Colorize a Black and White Photo in Paint Shop Pro

PSP X3- Colorize a Black & White Photo

Colorize a black and white photo is easy to do with Paint Shop Pro X3
Colorize a black and white photo is easy to do with Paint Shop Pro X3

Add Color to a Black and White Photo

Many of you have seen photos that are black and white that have color in them somewhere. It is a stunning effect that can make for some eyecatching and unique photographs. It's a fairly simple process using Corel's Paint Shop Pro X3 photo editing software.

I'll show you just how to do this technique in PSP with this article. I also have a YouTube video here for you to in order to further demonstrate the photo editing process that you will need to learn in order to master this editing technique.

The photo above shows a nice vase of beautiful red roses on someone's kitchen counter. This will be the photo that we will use for our demonstration purposes.

Go to Layers > Duplicate

Working with Layers in PSP X3

The first thing we need to do with our picture after we open it up within the Paint Shop Pro X3 software is to click on layers and then duplicate. You will then see on the right hand on the screen to pictures of the vase. One says background and the other says copy of background.

Layers are the key to being able to do this trick. Think of it as essentially having two pictures laying on top of each other. Once you understand this concept the things we will do next will be easy to understand.

Layers in PSP

This shows the same vase of flowers photo duplicated indicated by the two layers on the right hand side. The top layer shown by the yellow arrow is of course the picture that is "on top" of the other one.
This shows the same vase of flowers photo duplicated indicated by the two layers on the right hand side. The top layer shown by the yellow arrow is of course the picture that is "on top" of the other one.

Turn the Top Layer Black & White

Once we have out two layers, the next thing we need to do is to turn the top layer into a black and white photo. Again, this is easy to do in Paint Shop Pro. We will go to Effects > Photo Effects > Black and White Film.

This will pop up a window that has a color wheel that you can adjust the black and white shading. I just simple click okay here. After that, the top layer and the current photo that you see within the editor will now be black and white.

To make things easy, just click okay when this color wheel pops up.
To make things easy, just click okay when this color wheel pops up.
Now we have a black and white layer on top of a color background layer.
Now we have a black and white layer on top of a color background layer.

Eraser Tool

Now that we have our black and white layer on top of of color background layer, we will want to zoom in on our photo simply by using the mouse wheel. Once we are zoomed in on a part of the photo that we want to colorize (in this case, the top rose in the vase) then we will need to click on the eraser tool on our tool bar on the left hand side.

Notice the directions in Paint Shop Pro to help us on the left hand side. We can resize our "brush" which in this case will be a circle easily by holding the ALT key down and left clicking on our mouse and then dragging the mouse up and down. You should see the size of the circle change. This will be important to do as you will need to make the brush smaller to carefully erase the black and white top layer around the edges of the flower. We'll be erasing the top black and white off of the red colored flower petals of the red roses.

Start Erasing the Top Black & White Layer

Now we are all set up to start erasing the parts of our black and white photo to have color in them. We want the red colored rose petal to shine through in our black and white photo so we just need to carefully zoom in and erase all the parts where we want the color to "shine through." It's a fun process and you can experiment and see what works best. If you don't like something our mess up just hit the undo button and try again. There are endless possibilities with this simple photo editing trick. I know that once you get the hang of it that you will enjoy it and it may end up being one of your favorite techniques.

Zoom in closely with the mouse wheel and change the size of the brush to carefully erase the black and white off all parts of the rose petals.
Zoom in closely with the mouse wheel and change the size of the brush to carefully erase the black and white off all parts of the rose petals.

Final Photo after Colorization Trick

Final product after working turns out quite lovely and unique.
Final product after working turns out quite lovely and unique.

Final Thoughts

I opened up a final version of what the photo might look like after you work on it. Pay no attention to the layers shown on the right here. Those are from the other photo we were working on.

The sample final photo here also has the green from the stems of the roses showing too. These types of decisions will need to be made by you while you are creating your own unique masterpiece using this simple photo editing technique using the Paint Shop Pro software. I hope you have fun with this and be sure to watch my YouTube video that demonstrates the entire process shown here in the article. Thanks again.

Check out my video demonstration of this process

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