Playing with images and changing some parts into black and white and leaving other parts in colour is something a lot of us do when we first start doing photography, or rather when we start editing our images. I am not going to talk about when it is appropriate and when it isn’t, I just thought I would show you a couple of ways of doing it.
First we start with the image.
I have done this image before, but thought I would show you how to make the background black and white. This is how I do it, well, there is a couple of ways of doing. I am using Photoshop CS6 for this Tutorial. I am fairly sure you should be able to achieve the same in Photoshop Elements and, I think, GIMP.
First of all, open the image in the program.
Click on the Quick Selection Tool (it is circled in red) and you select all the areas outside the flower. If the tool goes too far, then press down on the Alt button on your keyboard and push the line back to where you want it. Once one area is selected, then you can click on the next, you don’t need to worry about only be able to do one spot at a time.
This is the final image, the flower is colour and the background is black and white.
Another way to do this is to apply a mask. Doing the Quick Selection method is great if you have large areas and it is easy, but sometimes it is harder to do that, so in that situation, I apply a mask.
This time, you need two copies of the image, one in black and white and one in colour. So convert the image into black and white and save it, but make sure you change the file name so you don’t replace the original colour one.
Now that both images are open, you will need to decide which image to put on top and which underneath. I have decided that the colour image should be at the bottom as the amount of image that needs to be cut away is smaller that way. Then I only have to remove the flower in the top layer, here the following will help you to understand. Go to the B&W image, then you select all and press copy, the easy way is Ctrl A, and then Ctrl C,
Got to the colour image and press Ctrl V, which will paste the B&W image on top of the colour one. You will now have two layers. You can see the layers on the column on the right.
Now we are going to apply a vector mask. Make sure the new layer is highlighted, so click on the icon in the bottom right corner, I have circled it in red. Then a white rectangle the same shape as your image will appear. It should also have a white border surrounding it, if it doesn’t make sure you click on it, or this won’t work.
Now you need to select the brush tool, and the size, (remember right clicking on the image will give you the slider to change the size) that is appropriate for the image you are doing. Try brushing on the image, if the colour from underneath is coming through, then that is good, if nothing is happening then you will need to go the colour selector, also circled in red, make sure the black is the colour on the left, or on top.
If you want to see how well you have selected the area, then press down on the Alt key, then click on the mask, the one circled in red, and the above should appear. With the mask like this you can see the areas you have missed and fill them in so the area is solid black. When you are done with it, you just press down on Alt again, and click on mask, the one circled in red.
You simply go to the colour selector again and make it so the white is the foreground colour, or is on the left and at the front. Once you have that, you brush over the area that you did by mistake and it should restore the top image. It is like an eraser.
When to use Quick Selection Tool or the Mask depends on how big an area you are changing, or how complicated it is. Sometimes the Quick Selection Tool can give you a hard line edge, whereas masking can give a softer edge. You have to decide what would be easier. I would recommend trying both and then deciding for yourself which is easier.
I had some trouble working out what tutorial to do for you, so am thinking of finding some images that need some fixing, and might do one of them for you next week. I hope that will help.
So if any of you have anything you particularly want me to help you with, then please drop me a line, I am taking requests.