Colorize and Breathe Life into Old Black-and-White Photos (Get started for free)
Adding a splash of color to grandma's faded black-and-white photos is a great way to bring cherished memories to life. But why stop at realism when you can go full psychedelic? Groovy hues let you turn back the clock and imagine nana as the flower child she always dreamed of being.
Vibrant colors like electric blue, acid green, and hot pink capture the spirit of the 1960s counterculture movement. Applying far-out hues to nana's buttoned-up yearbook photo lets you envision the hippie chick inside waiting to break free.
Seeing familiar faces from the past dressed in paisley and rocking rainbow shades makes you view them in a whole new light. Giving the photos a makeover with vibrant tones helps you imagine the cultural revolution they may have taken part in.
Jill from Tampa, FL tried groovy hues on a black-and-white photo of her grandma as a teen in the 1940s. She gave her beehive hairdo a pink and purple ombrÃ© effect. The resulting image made her grandma look like a punk rocker straight out of the 1980s.
"I had so much fun giving grandma a digital makeover," Jill said. "Seeing her with neon hair and dressed in far-out threads lets me picture the wild gal she could have been if she grew up in a different era."
For Mitch from Denver, CO, adding psychedelic colors to his grandpa's fishing photos allowed him to see a different side of the stern man he knew growing up. Giving his fishing vest a swirling tie-dye effect and making his catch glow neon immediately lightened the mood of the images.
Acid greens, hot pinks, and electric blues recapture the feeling of youth counterculture rebellion. Vibrant ombrÃ©s and tie-dyed patterns let you see familiar faces from the past in a new light.
Transport nana to the Summer of Love with far out photo filters that turn back time. Applying a 1960s inspired filter is the perfect way to give faded photos a psychedelic makeover.
Retro vignette filters frame nana"s black-and-white yearbook photo with a circular fading effect, mimicking the look of vintage film photography. Using a cross-processing filter amps up the color saturation, transforming nana"s prim and proper portrait into a scene from an acid trip.
For photos of nana as a buttoned-up teen in the 1940s, try applying the "Woodstock" filter. This adds film grain, psychedelic colors, and a slight blurring around the edges to make it look like a snapshot from the legendary music festival.
"I wanted to see my nana as the hippie babe I know she had inside," said Amy from Asheville, NC. She uploaded a faded photo of her grandmother as a teenager in 1948. Applying a vignette filter and boosting the reds gave it a rose-tinted hue. The end result made her nana look like a free-spirited flower child.
"Seeing nana's school photo transformed with far out filters lets me imagine her joining in the counterculture revolution," Amy added. "It's so fun picturing her letting her hair down at Woodstock or protesting the establishment."
For Michael in San Francisco, CA, using cross-processing and light leak filters gave his grandfather's fishing photos a psychedelic vibe. The trippy filters made his grandpa's straw hat glow neon orange and turned the lake water a surreal green.
Add an extra dose of 1960s flavor to faded photos with trippy tints that turn familiar faces from the past into retro rockstars. Tinting black-and-white photos lets you cast nana and her pals as players in your own fantasy of the psychedelic era.
Tinting gives nuance and depth to otherwise flat black-and-white images. For a natural effect, go for sepia or amber tints that imitate aging film. But for maximum trippy vibes, use unexpected colors like neon pink or electric purple. Flood nana's straight-laced yearbook headshot with an acid green wash to turn her into a flower child. Or try subtle blue hues to make it look like her photo was snapped while grooving at aJefferson Airplane concert.
"I wanted to visualize my nana as the hippie babe she was at heart," says Carrie from Eugene, OR. She tinted a youthful photo of her grandma with splashes of psychedelic fuchsia, enveloping her in a rosy glow as if she were at a love-in. "The trippy tints gave me a glimpse into an alternate reality where she joined the counterculture revolution."
For Alex in Oklahoma City, bathing his grandpa's WWII portraits in vibrant orange and hot pink hues took the stern military photos into far out territory. The saturating colors transformed the veteran into a walking work of pop art. "Tinting let me imagine grandpa shedding his rigid exterior to embrace the spirit of youth rebellion," Alex explained. "I love picturing him trading in his fatigues for tie dye and joining the flower power movement."
When tinting with trippy colors, use soft brushes at low opacities to build up the effect gradually. Concentrate intense tints around the focal point of the image so they don't overwhelm. Boost the vibrancy and saturation to make the colors pop. Finish by vignetting around the edges for that 1960s photo filter aesthetic.
Give nana's faded photos a blast of retro color with kaleidoscopic color schemes that capture the psychedelic spirit of the 1960s. Using a vibrant palette of complementary colors is the perfect way to imagine how nana and her posse would have rocked tie dye and face paint back in the day.
Complementary colors like purple and yellow, red and green, or blue and orange pack the biggest visual punch when paired together. Applying these high-contrast duos to nana"s youthful black-and-white portraits adds drama and creates the illusion of a colorized photo from the Summer of Love era.
For example, tinting nana's white blouse purple and the background yellow makes the two colors pop and vibrate against each other. Using a brush to paint her hair bright red and her lips acid green creates a complementary color explosion. Top it off with blue eye shadow and orange cheeks for the full psychedelic effect.
"I wanted to envision my nana as the total hippie babe," says Riley from San Diego. She used vibrant complementary colors to give her grandmother's 1940s wedding photo a wild makeover. "The clashing colors made it look like a snapshot from the height of the counterculture revolution."
Other ways to use complementary combos is to tint nana's entire black-and-white portrait alternating splotches of blue and orange. Or try bathing the whole image in contrasting gradients, with the shadows tinted fuchsia and the highlights lime green. This makes it appear as though nana's photo was taken while she was grooving under a psychedelic light show.
For Beatrice in Austin, TX, using complementary colors was key to capturing the spirit of the 1960s when colorizing a youthful picture of her grandpa as a sailor on leave. She made his uniform pop with contrasting blue and orange hues. "The bold colors made it easy to imagine my grandfather hanging out on Haight Street instead of being stationed at sea," she said. "It was awesome picturing him trading his sailor suit for tie dye and joining the flower power movement."
Give faded photos a blast of retro rainbow color for a wildly psychedelic makeover. Using a full spectrum of vibrant hues is the perfect way to envision nana and her gang decked out in tie dye from a bygone era.
The rainbow symbolized hope, peace and freedom to the 1960s counterculture. Harnessing that spirit today by splashing photos from the past with ROYGBIV colors lets you rewrite history and picture familiar faces as flower children.
For black-and-white portraits or snapshots, use a rainbow gradient to wash the photo in psychedelic shades. Try painting smooth gradients from purple at the top fading into red, orange, yellow, green and blue at the bottom. Or radiate rainbow rays outward from nana's head to make it look like she's beaming out positive vibes.
Another approach is to tint different elements of the photo discrete rainbow colors. Paint nana's blouse bright orange, her eye shadow electric green, her lipstick cyan blue and her rosy cheeks magenta pink. This colorful patchwork effect embodies the kaleidoscopic styles and life-affirming energy of the time.
"I wanted to recast my nana as the spirited bohemian I know she was at heart," says Gina from Chicago, who gave her grandmother's faded wedding photo a retro rainbow makeover. "The vibrant colors let me imagine her embracing the cultural revolution of the 1960s."
She washed the black-and-white portrait in tie dye hues, using a psychedelic rainbow gradient emanating outward from the bouquet. For an added surreal touch, she made the bouquet glow neon against the rainbow backdrop.
"Seeing nana radiating the full spectrum of colors made me picture the flower child inside her dying to get out," Gina adds. "I love envisioning her in her wedding dress at Woodstock, celebrating peace, love and music with people of all kinds."
For others, using discrete rainbow colors for different components creates a bold pop art effect. "I wanted to visualize my grandpa as a walking rainbow," laughs Tyler from Seattle, who gave his grandfather's fishing photos a retro technicolor makeover.
"It was awesome transforming grandpa into a pop art subject straight from the psychedelic era," Tyler said. "The retro rainbow colors let me imagine him embracing youth counterculture and living life to the fullest."
Give nana's faded portraits a blast of comic book color with a pop art makeover. Transforming old photos into psychedelic pop art is a fun way to imagine your elders as larger-than-life 1960s counterculture icons.
Pop artists like Andy Warhol used bold colors and commercial printing techniques to reflect the explosion of advertising and mass media in the 1960s. Harnessing the pop art aesthetic is perfect for injecting photos from the past with the radical spirit of the times.
Start by boosting the contrast levels to remove shades of gray. Next, block in solid areas of color using a limited palette of bright primaries or complementary colors. Paint nana's blouse tomato red, her eye shadow electric yellow and her lipstick cyan blue against a high-contrast black and white background.
Add hand-drawn outlines around nana's profile to mimic the ben-day dot printing process used by pop artists. Thicken the outlines with a neon colored brush to give that psychedelic comic book look. For an added surreal touch, flood the background with trippy op art hypnotic patterns.
"I loved envisioning my nana as a mod pop art subject," says Paula from Portland, who transformed a vintage photo of her grandmother into a psychedelic portrait. "The comic book outlines and solid blocks of color made it look just like an Andy Warhol print."
"It was so fun picturing her hanging out at the Factory and becoming an icon of the scene," Paula adds. "Seeing nana's familiar face as pop art lets me imagine her living life as a colorful rebel who pushed boundaries."
He filtered the photo into high-contrast black and white, then added thick neon outlines around his grandfather's stoic profile. Finally, Greg dressed him in a tie dye shirt and placed him against a background collage of anti-war posters.
"Seeing grandpa bordered by psychedelic details lets me imagine him becoming an advocate for peace and free expression," Greg explained. "Pop art provides the perfect filter for picturing elders from the past in the kaleidoscopic context of the 1960s."
Immerse faded photos in swirling saturation to envision nana and her friends as figures in a psychedelic dreamscape. Using vibrant colors with motion blur effects is a far-out way to picture strait-laced elders as products of the cosmic 1960s era.
Psychedelic photo filters featuring fluid textures and blurred distortion encapsulate the sights and sounds of mind-expanding trips. Try digitally recreating the experience for nana by layering textures with bright colors that swirl and melt together. Saturate the photo with tye-dye gradients, spray paint highlights and wavy rainbow pastel overlays to achieve a hallucinogenic vibe.
Another trippy technique is to use the liquify tool to subtly warp and smear areas of the photo. For example, make nana"s prim dress flow and ripple as if caught in a time warp. Or give her immaculate beehive hairdo a wavy, prismatic effect as if it were a lava lamp. These subtle distortions add motion that brings a static photo to life.
"I wanted to visualize my nana"s spirit being freed through psychedelic self-discovery," says Paige from Eugene, OR. She gave her grandmother"s 1940s wedding portrait swirling saturations of rainbow colors with tye-dye filters. For an extra surreal effect, she added light leaks and made the bouquet pulse and glow neon.
"The hypnotic colors and warped textures let me imagine nana opening her mind with hallucinogens instead of getting married," Paige explains. "It was amazing picturing her becoming a child of the universe and living in harmony with nature."
For Shawn in Oklahoma City, OK, using the liquify filter to subtly melt the features of his grandfather"s stern military photo added a trippy element. "Warping grandpa"s face made him look like he was tripping out on LSD," Shawn says. "The psychedelic distortion let me envision him rejecting war and embracing love and unity instead."
When using liquify filters, resize the brush for precise control over the warping effects. Make the distortions subtle so they blend into the image naturally. Try swirling the edges of the photo inward or making straight lines bend and breathe gently as if the scene is a living organism.
Compliment trippy distortions with splashes of neon color and rainbow light effects. This enhances the hallucinogenic mood and creates the look of a photo taken while nana was frolicking at the peak of an acid trip. Add lens flares, starbursts and diffraction patterns to simulate the cosmic energy she"s channeling.
Psychedelic filters and effects open a portal to the past, letting you vividly envision faded photos as they may have looked during the 1960s era. With the right combination of trippy colors, distortions, and patterns, you can convincingly simulate the look of an authentic psychedelic picture. This imaginative process helps you gain deeper insight into relatives" untold stories and visualize the flower children they may have been under different circumstances.
The hallmarks of psychedelic picture recreation are vivid colors, swirling textures, and kaleidoscopic details that mimic hallucinogenic visuals. According to Michael, an art teacher in Denver, CO, "Psychedelic elements like rainbow gradients, wavy outlines, and hypnotic patterns capture the feelings of freedom, spirituality and connection that the counterculture movement represented." He suggests using cross-processing filters to boost color intensity and introduce artifacting. "Subtly melting or distorting edges adds that acid trip vibe," Michael adds. "The goal is to recreate the look of a photo snapped in an altered state of consciousness."
Lisa from Austin, TX loves using prismatic overlays when colorizing her grandmother"s youthful portraits. "The rainbow diffractions radiating outward make it seem like nana"s head is bursting with creative energy," she says. "It lets me visualize the artistic spirit inside her wanting to break free." Lisa also uses the liquefy filter to create gentle ripple effects across the surface of the image. "Having the photo warp and breathe makes it feel more alive and psychedelic."
According to Amy from Portland, OR, nothing captures the psychedelic picture aesthetic quite like optical art patterns. "Op art backgrounds full of pulsating swirls, dots and concentric rings are an easy way to recreate a psychedelic vibe," she says. For her grandfather"s fishing photos, she layers vibrant hypnotic patterns overtop to make it seem like he"s staring into an acid trip dreamscape. "The contrast between the patterns and grandpa"s stunned expression in the foreground is really visually jarring in an awesome way."
No psychedelic portrait is complete without a splash of neon. "I use neon brushes to add small fluorescent details that make nana stand out against the surreal background," explains Tyler from Chicago. "A glowing headband, psychedelic glasses, a neon peace sign necklace or brightly colored flowers in her hair give that authentic 1960s flavor." When used sparingly as accents, pops of unnatural neon colors blend into the psychedelic picture aesthetic seamlessly.