Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Adding color to a black and white image

Both of these images are converted from the same file.  The second image has slightly 'stronger' red tone added to the flowers than the first image. 
To create these images, I started in Lightroom 2.0 and right clicked on the 'full' color version of the RAW file and created a virtual copy.  I converted the virtual copy to a black and white image and adjusted the black and fill light to enhance the image.  In the original file, I boosted the hue and saturation [red] to bring out some of the color in the flowers.  I was cautious not to adjust the color too much to avoid a cartoonish or fake look.  After both images were modified to where I liked them, I right clicked on the image and selected edit in Photoshop [CS2].  This next technique works in any photo editing software that supports layers.  [PS Elements, etc]. 

Photoshop steps:

  1. Drag the black and white image to the color image and rename each layer to identify the layer [e.g. the bottom layer = color, the next layer = b&w, etc.
  2.  Create a mask on the b&w layer.  Hit the 'B' key [brush] and ensure black is selected in the color pallet. 
  3. Adjust the brush size to a comfortable size to 'paint' over the flowers.  The shortcut key for adjusting the brush size is the '[' and ']' keys.
  4. Paint over the flowers and the color from the first layer will show through to the second layer.  The trick is not to paint too much to the hands or clothing.  Use the 'z' key to zoom in and out when needed.
  5. In this image, I wanted to 'black' out the couple's jeans to add some 'pop' to the flowers.  I created a layer above the black and white layer and painted black over the jeans.  I did not paint the black on the black and white layer because I did not want to alter the 'original' layer.
When either image is printed, a white mat and black frame would accent the flowers and the couple's hands.

Thanks for viewing and remember, get out and capture the beauty of life!

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