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Colorizing digital black and white photos

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posted on Jun, 17 2015 @ 06:52 PM
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Yesterday I wound up taking a bunch of pictures, but didn't realize I had the camera in black and white mode. I'm fairly ignorant when it comes to image editing, with the bulk of my capabilities to what you can do with Picasa. When I was looking through the options there, I couldn't find anything that would let me colorize the pictures. I don't have Photoshop or anything, much less the knowledge to use it. Does anyone know of any easy and effective solution to colorizing the photos? Thanks in advance!




posted on Jun, 17 2015 @ 07:09 PM
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a reply to: cmdrkeenkid

Post a pic and I'll take a crack at it with my ninja CSS skills.



posted on Jun, 17 2015 @ 07:09 PM
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Easy, no. This is a labored process that I've done a number of times in photoshop through the years (that takes a good amount of work to make it look right). I can't possibly think of an easy way to do this. Just one photo is a heavy endeavor. It's fun to do with old photos though!



posted on Jun, 17 2015 @ 07:40 PM
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a reply to: cmdrkeenkid

What type of camera were you using? Don't suppose you have the pics in RAW format?



posted on Jun, 17 2015 @ 09:34 PM
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originally posted by: Qumulys
a reply to: cmdrkeenkid

What type of camera were you using? Don't suppose you have the pics in RAW format?


This was my thought too...Otherwise, I'd say enjoy the B&W's and be more cognizant of your settings next time...Trust me, I've been there and it's disappointing, but some of my best photos have been B&W. I always shoot RAW and then edit in Lightroom and/or PS.



posted on Jun, 17 2015 @ 09:47 PM
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a reply to: cmdrkeenkid

If you only have B&W image data, then I'm afraid that changing them to color is more art than science (in the sense that you'll have to have some skill, and youll have to do the work yourself rather than being able to punch a button that will colorize them for you)



posted on Jun, 18 2015 @ 09:34 AM
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I can't be certain as I really don't know, but couldn't you assign a color to shades of gray in a gray scale photo? I would think that you could make certain ranges of gray into a color and apply that to your photos. Otherwise, you would have to select sections of your photo and colorize them yourself, like they do in old black and white movies.

Anyway you cut it, it would involve a good program and a lot of work. Perhaps you should research colorization techniques to find the easiest method to use.



posted on Jun, 18 2015 @ 02:19 PM
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a reply to: cmdrkeenkid

There is nothing easy about adding color to greyscale images--very time-consuming and labor intensive, not to mention it take great skill and competency in the programs being used.

It's a very expensive process if you took it to a professional to have it done. I did it for my final project in digital imaging way back in 2003--it turned out really well, but if you don't have good masking and layering and blending skills, it's just not going to happen in a convincing manner.



posted on Jun, 18 2015 @ 02:20 PM
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originally posted by: MichiganSwampBuck
I can't be certain as I really don't know, but couldn't you assign a color to shades of gray in a gray scale photo? I would think that you could make certain ranges of gray into a color and apply that to your photos. Otherwise, you would have to select sections of your photo and colorize them yourself, like they do in old black and white movies.

Anyway you cut it, it would involve a good program and a lot of work. Perhaps you should research colorization techniques to find the easiest method to use.


What you're describing would create a very weird effect, because the value of different colors can be the same in greyscale, which is why red and green (and other color) filters are used during b/w photography, so that the values are different and things "pop" instead of blend together.



posted on Jun, 19 2015 @ 10:47 AM
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a reply to: Bone75

They're family pictures, so I'm a bit apprehensive to share them in the wild. Thank you for the offer, though!


a reply to: okrian

That's a bit of a bummer. I was figuring it would be easy. Kind of like reversing the black and white effect, which can be put in with just a click of a button. Thanks!

a reply to: Qumulys

A Nikon D5000. I wasn't shooting in RAW. Since most of the photo editing I do, which isn't more than cropping, red-eye adjustments, and other options in Picasa. I save the memory on the card and just shoot in fine.

a reply to: lovebeck

Yeah, some of them really did turn out nice.

a reply to: bhornbuckle75

Thanks for the reply. I was hoping for an easy solution.

a reply to: MichiganSwampBuck

This was part of my research.


Everything I had looked up on Google involved using Photoshop, GIMP, or other software that was beyond my capabilities. I thought maybe the collective minds here would be able to tell me something I couldn't find.


a reply to: SlapMonkey

Thanks for the advice on the professional work. I wouldn't have considered that anyway, but doesn't surprise me that it would be very expensive.

Lesson learned?
1.) Be more cognizant of settings.
2.) Anyone who can create some software for automatically adding color to black and white photos stands to make a small mint.



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