I have an image I wish to colorize using a picked color. What is the handiest/easiest way to do this in GIMP?

I've tried my best by checking the palette for my picked color's HSV, then using it as starting point to find corresponding HSL values for the Colorize window. But this seems absurdly difficult and imprecise. I don't do much image processing, but I repeatedly come across this specific problem, so there must be a better way that I just don't know about.

5 Answers 5


This can be achieved by clicking "Colors" --> "Colorify..." (Not "Colorize...") That brings up a dialog box.

Click the color box next to "Custom color:" to enter HSV, RGB, Hex, or use a color picker.

Documentation for Colorify is available here: https://docs.gimp.org/2.8/en/plug-in-colorify.html

  • This looks slightly more straightforward than thebodzio's method, so I'm picking this as answering my original query for "easiest". For some reason both Colorify and Colorize have been translated as "Väritä" in my (Finnish) locale, so it would've been difficult to realize it's actually two different functions. They're not particularly easy to tell apart in English either... Commented Jul 4, 2013 at 16:51
  • "Colorify" is not actually a word in English. "Colorize" is actually a word, and in my experience most desktop software uses it refer to a hue/saturation/lightness change. In mobile photo editing apps, though, I've seen "colorize" used to describe the effect you are talking about.
    – rkwadd
    Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 18:20
  • This doesn't work like the colorize in Photoshop. If I have e.g. black PNG icon (with antialiasing to transparent) the colorify can't change the color to given color. "Color exchange" works, but it requires me to fiddle with the settings whereas Photoshop doesn't.
    – Ciantic
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 6:25
  • It looks more straightforward than thebodzio's method, but doesn't produce the same result. I have a white icon on a green background that I need to be a white icon on a blue background. Colorify tints the white icon blue as well, while a layer with a "Color" blending mode does not.
    – dkobozev
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 2:02
  • 1
    When I tried this method, the colorized image was much darker than intended. I believe GIMP might be using the lightest selected pixel for colorizing.
    – Stevoisiak
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 13:32

I'm not sure if that's what you want to achieve, but I think you mean „coloring grayscale image”. If so, one of the possibilities is to make a new layer of blending mode “Color” over “grayscale” original, pick specific color and paint in desired regions of upper layer with that color. In places where bottom layer is black, image will remain black. If it's white—it'll remain white. Other brightness values will be “colorized” using tones matching selected color. Of course all that needs to be done in RGB mode. I hope attached screenshot will be helpful: enter image description here

Other method that comes to my mind is to use “color map”, but I'll stop here for now :).

If that's not want to do, give me a hint—I'll remove this answer as irrelevant.

  • Brilliant, this seems to work exactly as I wanted! And it seems to work for non-greyscale originals as well. Thank you! Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 3:54
  • My pleasure! :) Glad to help!
    – thebodzio
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 22:41

The "Colors" --> "Colorify..." plugin does not seem to exist anymore (in 2.10.20 at least). The "Colors" --> "Colorize" does not work well indeed to replace a black color, the replaced color is much darker and it's hard to get a perfect match with the desired color by playing with the lightness setting for instance.

However the "Colors" --> "Map" --> "Color Exchange" seems to work perfectly !

  • That worked very well. Thank you. Commented Feb 10, 2022 at 22:09

These answers are wrong. You can totally colorize a picture with a reference hexadecimal color code.

It's pretty simple, select color > colorize. Then, in the dialog, next to "Color", you have a colored rectangle. Just click it.

Then you can enter your hexadecimal code, and you're good to go.


It's pretty simple, select color > colorize. Then, in the dialog, next to "Color", you have a colored rectangle. Just click it.<< Except in my Colorize dialog, there's no next to 'Color' and no colored rectangle. All I see to change the color is a slider labeled Hue which doesn't allow a precise color that was, say picked, from somewhere.

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