Tips for Providing Good Black and White Source Materials

by Neville Ho Oct 10, 2023

Providing high-quality source material is essential for obtaining accurate and aesthetically pleasing colorization results.

Here some tips for you when preparing source material:

1. Scan or Digitize Originals

low res
Low resolution
high res
High resolution

When working with physical photographs, use a high-resolution scanner, camera or a professional digitization service to create digital copies of your original black and white images.

Start with black and white images that are in good condition, free from scratches, stains, and heavy creases. Clean the image surface carefully to ensure there's no dust or debris that might affect the process.

Higher resolution provides more details and clarity, which can significantly improve the quality of the colorization process. If you're using scanner, scanning at a high DPI (dots per inch) will capture more detail and allow for larger, more detailed colorizations.

2. Choose Well-Exposed Originals

high exposure
High exposure
low exposure
Low exposure
good exposure
Good exposure

When selecting source images for colorization, it's advisable to opt for those that are not only in grayscale but also well-exposed and possess good contrast. Images with a wide range of tonal values, from deep shadows to bright highlights, provide an ideal foundation for the colorization process. These tonal variations are crucial because they enable you to distinguish between different objects and elements within the image, making it easier to apply colors accurately.

Images that are overly dark, where details in the shadows are lost, or those with blown-out highlights that lack texture and definition can present challenges during the colorization process. In such cases, color application might not adhere to the intended boundaries, and it can result in a less precise and convincing outcome.

To ensure a smoother and more successful colorization experience, choose source images that exhibit a balanced and rich tonal range, with clear distinctions between light and dark areas. This approach will help you capture and recreate the intricate interplay of light and shadow, leading to more realistic and visually appealing colorization results that breathe new life into your historical or monochromatic visuals.

3. Correct Image Orientation

wrong orientation
Wrong orientation
correct orientation
Correct orientation

An important aspect to consider when preparing your source material for colorization is to ensure the correct image orientation. The orientation of the source image should align with the intended viewing direction, ensuring that the final colorization accurately represents the subject as intended.

Correctly orienting your image is not only crucial for accuracy but also for efficiency. When the orientation matches the intended view, it can save both time and effort during the colorization process. This is because AI models and software tools won't need to guess or adjust the orientation, which can lead to better and more precise results.

By taking the time to orient your source image correctly, you're providing a clear and unambiguous foundation for the colorization process. This allows the AI to work with greater accuracy, interpreting the image in its true form and reducing the chances of orientation-related errors. The result is a smoother and more efficient colorization process that produces accurate and visually appealing outcomes, enhancing the overall quality of your colorized images.

4. Avoid Line Art

line art
Line Art

Opt for grayscale images over line art when selecting source material for colorization. Grayscale images, which contain varying shades of gray, provide a richer foundation for adding color, as they preserve the nuances of light and shadow that contribute to a realistic look.

In contrast, line art, which typically consists of black and white contours without intermediate shades, can pose challenges during the colorization process. The lack of subtle tonal variations in line art may result in a flatter and less natural appearance once color is applied.

So, to achieve the best and most authentic colorization results, it's recommended to choose grayscale images that retain the original depth and details of the scene or subject you wish to bring to life with color.

5. No excessive blank space

unnecessary spaces
Unnecessary spaces
no empty areas
No empty areas

Please be mindful not to upload images with excessive blank space at the top and bottom. Including unnecessary empty areas in your source material can significantly impact the accuracy and overall quality of the colorization process.

When there is too much empty space, it may lead to an improper distribution of colors, which can result in less realistic and appealing colorization.

To ensure the best possible results, we recommend cropping or adjusting your image to focus on the relevant content. By doing so, you'll help our colorization tools better capture and apply colors to the main subjects of your image, resulting in a more precise and visually satisfying outcome.

Taking this extra step in preparing your source material will lead to a more successful colorization process, so please pay attention to the composition of your images before uploading them.

6. Use Natural Lighting

low ambient lighting
Low ambient lighting
better ambient lighting
Better ambient lighting

If possible, choose source images with good, even lighting. Well-lit images provide a clear view of details, textures, and shades, making it easier to apply color accurately. Images with harsh shadows or overly bright highlights can be more challenging to colorize effectively.


By adhering to these expert tips and best practices, you not only set the stage for a smoother and more successful colorization journey but also raise the bar for the quality and authenticity of your final colorized images.

Your source material serves as the canvas upon which the art of colorization unfolds, and the diligence you invest in its preparation is a crucial step toward achieving remarkable and captivating results.

Don't hesitate any longer. Witness the enchantment firsthand! Utilize our cutting-edge deep learning tool to add vibrant hues to your treasured black and white photos.

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