Black/White with a Touch of Color

by Jessica
(NJ)

Awesome effect and easy to do!

Awesome effect and easy to do!

Q: If I have a color photo and change it to black and white but I want to leave lets say a flower in it's original color. Totally new to Photoshop.


A: Hi Jessica,
As with lots of things in Photoshop Elements there are a few different ways to achieve this effect. Here's a relatively quick and easy way to do it. First I'll give the long version, explaining the process in detail. At the end I will summarize it for you so it's easier to follow.

Desaturate Your Photo. In the Layers palette click on the half white/half black circle to create a new Adjustment layer. From the drop-down menu choose Hue/Saturation….
A new Dialog window will appear with 3 sliders. Grab the middle slider labeled Saturation and move it all the way over to the left until the field next to it says -100. Click OK.

Paint Back the Color You Want. Your photo now looks black and white. Notice that in the Layers palette you can see the new Hue/Saturation adjustment layer you just created. It's right over your Background layer.

By the way, your Background layer is still in full color, you can't see it because the Hue/Saturation layer is on top of it and covering it up.

Also notice in your Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer there are 2 square icons. One of them, the one on the left is the icon that represents Hue/Saturation. The big white square to the right of it represents the Layer Mask for your Hue/Saturation layer.

The Layer Mask can be either white, black, or some shade of gray. White reveals whatever adjustment was made with that Layer. Now if that Adjustment Layer was black instead of white, it would totally hide the effect of the Adjustment Layer and it would look like no change was made to your photo. It would still be in full living color.

The cool thing is that you can paint on any part of the layer Mask with black and it will hide the effect and let the original Background layer show through.



So go ahead and paint on whatever part of your image you want to see the color on. There are 3 things you have to do to make sure it works right.

1.Select the Brush tool from the Toolbox.

2.Change the Foreground color to black. To do that, first press the letter D and then press the letter X.

3.Make sure your working on the Layer Mask by clicking once on the white square on your Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer in the Layers palette.

Now when you paint over your photo the color will show through. If you accidentally paint in more than you intended just press the letter X on your keyboard and that will change your Foreground color to white and then paint back over the area you accidentally exposed and it will go back to black and white.

Then press X again to start painting with black again.

The concept of how Layer Masks work really had me confused when I first started messing around with them. Just keep playing with them and eventually you'll get it. If I can learn it, you can learn it. :-)


Okay, that was a lot to take in so go back and look it over at your leisure. But here's a short summary so you can get to the meat of what to do without all the explanation of why you do it that way.

Step 1
Desaturate Your Photo.
In the Layers palette click on the half white/half black circle to create a new Adjustment layer. From the drop-down menu choose Hue/Saturation….
A new Dialog window will appear with 3 sliders. Grab the middle slider labeled Saturation and move it all the way over to the left until the field next to it says -100. Click OK.

Step 2
Paint Back the Color You Want.
Your photo now looks black and white. Set your Foreground Color to Black. Select the Brush tool from the Toolbox. Paint over the part of the image you want to come back in color.

That's it. Just 2 steps!

If you need more explanation or have more questions on this don't hesitate to post a comment here. Other readers can join in too!

Take care,
Rick



Comments for Black/White with a Touch of Color

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Simple and clear tuts!
by: Madhavan M

Very useful, simple and clear tuts!

Thank YOu!
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much! I have had PSE7 for several years and have never been about to figure it all out. You taught me more here than I have accomplished in a long time. Thanks again!

Reply From Rick:
You are very welcome. Once you have a breakthrough with Elements it seems like it's easier to keep getting deeper into the program and learn even more. I'm glad you can now actually USE the program. Keep up the good work. Thanks for taking the time to write. - Rick

touch of color
by: pennie

The door I'm trying to bring back to color is green but its painting back red? I have the foreground and background set right. Any suggestions?

Reply From Rick:
Hey Pennie - Don't you hate when things don't work the way you expect them to in Elements? Here are a couple of things to check:
  1. In the Layers Panel, make sure you are working on the Layer Mask and not the Layer itself. Do that by clicking once on the Layer Mask icon in the Layers Panel right before you start painting.
  2. Make sure you are using the Regular Brush Tool from the Toolbox. There are 3 other Tools that share the same space in the Toolbox and one is the Color Replacement Tool.

Double-check those 2 things and let me know if one of those were the problem. If not, we'll keep digging. Good Luck! - Rick


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