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How to Make Items or People Stand out in Black & White Photos

Karl L. Gechlik 20-10-2009

tintiHeadIf you are into digital pictures this will be right up your alley.


Have you ever seen an image with only one portion or one object in color and everything else is in black and white?

That is the effect we are going for here – to make an item, object or person stand out by black and whiting (is that a real phrase?) the rest of the image.

You can see a good example of what I am talking about in the shot below or in the article’s header graphic above:

make your pictures black and white and color

The girl and her clothes are in color and everything else is not. What do your eyes fixate on?


You can find more example photos prepared using the application, or filter tintii, on their Flickr photostream. If you’re on Flickr yourself, tag your photos with “tintii” to have them included in the stream – more views for you!

Tintii is offered as a plugin for Photoshop and Corel’s Photo application but it does also come with a standalone application to make your color manipulation a little easier (and free for those of us who cannot afford Photoshop!)

Download and install the correct version for your PC, Mac or Linux box as you can see below:

make your pictures black and white and color


Then select what you want to install:

make black and white pictures color

The first object is un-uncheckable as it is the main application and the standalone application we are covering. The plugins for Photoshop and Corel Paint Shop Pro are able to be unchecked.

When the application is fully installed, launch it from your start menu and you will see this screen:


black and white with one color

From this screen you can open your image by hitting the open button on the top left hand portion of the screen.

I choose a picture of me lying out in Aruba (before the baby). It takes me back to a calmer much more relaxing time”¦

black and white with one color


The above shot is using the defaults just opening the image, Next up I will select each of the four images on the left side. They each activate another color or layer in your image. Click them and check it out. Here is the first item selected:

color black and white pictures

You can see I hit the greenish yellow button on the top and that activated the grass behind me. You can either uncheck the item after you use it or combine multiple effects. I will run through each of them unselecting the last.

how to add color to a black and white photo

The dark blue icon is selected and just my dark blue swim trunks are colorized.

how to add color to a black and white photo

The light blue icon activates the light blue color of the beach chair’s cushions. You can see it activates the chair I am sitting on and the one to my left. It activates anything the same color.

how to add color to a black and white photo

That last icon makes my tanned body show up. This looks very cool with me colored and everything else being in black and white.

black and white picture add color software

Here I selected the grass and both blues together effectively coloring everything except for my body.

Now if these options are not enough for you feel free to tweak and tinker with the slides on the left. If you figure out how to use them effectively leave us a comment below. If you get the itch to register and install the plugins let us know how that goes as well!

Do you know of any other similar apps that achieve the same thing?

Download: Tintii

Related topics: Image Editor, Photography.

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  1. patrizia
    October 21, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Free? You can try it, but you have to buy it! Or am I wrong?

  2. Howard Pearce
    October 20, 2009 at 10:07 am

    all layers are black and white for me...doesn't work

    • Karl Gechlik
      October 20, 2009 at 1:24 pm

      Can I see a screen shot? Are you clicking the icons on the left?

  3. Henrik Hodne
    October 20, 2009 at 10:04 am

    I'd say "desaturating" instead of "black and whiting".

    • Karl Gechlik
      October 20, 2009 at 1:24 pm

      I like Black and Whiting better :)

  4. Azrez
    October 20, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Interesting software

  5. Engineeer Head
    October 20, 2009 at 7:30 am

    It really eases the way you can edit color attributes of an image

  6. Jackson
    October 20, 2009 at 7:04 am

    It's called selective colouring.