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First Time Colorizing a Black and White Photo

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Jon Katz
First Time Colorizing a Black and White Photo
on Jul 2, 2011 at 2:14:51 pm


I am very new to Photoshop. In the past, my experience is limited to inserting elements from one image into another. I decided to try colorizing and fixing up an old photo of my grandparents.

I was able to add color using this tutorial ( and then cleaned it up a bit, but it still looks like a black and white photo that was colorized. Can anyone offer any advice on how I can improve it? I'd like to get it as good as possible before I give it to my grandfather.

Here is the album:

Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


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MacKenzie Hanaman
Re: First Time Colorizing a Black and White Photo
on Jul 10, 2011 at 6:49:43 am

First thing I would say is to get a little more red in the skin tones. Even if it doesn't look red, skin tones are predominately within the red color channel. The color of the road looks nearly the same as the skin tones.

As for the grass, it looks like you missed a little bit of it, down by the guy's left hip. Try to add a little bit of yellow mixed in with the green. Grass is darker near the root and lighter towards the top, if you can, try to mimic that. Another thing to think about is desaturating the green as it looks a little radioactive to me.

You might want to tweak the saturation of the water, but you also might find that it is alright after you've made other changes.

Mac Hanaman

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Derek Branscombe
Re: First Time Colorizing a Black and White Photo
on Mar 9, 2012 at 4:41:04 am

Yeah, I'd tweak the saturation and hue a bit on some of the elements. Another reason why you're photo is looking 'colored' is that the elements are all blocks of the exact hue, ie the grass is all the same color, the skin, etc.

I'd try painting in (with a tablet, if you have one), or maybe with a custom brush, some alternate hues. If you take a close up look at grass for example, there is a bit of yellow speckled in there, skin tones usually have some reds, etc. Very time consuming, though.

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