Geek Love Picture Time

How to Create Spot-Color Photographs!

Color Cutout Tutorial

I wrote this on Tuesday, but before I could publish it the laptop died. I forgot to post it when I got home that night – oops! It has been a crazy week.

I’ve been meaning to write this for awhile, and since I am at my Photo I class without anything to develop (stupid winter weather and gray days outside), I decided it was a good time to write up my tutorial on how I created the colorized images I’ve posted recently, but if you want to do these cutouts, then check out these Photo Cutouts services.

Step 1 – Open up the image you want to color in Photoshop. (I use Photoshop CS2. I’m sure you can do this in other software, but I don’t know how. So these are the steps I do in Photoshop CS2.)

Step 2 – Convert the image to B&W using your preferred method. I use the Channel Mixer. Be sure to click the “Monochrome” checkbox, and set the Red, Green and Blue channels. I set this one to Red 60, Blue 20, and Green 32. Some people say you should make sure the numbers add up to 100. Others recommend settings similar to what I use. In the end, it is all about what looks best to you.

Step 3 – Set the color for the paintbrush to black for the foreground and white for the background. “Paint” over anything you want in color with black and – bam! – the color will appear! If you accidentally paint over something you don’t want in color, switch your paintbrush to white and paint over it again and it will go back to black & white again.

That’s it! I change the paintbrush settings to larger settings to make it faster to color, and I change it to very fine pinpoint to get into small places. Save it when you’re done (don’t save over the original if you want to keep it in color!) and enjoy!

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

22 replies on “How to Create Spot-Color Photographs!”

Cool. I figured it out how to do it in Photoshop Elements 2.0. The way I did it was creating a new “Hue/Saturation” on top of the original photo and then setting the saturation all the way down so that there is no “color” in the photo. Then do the black and white thing and just color in the part you want to.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this in Paint.NET but haven’t come up with anything yet.

I’ve tried all different ways to do this (searching for tutorials and forums) and I can never get it to work. I’ll have to try this way and see what happens. I’ve been just desaturating around what I wanted to keep.

Dell – which software are you using? And when you start with the color image and change it to black & white, is that change in a new layer? (I didn’t say to make a new layer because in my copy of Photoshop, it just makes the new layer on its own.)

NinaKaye – let me know how it works out!

Hey Christine! Very cool tutorial. Did you happen to get my email asking you about the purple on my Powershot digital? Can you point me in the direction of a good resource for help with this?

Hmmm… there isn’t anything that looks like a paintbrush? That is strange, because I have always seen a paintbrush in any graphic program – PaintShopPro, Photoshop, etc. It would look like an artist’s paintbrush, not the type you use on a wall.

Yeah, I can’t get the paintbrush to work either. It just literally paints black over everything…erasing it from the top layer to let the color layer works and only selecting what you want in b/w and desaturating that also works.

I don’t know how the color shows up when you use the paint brush, though – I just get paint streaks! Oh well!

Thank you so much for all of the information. I was using Photoshop 7 and the erasing worked to get color….still trying to figure how to paint without the paint brushing it to black….BUT nonetheless I AM EXTREMELY HAPPY, you all taught me how to do this!!! THANKS!!!

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