Tutorial: How to Quickly and Easily Colorize B&W Images in Photoshop Using Curves

This colorization tutorial by IceFlowStudios is actually a couple of years old now, but we only just now stumbled across it and we just had to share. In it, Howard Pinsky demonstrates an incredibly quick and easy (albeit somewhat limited) way to colorize a black and white image.

How quick and easy it is? Well, selections and all it took him less than four and a half minutes to go from this:

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 9.27.30 AM

To this:

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 9.27.44 AM

Obviously, this isn’t a one size fits all approach. More complex images will benefit from more selective approaches like the three covered in this tutorial. Still, for simple black and white images where each section can be easily selected and honed to the proper hue, you won’t be able to beat the speed Pinsky demonstrates in the video above.

If you have something to add, or you want to comment on how this method has worked for you in the past, drop us a line in the comments.

(via Photofocus)

  • ThatGuy

    Great tutorial, thanks for posting! I’d really like to see a good tutorial on adding color to old B&W portraits. A lot of people do it and there’s lots of tutorials out there, but I have yet to run across a really good one.

  • Jeremiah True

    Nice, quick tutorial but the convert to CMYK suggestion is odd to me. Having worked in both, RGB is a lot more flexible in terms of color range and gamut.

  • Matias Gonua

    THat was a great tutorial. Any tips on achieving this look on a colour video?

  • Alan Klughammer

    The only reason I could see for converting to cmyk in this example would be so that you can leave the black channel alone and so don’t have to worry as much about density changes.

  • Kyle Clements

    If that’s what you’re worried about, maybe working in Lab is for you.

    A lot of darktable modules work in Lab, and I’m consistently blown away by how far I can push things.