Easy "Colourized" Photos in GIMP

Introduction: Easy "Colourized" Photos in GIMP

I am going to show you how to create a photo with a black and white background but colored foreground in the GIMP.

PS: I got the idea from this Instructable


It's a great instructable but here is a different (perhaps easier) way to do it.

Step 1: What You Need

A computer running Windows, MacOS or a distribution of Linux.
GIMP (free) http://www.gimp.org/
a digital camera - optional

Step 2: Editing

Get a photo from your camera or the internet and download it to your computer.
Open it in the GIMP
Click file...open as layers...and open the same image
Select one of the layers and click colors...desaturate.
Drag the grayscale image to the bottom layer.

Step 3: Color to Alpha

Use the color picker tool to pick a color of the foreground. And click on the foreground color.
A window will open, copy the HTML color notation then close the window. With the colored layer selected click colors...color to alpha. A window will open, click on the bottom bar. Another window will open paste the HTML code there. Click OK to both windows. Keep doing that until you have removed as much background color as possible.

Step 4: Desaturation

Use the rectangular select tool to select colored parts of the background and click colors..desaturate. Keep doing this until the image is complete.

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    4 Discussions


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 4

    This instructable simply shows how to create an effect to a colored photo. Makes the background black and white and the foreground colored.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I gotta say I don't find this instructable terribly useful. The method described above is pretty time-consuming for what should be a simple effect. Having to choose and "alpha" every single foreground colour that you don't want by Hex code is surely not very practical if you have a complicated foreground, and then the use of  "selective grayscayling" is also not very pratical if you have complex objects that you wish to "colour-highlight".

    I would recommend using the wagic-wand to select the object you want to keep in colour, making a copy of it onto a front layer and grayscaling the rest.

    That doesn't address contrast-balance, but that's another matter.