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Selective color

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Selective color is a post-processing technique where most of a photo is converted to black and white, but some parts are left in color....

A common application for selective color is portraiture, to keep the eyes and sometimes the lips in color, against an otherwise black and white photograph. Small regions of color in an otherwise monochrome image immediately draw the viewer's eye.

Landscape photography is another common application for this technique. Colorful leaves in an otherwise drab scene can breathe life into a photo. Of course the technique can be applied to any genre, but portraits and landscapes are the usual beneficiaries. [wikipedia]

I've decided to fool around with selective color...Why?...I don't know...I guess I'm just looking for something different to do while the snow melts around here.

I use Picnik, free software editing from Google []. Once you upload a pic to Picnik you click on the Create tab, then the Effects tab, then Black & White. Once you are there a click will turn the pic B & W, then an Effect Painting box should show up to the right of Black and White. Click on Original and move your cursor onto the pic. A circle should show up and when you use it to click on an area of the pic that area should begin to show the original colors. You can adjust the size of the circle by adjusting Brush Size in the Effect Painting box.

If you want to add a frame after you are done go up and click on Frames, to add text go up and click on Text (you can move the text anywhere on the pic and change the size or add color if you want.

You can find all my selective color photos here:

11 responses

  • Debbie Smartt

    Debbie Smartt gave props (17 Feb 2011):

    I have never tried it! I will have to for sure now! Thanks for the tutorial! Great work John!

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (17 Feb 2011):

    Very interesting and a new way of looking at things. Will have to try it sometime...Thank you for the lesson..

  • Rajeev Jadhav

    Rajeev Jadhav gave props (20 Feb 2011):

    Very different subject nicely presented !!!!!

  • Rajeev Jadhav

    Rajeev Jadhav gave props (20 Feb 2011):

    Yes Picnic is very good for this technic !!!! John pl see my todays upload !!!!!

  • Deborah Downes

    Deborah Downes   gave props (25 Feb 2011):

    Wonderful series, John. Thanks for the tips.

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray gave props (8 Mar 2011):

    A great series and I especially like the framing effect John!

  • Maura Wolfson-Foster

    Maura Wolfson-Foster gave props (14 Mar 2011):

    Inspirational.....thanks so much JL - you ROCK :)

  • Robin Perkins

    Robin Perkins gave props (5 Jun 2011):

    so delightful!, I love the whole series.

  • eithne mythen

    eithne mythen gave props (22 Jun 2011):

    Brilliant, always wondered how this was done, thanks to Deborah for the link to this and to John for all the know how..

  • Carol Holmes

    Carol Holmes   gave props (5 Jul 2011):

    Pretty awesome! Never tried this, may have to, thanks! : )

  • Litz Go

    Litz Go gave props (29 Nov 2011):

    I missed this photo essay! I sure would love to try it! Thanks, John.

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