Best Way To Colorize Black And White Photos

October 13, 2018 7:36 am by columnblogger
Black and white image and the colorized version
You can find more of these colorized photographs in this online album
Best Way To Colorize Black And White Photos

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Despite the fact that most photo editing programs for PC or Mac can accomplish nearly any photo editing task, each software requires a certain level of knowledge and skill. Here are the best options if you want to colorize your photos with a photo editing software.

That is amazing! I had no idea color film was available that early. Perhaps it was available, but somewhat expensive for the general population? Thanks for that information.

These instructions will show you how to turn a boring black and white (B/W) photo into a vibrant colored photo using Adobe Photoshop.In these instructions, I am going to color a photo of a little girl, to show the basic steps and concepts of how to color a B/W photo. To color your own B/W photo, the concepts are the same, and it will not be a difficult task for you.Black and white photographs were popular in the early 19th century. It took about a half century for people to switch from B/W photos to color photos. As a result, there still exists lots of B/W photos in our lives. Even for a color photo, its color is going to fade as time goes on. However, the world cannot only be in black and white. Color can help to tell a story, and it can be used to communicate on an emotional level. As you can see from the Figure.1, the little girl looks cold and pale. However, it looks much different in Figure.2. The girl looks prettier and the scene feels warm. As a result, putting color on B/W photos is an important skill.Technical Ability Requirements: Coloring a photo doesn’t require a lot of skills. Even if you are a child, you are able to complete this task. However, it is better for the readers to know basic computer skills, like opening and saving files, and copying and pasting components. If you are familiar with Adobe’s graphic processor Photoshop 5 or 6, it will be very easy for you. Here I am assuming the readers have the basic computer skills like launching Photoshop software and creating a new project.Required Time: It usually takes 20 minutes for a starter to finish all the steps by following the instructions. As you get more familiar with it, it will not take longer than 10 minutes. But, the better you want your photo to be, the more time you should spend on it.Coloring photos could bring you a lot of fun to your daily life. Just imagine if you colored your grandma’s old photo and showed it to your family, how surprised and happy they would be. When other people know you are able to use Photoshop and handle some cool skills, they will be jealous. Furthermore, this practice may lead you to a new interest in working with images.List of Required Parts: 1. A black and white or faded photograph.     In this case, an example image is provided as shown in the first figure. 2. Adobe Photoshop CS6 or CS5 on a working computerList Required Tools: Because we are going to use Adobe Photoshop to do all work, it is necessary to have a copy of Adobe Photoshop. You can either buy a copy from the Adobe official website or download the trial version. A trial version gives you a limit of 30 days to experience this software. Adobe Photoshop CS6 and CS5 both work well for this instruction. If you only have an earlier version of Adobe Photoshop, like CS3 or CS4, theoretically they can work because the functions we are going to use are basic functions in Photoshop. However, if you use CS3 or CS4, the user interface would be very different from the later version. As a result, it will be a little difficult to follow the steps here and you may need to find those corresponding functions by yourself. Here is the link of the official website: system requirements of Adobe Photoshop CS6 are as following: Windows • Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor • Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 3 orMicrosoft Windows 7 with Service Pack 1. Adobe® Creative Suite® 5.5 and CS6 applications also support Windows 8. See the CS6 FAQ for more information about Windows 8 support.* • 1 GB of RAM • 1 GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on removable flash storage devices) • 1024 x 768 display (1280 x 800 recommended) with 16-bit color and 512 MB (1 GB recommended) of VRAM • OpenGL 2.0–capable system • DVD-ROM drive • This software doesn’t operate without activation. Broadband Internet connection and registration are required for software activation, validation of subscriptions, and access to online services. Phone activation is not available.You can get more information for system requirements from the official website:, Let’s Start our work!

Here you can see me trying to color (in GIMP) this black and white photo from the 50s

I think we all can agree that Black and White photos have their own charm about them, and while some photos are better off staying Black and White, there are some, that would definitely have looked better in color. The most widely used method to colorize Black and White photos has always been Photoshop. It offers a wide variety of tools that can be used to add color to objects in a photograph and to enhance the image, to make it look as if it originally was taken in color. While Photoshop has become a very mainstream tool, it has always been a little tedious to use, involving a lot of man-hours of work. Fortunately, there are some tools (some of them even use deep learning techniques), that allow users to colorize Black and White photos, easily:

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It is a pretty decent web app, and can be used to quickly color a portrait, or an image that does not have very small objects. By default, the website opens with a portrait of a man, in Black and White, that you can try coloring out on by using another similar image. You can also upload your own Black and White images to work with.

If your “History” window does not show up, go to the menu “Window” => “History”. You will get a confirmation dialog window like in the second figure. Select “Merged Layers” from the drop-down window and click OK.A snapshot is part of the history palette. It is used to record the state of the document at a point in time. You’ll want to make a snapshot before you make major changes which you might not be sure about keeping so that you can go back to the snapshot of the .psd file at the point you “recorded” it.

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Actually, i have color slides that my father took during WW2 in europe – he was a cannoneer and was in England a few months before D-Day, which he then was part of. His slides have maintained more color than i even thought possible considering the years that have passed. we just scanned them this past year and it’s pretty amazing. He also took BW while there but the slides are all color.

Step 15: Check the Checkbox Before “Snapshot4” and Use That As a Source to Tint Little Girl’s Hair.

Movies made in technicolor have kept their colour better than any other brand. Colour film has been available for a long time but it was just too expensive in the early days.

After dragging in the image, you should see a little girl lying on a bed playing with a bottle of perfume as is shown in the figure. As you can see, he picture looks boring and not so vivid. So far, you have made a good start. Let’s go a little bit further.

You may also need: Top 10 Black & White Photo Apps for iOS and Android Smartphones

6 People Made This Project!PatM22 made it!Jibran UllahK made it!AnargyaS made it!CarolTheArtist made it!saeedsama made it!edwardblack619 made it!

Change “Cyan” to 100, “Magenta” to -100 and “Yellow” to 20. As shown in the third figure, the picture should be in pink. We are going to use this color to tint the background of the photo and the tips of the little girl.

From some readers’ feed back, I am aware that some of them have problem with the step 7. When they tried to adjust the brightness and contrast of the “Cyan” Channel, they pressed icon in the “Adjustments” panel and a window like the second picture showed up. After they adjusted the parameter, the picture became the same as shown in the third figure.  The photo showed a lot brighter but there was no change in the color. Explanation: The function in the “Adjustment” panel works for all the channels here. When you adjust the Brightness/Contrast through the function in the “Adjustment” panel, you are basically changing the brightness and contrast of the black and white photo rather than the Cyan Layer.  Only by changing the the intensity of the Channel components can we produce a new color other than black and white.Solution: To solve this problem, just follow the instruction in the step 7 : Go to the menu on the top.  Choose Image=>Adjustments=> Brightness/Contrast.  This function only works for the current Channel.

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“Bright/Contrast” window will show up like in the first figure. Adjust “Brightness” to 85 and “Contrast” to 25.Then if you select “CMYK” in “Channels” panel,The photo should look like the third figure.By doing this step, we created a color that we will use to tint little girls skin and skirt, which means you have completed a big process. Keep it up!

You will see a little brush appear in the check box. This little brush will allow you to use “Snapshot 2” as a source to draw on “Snapshot 3”. It basically means you can use Snapshot2’s setting to color part of the “Snapshot 3”.

Step 3: Convert the Image Mode to CMYK Color and Click OK to Confirm Conversion.

Adding color to each and every detail in a photo can be a tiresome task that takes hours, and sometimes even day to complete, which is the reason why this online tool can hardly be described as a fast way to colorize photos. On the other hand, Colorize Photos Online Converter provides a great level of precision and the photos colorized with it look realistic.

Step 5: Take a Snapshot of the Current Layer by Pressing “Alt” + Clicking the Camera Icon in the History Panel.

Step 13: Click the Check Box Before “Snapshot 2” and Select “Snapshot 3”.

Adobe Photoshop is an almighty tool that lets you do anything you want with your photos if you know how. Although colorizing a photo in Photoshop doesn’t take more than half an hour, it is a rather complicated task for someone who has never used this software before. Furthermore, Photoshop isn’t free so if you are not considering a career in photo editing, GIMP may be a better choice for colorizing photos.

I got stuck on Step 13 where you’re to use Snapshot 2 as a source to draw on Snapshot 3. I tried multiple times but each time the brush automatically picked up the colors that were in my Foreground/Background color palette box, not the colors from the Snapshot. Any advice?

This step is absolutely blurry for me! With what I should do? I just paintin red lines.. o.O

Reddit plays host to some of the most skilled and knowledgeable people on the internet (depending on where you look). The site has subreddits for almost every topic you will ever need information about; which naturally means, that there is a subreddit for photo colorization requests, as well, dubbed Colorization Requests.

Change “Cyan” to -80, “Magenta” to 85 and “Yellow” to -95 and the picture should be like the second figure. We are going to use this color to tint the girl’s hair later.

Hello all, is there someone that can give me advise… I have Photoshop 2014 and PS Elements 11. I don’t know what I’ve done but in both programs I can’t use my clone tool… when I try and click on what needs to be cloned I get a pic on top of another pic so every time I move the clone tool the top pic moves too. So my clone tool is more or less useless this way. Is there anyone that can tell me what I might of done to make it this way and is there anyone that can tell me how to fix it… Thank you so much in advance..

Editing photos online is an efficient way to avoid having to deal with countless options provided by photo editing programs, since you edit a photo in a short period of time. Here’s how you can colorize a photo with an online tool.

Step 6: Switch to “Channels” Panel and Select “Cyan” Channel.

I have Photoshop 6 (CC6) and experienced the same problem – the brush picks up the colors that are in the Foreground/Background color palette box, not the colors from the Shapshot. Did you ever figure this out? Did anyone else?

People in need of an automatic way to add color to a black and white photo will have a good time using the Colorize It microservice, provided by Algorithmia. All you need to do is upload your photo or paste the URL from the place on the Internet where you already uploaded your photo and click on the Colorize It button. The algorithm will then automatically add color to your photo, and once the colorization is complete you’ll be able to see the before and after photos.

The Colorize It service gets its information from millions of images it analyzes and it continues to develop through Deep Learning, a machine learning method that enables AI to improve over time. However, at this stage, it can hardly be expected from Colorize It to create realistic colors on every image it processes, which is why the results you get may vary from photo to photo.

Step 11: Open Color/Balance Window Again and Set New Parameters.

Even if you are a highly skilled photo editor you’ll still need some time to add color to a black and white photo, but a software like Fotophire can help people who’d like to colorize a photo in just a few clicks. Wondershare’s photo editing software features numerous photo filters that can be applied to a photo with a single click. Filters such as Blue Wash or Cross Process can add color to your photo within seconds. It is worth noting that once you apply a photo filter the color will be applied to an entire photo, so the result you’ll get may not be a photo that has realistic colors.

Step 4: Press Ctrl + J to Make a Copy of the Original Photo.

Photos often capture memories and with the passage of time these memories fade into black and white, each of the techniques for colorizing photos we described, will bring back your memories in vivid color. We’d love to hear which technique for colorizing photos you like the most, so feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments.

If you are looking for some best photo editors to restore your old photos, check out Best Photo Restoration Software to Restore Old Photos in 2018. Before restoring the printed old photos, you may need to scan your old photos first.

All things said and done, while Colorize-it might not be the best way to colorize images with wildly abstract objects (such as the crashing waves of the sea), it works well on images with distinguishable objects that it can recognise, and it is really amazing to see computer vision taking such giant steps forward. “One small step for colorization, one giant leap for computer vision”.

Obviously, since the service uses deep learning, it will get better over time, as the developers train it over more and more data sets. Currently, Colorize-it has been trained using around a million images, which results in okay-ish results a lot of the time. Yes, there are flaws in the system; it almost always prefers to color grass green, and messes up the colors of waves in the sea (making them more brown, than blue), but it’s great to see how close an algorithm can get, even in such early stages of development.

There were no black and white photos in the early 19th century.

All you have to do is upload your Black and White photo to an image hosting service like Imgur or others and paste the URL of your image in Colorize-it. Then, click on “Colorize”, and wait while Colorize-it works its magic. Alternatively, you could use one of the thumbnails from their website for testing purposes. I tried a couple of the pre-available thumbnails, and the results were good for one of them, and rather poor for the other. See for yourself:

However, once you’ve applied the filter you can head over to the Adjustments menu where you can try to achieve a more realistic look on a photo by tinkering with Temperature, Hue, or Tone Curve options. The abundance of features offered by Fotophire will allow you to decide exactly which colors you want to add to your photos, and you can also fine-tune the intensity of the colors. This software is so easy to use that you can colorize a photo effortlessly even if you’ve never done it before.

Change the Saturation to 30 and the color should be much deeper, as shown in the third figure. It is kind of difficult to explain what Hue/Saturation filter does. After I looked it up online, I got the following answer.The Hue filter lets you adjust the hue of an entire image. Hue is the color reflected from or transmitted through an object. It is measured as a location on the standard color wheel. A positive value indicates clockwise rotation, a negative value counter-clockwise rotation. Values range from -180 to +180.The Saturation filter, sometimes called chroma, deals with the strength or purity of a color. Saturation represents the amount of gray in proportion to the hue. Values range from -100 (percentage of desaturation, duller colors) to +100 (percentage of saturation increase).Source: you have reached this part, you are almost done! Let’s export our image file from Photoshop.

Step 7: Go to Image => Adjustments => Brightness/Contrast to Set Up Brightness and Contrast.

Have you ever colorized a Black and White photo before? How did you do it? Did you undertake it as a personal project, or did you ask someone experienced for help? I’d like to hear your thoughts, views and experiences on this topic, so leave something for me to read, in the comments section below.

SEE ALSO: How to Remove Background from Images Without Photoshop

iPhones offer a lot of built-in photo filters that will enable you to colorize a photo in a split second, but if you would like to use an app that’s designed specifically for colorization of photos you can try using an app such as Wondershare Filmora.

You will be given a Confirmation message as shown in the second figure. Just click “OK”.The CMYK color model in Adobe Photoshop refers to four color printing process, in which cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks are mixed to generate a range of colors. By modifying the intensity of these colors, we are able to create any color that we can use to color the photos.For more information about CMYK, you can view the following link.

Step 19: Congratulations! You Have Finished Coloring This Black and White Photo!

Old family photos or any other black and white photo can be easily colorized on any modern Android phone. You can use some of the filters offered by your phone, but the results you’ll get may not be impressive, which is why an app like Polychrome, can help you colorize your photos properly. The app uses Machine Learning, and with each photo it colorizes it becomes better. The process of adding color to your black and white photos is automatic, so all you need to do is choose the photo you want to colorize and wait for the app do its magic.

Adding color to black and white photos is a fairly simple process that doesn’t require you to be a photo editing magician since most Smartphones offer presets or filters that will automatically add color to any photo.

This app is free of charge and it provides its users with numerous features that enable them to manipulate color in any way they want. Recolor option lets you change the color of any detail in your photo, and it can be used efficiently to colorize black and white photos. However, the Recolor feature isn’t free and if you’d like to utilize it, you’ll have to purchase it for $3,99.

1. Best Choice for Experienced Photo Editors: use PhotoShop or GIMP

Colorize Black and White Photos With Online Tools Colorize with Photo Editing Software Colorize black and white photos on Smartphones Part 1: Colorize Black and White Photos With Online Tools

In this article, we will show you how to colorize your black and white photo and suggest the tools you can use to achieve the best results. Let’s explore different ways of colorizing monochrome photos.

When tinting, you can set up the style of the brush in the top brush panel. You are able to set the size, the opacity, and other properties of the brush, as shown in the second figure. Choose an appropriate brush when tinting. It may takes a few time for starters to successfully separate the background and the edge of the girl’s body. However, in the history panel, you are able to redo any previous actions. As a result, don’t worry about make mistakes. Just keep trying and it will be fine!

Black and white was not just popular in the 19th and first half of the 20th century. There was no color film available for amature use until the early 1950s.

Step 17: Open Hue/Saturation Window to Change Some Parameters.

Step 9: Click Color/ Balance in the “Adjustments” Panel and Set Parameters.

The way this subreddit works, is that you can make a free or a paid request to the community to colorize a Black and White photo. Give it a day or two, and someone or the other will have colorized your image for you. Make sure you read the subreddit’s rules before you post an image request. Rules include not considering “Reddit Gold” as a method of payment for “Paid” colorization. I looked through some of the free requests, and the responses are amazing. So, you should definitely consider posting your Black and White photos to the subreddit for colorization.

You will see a new layer is created on the “Layers” panel as shown in the figure.

Congratulations! You have finished coloring the black and white photo, successfully made the little cute girl looks more lively lovable. You are free to share it with others!  It looks so much different from the original black and white photo even only three color are used. The light becomes brighter and the the eyes of little girl is shining. Even the smell of perfume seems to spread through the air. Colors makes the world better.Although it is an easy task, it should give you a basic concept of how to use Adobe Photoshop to color a photo. As time goes on, Photoshop is getting better and better. It keeps offering new functions to public by updating new versions. In the future, I am sure that there will be more convenient functions coming out for people to color black and white photos.

Adding color to Black and White photos is not very difficult, especially now that you’ve read this article about it. Go forth, search through your old photo albums and find some great Black and White photos to color. Show them off to your family members the next time one of them asks you “What are you doing with your life?”. It might not have a very good effect, but hey! How mad can they be when you just colored grandma’s old photograph?

2. An Easy Way to Colorize a Photo: Use Wondershare Fotophire

GIMP, or GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a Photoshop-like software that is free of cost, and open source. Granted, the interface is nowhere near what Photoshop offers, but hey, it’s free. GIMP can also do almost everything that Photoshop can, and do it sufficiently well enough. If you are well versed with using photo editing tools such as Photoshop or GIMP, you can colorize your photos easily. As such, it doesn’t take long to learn the basics of these photo editing software, and if none of the methods above work for you, you can do it yourself in Photoshop.

GIMP is an Open Source photo editing software that features nearly all of the options Photoshop has to offer. Whichever of these programs you decide to choose you’ll have to know how to change the mode to CMYK and experience with working with multiple layers will certainly help you save a lot of time. What’s more, in order to colorize a black and white photo, you’ll need a considerable level of skill in fine-tuning tones and colors, but this process may seem difficult only the first time, because with time and practice it becomes nearly a routine operation. The best way to colorize a photo is to use photo editing software, and if you need assistance you can click here and follow this step by step tutorial.

Photoshop is no doubt one of the most powerful photo manipulation tools out there. If you have the time, then Photoshop is your best bet for adding color to Black and White images. Photoshop is a proprietary software, and as powerful as it is, some people might not be able to justify the pricing, or may not want to pay for an image editor. If you are one of those people, check out our article on Photoshop Alternatives.

Step 8: Take Snapshot Using the Same Method Described in Step 5.

Colorize-it is a microservice hosted on Algorithmia, that takes the URL of a B&W photo and colorizes it. The results are not always satisfactory, due to it being an algorithm, but a lot of times, it gets the colors satisfactorily close enough to what one might expect.

Recommendation: Use small brush, for example size 20 and 70% Opacity, to tint girl’s tips. Use large brush like size 100 and 50% Opacity to powder the girl’s cheek. You can also adjust the properties of brush according to your opinion.

While the water at the bottom of the image has been colored pretty well, in my opinion, the waves are too brown and look like a sepia filter. The sky is too faded, but Colorize-it got the color of the cows perfectly.

The grass also looks very well colored.

ColorizePhoto’s Converter is a web-app that allows you to manually add color to a Black and White images, by sourcing colors from any colored image that you want.

Unlike the Colorize It service that automatically processes images, Colorize Photo Online Converter enables you to manually add color to your black and white photos. This online photo converter lets you copy and add the colors from a photo in color onto a photo you want to colorize. Tools such as Size, Opacity, and Hardness can be utilized to adjust the cursor you are using to add color to the black and white photo, while Size and Color features allow you to select the area from which you are copying color. Users of the Colorize Photo Online Converter can control which areas of the black and white photo are colorized and they can also choose the intensity of the color they are applying.

Step 16: Check the Checkbox Before “Snapshot3” and Use That As a Source to Tint Little Girl’s Tips and Cheeks.

Go to File => Save AsChoose the place you want to save the file to. Then in the drop-down list of “Format”, select the type of file you would like it to be. Finally, click “Save” and your hot fresh color photo is just coming out. 

Old photos or recently captured black and white photos can come alive if they are colorized. Adding color to monochrome photos used to be a complicated process that required you to spend ours paying attention that each pixel in a photo is in its right place, but in the last several years this process has become much easier. Online tools, apps, and photo editing software can make the process of colorizing a photo so simple that even a child could do it.

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