How to Make Photos Black and White With a Splash of Color: A Gimp Photo Tutorial
Black and White and Red All Over
A Cool Photo Effect: For Free
Any photo can be turned into a stunning piece of art by using selective colorization. By downloading the free GIMP photo editing software, anyone can convert a photo to black and white, then selectively colorize a desired section of the photo. All it takes is the use of layers and a careful application of the eraser tool!
A video tutorial is included at the end of the article to aid new GIMP users with finding the proper Layer window and editing tools.
Create Layers for Selective Photo Colorization
Choose a Photo
Choose a photo in your directory.
Open the Layer Window/Create a New Layer
- Go to "windows" and select "dockable dialogs."
- From the dockable dialogs tab, select "layers." A layers window will appear superimposed on your photo.
- Click the white folded paper icon in the lower left corner of the layer window to "create a new layer." The default setting of transparency is fine.
- Click "OK" and a new layer will appear in the window layer.
Duplicate the Image
- Go to the "image" tab and select "duplicate."
- A duplicate of your photo will appear in a new window.
Layering a Black and White Image
Desaturate the Duplicate Image
- Click on the duplicate image.
- Go to the "colors" tab and select "desaturate." There will be three options for desaturating the image: based on lightness, luminosity, or an average of both. Choose the method which creates the most appealing black-and-white image.
- Copy the Black-and-White Duplicate Image. Click on "edit" and choose "copy."
- Return to the original, color image.
- Click on the new layer in the layer window, and paste the black and white image into the new layer.
- Click on the small anchor icon to anchor the black and white layer to the color layer.
- The original image will now appear black and white.
The duplicate black and white image will not be used again. Return to the original, color image.
The duplicate black and white image will not be used again after it has been copied and pasted onto the transparency layer over the color photo.
Add Color to the Black and White Photo
- Go to the tool window, and select the "eraser" tool. Modify the size of the eraser tool with the "scale" sliding toggle on the bottom of the toolbox window.
- Erase the areas of the photo that will become colorized. As you move the eraser, you will see the color appear.
Don't fret if the eraser goes outside of the area: simply select "anti-erase" at the bottom of the toolbox and you will be able to return any stray lines to the black and white scheme.
If the area you are trying to colorize is a difficult shape, use the magnifying glass tool to zoom in on the area. This will help keep the colorization confined to a solitary object.
The Completed Photo
Saving the Image
Merge Down the Layers
When the colorization process is complete, go to "layer" and select "merge down." This will bind the layers together.
Save the Image
Save the file (under the "file" tab). Select "save as" and rename the file, so that the original image will not be replaced. GIMP will indicate you must export the image to save it: simply click OK and select the file quality to be 100%.
Impress Your Friends
Use your new fancy photo on Facebook, or in a digital scrapbook page. The result is very impressive, and gives an artistic edge to any photograph!
Black and White Photos with Color: GIMP Tutorial Video
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2011 Leah Lefler