* This blog post is a summary of this video.

How to Turn Images Black and White for Coloring Books in Photoshop

Author: BakslashTime: 2024-01-21 21:45:01

Table of Contents

Introduction to Turning Images Black and White for Coloring Books

Turning images black and white is an essential step for creating coloring book pages. By removing color and converting an image to high contrast black and white, the image becomes a line drawing perfect for coloring. This article will walk you through the full process step-by-step, using common software like Photoshop and AI image upscalers.

The techniques covered here allow you to turn any image into clean black and white line art for your coloring book. We'll also explore advanced options like paper and sketch filters to add unique stylistic elements.

Overview of the Black and White Conversion Process

At a high level, we'll go through these steps:

  • Upscale the image resolution using AI (optional but recommended)
  • Open image in Photoshop and duplicate the layer
  • Convert colors to black and white
  • Apply sketch/paper filters to get the desired aesthetic
  • Select and fill any remaining gray areas with solid black That covers the core process. Some experimentation with filter settings is required to find what works best for each image.

Prerequisite Software

To follow along, you'll need:

  • Access to an AI image upscaler (like Replicate)
  • Photoshop or another image editing program No prior experience is required. The steps provided are easy to follow for beginners.

Upscale Image with AI (Optional)

Upscaling the image using AI is an optional but recommended first step. By increasing the resolution and detail, it will allow the black and white conversion to better translate fine details into clean line art.

Here are the steps to upscale with Replicate:

  • Go to replicate.com and click Explore

  • Scroll down and select the 4x Super Resolution option

  • Upload your image and set the scale to 4x

  • Save the upscaled image once processing completes

You now have a 4x larger version ready for the black and white conversion. The extra detail will help tremendously.

Open Image in Photoshop and Duplicate

With our upscaled image ready, it's now time to convert it to black and white. Open your image file in Photoshop.

We want to keep the original color version without permanently editing it. To do this:

  • Press Ctrl/Cmd + J to duplicate the image layer

You now have two identical layers. We will apply all of our black and white effects on this new top layer.

Set Colors to Black and White

The next step is to convert this duplicated layer to black and white:

  • Click the arrow next to the layer thumbnail to bring up layer options
  • Select "Black & White" from the Blending Options
  • You can also press X to quickly swap between color and black & white Test switching this on and off to compare the original image to the black & white version.

Apply Black and White Filter

Experiment with Filter Options

Now we're ready to apply a filter effect to get the black and white sketch aesthetic:

  • Go to Filter > Filter Gallery > Sketch
  • Try different filters like Photocopy and Note Paper
  • Adjust settings like Graininess, Relief, and Light/Dark Balance The Photocopy filter instantly converts the image to the desired black and white sketch look. Note Paper provides a clear background. Play around with the settings until you achieve the desired aesthetic. Every image will require slightly different tuning.

Select and Fill Gray Areas

Convert Gray to Solid Black

Sometimes the filter effects still leave behind some gray speckles rather than being perfectly black and white. Here is how to select and fill those areas with solid blacks:

  • Go to Select > Color Range
  • Use the selection tool to target the gray areas
  • Fine tune the selection using the slider
  • Click the layer mask icon to switch to a selection overlay
  • Choose Edit > Fill and set the fill color to black This will replace any remaining gray bits with solid blacks, completing the black and white effect.


That covers the entire process for converting images to clean black and white for coloring book use cases. Feel free to experiment with the filter gallery options to find unique styles.

Upscaling with AI first allows the filtering to translate more fine details. Selectively filling any remaining grays completes the high contrast effect.

Now you have professional looking black and white line art, ready for your coloring book pages!


Q: Why convert images to black and white for coloring books?
A: Converting images to black and white creates clear boundaries for coloring book users to fill in, making the coloring experience more defined and enjoyable.

Q: Is AI upscaling required?
A: No, AI upscaling is optional and only recommended if you need a higher resolution image as the starting point.

Q: What Photoshop filters work best?
A: The Photocopy and Note Paper filters in the Sketch menu are most effective for creating the hand-drawn black and white aesthetic suited for coloring images.

Q: How do I select the gray areas?
A: Use the Color Range tool in Photoshop. Click on a gray area with the eyedropper, then adjust the selection slider to cover all gray regions.

Q: What if there are white areas I want to fill?
A: After converting grays to black, you can use the Magic Wand to select any remaining white areas and fill them with black as well to create a solid black and white result.

Q: Can I do this in other image editing programs?
A: Yes, similar black and white conversion and filter effects can be achieved in free alternatives like GIMP as well as other paid software like Affinity Photo.

Q: What image types work best?
A: Detailed images with clear lines and shapes tend to result in the most striking black and white coloring images. Reference photos, illustrations, vector art and AI-generated images are great sources.

Q: Should I clean up the edges?
A: It's optional but recommended. Use Photoshop selection and erase tools to neatly crop and clean outer edges so focus stays on the main coloring content.

Q: What resolution should I use?
A: Print: 300dpi minimum for crisp editable results. Digital: 72dpi is fine for online use cases like mobile apps and websites.

Q: Can I adjust black levels post-conversion?
A: Yes, try Photoshop Levels and Curves tools if you need to fine tune brightness and contrast of blacks after converting.