Colorize Your Black and White Images With Photopea!

Colorize Your Black and White Images With Photopea!

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Colorizing a Black and White Image Using Transparent Layers
    1. Finding and Cropping the Image
    2. Creating Transparent Layers
    3. Colorizing the Shirt
    4. Adding a Background
    5. Enhancing the Hair

Colorizing a Black and White Image Using Transparent Layers

In this Tutorial, we will explore how to Colorize a black and white image using transparent layers in a web-based version of Photoshop called Photopia. By setting layers to the color mode and painting with different colors, we can bring life to the image and create a stunning visual effect.

Finding and Cropping the Image

To begin, we need to find a suitable black and white image to work with. We can search for images of iconic figures such as Marilyn Monroe on Google and choose one that has good contrast and Clarity. Once we have selected the image, we can simply copy and paste it into Photopia or save it and open it from our hard drive.

After importing the image, we can use the crop tool to focus on the desired area, such as the head of Marilyn Monroe. This will allow us to work on the specific portion we want to colorize.

Creating Transparent Layers

To colorize the image, we will work on separate layers for different elements such as the shirt, background, hair, eyes, lips, and skin. By using transparent layers, we can easily manipulate each element individually without affecting the rest of the image.

By default, Photopia creates a new layer named "Layer 1" when we add a transparent layer. We can rename this layer accordingly to keep our workflow organized.

Colorizing the Shirt

We will begin by coloring the shirt of Marilyn Monroe. We can select a color, such as purple, from the color palette and start painting over the shirt using the paintbrush tool. It's important to make sure we have the correct layer selected before painting.

To achieve a more natural look, we can adjust the opacity of the paintbrush tool or the layer itself. This allows us to control the intensity of the color and Blend it seamlessly with the black and white tones of the image.

To enhance the colorization effect, we will change the layer mode to "Color." This mode allows the highlights and shadows of the original black and white image to show through, resulting in a more realistic and vibrant appearance.

Adding a Background

Next, we will create a background layer for the image. We can choose a color, such as a grayish blue, and paint it on a new transparent layer. Similar to the previous step, we can adjust the opacity and blending mode to achieve the desired effect.

Alternatively, we can experiment with layer styles, such as color overlay, to further enhance the background. These effects can be easily toggled on and off to compare different variations.

Enhancing the Hair

In the next part of this tutorial, we will focus on enhancing the hair of Marilyn Monroe. Using the techniques we have learned so far, we can select a suitable color and paint over the hair on a new transparent layer.

To avoid overlapping with other elements, such as the background or the skin, we can adjust the opacity and brush hardness settings. This will allow us to create a natural and seamless transition between different elements of the image.

Stay tuned for part two of this tutorial, where we will continue to colorize the remaining elements, including the skin, eyes, lips, and hair.

Resource: Photopia - Web-based Photoshop


  • Allows for easy colorization of black and white images
  • Provides a range of customization options, including opacity and blending modes
  • Offers a user-friendly interface with intuitive tools and features
  • Suitable for both beginners and experienced users
  • Can save files in the native Photoshop format (PSD)


  • May show ads in the interface, which can be distracting
  • Limited support for advanced image editing features compared to professional software
  • Requires an internet connection to access the web-based version


  • Learn how to colorize black and white images using transparent layers
  • Explore different techniques for enhancing specific elements, such as the shirt, background, and hair
  • Experiment with opacity and blending modes to achieve realistic and vibrant results
  • Understand how to use layer styles to further enhance the overall appearance of the image


Q: Can I colorize other black and white images using these techniques? A: Yes, the techniques discussed in this tutorial can be applied to any black and white image. Simply follow the step-by-step instructions and experiment with different colors and effects to achieve your desired result.

Q: Can I change the color of the elements after I have painted them? A: Yes, you can easily change the colors of the elements by adjusting the layer settings or painting over them with a different color. Photopia allows for non-destructive editing, so you can always go back and make adjustments.

Q: Can I use Photopia on a Chromebook? A: Yes, Photopia is a web-based application and can be accessed on Chromebooks or any device with an internet connection. Simply go to the Photopia website and start creating.

Q: Can I apply these techniques to portraits of other individuals? A: Absolutely! The techniques discussed in this tutorial can be applied to any black and white portrait. Feel free to experiment and unleash your creativity.

Q: Can I use Photopia for professional image editing? A: While Photopia provides a range of useful features, it may not offer all the advanced editing capabilities required for professional work. It is best suited for casual or hobbyist use. For professional image editing, dedicated software like Photoshop is recommended.

Q: How long does it take to colorize a black and white image using Photopia? A: The time required to colorize an image depends on various factors, such as the complexity of the image, the level of detail, and your familiarity with the software. However, with practice, you can achieve impressive results in a relatively short amount of time.

Q: Are the colorized images saved as separate files or can they be exported as JPEGs? A: When working in Photopia, you can save your colorized images as PSD (Photoshop Document) files, which preserve the layers and allow for further editing. To export the images as JPEGs or other file formats, you can use the export or save as options available in Photopia.

Q: Can I use Photopia offline? A: No, Photopia is a web-based application that requires an internet connection to function. However, you can save your files locally and access them in offline mode once they are saved to your device.

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