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Gimp Tips Part 4: Selective Colorization

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Jason Jones

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Posted: 9 Mar 2005

When I was young, I saw a friend of mine take a black and white picture, and accent it with colors to make it look a lot better. I wondered to myself if that could be done with The Gimp...

I was pleasantly surprised by the results.

To begin, you find a photograph that lends itself easily to being selectively colorized. I chose this photograph because it is a photo of a lot of similar objects, one of which can be drawn out by using color.

After your photo is loaded, you'll want to duplicate the background layer by right-clicking on the background layer and choosing "Duplicate Layer".

You'll notice that an identical layer immediately appears in the layer dialog window.

Now we'll want to de-colorize the "Background Copy" layer. First, make sure you've got the Background Copy layer selected by clicking on the "Background Copy" layer.

Then, there are many ways to de-colorize an image, one of which is to right-click on the image and follow the menu to Layer -> Colors -> Desaturate

After the layer has been desaturated, you'll notice that the respective layer has become desaturated in the layer menu.

Now, find the portion of the image you wish to bring back to color and use one of the various select tools to select it.

The lasso tool suited this image the best, so I'll use it.

Now, select the portion of the image you wish to colorize.

When you've got it selected, you'll simply want to clear it out by pressing "CTRL-K" or by right-clicking on the image and following the menu to Edit->Clear

Upon clearing, you'll notice the selected portion of your image will "bouce back" to its original colors.

And there you have it. You've now got a much more stylized photograph than you originally had.

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