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How to automatically colorize black and white photo in Photoshop 2022 including manual finishing

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How to colorize a black and white photo in Photoshop 2022

It’s getting easier to turn black and white photos into color, thanks to Photoshop’s new Colorize Neural filter. While this filter isn’t new in Photoshop 2022, (Colorize was introduced earlier in 2021) this photoshop filter, has some nice new features that allow you to finish the job.

Starting with a black and white photo. (Drag this image to your desktop if you want to use it).

change black and white to color

Choose filter>Neural filters>Colorize

colorize neural filter

After a few seconds, the black and white photo will automatically become color. (Make sure you are in RGB color if it fails Edit>Mode>RGB – It won’t work on a grayscale mode image).

You can see there are a few areas with problems. Let’s fix them.

fixing color in photoshop

To tell photoshop to use a different color, click on the thumbnail in the filter and you can choose a new color.

Click on the girls sweater on the left. We will make it a different color.

add pins in colorize

The color picker will pop up.

Choose a purplish color.

change color of colorize in photoshop

The sweater changes. It looks like it didn’t get the sleeves.

automatically change black and white to color

No Problem

Slide the Size to a larger size and Photoshop will cover a larger area.

change pin size

Click again on the sleeves to add more points. The color will be inherited from the previously selected pin.

cover more area of color

Notice it’s looking better, but there are still some artifacts and it looks a little splitchy.

fix color artifacts

Increase the Color Artifact Reduction to smoothen the resulting colors.

clean up color in photoshop

Let’s change the color of her boots.

Click on the boot to add a point.

Grayscale to color in photoshop

Choose the color swatch and change the color to brown.

greyscale to color

The boots become brown.

manually add color

If you look closely, there are some smaller areas that need some help. If you look at the bottom of the sleeve on the Right child, you will see color bleed on the sleeve from the hand.

Here is how you can set up the image for you to manually paint in the finishing touches.

paint color in photoshop

At the bottom of the Neural filter panel, you will see a box that says; Output as new color layer.

output a new color layer

When you check the box, the preview will change to color only and lo longer show luminosity.

Click ok to apply.

color overlay layer

Now everything will look like a normal color image again.

This is because a new layer is created in Color Blend mode.

To change the colors, simply paint your desired color onto this new layer.

color layer in Photoshop layers panel

Choose the brush tool (B key) and choose your desired brush.

Hold down alt/Option and click on the image to sample the color you want. (Or choose a new color from the foreground color swatch)

sample a color

As you paint, the color will change to your new color. (Make sure opacity is at 100% on the brush)

paint with color

And here you can see the before and after. Don’t forget to watch the short video above to see this in actions, as well as additional tips such as changing the sample size.

change black and white to color

change black and white to color

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. If you did, tell your friends about PhotoshopCAFE, follow us on social media for more Photoshop tips and tutorials. Also explore the site here and see lots of other useful Photoshop tutorials.

Check out how Layer Blending modes work here. 

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10 responses to “How to automatically colorize black and white photo in Photoshop 2022 including manual finishing”

  1. I love this new filter. I believe it gets you about 50% their. The rest I had to do some adjustments myself. I did experiment with the filter as well.

  2. I have many old B&W photos. The colourization is fantastic, but, I did need help in spreading/controlling the spread of the colour. Again, great hint and most timely.

  3. Colin, I’m a senior entrant here, loved your tutorial but can’t see how to enlarge my small (almost thumbnail) mono source image in the Neural Filters pane on the right. I really need to zoom in on this view to select and colourise specific areas of the mono image. Can you please advise how this is done?

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