How to leave a single color object in a black and white photo

Surely you have ever seen the classic visual effect in which a totally black and white image includes a color object, the only one that keeps its original tone inside it. Something like the famous scene of the girl in the red coat in the movie Schindler’s List.

If you think this is a tricky effect to get, nothing further from reality. The truth is that it is very easy to replicate and it is not necessary to be any expert in image editing. Here’s how to get it, both in GIMP and Photoshop.

How to leave a single color object in a black and white photoHow to make selective coloring in GIMP

To get a single color object in a black and white image with GIMP, you no longer have to follow a few simple steps. First of all, open the image that you want to work, and then clónala with Ctrl + D. Then passes the copy to black and white, for example, from the menu Colors> Hue and saturation, reducing to zero the saturation.

Then select all this new monochrome image with Ctrl + A, and go to the original image, the color. There go to the menu “Edit> Paste as> New layer” and you will now have two layers in the image, one in color below and another layer in black and white.

Now, right click on the image and choose the option “Add layer mask”. In the options, select “White (total opacity)”.

Then, select the brush tool, and make sure that you have the black and white layer active (where you just added the mask) and the black color as your brush tone, start to paint on the object you want to keep with color inside Of your monochrome image. A couple of tips: use the zoom to paint more comfortably in the smaller parts, and if you get past the coloring streak, you only have to momentarily change from black to white in your brush to correct the error.

How to make selective coloring in Photoshop

In Photoshop you can follow the same steps, that is, place a black and white layer on a color layer with the same image, and make use of the mask function to retrieve the color of an object.

But there is an even easier way to do it if you have the Adobe editor, and it’s using the History Brush. With this brush you undo the changes applied to an image, so that if you just took the color from a photo, you recover it again.

To do this, simply open in Photoshop the image you want to work with and remove the color from the “Image> Settings> Desaturate” menu. Then, choose the History Brush tool, and start painting on the object whose color you want to keep. You will see that it is appearing as if by magic.

Here is useful advice we gave earlier, regarding the use of zoom to color the smaller details. Of course, if you go coloring you will have to pull the “Undo” function.

With a little patience, you can get very striking results.

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