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Selective Colour Editing Photoshop Tutorial

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Selective colour photography how to tips tutorial photoshop


Selective colour editing is when you have one object in your photo in colour, whilst the rest of the frame is desaturated to black&white.



Selective colour photography how to tips tutorial photoshop



Selective colour photography how to tips tutorial photoshop




This is somewhat of a love/hate technique in the photography world! We think it can be super effective when used sparingly and on the 'right' photos.

Today we'll be looking at how you can use Photoshop or any similar editing software to create the selective colour effect.

The Tutorial


1) First up you'll need to open your chosen image in Photoshop. We're going to start with this shot of a car on the colourful streets of Cuba.

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2) You'll need to decide what part of the photo you would like to have in colour, and then we're going to draw around it.

The lasso or pen tools are ideal for this job. We've used the Polygonal Lasso Tool as it draws straight lines, which are ideal for a car that has lots of straight edges. For more curved or intricate objects, the pen might be the best bet.

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3) Once you've got your whole object selected, you'll see the dots/dashes surrounding it like a flurry of mini ants.

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4) Now you'll need to right click somewhere on the image to bring up this menu. Go ahead and click 'Select Inverse'.

This will change the selection from your chosen object to the rest of the scene surrounding it. This is so that we're prepared to change it into black&white.

See how the selection has changed to everything else:


Selective colour photography how to tips


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Selective colour photography how to tips

5) Now it's the bit when we apply the black&white effect.

Head down to the bottom of the Layers panel and you'll see a half black/half white circle icon.

When you click this you'll see the menu in our screenshot above. Click 'Black&White..'

This is an adjustment layer, which means that Photoshop has placed a black&white effect to the parts of the image that were selected, and hasn't affected the rest of the image.

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Selective colour photography how to tips

6) You'll see the new adjustment layer listed on the layers panel.

You'll now have your chosen object in colour, and the rest of the image in black&white.

You'll see two slider options at the top of the layers panel, and you can adjust the opacity of the black&white layer by sliding the arrow across.

Not happy with your selection? Just click and hold to drag this adjustments layer down to the bin at the bottom of the layers panel. Then you'll be back to the start, and can make another selection.

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Selective colour photography how to tips

7) If you're happy with the shot as it is, you can skip on right ahead to number 8.....

In our image, there were a few bits that may have been missed when we did the selection tool at the start, and we want to correct them.

By clicking on the original layer in the layer panel, you can then use the 'Saturation' tool to desaturate any parts of the object that were missed. In our shot we used this to desaturate the car windows.

Just make sure you've got the tool set to 'desaturate' on the menu at the top of the screen.



Selective colour photography how to tips



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Selective colour photography how to tips

8) Et voila! You're done!

Time to flatten those layers and save the image.

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Selective colour photography how to tips


Here's our final shot!

Share your selective colour edits with us on the Photoh Facebook page.

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