Black and White photos with spot color (Colorizing)

Looking for a great technique to add interest to some of your photographs? Heres a technique which works great for wedding photos, swimsuits photos, car photos, in fact any photo with an obvious and colorful main subject.

Colorizing (some times called color swash), is when you have a black and white background and leave items in the foreground/special items in living color.

Here are three ways of doing the same thing depending on what photo program you have. All techniques work with photoshop but more than one method has been given to show how this could be done in other programs...

Method one -the history brush tool method - (this is the easiest method with Photoshop):

Open the file and choose image>adjustments>desaturate (or you can just press shift+ctrl+u in photoshop). This will make your photo black and white. Now you can use the history brush tool to reveal the way the photo was. An easier way to put it is, change to the history brush tool (the fifth one down on the right in the toolbar, or press y) making sure you choose the appropriate brush size for your photo and paint over the areas you want back in color.

Method two – The layers method - (also easy in photoshop, but also usefull if your photo editing program doesn't have the history brush tool):

This works not only in Photoshop, but in all photo editing programs with layers. Open the photo and select all then copy and paste. Use whichever method you can to desaturate the tip layer (in photoshop  image>adjustments>desaturate or simply shift+ctrl+u). Tip: if you cant desaturate the layer, try this> open the photo, change it to black and white (usually changing the mode to greyscale) then select all and copy, now undo the mode change (the change to black and white) and then paste, this should paste a black and white layer on top of your original color one. Once you have a black and white layer on top of the color one, just use the appropriate brush size to erase selected areas from the layer, thus letting the colour version underneath show through.

Method three – using selection instead of erase –
Use the above method, but rather than individually erase the portions of the black and white image, simply select them and press delete. Works best with about 2-6 pixel feathered edge (you can set this in Photoshop before you make the selection or by going to select>feather after the selection has been made).

Method four – layer mask -
This method is similar to erasing the black and white layer except it uses an important Photoshop concept, the layer mask. Once you have copied and pasted the original image and then desaturated it, turn the new layer into a layer mask. Once it is a layer mask, you can use the paintbrush and paint black ares on your image. The black areas don't actually appear black, but rather make the layer translucent (see through) in that area. This is good because its non destructive. With the erase tool, the only thing you can do if you make a mistake is press undo (ctrl-z). Using a layer mask however allows you to pain with over the black parts in the mask, thus revealing the layer again.

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