Selective Color Tutorial

When I first started playing around with Photoshop back in the day, selective color was big. You know those pictures where it’s black and white, except for one color or item. I wanted to know how to do it, but tutorials weren’t big at the time.

Wondering how to do it yourself? It’s actually very simple. Here, I’ll show you.

I’m going to be working on this picture of my boyfriend heading into the airport to fly to Utah to snowboard.

Open up your photo in Photoshop. I’m working in Elements 7.

Create a hue and saturation adjustment layer in your layers menu.

Decrease the saturation to -100 so that you have a black and white photo.

Now select your brush. Click “b” to select the brush tool and then select a hard round brush. Use your bracket [] keys to adjust the size as needed. Click “d” to set your colors to the defalt colors (black and white) and click “x” to switch the colors back and forth.

Now before we begin let’s remember, white reveals, black conceals. Here white is revealing the black and white and to conceal it and make color return, we need to paint over it with black. Got it?

Click on the layer mask (white box) and start painting over the areas where you want to bring the color back.

As your working, you may notice you accidentally spill over into areas that you don’t want to. Don’t freak out. Just switch back to white and correct where you need to.

If you want a more vintage look, you can decrease the layer opacity in the layers menu. Or like me, I love contrast, so I added a brightness and contrast adjustment layer and bumped the contrast up all the way.

Now flatten and your done! Here’s my final result.

Confused? Lost? Got a question? Feel free to contact me. I promise I don’t bite.

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