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Black & White with a touch of Color in PS:CS4

Discussion in 'Retouching and Post Processing' started by danameless, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. danameless


    May 9, 2009
    Hi everyone,

    Apologies if this has already been asked, but I don't know what it's called so wouldn't even know where to begin searching...

    Does anyone know if I can use Photoshop: CS4 to covert a picture to B&W, but leave a touch of color in the picture? For example, if I have a picture of a woman holding a rose, I want to convert the picture to B&W, but leave the rose in it's red and green color. Does anyone know if this is possible and if yes, is there a tutorial available? I know this is possible in GIMP, but I am teaching myself PS and always loved that trick!


    Btw, if you don't have a tutorial, but know what this technique is called - that would be great too and I can look for it myself!
  2. Google or search will be your friend here.
    This is very easy to accomplish in CS4. Duplicate the layer- crtl-j. Make the top layer black and white by your favorite technique. Then with a layer mask- or you could even use the eraser tool- just erase out the area you want in color from the black and white layer, and the underlying color layer will show through. Depending on what you want to select there are more involved methods, but this will at least get you going.
  3. danameless


    May 9, 2009
    Thanks - do you know what this technique is called? I would've went the google route, but didn't even know what to search for?
  4. rbellphoto


    Jun 8, 2006
    Selective color
  5. waltny


    Mar 27, 2008
    Reno, NV
    selective color is the overall technique, the method above is basic layer and mask work.
  6. danameless


    May 9, 2009
    Great, thanks!
  7. JakeEbersole


    Mar 11, 2009
    Jacksonville, FL
    Jake Ebersole
    It's really simple. Here is an example.

    Not the best, but I'm new to it also.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


    Apr 30, 2005
    Photos on the techniques noted above...







  9. danameless


    May 9, 2009
    Wow! I didn't expect a step-by-step tutorial with screen shots - Thanks RFC!
  10. With respect, that's very long-winded and clumsy.

    Even if desaturate is the best form of BW conversion for the photo (and that doesn't happen often IME), duplicating the layer is still completely unnecessary.


    1. Make an adjustment layer for your conversion method of choice - ie Black-and-white (if available), Gradient Map, Channel Mixer, Hue/Sat, etc.

    2. Whichever adjustment layer you choose will automatically have a mask attached. Simply press D, then X, then B and paint on the area you want in colour.

  11. DanWhite


    Jul 10, 2005
    Lansdale PA
    Personally I just use my favorite B&W conversion action, and use the hustory brush to bring back the color.

  12. Like everything else in photoshop there are many ways to accomplish selective color. I use the layer/mask method for several reasons. I use Nik Silver efex for my black and white conversions- so I do it on a separate layer. I also like to show the image with and without the selective color- I do not often like the effect, but other people sure do so I give them a choice. It is interesting to see all the different ways we accomplish the same task. Pick one, they all end up at the same place.
  13. Here is an even easier way to do this...

    Convert picture to b/w or sepia or whatever you want and then click on the History Brush and paint where you want the color to show up.

    This really is the simplest way. Try it and let me know what you think.
  14. Sorry, Catz, you're wrong. The problem with that method is that you need to be completely accurate with your painting. If you accidentally paint in a non-desired area, then you need to undo, or doing history brush of your history brush ... it gets very messy.

    Layer masks are a MUST for this type of work.
  15. sjlarue


    Nov 18, 2007
  16. danameless


    May 9, 2009
    I tried it with the history brush but I am getting an error message.

    I converted my picture by going to Adjustments>Black & White. Then I made some adjustments to the colors.

    Next, I clicked on the History Brush>Black, but when I go to paint the areas I want in color, I get the following error message,

    "Could not use the history brush because the history data does not contain a corresponding layer"

    What am I doing wrong?

    Thanks for the patience guys (& gals)!
  17. No, not the history brush, just use the normal brush.
  18. Yes, there are many ways to do this, Damien has the latest and certainly one of the easiest!!:biggrin::biggrin:
  19. I can't figure out if that's a compliment ... :) 
  20. sjlarue


    Nov 18, 2007
    Just use a black and white adjustment layer from your Adjustments Window. It has the mask already on it.

    Then as damo said, make sure your foreground color is set to black and use your regular brush to paint back what you want in color.

    As to what happened before with the history brush, you need to bring your history state down to the state just before the black and white adjustment. Chances are there is an adjustment layer in your layers pallet that is messing it up.
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