Feed on

Perhaps you’ve seen those pictures where everything is black and white except for a coloured part that really stands out, such as a person, flower or object  and then wondered how was it done. Well, the effect is called  Focal BW. This effect is a classic and is an easy way to pimp your MySpace, Friendster or Facebook profile. Take a look at some of these examples I’ve created with Photofiltre.

Focal BW The Blonde Girl

Original photo credit: Madaboutasia


Focal BW Girls on the Steps

Original photo credit: Uros Velickovic


Lana Soft colour glow

Original photo credit: Petar Ceklic


Focal BW Blue Flowers

Original photo credit: Per Ola Wiberg


Pink Flower Focal BW

Original Photo Credit: Thai Jasmine


If you want see more photos like these, there’s a whole dedicated group on flickr devoted to the Focal BW style. Check it out here:



The basic method of creating Focal BW with Photofiltre.

1.Open up your colour photo…

2. Select the Polygon Tool polygon tool icon

3. With a steady hand, click around the outside of the flower.

Click around the edges of the flower with the polygon tool


4. When the ends of the polygon tool join up, a “selection” is made. Right mouse click inside this and select Invert Selection.

Right mouse click and select Invert selection


5. Now click on the Grayscale button. Grayscale convert button  This will make everything gray except for the pink flower.

6. Take the opportunity now to improve the black & white part of the photo by clicking on the Contrast + a few times. This makes the the whites whiter and blacks blacker rather than having everything tending being shades of gray.

Click on greyscale


7. Press esc or the select/unselect button select/unselect button to remove the selection lines and your finished!

Pink Flower Focal BW

Style 2. Creating focal BW with a glow of colour or soft circular coloured focal area.

The second style of Focal BW is a soft warm gradual glow of colour over a particular highlighted feature rather than having distinct sharp change of colour like that of the first method. This method is a little more complex to apply in Photofiltre and the underlying principle is to create a fuzzy mask to allow the colour to shine through onto the BW background. Letz do it!

1. Open up the photo…

2. Make a duplicate copy of the original by going: Image >Duplicate

Duplicate the photo, so you have two copies



3. Convert one of the photos to grayscale by clicking on Grayscale Grayscale convert button


Convert the copy of the photo to grayscale


4. Use the Ellipse Tool to draw a circle over the face. This is going to be the basis of the colour mask.

Use the elipse-tool to draw a circle of the area you wish to colour


5. Right mouse click and choose Stroke and Fill from the menu…opening up the dialogue box…

6. Tick the Fill box and select black for the colour.

Right mouse click and select stroke and fill. Fill with black.


7. Next step is to Right mouse click again(with pointer on the black part) and select Invert Selection.

8. Again, right mouse click and select CLEAR. This will make all of the background white, leaving only the black circular mask.

Right mouse click, invert selection and then clear background.


9. Remove selection lines by pressing esc key or pressing unselect/reselect button select/unselect button.

10. Apply Gaussian Blur at maximum setting. Filter>Visual Effect>Gaussian Blur. (May take a little while)

Apply Gaussian blur at the maximun setting


Ok. That’s how to make the photomask that will let the colour shine through onto the BW photo. The next step is to link the photomask with the original photo. If you like, you can save the mask and rename it, but I find it’s easier to copy it and then UNDO undo button a few times back to the original photo.

11. Copy the mask. Either right mouse click and select COPY, or from the menu Edit>COPY

12. Click on the undo button undo button several times to get back to the original pic.

Copy this one then undo, undo undo back to the beginning


13. The mask needs to be merged with the original photo to make one big picture. Do this by going to Edit>Paste Special>Assemble

14. Click Right and then OK.

assemble right


15. Now COPY this combined original photo and mask by either right mouse click and then selecting COPY or on main menu Edit>Copy.



16. OK. Now go back to the BW photo you created earlier on…

17. Apply the colour mask to this so the coloured part shines through. Do this by going to: Edit>Paste Special>Image with linked mask.



18. Right mouse click and select VALIDATE


 That’s it…DONE!


So that’s how Focal BW effect is done on Photofiltre. 😀

12 Responses to “How to create Focal B&W Pictures with Photofiltre”

  1. Phoenix says:

    Wow! This was superb and I loved doing it! Thanks a lot!

  2. Maya says:

    Tnx for this tutorial…
    But how did you make 2 objects with color, like in picture 4 ( Per Ola Wiberg)…
    sry for bad english… i hope you’ll understand my wordsXD

  3. Jeff says:

    Hi Maya,

    To create a b&w photo with two coloured objects try this technique:

    1. Open your picture.
    2. Dupilcate it menu: Image>>Duplicate
    3. Make the duplicate image B&W (Grayscale then adjust contrast etc)
    4. Goto original colour pic. Use the “polygon tool” to cut around the edges of object number 1.
    5. Right mouse click and select “copy” for the section
    6. Now, goto the B&W picture…
    7. Right mouse click and select “paste” Coloured part will be pasted into the b&w photo.
    8. Move the coloured section into position. Place it exactly over the same part as the original(zoom in on the section if needed and use arrow keys on the keyboard for fine adjustment).
    7. Right mouse click and select “validate paste”
    8. Repeat this process for the second object
    9. Done!


    Jeff 🙂

  4. Maya says:

    thank you sooooo much!!!

    here is my photostream…=)


  5. HI™AN says:

    nice staller i like it
    (¯`v(¯`v´¯)* ? ::..
    `•.(¯`v´¯)*?Øv? ::..
    ..::`•.¸.•´*:::?t ::.

  6. Jenni says:

    When I tried this and saved the photo, the photo didn’t have the color effect that it had when I saved it. What did I do wrong?

  7. Jeff says:

    Hi Jenni,
    Try saving it as a .png file and see if that helps.


  8. lindsay says:

    i am so new to photo-shop and really would love to learn how to make the flowers in a b&w pic color.i’m a new photographer and i’m learning from experince.i have some really great pictures and just want to do some really neat things w/ them.so i went out and got adobe elements an it’s quite hard!so if you have any god tips for me i would love to get them.thank you,lindsay k.

  9. Rosabelle says:

    WOW! How did it do that?! So cool!!!! 😀

  10. pankil says:

    can you please explain that how you edit upper first 2photos
    Madaboutasia & Uros Velickovic..!!

  11. Darlene says:

    Is there a way to make 2 objects in a picture color and the rest B&W because when I press esc it will not let me change another part

  12. Jeff says:

    Hi Darlene,

    Yup, you can only select one object a a time. To create two (separate) coloured objects with a B&W background, try this:

    1.Take your pic and make copy of it
    2. With the first copy, make it B&W (hit the grey scale button)
    3. Now goto the second pic (which is still in colour)
    4. Use the polygon tool to select or draw around the object
    5. Right mouse click and select ‘copy’
    6. Goto the B&W pic
    7. Right click and select paste the coloured object over the B&W one
    8, Repeat process for second object.

    This technique should work quite well on simple objects. Complex objects will take a bit more time with the polygon tool but still can be done.


Leave a Reply