The entire history of human expression, slightly abridged
So, first, I grabbed a photo:
So there isn’t much in this photo, it’s very simple, just a sign and the sky behind it and the edge of a pole creeping in at the upper right hand corner.
So I took this photo, duplicated the layer. Then, on the top layer, I used COLOR>DESATURATE. That gave me this picture:
Then, I right-clicked on the top layer and selected ADD LAYER MASK, and within the dialog window, WHITE (FULL OPACITY). This allows you to disappear certain elements from the top layer WITHOUT DESTROYING THE IMAGE DATA. You can do something similar with eraser, but it erases the image date, so I use the layer mask.
Then, after you ADD the layer mask, you have to CLICK on the layer mask. Then, click on the BRUSH TOOL in the toolbar, make sure it’s set to BLACK. Then, wherever you paint on the layer mask, the top layer will disappear, allowing the lower image to come through, like this (I only painted over the sign):
I don’t know if I like this photo more than the first photograph, but there are definitely things that it does better. The starkness of the gray sky, the texture on the pole in the upper right hand corner, the way that the ladder rungs are defined more intensely against a slightly darker background.
It’s subtle, the color splash effect is, but I kind of like that. So many color splashes are closeups of people faces with the eyes as the only color. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just like that, in this picture, unless you had seen the original, you might just think that it’s a really overcast, gloomy day.
Here are a couple of video tutorials that might help, one for Gimp (using an eraser! grrr!) and one for Photoshop. For more awesome examples, click here.