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Combining black and white with color?
A few ways to mix colors with grey scale images

Got a black and white photo?
Want to paint some color on it!

Using Internet Explorer?  Grab and drag me directly into your PSP workspace.

  • Increase Color Depth of image up to 16 million colors.
  • Create a New layer and set the blend mode on this new layer to something like Color or Overlay.
  • Paint color onto your new layer.  Blend modes allows your colors to blend into the image on the layer below.
  • Quick-testing colors for aesthetics and compatibility

    Create an empty layer above our original image. Set the blend mode on this new layer to Overlay. Go slop on some paint.  Back off a goodly distance from your screen. Squint hard so you can only see the blur of colors, and not any particular details of the image.  At this point, if you aren't gagging or vomiting?  Hey, you might be onto something! :)

    Turn off the visibility on the image data layer and check your colors layer for colors compatibility.

    Happy with your test colors?  Then go ahead and clean everything up with the eraser.  Those sloppily applied colors are painted onto their very own layer, making clean-ups a breeze.  Remove slops and smears with your eraser, or, right-click the image title bar and "CUT" to wipe the entire layer's contents away, and begin anew.

    Using Internet Explorer?  Grab and drag me directly into your PSP workspace.

    What I really want to do is remove some color?

    Retouch Tool > Color to Target
    can be used as a colors Eraser


    By using pure black or pure white as the target color means anything we paint across with our Color to Target brush loses its saturation.  This comes in handy for cleaning up our coloring job slop-overs, or desaturating color from any image.

    The opacity and steps settings will control the strength of the effect. For a completely grey scale use higher opacity and lower steps. For a softer effect decrease the opacity and increase the steps.

    Notice in the above image how some green is on Aunt Dixie's arm from those green car seats? Download the image and retouch her green arm by painting over it with COLOR TO TARGET, using either a black and a white foreground swatch, as your target color.

    Internet Explorer browsers: Practice images can be dragged and dropped directly into those PSP workspaces from these pages.