Pleasantville Effect Tutorial
This effect is what I like to call the Pleasantville Effect. You can do this with most graphics programs like Photoshop, Paint Shop and The GIMP. What I'm doing is taking an image and making an object on it coloured and making the rest black and white. This is a simple effect to do and looks very professional. I call it the Pleasantville Effect after the name of the movie. Other movies like Schindler's List have this effect.
There are two ways to achieve this effect. If you want a small image coloured use the first one. If you want a larger part of the picture coloured, like an entire person, then use the second.
Example 1. Magic Wand.
Let's practice with this simple image first. You can do this with any image, but let's do this simple one for practice. First, right click and press copy on the picture below. Open your image software and open this image. On my software I clicked File > Aquire > Paste from New. It may be different.
Now you have the image in your program. Zoom into the ring about 400%. Make it so you can see the entire ring and a little bit around it.
Now, select the magic wand tool.
This is the hardest part depending on your image. Often a rose image will work well if there is contrast between the rose and the background. Using the magic wand, click on the ring. A part will highlight.
You can select larger areas by clicking and holding down the mouse button and moving your mouse down. This selects a larger area, but sometimes it will select unneccessary parts of the picture. You can press undo or Ctrl+Z to undo anything you accidentally selected. You can also hold Ctrl and press unwanted areas.
Once you have a little bit selected, hold the Shift key and do the same thing. Your area will generally increase, but make sure you don't select unwanted areas. Keep the Shift key held down and click, click the mouse down and unclick. Then select another part on the ring. Keep repeating the proccess. Do this untill the entire ring is selected.
When you're done, copy the selections you just made by pressing Ctrl+C or going to Edit and Copy Image. Now you're going to want to make a new layer. To do this in Photoshop or The GIMP go to your Layers window and press the New Layer button that looks like a sheet. A window will pop up. Name it "ring" and make sure it's on transparent mode, then click OK.
Now you have two layers, but one is blank. Click the layer you have just made. Then go to your image and press Ctrl+V or Edit > Paste. Finally, click on the screen to anchor it. This will paste the ring on the top layer.
Click back on the bottom layer on the Layer window. Click the bottom layer and click to return to your image window. Press Ctrl+D to unselect everything, or go to Select > Deselect or Select > None depending on your program.
This next part will depend on your program. The best way to do this is go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturize. I went to Filters > Colors > Colorify and then selected white. Depending on your program you might go to Layer > Colors > Colorize or Colorify or you may go to Layer > Layer Effects > Channel Mixer and select grey at the top. This all depends on your program. Once you do that, the layer should turn grey and the ring you selected before should be coloured, leaving you with a nice picture.
Example 2. Brushing.
You can do this another way. This will take less time on images where you want to apply the effect on an object that is larger, such as people. You can decide for yourself which technique you'll use and which way is faster.
Select the fuzzy round brush. Make your brush colour white. In Brush Modes select color at the bottom. Carefully paint around the man by holding the mouse button down. Make sure you unclick once in awhile so that if you make a mistake, you can click undo to the last spot you clicked. This example is easier, but make sure you get all the spots.
It still leaves a nice effect!
June 5, 2005
Last Updated: June 6, 2005