Kurt, from Cincinnati asks:
How can I quickly convert digital black and white photographs to color?
Do you have a bunch of black and white photos and you want to add some color to them? Don’t have advanced Photoshop skills, or the time to hire someone who can turn these black and white photos to color photographs?
Blackmagic is a very simple software application for the Windows operating system which lets you convert black and white photos to color and vice versa. You don’t have to go through lengthy photo editing lessons; all you have to do is simply use the color palettes that come with the Blackmagic toolkit.
Blackmagic is based on “Timebrush” technology and thus can be used to colorize black and white images with professional quality. Here are the step by step instructions to get started:
1. Go to this website and click the Download BlackMagic link to download the Blackmagic image editing application to your computer.
Do not close the browser window until the file download is complete. When the executable file has finished downloading, you will see a new icon of the software installer on your Windows desktop.
2. Double click the Blackmagic.exe file to start installing the program. If you are using Windows 7, right click and choose Run as administrator
3. In the Installer window, choose the location where you would want to install the program. The default location is “C:\Program files\blackmagic”. You can leave it untouched or choose a custom folder of your choice.
When you are done choosing the installation path, hit the Finish button at the bottom of the installation window and the program will be installed on your computer.
4. If you chose the default location, open C:\Program Files\blackmagic and double click the blackmagic.exe file to launch the program window
5. The first time you open the Blackmagic program window, it will look like this:
6. Hit the Load Image button at the top of the program window and then open the desired image in Blackmagic image editor.
7. As an example, I have loaded a black and white image of a lady in the Blackmagic image editor. I will be adding colors to this dull photo and make sure she looks fairer than before. I will also add a colored background to the image.
Here is how the initial black and white version of the image looks inside the Blackmagic program editor
8. Now you have to select the elements and areas to which you want to add color. In this example, I will start with the lady’s skin.
Right click on the image and choose the portion to which you want to add a custom color layer. After right clicking, Blackmagic will automatically try to understand the type of image you are editing and will show suggestions as shown in the following image:
9. Since I want to color the skin of the lady in the photograph, I choose the Skin> Pale option and a custom brush tool appears just above the image.
Now all you have to do is rub the brush over the lady’s face until color appears all over her face. The skin will appear colorized and much fairer than before. Following is an example:
Can you spot the difference?
10. In the same way, you can select other elements of the image e.g hair, background and apply more color palettes available in the right click options. The program will automatically detect the area which you want to colorize and show custom palette options.
11. In the above example, I painted the whole face with the Pale Skin palette and applied a golden blonde look to the lady’s hair. Then I applied a solid color palette to the picture’s background. Here is the final colorized version:
Isn’t it amazing ?
The final colorized version of the image can be saved to your computer by right clicking and choosing Save Image as. You can also use a screen capture tool to save only a portion of the image on your computer’s hard drive.
Give Blackmagic a try and turn those black and white images to color photographs in minutes!