Colorize a black and white photo in GIMP

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This is a quick tutorial on how to use GIMP for colorizing a black and white photograph. The technique is described in general instead of in detail since each photograph will be unique in its own composition. The photograph I used is of Albert Einstein (and I borrowed the photo from this site) and this is one of my favorite photo of him since there is something beautiful over the playfulness in his smile.

The same technique can be used for Adobe Photoshop or other software as well and the method we are using are similar to what we did earlier when we exchanged a selected color in an image.

Let us begin!

  1. Start off with a black and white photo. The wider spectrum of grey tones and the more dynamic the photo is, the better the end result will be.
    Black and white photo loaded in GIMP
  2. Create a new layer
    New layer
  3. Select the brush tool and with the new layer selected, paint with a warm orange color over all parts of the portrait where you want skin.

    Advanced:You can start of by a large brush and go into more details using the eraser afterwards.

    A mask is created for where the skin in the portrait is

  4. When you have painted parts of the photo where there is visible skin, with the selected layer in the Layers toolbox, change the blending type to multiply. Using the transparency of the slider you can adjust the strength of the color.
    Colored layer is set to Blending type 'Multiply'
  5. Do the same for the other parts of the image you want colorized, adding a new layer for each new color. Set each layer to blending type, Multiply when finished.
    Repeat the proces
  6. When all parts have been colorized, right click on any of the layers in the Layers toolbox and select Flatten image.

    Advanced:Using Color adjust, you can set the overall color to meet your goal or to tweak the full color range. It can also be used to ting the part of the photo which was not colored into a warmer or colder tone.

  7. Done.

Simulated tilt-shift using Photoshop Elements

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Tilt-shift is a very popular technique to capture photos of great scenes and create an impression of them being miniature or to have a single place of the scene in focus while the other parts of the same photo is totally out of focus. In this tutorial I will show you how to achieve the first goal, making a photo of something big appear very small. I will use Photoshop Elements 8 but this will also work in older version as well as in CS.

Continue reading Simulated tilt-shift using Photoshop Elements

Selective black and white using Photoshop Elements

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In this brief tutorial we will create a selective black and white photo using Photoshop Elements. For those of you who do not own Photoshop Elements I also made a tutorial for Picasa a litle while ago which can be reached here. I use Photoshop Elements 8 in this tutorial but the same technique do work in older versions as well. If you do not have Photoshop Elements or CS you can do the same thing in the free application Picasa, and I have the same tutorial for that application here.

This is what we will create in this tutorial:
Our final result

And this is the original photo:

Step 1
Open up your photo in Elements Edit

After this step I will multi task and show two ways of creating the effect. Choose either a) or b) and follow that path.

Step 2
Create a new adjustment-layer by left-clicking on your background-layer and drag and drop this upon the icon for adjustment layer. Choose gradient map and select a map from black to white.
Adjustment layer

Step 3
Next to your adjustment-layer there is an layer-mask (the white square), select this by clicking on it. Then using a brush and black color, paint on top of the parts in the photo you would like to be in color.
Layer mask

There is actually a number of ways of doing the same in Elements and I will therefore show you yet another way of doing the same effect.

Step 2, Optional way
Duplicate your layer by single-clicking the layer ‘Background’ in your layers window and then pressing CTRL + J (or Command + J if you are on Mac). This will create a new layer with the same content as the layer you had selected, in other words you now have two identical layers on top of each other.
Duplicated layer

Step 3, Optional way
With you duplicated layer selected, use the erasor to erase the parts in the black and white layer where you want color. The layer underneath in color will now instead show.

There, we’re all set and have learnt two ways of doing this effect in Photoshop Elements!

Selective black and white using Picasa

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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!