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Photography Question 
Joseph R. Ward

changing part of picture to black & white

Hi all,

question regarding photoshop. Besides extracting a portion of a photo and changing the saturation, is there another way to change only part of a picture to black and white. for example, I would like the bottom of a photo to be Black and white and then gradually include color slowly up to the top where it will have full color. I find that if I was to extract different segments of a picture across it would be very clear where the picture is split and where the color shifts are. as always thx for your tips and help.


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10/25/2007 11:06:26 AM

Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  I just answered this earlier in a different thread, I'll copy here:

Getting a good conversion to black-and-white may be a little more complicated than just desaturating, which is usually the worst means of B&W conversion...other methods include using Channel Mixer, and making custom conversions using layers, separations and possibly even Duotone mode. The History brush method can work, but some people may find using two layers and a mask more concrete and easy to follow.

If you make a good black-and-white conversion, your steps should look like these (for Photoshop users, Elements users can do this a different way):

1. Open the color version of the image
2. Open the black-and-white version of the image
3. Position the images on screen so you can see them both.
4. Choose the Move tool (press V on the keyboard).
5. Hold down the Shift key, and click-and-drag the black and white version of the image into the color version. The shift key will keep the images aligned (so long as you have not cropped them differently or change the resolution).
6. Be sure the black-and-white layer is active, then click the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers palette. This will add a mask to the black-and-white layer.
7. Change the foreground color to black, choose a brush (be sure the Options are set to Normal, Opacity 100%, and Flow 100%, you'll probably want a somewhat soft brush), check to be sure the mask is active, then paint over areas where you want to reveal the color.

That should do it. This technique uses the layer mask to reveal the color layer below. If you want a good book on Layers, I just happen to have written one! Have a look here:

The Adobe Photoshop Layers Book

I also teach a course here on betterphoto about layers (Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool), and image correction (Correct and Enhance Your Images), but you may want to have some other background in Photoshop/Elements before taking those as they are more advanced courses. My Photoshop 101: The Photoshop Essentials Primer course is meant to be a solid introduction to the program.

I hope that helps!

Richard Lynch

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10/25/2007 5:49:20 PM

Joseph R. Ward   thanks richard I will try what you suggest. But will this allow ful color on top and tansition to totally black and white on the bottom. if I paint over the areas I want to revea color what how could I adjust the amount of color. I hope you understand what I mean. I dont want to go stright from b&w to color. hope Im not a pain if youve answered this already. cheers


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10/26/2007 4:36:36 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Use the gradient tool instead of the brush.

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10/26/2007 10:13:02 AM

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