Looking at old family photos is a great way to reconnect with old memories. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how you can auto-colorize black and white photos in Photoshop 2021 and breathe life back into it!
How To Colorize Black and White Photos in Photoshop
Preparing Your Photo For Colorization
Before you start to colorize your photo in Photoshop you will need to take care of a few things.
First, make sure to set the Color Mode to RGB.
Some black and white photos might be set to the Grayscale Color Mode and will not display color when you apply it.
To do change the Color Mode, go into Image > Mode > RGB.
Crop & Retouch Your Photo
If your photo has a frame around it, you can use the Crop Tool to crop the edges to focus solely on the colorized image.
You can also remove scratches and other imperfections by using photo retouching tools like the Patch Tool, Spot Healing Brush Tool, or the Clone Stamp Tool.
The Colorize Neural Filter
If you’re in Photoshop 2021, you can start the colorization process with a new filter that can jump-start the process!
Go to Filter > Neural Filters.
Under Beta Filters, toggle on the Colorize filter, which automatically colorizes your photo with just one click!
The Cyan, Blue, and Magenta sliders allow you to enhance the colors when you need to enhance these colors or their complementary counterparts.
If you want to change a certain area’s color, click on the Color swatch and choose your desired color on the Color Picker window.
Then, click on the part of the image you want to change and create its own point.
To duplicate these points, hold Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) and drag it towards the area which needs more colorization.
When you’re done applying the changes, set the Output to Duplicate Layer for no transparency, and press OK to exit the Neural Filters workspace.
Apply The Colorize Blending Mode
Back in your workspace, you will see the duplicated layer as the colorized version and rename it to “Colorize.”
Then, change the Blending Mode of the layer to Color to keep the hue and saturation of the current layer and take the layer’s luminosity directly below it.
Adjust The Brightness with the Levels Adjustment
To improve the brightness and contrast of the original layer, create a Levels adjustment layer and apply a Clipping Mask so that it only applies the effect to the layer below.
Colorize with Solid Color Fill Layers
Part of enhancing the effects of auto-colorizing black and white photos in Photoshop 2021 is changing te colors of some elements in the composite.
If you want to enhance or apply colors to certain areas, create a Solid Color adjustment layer. Double-click on the layer thumbnail and select your desired color on the Color Picker window.
Similar to the previous step, set the Blending Mode to Color.
With the Solid Color adjustment layer selected, click on the New Layer Mask icon to create one.
On the Properties panel, click on the Invert button.
From here, you can choose where you want the Color Fill layer to reveal by using the Brush tool and setting the Foreground color to white (#ffffff).
If you want to change the color of the area, double-click on the layer thumbnail and select a new color on the Color Picker window.
Check out this tutorial for a more in-depth explanation of how you can match a specific color in Photoshop!
That is how you can auto-colorize black and white photos in Photoshop 2021 with coloring adjustments made easier!
If you want to do the opposite, you can check our tutorial on creating stunning black and white photos in Photoshop.
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