Friday, April 20, 2007

Adding color to grayscale images in InDesign

InDesign allows you to easily add color to a placed image, with certain restrictions:

  • The image must be saved as a grayscale or bitmap image. (Choose Image > Mode > Bitmap or Image > Mode > Grayscale in Photoshop).

  • The image must be saved in PSD, TIF, BMP or JPG format.

  • If the image is in PSD format, it may contain multiple layers, but the bottom layer must be opaque. In other words, you cannot apply color to a PSD image with a transparent background in InDesign.

To add color to an image, select the image with the Direct Selection (white arrow) tool, and then select a color from the Swatches palette or the Color palette.

34 comments:

Nancy said...

Thank you. It was so easy to colorize a TIFF in Quark, and I couldn't find the info anywhere in Adobe's help menus. (Why am I not surprised?)

Sean said...

Thanks for your help, I had some grayscale logos which were coloured and I didnt know how! Cheers

jonathan said...

thank you!!!
i could only change the background, and couldn't figure out how to change the foreground image...until i found your blog entry.

i also learned to type a very broad term on google.

thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Finally! I got an answer to my question!!! BUT ... what if I need that image to be colored AND transparent?

Keith Gilbert said...

If the image needs to be colored AND have a transparent background, you'll need to either create a clipping path for the image, or add the color to the image in Photoshop.

Anonymous said...

thank you so much!!! this is the only info I could find on how to do this. You are a life saver.

image clipping said...

I am so very happy to have found you. These tips are going to be so helpful. I can't thank you enough.

Regards,
clipping path

Edgarito said...

Thank You! You just saved me a lot of time.

Doug Barned said...

Great, thanks for this. I'm another 'could do in Quark, why not in ID?'... Your a great help :)

/Doug

lsellers555 said...

This makes no sense to me.
Are you saying that for all color applied to grayscale images we need to take image into Photoshop first?

In quark we could easily color the image, the image background AND the box fill. IS that not possible in InDesign?

Keith Gilbert said...

@lsellers555: As long as your image is a grayscale or bitmap PSD, TIF, BMP or JPG, you can colorize it in ID by selecting the image with the Direct Selection (white arrow) tool and then choosing a color from the Swatches panel or the Color Panel. To colorize the frame background, select the frame with the Selection (black arrow tool) and apply a color.

Leigh-ann said...

Fantastic! That was so easy, and I never would have gotten there on my own. THANKS!

Anonymous said...

i followed all the instructions to a T,i have double and triple checked myself...but I am unable to use the colors or the swatches, they become transparent and i cannot click on them...what could be the problem? (other than the fact that I am technologically challenged, haha). I have this due for an assignment tomorrow.

Keith Gilbert said...

@Anonymous: Are you sure you have the image selected with the Direct Selection (white arrow) tool? Is your image the right kind of image, as described in the original post?

Anonymous said...

Thanks. This has been driving me nuts. I knew it must be something simple. I too was a Quark user...

Anonymous said...

Hey Keith, landed here on your blog and my problem is that I have a grey scale image set as a background but when I click a swatch, its the white area that changes colour and not the grey. So the white face fills with colour rather than the grey background!

pocketninja.co.uk
eyeamaman@googlemail.com

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I have answered the question by using the white arrow to select the image box which you have repeatedly said so many times..Many thanks :-)

pocketninja.co.uk
eyeamaman@googlemail.com

Tom said...

Does anyone know how you can colour up images as above but in Adobe Illustrator? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

SO HELPFUL. Thanks for the information about colorizing the psd. That is exactly what I needed!

Jay Ho August Lee said...

Thanks man.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

how about pdf files

Anonymous said...

thanks, that first, for all your comments back and forth. i'm also doing something not right... behind the picture it's totally filled with solid red now, within the blue lines. (if i drag the image away (within the brown lines) i see that. but the image itself stays totally grey. what to do...? thanx, martine

Keith Gilbert said...

@Anonymous: It sounds like you've applied a color fill to the frame, not the image. You need to apply a color fill to the image contents (as you put it, "within the brown line". Select the image with the white arrow (Direct Selection) tool, and apply a fill color.

Anonymous said...

this makes me miss Macromedia FreeHand--it was so easy to drop in a tiff, make it whatever color, and choose whether the background is transparent or not...
Now if I want to color a tiff and have transparency, I have to jump through a bunch of hoops...so sad.

Joe said...

To get Colored AND Transparent... (without making a mask)

turn your greyscale photoshop image into a bitmap (super highres depending on the image itself... maybe 1200 or more).

Can change color of the image in the same manner as explained in the tip.

(GREAT post btw, thank-you)

Joe

MyJL said...

I've tried this on Mac with CS3 :

It works with BMP and TIF files, but not with PSD and PNG.
I've not tried JPG.

Linda McCreadie said...

THANK YOU!! Just spent ages trying to create a white silhouette with transparent background, and your post showed me in 30 seconds.
Something dead simple for us Quarkies :)
Thanks again
Linda

David said...

Thank you so much - this has been driving me nuts. I knew there must be a simple way, but none of the manuals seem to list this.

David

Sideburn Magazine said...

Thanks Keith!
I forget how to do this every time.
So simple (the technique & me)
BP

Zoran said...

Thnx a lot. This advice was really helpful to me and many others. Have a god day, and not just a day..
Zoran

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much

Lord McSquash said...

Thanks I knew it was somewhere. Those 2 select tools are confusing.

Unknown said...

Thank you :)