After converting a photo to monochrome, a fun and creative way to draw emphasis towards a particular element of the image is to bring back a splash of color in that specific area.

A feature often overlooked in Topaz B&W Effects is the smart brush color tool. Using edge-aware technology, this localized brush allows you to add back in color to your grayscale image.

Follow along to learn how you can use this feature to add a splash of color to your image.

Adding a Splash of Color

GrilcollageAn advantage to using the smart brushes in Topaz B&W Effects, as compared to layer masking, is that these brushes contain advanced edge-aware technology for more precise selections.

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How to add a splash of color:

  1. Start by opening your image in a compatible host editor. For this demo I’ll be using Photoshop.
  2. Duplicate the background copy layer (ctrl/cmd + J) and then open the image in Topaz B&W Effects from the Filter menu.
  3. B&W Effects will remember your previously applied settings, so press Reset (bottom left corner) to reset all settings to starting point.
  4. Start by applying a preset to your image. A few favorites of mine include: Classic, Warm Tone, Cool Tone, Selenium, Platinum and Lavender Grey. Effects
  5. For this demo, I have chosen the effect Cool Tone II. Once you’ve chosen a preset, expand the Local Adjustments panel (located on the right side of the interface).
  6. There are several brush options here. Select the color adjustment type. Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 12.58.12 PM
  7. Next, you’ll want to adjust the sliders underneath to your preferences. Increase the Edge Aware slider to 1.00 for more precise selection. You can also increase the Opacity slider, which will bring back in more color per brush stroke. Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 1.00.31 PM
  8. Zoom into the specific area you want to add a splash of color to. You can press ctrl/cmd +,to zoom in or out.
  9. With a reduced brush size, click on the area you want to bring back color and start brushing the color in. Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 1.06.34 PM
  10. Should you make a mistake, simply click on the Eraser option adjacent to the Color tool to erase the unwanted color back to black and white. Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 1.10.10 PM
  11. Some areas, such as the white glare in the sunglasses, may not come back to its original shade right away. You can decrease the Edge Aware slider for certain areas that differ in color. It helps to zoom and and reduce the brush size for these areas.
  12. Another trick to try is to go to Finishing Touches -> Transparency and lower the slider to bring back the overall color. This is optional.
  13. Once you are finished, press OK to return the image back to your host editor.
  14. Zoom in and examine the image to make sure everything looks clean. If you notice a mistake outside of B&W Effects, I suggest using layer masking and the clone stamp tool to fix any mistakes.

Here are some other splash of color examples:

Bride Flower girlflowerDid you follow this tutorial? Share your results with us on Facebook or tweet us @topazlabs!

Check out these other learning resources:

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