GIMP Color Effects on a B&W Photo




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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.

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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.

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

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42 Discussions


4 years ago on Introduction

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 :)


10 years ago on Step 5

thnx 4 da tip itmboy :)


10 years ago on Introduction

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?


10 years ago on Step 4

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


11 years ago on Introduction

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

3 replies

Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

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


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

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


Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

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


11 years ago on Introduction

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.


11 years ago on Introduction

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.

3 replies