How To Colorize a Black and White Photo in Photoshop

hello everyone this is Chris from spoon graphics back with another video tutorial for Adobe Photoshop I spent some time the other day experimenting with colorizing a black and white photograph so I thought I'd use that topic for today's tutorial the thing is there's a really a step-by-step guide to explain how to do it exactly since the color choices will differ for every picture I thought it'd still be worth using the topic for a video to share some general tips and tricks the image I worked on is a photo of my granddad from World War 2 the originals that washed out sepia look to it as you would expect from a snapshot from the 1940s but after the scanning and processing it in Photoshop is brought to life in full color a much better contrast which really helps you imagine the scene for real so find yourself an old black-and-white photograph to practice this colorization technique with yourself it could be an old family photo or a picture of a famous figure from generations past no doubt an old photo scan will have some damage or just speckles right-click on the layer to make it a smart object then use the filter noise distant scratches filter to remove any speckles from the scan a value of 1 to 2 pixels and a threshold of around 30 to 40 works pretty well to get rid of the specks without interfering with the photo contents add a black and white adjustment layer to neutralize the photograph then add a levels adjustment layer to fix the contrast you probably need to darken the shadows quite a lot converting the document to CMYK is an important next step go to image mode in CMYK the merge the layers were asked if you compare the addition of color to an RGB document in a CMYK document you'll notice that the tones of the image show through much more in RGB than they do in CMYK where instead they tend to colorize darker areas much better to begin adding color to your image at the solid color adjustment layer select the hue that roughly represents the area of the image you're working on change the blending mode to soft light to allow the color to interact with the existing tones of the black and white photograph alternatively could try the color blending mode which retains much more vibrancy within your hue selections select the layer mask that is added alongside the adjustment layer filly we'd like to clear the color overlay from the entire image switch to the brush tool and adjust the tip to around 10% hardness and the size to suit the area working on make sure the foreground color selection is set to white which will restore the color from the mask then begin painting over the areas which require this particular color switch the brush color back over to black within the toolbar or hit the X key as a shortcut painting with black below raise the colour again so use it to remove the color from unwanted areas or to clean up any mistakes then we'll click the solid color to edit the colour selection it's easier to match the hue when you can see the live preview you can always adjust the opacity of the layer to tone down the impact of the cleave chosen paint over the image everywhere else where this color selection is required I found that overlaying some extra colors over the face helps boost the realism a little pink around the eyes and on the cheeks yellow and the forehead and blue around the shaved beard area all made almost invisible with sub 20% opacity z' just helps add some sort of variation in colour when using the brush tool to paint over the photo like this a pen tablet makes the job much easier it's still possible to use this technique with a mouse but if you're having some trouble you might instead want to try making selections with the pen tool to do this trace around the outline of each portion of the photo that needs colorizing then right-click and choose make selection and a one pixel feathering to avoid any hard edges and fill the selection with white to instantly apply the color to this area once you've finished colorizing your photo with a range of solid color adjustment layers there's a couple of final tweaks that I found made a huge difference the first was a hue and saturation adjustment layer right at the top of the layer stack bumping up the saturation helps improve the vibrancy and compensates for any color selections that were too dull a color balance adjustment layer also helps you correct the overall tone of the photo making warm up or cool down the shadows mid-tones and highlights by balancing between yellows and blues the final image is a complete transformation compared to the original photo scan the addition of color really brings the shot to life and makes the scene much more relatable so these tips give you some inspiration to colorize some old black-and-white photos you might own if you enjoyed the video or learnt it in new thumbs up would be really appreciated otherwise thank you very much for watching and I'll see you in the next one

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