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Colorizing an Image

The Gradient Map tool can also add color to a black-and-white image or even recolor a color image. Here’s how:

  1. Open the image (color or black-and-white) that you want to alter. Choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map and click OK. Open the gradients drop-down list and choose a colorful gradient from those displayed.
  2. To view additional gradients, click the gradient menu and choose a set of gradients to append to the default set, such as Color Harmonies 1, Color Harmonies 2, or Special Effects (see Figure 3).
    Figure 03

    Figure 3 Additional gradient sets are available to append to the list of gradients.

  3. To adjust a color gradient’s settings, click the gradient in the dialog to open the Gradient Editor; then adjust the color stops and the color midpoints underneath the gradient. Click OK twice to apply the gradient to the image (see Figure 4).
    Figure 04

    Figure 4 Edit the color gradient by dragging its color stops and color midpoints until you get a result that you like for your image.

  4. Like any adjustment layer, the Gradient Map adjustment layer can be blended with the layers below it by choosing a layer blend mode from the Blend Mode drop-down list at upper left in the Layers palette. Some blend modes make a lot of difference to the image, and some make none at all. The Color blend mode is a good choice to create a more subtle effect for the image (see Figure 5); other images might work better with the Saturation blend mode or Hue blend mode. Your image will dictate which blend modes look most interesting. You can blend the effect into the image underneath by reducing the opacity of the layer, using the Opacity slider in the upper right of the Layers palette.
    Figure 05

    Figure 5 Using blend modes such as the Color blend mode shown here, you can blend the effect of the Gradient Map into the underlying image.

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