Color element in Black & White surroundings:
We get this question all the time, and during November we got no less than two dozen inquiries asking the same basic question: How do you put color into a grayscale image? One writer had a color photo and wanted to convert most of the image to Black & White while keeping some of the elements in color. All claimed to be beginners, wanting the most easy and simple way of doing it.
NOTE: Since the images in this seminar are large, they'll pop-up in a new browser window when you click their links. If you quickly click back into this window you can continue reading while the diagrams load, then keep all windows open for reference. Thumbnails here have been optimized and resuced intentionally to allow the page to load quickly.
B&W Image with Color elements
remove color, retain color, restore color
- First step no matter what
We're going to present several techniques here today, however regardless of which you decide upon, you'll still need to isolate the objects or elements you want to be "colored" in the final piece.
The header to our page above shows our basket of apples with the results of the techniques. At the far left is a section of the original image, then the image using an 'Adjustment Layer', the grayscale alone, and finally, the selection "colorized" through a Hue/Saturation adjustment.
If you're not already familiar with the 'Adjustment' layer then this will be a good exercise to discover the powers of this marvelous tool. Always remember that an Adjustment layer can make changes to the image without disturbing the original layer(s) that it acts upon.
It's always recommended to work up-sized, then reduce the the image later prior to printing. Before such processes, it's also a good idea to do any image refinements and resolution adjustments and then 'Save As...' saving the file under a different name, leaving the original image untouched. Remember that once we get into the process it's always a good idea to save or save-as at frequent intervals during image retouching/editing.
- Making the Selection
Choose the Lasso Tool (L) or other selection tool most appropriate for selecting just the areas you want to be color in the final image. This can be a single element or multiple elements. If there are more than one item to be colorized, and you want them to have the same color treatment, you can select them together. If they are to have different colorization effects, then it will be better to select and act upon them separately.
Load the first image
Many students will begin the selection process zoomed out to see the whole object. Don't be afraid to zoom in on the object so you can see the edges well. Remember that any spherical element will not have clean, sharp edges.
Remember your finger dance, and keep the Option (Alt) key pressed while using the lasso. This way you can click around the object, "dot-to-dot" fashion, and maintain the rubber-band selection. When you get to the edge of the window, all you need to do is gently bump the tool into the edge of the window which will cause it to scroll.
You may want to set the "Feathering" to one pixel or so in order to maintain the spherical qualities of the selected edges. You can set that in the Options Bar for the Lasso Tool.
Once you've completed the selection you can act upon it. However, for our seminar today, and in many other situations you'll want to save it into a new channel for further use.
Choose menu: Select > Save Selection. When the dialog appears you can just click "Okay" or hit the enter/return key to dismiss it. Unless you plan multiple selections, there's no need to take time naming the channel. We'll load it later without looking at it.
Now that you've made and saved your selection, you can try each of the following techniques.
- Continue now, to the next step
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