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"Selective Color Techniques" - How do you make your Black & White & Color Images?

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Daniel A. Norman is a group administrator Daniel A. Norman says:

How do you make your Black & White & Color Images?

Please post your personal "Selective Color" or "Color Manipulation" techniques used to make these great "Black and White and Color" pictures.
Originally posted at 11:04AM, 25 March 2007 PDT (permalink)
Daniel A. Norman edited this topic 114 months ago.

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Daniel A. Norman is a group administrator Daniel A. Norman says:

Personally I mainly use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CS2. I have used Apple Aperture, but after the trial, I went with Adobe Lightroom.

1. In Develop mode, I go to "HSL/ Color / Grayscale" in the right menu.

2. I then click on Saturation and set the slider to "-100" for all the colors that I want to remove.

3. Then I increase the saturation ( very little) on the colors that remain.

There are numerous ways make 'Black and White and Color" Images in PhotoShop, but here is a simple one:

1. Duplicate the image you're working on into a new Layer.

2. De-saturate the Bottom Layer.

3. Use the ERASER tool on the top Layer to ERASE the colored parts that you want to remove. (the parts you erase will turn Black & White)

note: there are several variations of this technique.
Originally posted 115 months ago. (permalink)
Daniel A. Norman edited this topic 115 months ago.

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...the truth is hidden... says:

That is one way which is definatley simple and worth trying.

i normally i do the following

1 - desaturate the image

2 - use the MAGNETIC Lasso tool to select the area i want to revert back to color

3 - use the history brush to restore the color!

at the end of the day there is more than once technicque to use that will create equally good Black and white and color images. so i would experiment and find the one you fell the most happiest using.

I will have Daniels techinque a go some time and see how i find it. thanks for sharing that one
115 months ago (permalink)

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joshlucas says:

It depends how much of the photo I want in colour, if it is not a great amount I go for The Thruth is Hidden's technique.
If it’s a lot I go for Dans technique.
115 months ago (permalink)

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Pam Martin says:

I also use Photoshop, this is how I do it...

After loading the image, I create an adjustment layer, using the Hue & Saturation option. In the dialogue box that opens, I click colourise and drag the saturation slider right down to the left.
I create a mask on the adjustment layer. Using a black brush, on the mask, I paint in the areas that I want to be returned to colour. If I make a mistake I can use a white brush to put the b&w effect back.
This is all much easier using a pen and tablet.

I taught my 10 year old to do selective colouring this way, and she picked it up straight away. She has a flickr account, so I'll need to get her to add some of her selective colouring here.
115 months ago (permalink)

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kystang1966 says:

1. Open Image, Press Ctrl+J to duplicate
2. Add a color adjustment layer
3. Press Ctrl+Alt and click in adjustment window to get 10 block grid instead of only four.
4. Move top right dot two blocks left and bottom left dot two blocks right. (Enhances Colors).
5. Mask area to reveal color to remain.
6. Desaturate original layer.
7. Adjust contrast of original layer.
8. Flatten Image and save.

May not be right but it works for me!

115 months ago (permalink)

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L.A. Wayman says:

I've tried all kinds of ways to make the BW conversion, and I can't say any one of them was best. Nik filters do a good job with the BW Tonal Range converter, I've done the channel mixer thing, I've desaturated (mostly when I was still scanning film, where I only used BW film anyways), I've popped images into lab color, and pulled the color out by channel, and yes, I've done the simple..."just greyscale it". I've even said "ta hell with it" and let the camera do the BW adjustment. I'm not a huge fan of the greyscaling, or desaturation, as I don't have as much control.

When doing a selective color, Nik filters make it the easiest. I just grab my tablet, and paint back in what I want. otherwise, make a second layer, make it black and white, make a layer mask, and paint the color back in that way. There's a million ways to do this! If you don't like layer masking, then use the eraser tool to erase the parts off the top image, leaving the bottom color. Lassos are a pain in the ass in my opinion, and since painting oil on BW photos is something I understand, and am used to (remember, I did say I used to shoot exclusively film) painting on the tablet is more my style.
115 months ago (permalink)

ß®øøk£™ [deleted] says:

What I do is open a photo on Photoshop, on the layers tab there's a half black, half white circle, click that. You'll get a window that has a buch of clickers on it, find the one that says Hue/Saturation and click it. Now you'll have a window with three sliders on it, slide the saturation all the way down to -100. Now, click ok. When you get back to the main dashboard select the paintbrush tool and select black as the color. Now, use the navigator to zoom in as close as you need to and just paint over the area you want in color. I've got two photos on my page that have B&W and color, you can see them here. They're on the last two pages I think.
115 months ago (permalink)

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radikaos_ak says:

I personally use Photshop as well

1. Create a new Color balance layer
2. Create a new Hue/Saturation Layer
(Make sure that Hue/Saturation is stacked on top of Color Balance)
3. Change Hue/Saturation layer to Hue -180 and Saturation -100
(At this point the picture should appear black and white)
4. Play around with the Color balance layer until I like the results.
(this allows for finer control of shadows highlights and midtones)
5. Copy the original picture and stack it on top of all other layers.
6. Mask out the areas that you want to be B&W
7. Flatten the image and save

P.S. as a side note I also save the file as .PSD with all the layers in case I want to go back and do something else.
114 months ago (permalink)

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abrarnadir says:

why would a PRO wana tell the world that how he DO IT?????

I am no pro but still I would not share my working techniques with any one, especially over the WEB. thats just Plain stupid.
114 months ago (permalink)

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Daniel A. Norman is a group administrator Daniel A. Norman says:

"Selective Color" techniques in Photoshop, Lightroom, & Aperture, are no big secret. All of us that share our techniques do it to help other people. "Selective Color" is even a feature offered in some cameras.
114 months ago (permalink)

ß®øøk£™ [deleted] says:

Exactly Daniel, isn't this what a discussion forum is for? So everyone can share techniques and learn from each other?
114 months ago (permalink)

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Daniel A. Norman is a group administrator Daniel A. Norman says:

Selective Coloring in Apple's Aperture:
1. In the "Adjustment Panel" select the "COLOR" option.
2. Pick one of the 6 colors (Red, Yellow, Green,...etc)
3. Move the "Saturation" slider for the color all the way to the left.

(What you are basically doing is desaturating any unwanted colors)

114 months ago (permalink)

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daimler_23 says:

is there anyway to get more than thosr 6 preset colors or not? and what program do you prefer for selective coloring?
114 months ago (permalink)

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Daniel A. Norman is a group administrator Daniel A. Norman says:

In Apple's Aperture thats all you get is those 6 colors, but Lightroom allows you to adjust 8 colors.

I prefer Lightroom. It's simular to Aperture, but I use both Windows and Apple, and Lightroom works on both. If you are a student. go to Academicsuperstore.com and you can get Adobe Lightroom for about $94.
114 months ago (permalink)

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daimler_23 says:

how is photoshop elements?
114 months ago (permalink)

La_Jardi [deleted] says:

Yo uso photoshop 8.0.1, aprendi hace 3 dias.
114 months ago (permalink)

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Dancing Deer Photography says:

As for spending the money for all those "expencive photshops, I found one that gives me just as good a selective coloring as good as all you guys, I use Goggles Picasa, just downlod Picasa and go to the effect tab, find the selective colour button, lets you pick out size and sharpness, also lets you decide where in the photo you want the colour selected. simple, easy, no selecting tabs over and over and over for one effect, I have four diff programs that I use to enhance, edit, just about as good as anything out there
114 months ago (permalink)

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jasonjerbil says:

I did this a long time ago, select and copy what i want to be in colour, change picture mode to grayscale, then back again to rgb, the monochrome remains, then using the same selection, paste the colour
114 months ago (permalink)

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bymasson says:

I desaturate all the colours except the ones I want to keep, which works in the 2 pic I've posted here.

I like the tips for being even more selective, for example keeping all the colours on a subject but B&W the rest. I'll have to try them
113 months ago (permalink)

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Raksh1tha says:

Has anyone tried with Gimp. I am a beginer not a pro. :( .
Your tips and tricks would be helpful.
Thanks to ladyphoenixx_1999, could able to get what i want to do in few sec using picasa.
But want to refine more on this
113 months ago (permalink)

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lynnirene says:

Kuttibalu, there is a good tutorial at www.gimpguru.org. It is where I learned selective colorization, and it is fairly easy once you get the idea of what layer masks are.
Originally posted 113 months ago. (permalink)
lynnirene edited this topic 113 months ago.

bubs84 [deleted] says:

thanks for the tutorial!

In Photoshop how to you manage to get the edges right? Mine never turn out quite right...
112 months ago (permalink)

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rdaassoc07 says:

Depending on how much I am converting I use a very simple technique that is always tried and true.

1. Duplicate Background Layer Twice2.Name the middle layer - Color Version, the Top Layer Black and White3.Select the Top Layer and Desaturate it (I personally use the Alien Skin Exposure Plugin and choose BW to get the best BW conversion I can but if you don't have it using the method above will work. Just be aware of the curves and saturation levels to make sure your top layer is a crisp black and white.4.Staying on the same layer, create a layer mask for this layer.5.Use your toolbrush and make sure your brush settings are A. Large enough to cover the areas you want to bring color to and B. At a medium to low softness (we want the effect blend in nicely). 6. Make sure that black is the selected color in your pallette. Now begin brushing over (or masking) the areas you want the color to be applied to.

In essense we are punching a hole in the black and white image above and letting the color underneath show through. If the color portion is to vivid, simply duplicate the color layer one more time and then change the blending mode to overlay or soft light. You have to play with the settings but the beauty of it is if you mess up and add color where you don't want it, all you have to do is "cover up" the hole in your mask by painting over that section in white.

If anyone would like to see a step by step tutorial on this with a photo sample please let me know. I am sure it must seem a little confusing trying to write it out this way. Hope this helps.
111 months ago (permalink)

Alvaro J. Carrillanca [deleted] says:

I'm starting with the cutout pictures.. and i love it...

well, i'm a newbie here... and i'm not a pro absolutely

I work the images on The Gimp 'cause i have no money to buy the Photoshop suite. Also i work on linux, but that's ok...

Bellow i have a cutout worked on Gimp... that's no a pro work.. but i think that's ok

109 months ago (permalink)

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eri_38 says:

I use or digital camera..or photoshop...: I open photo and I use " brush tool" - I seletion colour black and I select saturation..then I draw on the colours I want in blackand white.. ..I do not know if I have been clear, I'm sorry my English is not the maximum..
this is make whit photoshopDSCF9021
and this is make whit digital camera tram in the city center
Originally posted 109 months ago. (permalink)
eri_38 edited this topic 109 months ago.

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Chrisser says:

I have yet to try this trick in Photo Shop myself. I've been doing this trick - and also where I changed a photo to Sepia and then used the paint brush tool to change the main subject of a photo back to colour using the Picnik site.

Turns out Picnik is not really the way to go since you have to end up going out of the main subject a bit to be able to completely reset the original colour of the main subject. Thanks to a FlickrMail I got two nights ago from one of my contacts, Picasa2 is better, especially with white flowers that don't need any adjustment to get more colour on the flowers and not on the background.
Originally posted 104 months ago. (permalink)
Chrisser edited this topic 104 months ago.

TB_Photography [deleted] says:

Uhh... Mostly photoshop. But before I had photoshop I had Picasa2 which had this Focal Black and White thing where you could move this thing around and color only that part.
103 months ago (permalink)

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No 3 says:

I use Corel Paintshop Pro (much cheaper than Photoshop and does most things an amateur wants). Within Layers create a duplicate layer. Turn the top layer to black and white using Adjust / hue & saturation / colorize : then using the eraser tool simply erase the detail to show the colour layer underneath. Zoom in to ensure you get the edges right and chose a soft brush to feather the edges.
103 months ago (permalink)

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★John & Anastasia★ says:

A little colour in a grey world

For this one I used Photoshop CS2 and used Select / Color Range then used the dropper to select the red jumper. I inverted the selection and hit Image / Adjustments / Desaturate.

Sometimes you have to use a different process but the original of this image had no other red than the jumper.
103 months ago (permalink)

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rosewoodoil says:

Irfanview works well most of the time.
103 months ago (permalink)

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Susan Harner says:

my way is a different variation. I make a copy of the main image in pselements6 I convert the copy to black and white and then erase the parts I want in color. it's very easy.
103 months ago (permalink)

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SuperMandro says:


I'm fortunate enough to have access to a darkroom and all the toys that go along with it. I do it the old fashion way with a set of hand coloring photo dyes and a thin tipped paint brush.
100 months ago (permalink)

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-taro says:

I use Photoshop:

1. Duplicate the first layer image

2. Convert into black and white, some adjust in cmyk, brightness, contrast on the b/w layer.

3. Magic wand or eraser tool to delete the areas that i want to color

4. Save as Jpg-> name.jpg (for print and for personal backup)

5. Resize 1280x___

6. Save for the web-> name mini.jpg (for flickr or normal upload on the web)
100 months ago (permalink)

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SLBuck1981 says:

I open the image do any fine tuning i need to then make a copy of the layer. I use the remove color option then I erase the sections I want in color. I also will do this if I want it to be very sepia I just add the sepia over the removed color. Some come out really good some dont

I use Photoshop elements
84 months ago (permalink)

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João Carlos Soares says:

This is what I do:

It's an easy tutorial and works perfectly for me. Here are some of the results after I started following the simple steps of the tutorial above.
Blue eyed baby boy Afonso
Macal, Made in Portugal
83 months ago (permalink)

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Kikuja1 says:

71 months ago (permalink)

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Maria Rud says:

I am using Color Splash Studio for Mac.
Here is the tutorial, hope it's gonna help you as well : www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY94_5BDutY
56 months ago (permalink)

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fussgangerfoto says:

Gariz soft shutter button - Fujifilm X100 by fussgangerfoto

There are many ways to accomplish the same thing. My preference is to duplicate the color layer, desaturate it, then use the eraser (feathered edge brush) to remove the article I want to highlight (like the button in this picture).

This method works well when there is just one or two items. If you have a hundred red flowers in a bouquet and want to highlight only those, you have to use one of the other techniques.
45 months ago (permalink)

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Sky_PA (Catching up slowly- On/Off) says:

I just use two ways for bringing the color back on Adobe Photoshop Elements 13, black and white or desaturated (this last is my favorite) and with the brush I bring the colors back.

Gypsy dress
Originally posted 19 months ago. (permalink)
Sky_PA (Catching up slowly- On/Off) edited this topic 19 months ago.

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