Selective black and white using Picasa

This is short step-by-step tutorial on how you can modify your photos into selective black and white using the free application Picasa by Google. The effect is what can be seen in commercials and on posters all over nowadays of a black and white image where a single object is still in color. When you are done with this tutorial you will know how to create the effect fast and simple just like a pro!

This is what we will be creating in this tutorial, worth to mention is that this technique is also great for photos of jewelry like wedding-rings.

Photo of a street where a single cab has been colorized in an else black and white setting.

And this is the photo before we modified it.

Original photo

Let’s start!

Step 1

Start by open up the image you are to edit in Picasa editor. On your left side is all the tools we can use in a sleek tabbed interface. Next to these you have the actual photo which we are to modify.

Our original photo is loaded in Picasa

Step 2

Click on the tab ‘Effects’ in the left-hand panel.

The effects-tab

Step 3

Now click on the effect called ‘Focal B&W’ to launch the tool which will help us to apply our selective black and white over the image. When you do the photo will turn black and white but a green cross will be presented in the absolute middle of the image. As you can see there is an area surrounding the green cross which is still in color.

Focal B&W is not active

Step 4

By moving this green cross by clicking and holding the left mouse button on it you can change what part of the image which is to remain in color. Move the cross over ontop of the pink cab and release it.

In the left panel there will be two rulers which can change the apearance of the effect at the area which you have selected using the green cross. By moving the top ruler called ‘Size’ you can change how big the area should be which is to remain in color.

Move this ruler so that it fits the car only and nothing else.

Configure the tool to fit our selection

And there you go, you have now successfully changed a photo from all color into a selective black and white! As an optional step we can adjust the overall setting of the black and white as well to make the photo look even better.

Step 5 (optional)

By using the adjustments in the tab ‘Tuning’ we can sett the overall lightning of the photo. In black and white photos it is often a good idea to increase the contrast to make the photo more dramatical.

Tune the lightning

And we’re all done, hope that you have learned something from this tutorial and that the knowledge will help you create some amazing photos!