Selective masking can be an important tool in creating original digital art.  Black and white photos are very distinctive and can range form the very subtle to the very dramatic, but there are times when a well-placed touch of color can make a photo stand out in the crowd.

I will demonstate just how easy it is to add a a bit of selective color to photos using ReMask 5 . As I discovered the power of ReMask, it has played an invaluable role in my approach to photography. I am not always looking to demonstrate reality in my work and ReMask allows me unlimited creative possibilities. When traveling I am always looking for subjects I can use in the future with ReMask.

I have also used Topaz B&W Effects in this process. When I am looking to convert color to black and white this is simply the best program there is. The host programs I work with are PaintShop Pro and Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud.  For this tutorial I will be using PaintShop Pro.

The photo I have chosen to selectively mask was taken at the Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington Virginia. It was an honor to see the Marine Corps Graduating Class of Embassy Guards in front of this very famous Memorial.

1. Open image into host program and launch ReMask

  • Load photo into PaintShop Pro Edit Screen.

Original.jpg

  • Make a duplicate layer in PaintShop Pro.

    Duplicate Layer.jpg
  • Activate Topaz ReMask 5 from within PaintShop Pro. To activate, click on Effects in the Edit Window, then click on Plugins -> Topaz Labs ->ReMask 5

2. Create initial tri-map in ReMask

  • Select the Blue “Compute Brush” located on the left side in “Brushes” and using the slider set the “Brush Size” to 50. Draw an outline around the flag. Mask 1.jpg
  • In the “FILLS” Tool section located on the left, select the “Green ‘R’ Flood Fill to Keep” tool and click on the area of the flag. It will turn Green.
  • Select the “Red ’T’ Flood Fill to Cut” tool and select the area outside of the flag. It will turn red.
  • Keep and Cut.jpg 
  • Click on Compute Mask to create your mask.Mask 2

3. Refine your mask

  • Click Keep (fourth icon in the top menu) and then open a second window by clicking on the Dual Window icon at the top of the screen to see your mask.
  • You can do additional Fine Tuning in the Keep window using the BRUSHES tools. Set the Brush Size slider to 35 and using the “Green (Q) Keep Brush” or the “Red (W) Cut Brush” click on the areas in and around your image to improve your final mask.
  • Click OK and return to PaintShop Pro.Fine tune.jpg

4. Convert the rest of the image to B&W

  • In PaintShopPro select the “Copy Background” layer (below the ReMask layer created).
  • Activate Topaz Labs Black and White Effects.
  • Select Dynamic 2 Smooth (located alphabetically in the “Stylized Collection.”)
  • Select Conversion and Click on Adaptive Exposure. Use the slider to set the Adaptive Exposure to 64.

    Black and White.jpg
  • Click OK in the lower right-hand corner.

5. Save and view your final image

  • Save the final image as PaintShop Pro or PSD file to save your layers.

    By G Lamott
    By G Lamott

I have also included other examples below to show you the tremendous impact this technique can add to your photos!

 

Arlington Cemetary BW Dynanic Smooth 2

World War 2 Memorial Washington DC BW Dynamic 2 Smooth Custom Adaptive exposure.

Puddle Dock Portsmouth NH Clarity Custom BW Classic

Local Art Maui Clarity BW Classic Kodax Tri X

Banyon Tree and Flower Maui Clarity BW Dynamic 2 Smooth

 

About the photographer:

Gary Lamott has been shooting for over forty years, starting with black and white film and now working with digital. Lamott is a member of the New Hampshire Society of Photographic Artists (NHSPA), Seacoast Artist Association (SAA) in Exeter, and the Artist Advisory Committee of Main Street Art in Newfields, New Hampshire.  He is also a member of several local photo groups. To this day his wife and himself have traveled over 25,000 miles, taking photos of the American Southwest and New England.

See more of Gary’s work here: NHSPA

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