A reader asks how to restore color in selected areas of an image that has been converted to monochrome. Photoshop users can follow these steps.
Open an appropriate image. The hardest part of this operation is finding the right shot.
From the CS4 dropdown menu select Image/Adjustments/Desaturate (or simultaneously press these keys: Shift+Ctrl+U. Your colorful image is now black, white and shades of gray. The color is still there, however.
From the Toolbar select the History Brush Tool (or press the Y key and it will activate automatically). Choose the most appropriate brush size (as you normally do) and paint over the areas where you want to restore color.
Stop and release the mouse button frequently, and use Ctrl+Z to Undo mistakes. Ctrl-Z will undo everything you did since the last time you released the mouse button, so if you fail to release it frequently you may end up undoing more than you'd like.
Note that the History Brush Tool will not work if you open an image and rotate it, so do your color editing before rotating. Or Rotate, Save and then begin from step one.
If you have a graphics tablet this procedure is much easier. You can use the Blur Tool and Smudge Tool to clean up around the edges.
Note that you can give the image an overall color cast before you selectively restore the natural color—that is, the background does not have to be black and white. But I'll let you figure out how to do that step on your own.