Selectivley Colouring Photographs

A colleague asked me recently about how to do selective colouring of photographs.  While I can enjoy some of the selectively coloured photos, it wasn’t something I was inspired enough by to look up how to do it before.

Here’s my test image – a small backyard shrine, shot as we travelled along one of Bangkok’s canal’s.

For those of you that can’t picture what I mean by “Selectively Colouring Photograhps”, here’s the sample I created while learning the technique myself:

Selective Colouring of a photo using PaintShop Pro

Click on image for full resolution version

However, with the question asked, I searched, found a few tutorials, and recommended the one I found the easiest to use. It actually dates back to version X2 of PaintShop Pro, but the instructions still work, as the tools have not changed locations.

Here’s the tutorial:

Note that in the tutorial, it says you can do either step 6 or step 7 – that they are two different ways of achieving the same thing.  In my experience, I found it far easier to get good results using the method suggested using step 7 (eraser tool) than step 6 (lassoo select). Mainly because if you keep your edits small, and you screw up, it is easier to just undo the latest edit.  For me at least, reducing the lost work every time I screw up is key.

A couple of other observations that helped me be as productive as I could be while using the tools:

  • The zoom tool is your friend – the more zoomed in you are, the easier it is to avoid colour leakage, or under-colouring
  • Reduce your brush size as you get to the edges of the objects, then again, then again…
  • Consider turning off visibility for the coloured version of the image. To do so:
    • Look at the “layers” display towards the right edge of the screen (if you’ve adjusted the layout of your screen, you may need to make the layers control visible again).
    • You should see a little “eyeball” icon. Clicking it will turn off or on the visibility of the layer
    • If you turn off the coloured layer, you will see a grey and white checkerbox where you’ve erased.
    • I found using this mode, it was easier to see where I hadn’t erased enough (or had erased too much, and needed to undo).

Try it out, and if you produce a photo you’re proud of, post a link to it back to here as a comment!


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