Sunday, May 18, 2008

Black & White + Color Tutorial

Ever wonder how to keep a shirt pink or eyes blue in a black and white photo? Well, you will be AMAZED at how simple it really is!! I remember the day my friend Hanna showed me how to do it... I wanted to kick myself for all the time I spent trying to use the magic wand or making some complicated extraction! Here's the layout we will be creating today:

1.) Open a new document and drag your desired photo onto your new document. (For instructions on how to do this, see steps 1 thru 8 in The Basics of Creating a Layout Tutorial.)

2.) Refer to your layers palette and right click on your photo layer. Then choose Duplicate Layer. Name your layer (if desired) and click OK.

3.) Now activate your top photo layer (a layer is activated by simply clicking on it) and then go to Image and choose Adjustments and then Black and White (or Desaturate if there is no Black and White option).

4. Now that you have both layers, go ahead and link your layers so that they stay lined up. Just click on one photo layer and then holding down your shift key, click on the other. Then somewhere near your layers palette, there should be a little chain link icon. Click on that to link them together.

5.) Now choose your Eraser Tool as shown below (you can also hit the letter "E" on your keyboard, this will also activate your Eraser Tool).

6.) Now refer to your top menu and look for the drop down menu that says Brush. This will allow you to choose the shape and size of your eraser, as well as the hardness of the edges of your eraser. For this purpose, you will want a circle-shaped eraser, and you will want to choose a fairly small size (Master Diameter) (like around 75-100) and the hardness will need to be set at 100% (as shown below). Later, once you are ready to make your eraser larger, you can either go back up to this drop down menu and change your size, or you can use the bracket keys on your keyboard. (The " [ " will make your eraser smaller and the " ] " will make it larger.)

7.) Now making sure your black and white photo layer is active, you will simply begin erasing the area (in this case her shirt) that you want to be in color. This just erases that part off of the b/w photo and allows the color of the color photo layer to show through.

8.) Here is what my finished result of the photo will look like...

...and here is what my layers palette now looks like...

9.) Now, I have a personal preference of high-contrast black & white photos. If you are happy with the way your photo looks as is, you can simply leave it that way. If you want the high-contrast effect, here is how I did mine. Using your Blending Modes (you can see exactly how to do this in my Blending Modes Tutorial), simply duplicate your black & white photo layer and change the blending mode to screen. Then duplicate your screen layer and once. Then duplicate that screen layer and change the blending mode to Overlay (or Soft Light). Here is what your layers palette will look like:

10. Now that your picture is how you like it, you can begin building your layout. (For instructions on how to do this, you can refer to The Basics of Creating a Layout Tutorial.)

Again... here is our completed layout:

For my layout, I used:

TAYLORMADE DESIGNS: The Alternative Paper (only at oscraps!)

VICKI STEGALL: Frame from Week 20 of 52 Inspirations (only at oscraps!)

FONTS: Santos Dumont, 1942 Report (both available free at

I would LOVE to know what you think of this tutorial! Please feel free to leave comments! If you have any questions regarding this tutorial, you can certainly email me at

I would also LOVE to see any layouts that this tutorial helped you create! Come on over to the Oscraps Gallery and post your layouts there!!!

You can also find this (and all of my other tutorials) in the Tutorial Section at Oscraps!!


Shanarama said...

You are an artist and a teacher, girl... changing scrapbookers lives one tutorial at a time! Keep up the good work!
:) Shannon

bsp2232 said...

Thanks so much!! I love your tutorials! :)

lynette said...

I love this! I have so many questions and tutorial requests. Give me some time--I'll definitely be back!

Janelle Ehat said...

You can also "Select Color Range" and select the color with the eyedropper tool that you want to keep (deselect any other areas of the photo that may have been captured as well) and then feather a bit - if you want - and then select inverse and change that part to black and white. It's a TON faster and very precise! Anyway! I LOVE all of your tutorials! I refer all of my friends that see my stuff and want me to teach them how to do things. Teaching Photoshop goes so much faster when they can come here and learn some things and do some application on their own too. THANK YOU!!

SteinwaysMom said...

PS Users can also put a layer mask on the BW layer and erase that way (advantage is you can correct mistakes)...

Amanda, it's so great you are doing these tuts - I think it will really help and inspire our Oscraps customers to try new things...

Kevin & Amy said...

I am REALLY enjoying your tutorials, Amanda!! I am sending all my newbie friends here to check out your tuts too. Thanks so much!

Also, I made a LO with your Trilogy template:

lynette said...

Ok, I'm back.
How did you cut out your text (Simple) in your yellow layout?
And, is there a way to outline a shape with a dotted line?

Yapukapi said...

so so class!!! it's on top! i didn't think to change the effect of B&W top top!!
thank you very very much!! so beautiful

Bettina Groh said...

can't wait to try this!

surfinganalyst said...

thanks for the super helpful tutorial!

Beth said...

thank you thank you thank you!!! love it!

Ryan and Lisa said...

I've been trying to figure out how to do this! Thanks for your simple, informative tutorial!

Georgia Brain said...

I have marveled at these fantastic black and white + colour photos and wished I knew how to do it.... now thanks to you I do. I apppreciate your tutorials. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. I can't believe that I haven't thought of this. It really is too easy.
Thanks sooooooooooooo much for sharing this!
(I immediately used it on a LO:


Scraps Point said...

Wonderful Tutorial..
congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TAHNK YOU !!!!


CACTUSmango said...

hi amanda :)

I just tested out your technique...check it out & tell me what you think

Shalum said...

it is adorable :) thanks for the tutorial. i hope i get it soon!

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