I’ve never been a fan of photography editing or manipulation. I’ve messed around with Photoshop here and there in the past but everything was just so complicated! I believe that to be an awesome photography editor (or photographer in general), you need to have a creative mind, which I’m sorely lacking. However, I do know enough that when it comes to photography, I like things simple and one of the simplest photo manipulations that I’ve seen is the color splash technique. You’ve most likely seen it before as well. In this article, I’ll go over two simple iPhone apps along with other methods that you can perform on your computers that allows you to do just that to your photos with relative ease.
What is Color Splash?
Color splashing (or selective colorization) is simply converting a photo to grayscale and then “splashing” in the original colors back to a specific portion in the photo. That’s pretty much it! This is a really simple photo manipulation technique yet it can produce some very interesting photos. Here are some samples taken from Photobucket users:
As you can see, this technique is simple yet highly effective! No matter if you are a professional or amateur editor, it’s not hard to see why a technique like this is used. If you want to highlight certain parts of a photograph, this technique can certainly help you out. If you want a simple way to turn a boring photograph into something more “hip” or “cool”, color splash can definitely help you there as well!
How to Apply the Color Splash Technique
There are many ways, free and not-free, to apply the color splash technique to your photos. The first method I’ll be going over is via an app for your iPhone called ColorSplash.
1. You can view/download ColorSplash here on iTunes. The app costs $1.99 but it’s worth every single penny, trust me. If you are dead set on not spending a single dime, then continue reading this article as I’ll go over other ways you can apply the color splash technique for free.
2. With ColorSplash, you simply load up the photo you wish to manipulate and the app will automatically convert it to grayscale.
3. Here’s the cool part. To revert any part of the photo to its original colors, simply tap the color mode button and then “paint” the area with your fingers! Instantly, the photo area will reveal the original photo colors while leaving everything else in grayscale. At first, it may seem a little hard because there will be times when you paint an area which you didn’t intend to. To help eliminate this problem, ColorSplash allows you to zoom in on a photo area so that it will be much easier for you to paint the exact parts. Bear with it the first couple of times and you’ll eventually get the hang of it.
Here is the final outcome:
One awesome feature of ColorSplash is that it allows you to save a session. Therefore, you don’t have to finish one project in one sitting. The next time you load the ColorSplash app, you can reload your last session and simply pick up right where you left off.
If you’re looking for a free alternative to ColorSplash for your iPhone, look no further than ColorCanvas. It’s a good alternative to ColorSplash because, well, it does pretty much the same thing!
1. You can view/download ColorCanvas here on iTunes.
2. Once the app is started, hit the + symbol to load up a picture.
3. Next, hit the Draw button. To paint with color, switch over to Color mode. If you want to paint in grayscale, switch to the Mono mode. Painting is similar to ColorSplash in that you use your finger to color over the areas of interest. However, I notice that it doesn’t feel as natural as ColorSplash. Colorcanvas also allows you to zoom in close for hard to get to areas but it doesn’t allow you to easy move around your picture with ease like how you can with ColorSplash. You can also resume your work the next time around if you quit before saving your photo.
Here is the outcome:
If you don’t have an iPhone but yet still want to use the color splash technique on your photos, you’re not out of luck. You may have heard of Photobucket as an online photo hosting service but it is actually much more than that. One of the awesome feature of Photobucket is allowing you to edit/manipulate your photos using an array of built-in tools. Best of all, it happens all within your browser and so nothing needs to be downloaded!
1. If you haven’t already, create an account with Photobucket. It’s free but you’ll have limited online space and a restriction on image resolution size. The space issue can be easily dealt with. If all you want to do is to create color splash photos, simply upload them, edit it, and then delete it within your Photobucket account. You can then host the edited picture elsewhere. The image resolution limitation is the main drawback. I believe you are limited to pictures with a 1024 x 768 resolution. If you upload a photo with a higher resolution, Photobucket will automatically re-size them for you. You can upgrade to a Pro account if you want the restrictions lifted off.
2. Once you have created your account, simply upload the photo you wish to edit. Select your photo and hit the Edit tab. Once done so, you’ll be taken to the Photobucket’s photo editing page. Here is where the magic happens. If your image appears really, really tiny, hit the Full Screen button.
Next, select the Effects tab and then hit the Greyscale button. Once your image has turned grayscaled, hit the Advanced Options button.
3. OK, now you have two ways of doing things (similar to ColorSplash and ColorCanvas). If you want to paint in grayscale, then in the Advanced Options menu select Painted Region in the Apply To drop down menu.
If you want to paint the original colors back onto the photo, select Painted Region, select the Original tab and check the Invert checkbox.
Painting your photo consist of just clicking and holding your mouse button and coloring the area of interest. You can easily adjust the brush size and the zoom level slider to your liking.It could be just my computer but I notice that coloring my photo via Photobucket is significantly slower than when using the apps on my iPhone. There seemed to be a lot of lag when using my mouse to color my photo. Your experience may vary.
When you are finished with the editing, you can either save a copy or replace your original picture with the color splashed photo.
Photoshop and GIMP Users
Follow these handy tutorials to learn how to apply the color splash technique to your photos:
In the End…
I’m having a ton of fun messing around with this simple photo manipulation technique. Like I’ve mentioned earlier, your photos will look at lot more interesting if you have a creative mind so loosen up a bit and let your imagination go wild. The best advice an amateur like me can offer is to just keep trying. Play around with different photos and eventually, you’ll stumble across one that just takes your breath away after applying this technique. Think of all the different possibilities as well. Want to spice up some photo’s for your next PowerPoint presentation? Color splashing them is a sure way to capture your audience’s attention!