Introduction: GIMP Color Effects on a B&W Photo

Have you ever seen a black and white picture with only one thing that was colored?

I have and now I'm going to show you how to do it yourself.

First open up GIMP. If you don't have GIMP, then get it from here.



Sorry the video is choppy and a little blurry.

Step 1: Open Up the Image in GIMP.

Now open up the image that you are going to use. My picture wasn't the best because I couldn't figure out where the rainbow was later on. So make sure you use an easy photo for the first time.

Step 2: Duplicate the Image.

Now in the Layers menu click the button that duplicates the image.

If your Layers menu isn't open:

1. Click File
2.Go to Dialogs
3. Click Layers

Or do Ctrl+L

Step 3: B&W

Now we need to make this image Black and White.

To do this:
1. Go to Colors
2. Click Colorify
3. Click the white box.
4. Click ok.

Step 4: Making the Color Detail.

Now you need to zoom in on the area where you will be making an item colored.

I decided on this rainbow picture, but I didn't know the rainbow would cause a problem.

Step 5: Use the Eraser Tool.

Now this is where the item that you picked to change into color will appear.

Steps:
1. Choose the Eraser tool.
2. Color the area you want.

Once again, this is where the rainbow came to be a problem for me.

Step 6: Saving

Now all you need to do is save the image!!!

The File menu to save the picture is the picture window. Not the GIMP window.

Step 7: You're Done!!!

Now all you need to do is appreciate your picture.

Below is another picture I did that demonstrates this better.

Pictures: Courtesy of Google

Comments

author
ZoeE1 made it! (author)2015-01-26

This is what I did. Quite proud of it actually haha

Ryan-B&W.jpg
author
ZoeE1 (author)2015-01-26

Okay, when you're erasing the picture, make sure you add an Alpha channel, which makes the image transparent. To do this, go to Layers > Transparency > Add alpha channel. Then you can begin erasing. If there is more than one colour in the image, or if it's hard to tell where you need to erase, make sure the black and white layer is selected (seriously this is essential), then click the eye so the layer beneath is visible. Then begin erasing the thing you want coloured. Does that make sense? idk if it does lmao. Hope I helped :)

author
mmartin16 (author)2011-06-27

I'm having the same problem ! ?

author
aceves (author)2009-07-06

thnx 4 da tip itmboy :)

author
bob05111983 (author)2009-06-21

I followed the steps and the missing step and still am not able to get it to work, not really sure where to put the missing step though so it might be a simple fix?

author
a_ruiz1990 (author)2009-04-27

i guess i missed something here..but when i zoom in what do i do? just look at it? then u said to click on the eraser i did that also and it just erased the picture...everytime i clicked...well if u can get back to me thanks

author
m0005 (author)2008-10-11

I've done everything step by step but when i go to erase it erases the image itself.What am i doing wrong?

author
jmeile (author)m00052008-10-15

Ok, I found it. The missing step is: Menu Layer / Transparency / Add Alpha Channel

author
twiggy9600 (author)jmeile2009-02-12

I would like to thank you for this missing step..it really helped. I was having the problem with it erasing the image itself.

author
jmeile (author)twiggy96002009-02-13

You are welcome. I'm glad to see that it helped you.

author
fidz91 (author)2008-03-09

awesome, as soon as i saw it, i did it !

sunflower.jpg
author
hominid (author)fidz912008-12-18

Yes I agree,very nice indeed.

author
summit (author)fidz912008-03-10

Wow great result! I love the one sunflower sticking out. Good job!

author
baconfish (author)2008-03-06

If I can make a suggestion, look into masks. It would work much the same way as the above instructions, but instead of erasing parts of the black and white layer you would make a mask of it (it's sort of like another black and white layer that maps to the alpha channel of the layer it's applied to). Now you just paint the mask black where you want stuff to show through and white where you don't. I guess you could use the anti-erase tool, but masks may be easier to work with visually.

author
summit (author)baconfish2008-03-06

Thanks for the info. I'll look into that.

author
pitty (author)summit2008-03-06

I agree using layer masks is the way to go with this sort of work, once you get the hang of them you may never use the eraser again.

Andrew546 has a great Instructable using layer masks
"Creating a 3D effect with image editing software (GIMP or Photoshop)"

author
summit (author)pitty2008-03-13

cool thanks

author
lgsmith (author)2008-03-13

It's called selective desaturation, and though it may look cool now, it gets old. So now you know how to do it, but don't overdo it or use it on the wrong photo.

author
bikerguy7 (author)2008-03-06

hey great instructable. as far as I could tell there is no GIMP for Mac OS X. Does anyone know of a similar program? Thanks.

author
titanium_geek (author)bikerguy72008-03-06

Yeah, there is a GIMP for OS X- it's http://www.gimp.org/macintosh/ or try http://seashore.sourceforge.net/

author

But you will also need to install X-11 which comes on the OS X install disc as an extra option.

author

for general information, seashore is Cocoa based- but the GIMP has more features.

author
rholland45 (author)2008-03-06

this same tut is avaliable for photoshop CS3 go to itunes an type in the russell brown show an its tip #72

author
abjurian (author)rholland452008-03-07

I was wondering if there is a tutorial for this using the older photoshop cs?

author
rholland45 (author)abjurian2008-03-07

ehhh i dont know i think its the same procedure tho the tools you use for the CS3 one are the same for older CS2 i think chek it out tho tip #72 russell brown show off itunes

author
reedz (author)2008-03-06

Great job, I've always wondered how to do this

author
summit (author)reedz2008-03-06

I'm glad could help! =D

author
ltmboy (author)2008-03-05

This method usually works well when accenting someone's eyes in a portrait or to draw attention to a certain object in a scene. You just have to be careful not to overdo it.

author
summit (author)ltmboy2008-03-05

Especially of they have blue or green eyes.

author
stalkingcoco (author)2008-03-04

Just interested to know does colorify white, work better than desaturate.

author
summit (author)stalkingcoco2008-03-05

It works the same...I just learned both ways.

author
mjordan724 (author)2008-03-02

thanks for the guide but is there any way to "decolor" a portion of the picture that you accidently colored in? as in go back to black and white but only a small portion. hope this makes sense. thanks again.

author
ltmboy (author)mjordan7242008-03-02

There is. If you look below the tools dialog, you'll see an Anti-erase option. Check the box beside it and the eraser will work in reverse. Hope that helps.

author
summit (author)ltmboy2008-03-02

Yes, I believe Itmboy's reply is correct.

author
mjordan724 (author)summit2008-03-02

Yes, I believe Itmboy's reply is correct as well. lol. Thanks Itmboy and thanks again summit.

author
summit (author)mjordan7242008-03-05

Yes, I do believe that was a very formal reply lol. Well I don't know....

author
Xellers (author)2008-03-05

This works really well with flowers. I don't mean to be offensive, but some of these pictures don't look too great with B&W; background. Nice instructable though. +1 Rating

author
summit (author)Xellers2008-03-05

I know they don't look great with the background. And trust me that wan't taken offensively. Those were the only pictures I had to work with at the time.

author
clank1108 (author)2008-02-23

This is cool! I finally know how to do this!!!

author
Transquesta (author)2008-02-23

Fantastic! Now, if I could just figure out how to fade to transparent in Gimp. :-)

author
summit (author)Transquesta2008-02-23

What do you mean transparent? You could lower the layer's opacity.

author
LinuxH4x0r (author)2008-02-20

Cool! I love gimp. What can't it do!

author
GorillazMiko (author)2008-02-20

Always seen these images, always wanted to do this, now I know how to. Thanks a lot! :-)

author
summit (author)GorillazMiko2008-02-20

I'm happy to help! :D

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Bio: I come in peace. I'm interested in all things electronic. I like to collect coins and build stuff. I don't live in California ... More »
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