Grayscale To Color

by Tammy
(Sacramento, CA)

Q: I am looking to scan some ribbons to use as embellishments on digiscrap pages. How do I get them in greyscale so that I can make them any color I want when I use them? Thanks!

A: Thanks for the question Tammy. Changing colors of your embellishments is a great way for them to go a long way for digital scrapbooking.

Getting a color image to grayscale is a simple process with Photoshop Elements. Simply go up to the Image menu and choose Mode>Grayscale. A Dialog box will appear asking you if you want to discard color information. Click OK. You will notice that the color will go out of your photo and be replaced with shades of gray.

You cannot color an image when it's in Grayscale mode. To be able to color it you have to convert the image back to RGB mode. Again a very simple process. Go up to the Image menu again and choose Mode>RGB Color. This time you won't notice a change. Your image will still look gray, but now that it's in RGB mode you can apply color to it.

One way to do that is to follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Foreground Color icon located at the bottom of the Toolbox. This will bring up the Color Picker dialog box, which allows you to choose any color you want for your Foreground color. Click OK when you are done.

  2. Make the Brush tool active by clicking on it in the Toolbox. Go up to the Options bar and change the Mode field from Normal to Color.

  3. Paint over the areas you want to apply the Foreground Color to. To switch to a different color repeat Step 1.

The process just described works fine, but I would argue that you don't need to convert your image to gray at all. Just start with Step 1. You can paint your new color over another color just as effectively as painting it over gray.

Another option for changing color is described in a tutorial I did on how to change color using a Color Fill Layer.

Good luck with your scrapbooking Tammy! If you need more clarification on any part of this procedure, use the link below to add a comment.

Until next time,

Comments for Grayscale To Color

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back from gray scale to RGB color
by: Riitta


What did I do... changed my color picture to gray scale.
Now I would like to print my picture again in its original colors, but can't, the picture is in gray scale. Changed the mode to RGB, tried your tricks that I read above. Help.
I have PhotoShop Cs 4.


Hi Riitta,

The technique that I outlined above is meant for changing an image to Grayscale so that you can add your own custom colors to it. So it gets rid of the original color.

If you want to restore the original color your only hope is if you haven't saved your photo since you turned it to Grayscale. If you did save it, I'm afraid your original color is lost forever.

Assuming you haven't saved your photo and you still have it open in Photoshop you can go to the File Menu and choose "Revert". This will restore your photo to the way it was when you first opened it in Photoshop.

Good luck - Rick

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