Misc. Resources

Specified Mini-Lesson

GIMP#20 Dem Eyes!: Selective Color with Gimp (Gimp 2.8)

Sometimes you will see an image that is either B&W or monochrome, but some small detail is in color, such as a B&W image of a girl with a yellow flower. It can be very striking, so this lesson shows how easy it is to make such an image, and also some ways you can play with the concept a little more.
Below is an image from the page http://creativeinspiration.me/selective-color-photography/ that show a cute and different way that selective color can be used.

Pro-Tips to take away:
  • Selective color works best if there is a story to why that part is in color. In the image above, the colored part is not simply the focus, but a message about what is seen and by whom.
  • Sometimes a super-saturated color is best, aas in the example I show in this demo, but sometimes a subtle color is more effective, as it attracts the viewer's eyes but without it being quite clear whether the color is an illusion or not. Use your discretion, and remember that you can adjust either the top (monochrome) layer or the bottom (colored) layer until you get the combination you like.

Rough transcript (also used for closed captions):

This is Ben Langhinrichs with a Mini-Lesson called Dem Eyes: Selective Color with Gimp 2.8. In this I'll show how to use Gimp 2.8 to take this image and highlight the eyes by making them the only things in color in a black and white image.

First thing I'm going to do is up the saturation all the way (using Colors - Hue-Saturation...)
and that will make the eyes stand out a little bit more. Then I need a little more contrast before I make it B&W, so I'm going to change the levels from Colors - Levels. Change that until you have the right amount where you have enough detail.

Then we're going to duplicate this layer. This new layer we're going to desaturate, so go to Colors - Desaturate. Normally I like the Luminosity as the way to Desaturate, but sometimes the Average works better, gives it a little more detail, so that's what I'll use here.

Now we have a black and white image, and we're going to make the eyes show through. We're going to do that by adding a Layer Mask, which is going to be all white so it's completely opaque. We're going to highlight (zoom in on) just the eyes and we're going to paint black where we want it to show through from the other side. In this case, make sure to do the entire eye, not just the iris, because it looks more realistic.

So, I carefully paint it black which shows through from underneath. Then I usually show the layer mask just to make sure there aren't any holes in there. If there are, I can correct them here if I want. That looks good, so I'm going to apply the layer mask.

Now I've got the picture, and that's really all it takes to do the selective color, but you can play a bit more. Sometimes you want to highlight it but you don't want it black and white, you just want it monochrome.

In this case what I'm going to do is to use Colors - Colorize on the top layer, which is the one that has the holes where the eyes are, so that I can change everything else but not the eyes. I'll come up with a Hue that I like. Okay, I think that stands out somewhat. Then I can play with the saturation and the lighness. I think that I'll make it... actually I think the lightness is pretty good. I'm going to change the saturation, try different things. I can make it higher or lower. I'll make it a little lower. I like that contrast. It's not black and white, but it's a good look.

You can do more as well. You can also... Let's duplicate the image again. You can just change that layer to do something like, in this case, add a canvas texture. Anything that, again, leaves the eyes there highlighted.

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