Resolved Photoshop CS help - change only Black in B&W image to gradient?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by ttttaylor, May 10, 2011.

  1. ttttaylor, May 10, 2011
    Last edited: May 10, 2011

    ttttaylor macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2009
    i have a grayscale image open in Photoshop CS. i want to change colouring of only the non-white parts of the image to a gradient.

    the image itself contains trees and snow. the desired look is white snow, with gradient trees.

    i'm not at all fluent in Photoshop and hope someone around here can help me!

    thanks x
  2. supabooma macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2006
    Ultimately, you need to select the trees by isolating them from the white background.

    Here's what I'd do:

    1) duplicate the image to a second layer
    2) adjust/increase contrast (command + m) using curves to make the background go completely white, and the trees go darker
    3) Use the wand tool to select the now darkened tree (now you have your selection)
    4) hide the duplicated layer, then create a new layer to overlay your gradient.

    Although, it's difficult to tell how easy/hard this would be without seeing the picture. ie, how complex the tree pattern is.
  3. ttttaylor thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2009
    i've attached the image.

    what you're saying makes sense, but i wanted to retain the "real" look of it, rather than changing the contrast and making it look like a stencil. i think maybe i've bitten off more than i could ever possibly chew!

    thanks for your help.

    Attached Files:

    • hi.gif
      File size:
      463.4 KB
  4. supabooma macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2006
    Now that I see the image, to be honest, I'm not sure what effect you're trying to achieve :p

    that's a very complex background.. I think by adding any kind of gradient, you're going to lose any sense of realism.
  5. UTclassof89 macrumors 6502


    Jun 10, 2008
    Create a new layer and fill it with your gradient (hopefully lighter colors than most of the greys in the photo).

    Put that layer in the "Lighten" mode (1st option in the Layers panel)

    Go drink an iced coffee and enjoy all the time you saved by working smart instead of hard :)
  6. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    Here's how I would skin that cat ...

    Use the inverted image as a mask to pass a gradient through.

    See attached example ...

    Attached Files:

  7. ttttaylor thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2009
    that worked perfectly! thank you.

    (this is the best iced coffee i've ever had!)

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