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.


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: http://docs.gimp.org/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... – Jani Uusitalo Jul 4 '13 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 Jul 5 '13 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 Jan 7 '16 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 Apr 29 '16 at 2:02
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    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. – Steven M. Vascellaro Jul 13 '17 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! – Jani Uusitalo Jul 4 '12 at 3:54
  • My pleasure! :) Glad to help! – thebodzio Jul 4 '12 at 22:41

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