The changes you made will be reflected in your image or photo.

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