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Photoshop Elements 6: The Missing Manual by Barbara Brundage

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Colorizing a Black-and-White Photo

So far, you've read about ways to make all or part of a color photo black and white. But what about when you've got a black-and-white photo and you want to add color to it? Elements makes things easy (or if not easy, then at least possible). For instance, you can give an old photo the sort of hand-tinted effect you sometimes see in antique prints, as shown in Figure 10-6.

You can easily color things with Elements. Before you start tinting your photo, first make any needed repairs. See The Clone Stamp for repair strategies. For fixes to the exposure, see Deciding Which Exposure Fix to Use.

  1. Make sure your photo's in RGB mode.

    Go to Image → Mode → RGB Color. Your photo must be in RGB mode or you can't color it.

  2. Create a new layer in Color blend mode.

    Go to Layer → New → Layer and select Color as the layer mode. By choosing Color as your layer mode, you can paint on the layer and the image details still show through.

  3. Paint on the layer.

    Use the Brush tool (Picking and Using a Basic Brush) and choose a color in the Toolbox's Foreground color square (Choosing the Color You Want). Keep changing the foreground color as much as you need to. If the coverage is too heavy, then in the Options bar, reduce the opacity of the brush.

You can also paint directly on the original layer. (Try switching the brush blend mode to Color for this.) But the problem with that is that it's far more difficult to fix things if you make a mistake when you're well into your project. Using ...

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