Color image Colored grey image

Colored grey images

Changing a color image to greyscale is easy. But having a colorized object within an otherwise completely grey image is not easy. And this colored point of interest makes the image interesting. This effect has been used in several adverts and in the film "Pleasantville" by Gary Ross. Here is described how this can be done with GIMP.

Load a RGB image
In the layers dialogue make a copy of the background layer. In the example on the right this layer is named "Top".
To the top layer add a layer mask filled with white (full opacity)
Make the top layer greyscale by using Layer->Colors->Desaturate
Now you see the greyscale image.
Select the layer mask of the top layer for drawing operations.
Select the brush with a fuzzy circle and black as the color to draw. Now draw on the parts of the image where you want to have the original colors. Drawing with black in the layer mask makes these areas transparent and the colors from the background layer will appear. You can switch off the visibility of the top layer to check what else can be made colored in the resulting image.
Now you have a greyscale image with a colored object
If grey is just too simple, you can make the image look like an old photograph. These are usually not grey, but sepia. Colorize the top layer with Layer->Colors->Colorize. Use the values Hue=31, Saturation=35, Lightness=-11 to get sepia.
Or colorize the top layer with some other color. Make it green
Or make it purple
Happy gimping !!

Last revised: 2006-10-05


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