Add solid colors with simple strokes!

Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3


In this lesson, we will demonstrate the basics of colorizing a portrait using gradients. They will ensure a natural-looking result that shines with bright live colors. Our goal is to teach you, what areas you need to pay attention to, when capturing gradients from a color photo and re-using them on your black and white image.

For this lesson, we again take a photo converted to monochrome along with its color original. We will focus on describing the technique, rather than gradinet capture and mask sketching process. For advice on using Gradinet Capture and applying gradients, please refer to Lesson 2 , where this process was described in details.

Get Prepared

Download the black and white photograph and the original color image. Open the black and white image.

Down the road you will capture and add gradients for the background, clothes, hair and the face. You can pick the order you like and refer to the provided example. Yet the instructions in this lesson will focus mainly on capturing and adding face gradients.

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Colorizing a Face

It's natural that most colorizers start with the top part of the face: forehead, eyes and the eybrowes.

Note: you can increase/decrese the brush size depending of whether the masks are visible enough.

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As you see, you will have to pick a simple gradient for a forehead, add a little stroke to color the shadow cast by the hair, add gradient masks for eyebrows, eye pupils, eye whites, the areas below and above the eyes.

In fact you can apply gradients captured from the right side to the left side, to avoide additional steps. Here is how the gradient masks will look for the right eye area. Note, there are the touches of Color Protection pen over the occasional snowflakes.

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Now lets add masks to the nose (it will perfectly demonstrate how the gradient works) and the cheeks. Obviously, the girl's face is blushing wth colors, so we may need more gradinents than for majority of portraits.

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Color the lips and outline the mouth with a gradinet to avoid color overlapping.

Pay attention to the tone of the gradients (captured from original) that cover the teeth. The lower row of teeth is almost the color of the lips. Some colorizers, use to cover teeth and eye-whites with color protection (balck and whiet) or decoloring strokes. This may work for some of the photographs, but in majority of cases, these areas are never pure white. This using de-coloring will return unnaturally blue tone.

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Now lets look at the result. Even though you will find a lot of differences (color capture does not garantee the exact look), the overall result will demostrate that a dosen of gradinet strokes return a excitingly live colors.

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It's simple, fun and extremely rewarding! We will guide your first steps with thorough lessons, training examples, inspirational photos and more!