Monday, September 5, 2011

Gimp Video Tutorial - How to convert color to black and white properly using GIMP

In this video tutorial for gimp, I teach you how to use layer masks, and layer modes to convert color to black and white in a selective and powerful manner. Check out the video below for a detailed description on how to convert color to black and white with descriptions on how each tool works.
Here is a quick breakdown on the steps that the video teaches:
Create a new layer, fill that layer with black, and set the layer mode to "color" this will remove all color from the layer, and will effectively convert color to black and white on the fly.
add layer mask, set the layer mask to white. This will let us change parts of the black and white photo to color.
use the path tool, take your time, and trace noah.
In the paths tab, right-click on the path you've created, and click "path to selection." This will select noah.
using the bucket tool, fill the selection with black. Make sure that you're on the layer mask, not the image when you fill in.
Using the brush tool, and setting the brush to the color white, brush off the excess color from the grass near his shoes.


  1. Great job but Where i can find the other lesson please ? because your lesson are easy to follow

  2. Thank you! The other lessons can be found by clicking on the "how to use gimp" link at the top of this page.

  3. I'm also really liking this lesson but, I can't seem to figure out how to "finish" a path with the paths tool. When I click off of it, it disappears.

  4. @Becky
    Are you hitting the escape key when you're done? If you hit the escape key, it will cancel the path (it's an annoying quirk, I know...just NEVER hit the escape key.)

    After you're finished with your path, simply click on a new tool, or press the enter key to turn the path into a selection. All of your paths are kept in your paths dialog. If you don't know where your paths dialog is, click windows>>>dockable dialogs>>>paths and that will add it to your screen.

    I hope this helps! I'm working on a tutorial that uses paths a lot, be sure to check back later today for a wallpaper tutorial - I think it will help you a lot.

  5. Alex,

    Excellent job on these GIMP tutorials. You have a real knack for explaining things clearly without too much lofty techno babble or "dumbing it down" either. I'm an avid amateur photographer but my experience with digital photo manipulation has consisted of cropping, auto-contrast, and auto-color in Picasa. I tried to figure GIMP out myself but was overwhelmed with all the features. Your tutorials have really helped and will continue to do so I'm sure. I'll be sure to contribute when I'm able (I just had a child so money's tight).

  6. @perry6272 - Thank you so much for your kind words. It sincerely makes me happy to find that you are getting help with my lessons.

    As for the monetary contribution, there is no pressure, but it is greatly appreciated. If you want to help another way, simply share my tutorials with your friends. Also, have you signed up for my email newsletter? I think that would be a wonderful fit for you. It will give you a set of exclusive lessons that focus more on photo-editing theory than how to use gimp. It's the "other side of the coin" if you will. I think it will help you a lot.

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  8. Awesome post about how to convert.

  9. Everyone'll benefit to see this post .

  10. This was a good one. It was really helpful for me.


Wacom Tablet

In my Gimp Tutorials, I frequently use Wacom Tablets. Here is an awesome wacom tablet I recommend using.
A Wacom tablet will enhance your GIMP photo editing experience by offering a pressure-sensitive touch that translates to varying transparency when making brush strokes in GIMP.

Gimp Reference Manual

I highly recommend getting this Gimp book to use as a reference manual in conjunction with my tutorials. This book will explain how the tools I use work. My tutorials will give you practical applications for the tools shown in this book.