I am new to this forum and have a rudimentary query. I have two images of the same scenery, one colored and one black and white. I want to merge the two photos so that the final photo contains one half of the colored image and the other half the black and white photo. The transition from color to black and white should be smooth.

I think this is already done in many software but I don't know the name of this effect. Further are there any online editing website where this feature is available.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Are the two images exactly identical (except for one being B&W), or are there other differences (e.g. one being an old photo and the other a new one)? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 24, 2021 at 19:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Discussion regarding answering in comments has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 21:06

4 Answers 4


In Paint.net

Instructions from Paint.net's page on the Gradient tool

  1. Open the image in Paint.net

  2. In the window "Layers", click "Duplicate Layer"

Duplicate Layer

  1. In the window "Layers", select the topmost layer

  2. In the menu "Adjustments", select "Black and White"

  3. Select the tool "Gradient" (Shortcut: G)

  4. In the toolbar, switch from "Color Mode" to "Transparency Mode"

Transparency Mode

  1. Draw the gradient as you see fit. NOTE: the transparency of the layer will be from the alpha value of the primary color, to the inverse alpha value of the secondary color. Hence in this example, both colors should have an "Opacity - Alpha" value of 255.

Gradient from BW to color

  1. In the window "Layers", click "Merge Layer Down", save the image.

Usual technique (here with Gimp, but same technique is doable with PS):

  • Put your two pictures in layers (they should of course overlap as exactly as possible, which is easy if like here one is a desaturated version of the other, but can be harder in other cases)
  • Add a layer mask to the top one
  • Fill the mask with a gradient where you want the transition to happen (between the eyes in this case)

enter image description here

  • \$\begingroup\$ You can use pixlr, a website photo editor, to do the same thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – minseong
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 19:40

Just to provide a third option - & you can do this with just one colour photo, no need for a separate black & white image.

Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer & dial out all the saturation.
Then, just like xenoid's example, paint half the layer mask out & you're left with half colour, half black & white.

enter image description here

The great thing about using masks for any task like this is you can keep changing your mind - paint bits in, then paint them out again, until you're happy.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I suspect the OP's B&W photo may in fact be an older picture of the same location, in which case xenoid's solution (plus manual tweaking) is likely to be the best solution. But if they indeed want to just make a single color photo look like it's partially B&W, yours will work nicely too. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 24, 2021 at 19:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ yes, the images are not exactly same, but taken almost at the same time. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 6:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ To get a smooth transition between the B/W and color, either use a gradient or apply a huge blur to the mask. Unfortunately that will result in a bit of bleed between the color and B/W sections. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 16:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ tbh, neither my nor MichaelK's answer actually "answers the question" if the start point is truly two images. xenoid's answer covers how to merge the two, though the technique to split a single image to half colour, half b/w uses the same structural technique. Masks are perfect for anything like this. You can draw them any way you like - brush, gradient, etc. The paint.net technique in the accepted answer is actually the clumsiest of them all & not one I would recommend. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 16:19

This effect can be done also in Lightroom. But with warning that you start with colour image and then you tune the b/w part in Lightroom. You can't mix two images. enter image description here Select Graduated filter, then in the panel set saturation to -100 and tune other parameters.


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