Hello CK readers, I’m Patty Debowski! I’m the founder of TheDigitalScrapbookTeacher.com, an expert Photoshop Elements instructor, and a member of the Photoshop Elements Prerelease Beta Team. I’m not a techie but rather a self-taught digital scrapbooker!
I’m here today to share with you one of the most requested techniques I’m asked about in my classes. In my example, I am using Adobe Photoshop Elements 9. If you don’t have this program, you may download the free 30 day trial version.
While there are several techniques that can be used to change a color photo to black and white with a little bit of color peeking through, I think this one is among the easiest for beginners to use.
Start Photoshop Elements by clicking on the icon on your desktop. From the Welcome screen choose Edit.
From the Menu bar, choose File>Open and open your photo.
From the Toolbar, select the Detail Smart Brush tool (arrow). This tool is nested with the Smart Brush tool. To display both tools, click and hold on the black triangle on the bottom right corner of the tool icon. Once both tools are displayed, click on the Detail Smart Brush Tool to select it.
On the Options bar click on the Preset box and choose Reverse-black and white from the Reverse Effect menu.
The default setting for the brush is 13 px which is pretty small. Click on the Size drop down list to increase the size or tap your right Bracket key on your keyboard. Your brush size will depend on the area you will be working on. In my example I increased my brush size to 35 px.
Your cursor will be a circle with a + inside it. Click and drag over the area you want to remain in color (in my example the tricycle).
Once you click on the photo the area under the cursor will remain in color while the rest of the photo will change to black and white. Continue to click and drag over all areas you want to be in color.
Notice in the Layers panel that an Adjustment layer has been added above the Background layer. A tiny menu of brushes, and a color pin have also been added to your screen.
Use the Zoom tool (magnifying glass icon) to zoom in close to see if you are missing any areas, or, as I have done painted away too much of the black and white area to reveal the green tutu.
To paint away the green area, click on the brush with the – (minus sign) next to it (on the image or on the Options bar as shown by the arrows in the preceding example). Notice that the brush now has a – (minus sign) inside it (shown circled in the example). Reduce the size of the brush and paint over the green areas to change them back to black and white.
To expose more of the color areas, click on the brush with the + (plus) and continue dragging/painting on those areas.
From the Menu bar choose File>Save As. Save your photo with a different name so that you don’t save over the original photo in error.
We’d love to hear what you think after you try this on your own photos! Leave a comment on this blog post for your chance to be the lucky winner of a copy of Photoshop Elements – Basics & Beyond or one of the two winners of a set of 12″ x 12″ digital scrapbooking templates!
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