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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Photoshop Actions
Design

How to Create a Selective Color Effect for Pictures

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:ShortLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a Photoshop action to create amazing color effects for pictures. You'll be able to create this image effect in no time! I will explain everything in so much detail that everyone can create it, even those who have just opened Photoshop for the first time.

What You'll Need

To recreate the design above, you will need the following resources:

1. How to Start Creating an Action

Step 1

First, open the photo that you want to work with. To open your photo, go to File > Open, choose your photo, and click Open. Now, before we get started, just check a couple of things:

  1. Your photo should be in RGB Color mode, 8 Bits/Channel. To check this, go to Image > Mode.
  2. For best results, your photo size should be 2000–4500 px wide/high. To check this, go to Image > Image Size.
  3. Your photo should be on the Background layer. If it is not, go to Layer > New > Background from Layer.
checking image size and mode

Step 2

Now go to Window > Actions, and in the Actions panel, click on the menu icon in the top right-hand corner, choose New Set to create a new set, and name it Selective Color. Then, click on the same menu icon again, choose New Action to create a new action, and name it Selective Color.

creating new action

2. How to Turn a Photo Into Selective Black and White

Step 1

In this section, we are going to turn the photo into a selective black and white photo. This means all colors in the photo will become black and white except one color that we choose, and in this case this it will be yellow. Go to Layer > New > Hue/Saturation to create a new hue/saturation adjustment layer, and name it Selective B&W.

creating new hue and saturation adjustment layer

Step 2

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, enter the settings below:

adjusting saturation

3. How to Make Color and Saturation Corrections

Step 1

In this section, we are going to make some color and saturation corrections. Depending on your photo, you might need to apply one, all, or none of the corrections we'll use with this example. 

Firstly, as these are optional steps, we are going to pause the action recording. Go to Window > Actions, and in the Actions panel, click on the rectangle icon in the bottom left-hand corner to stop recording the action. Then, in the same panel, click on the menu icon in the top right-hand corner and choose Insert Stop to add the Stop command.

Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, select Reds from the dropdown menu and adjust the sliders as shown below:

adjusting saturation sliders

Step 2

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail again and, in the Properties panel, select the Greens from the dropdown menu and adjust the sliders as shown below:

adjusting saturation sliders

Step 3

Select the Background layer, go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color to create a new solid color fill layer, name it Color Correction, and choose the color #ffd400.

creating new solid color fill layer

Step 4

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Color. Then, select the layer mask of this layer and press Control-I on your keyboard to invert it.

changing blending mode and inverting layer mask

Step 5

Choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and set the foreground color to #ffffff. Then, while the layer mask is selected, brush over the areas that were yellow and are now missing this color.

brushing into mask

Step 6

Now go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation to create a new hue/saturation adjustment layer and name it Saturation Correction.

creating new hue and saturation adjustment layer

Step 7

Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, set the Saturation to -100. Then, select the layer mask of this layer and press Control-I on your keyboard to invert it.

adjusting saturation

Step 8

Now choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and set the foreground color to #ffffff. Then, while the layer mask is selected, brush over the areas that were a different color but have small portions of the yellow due to reflection or some other reason.

brushing into mask

4. How to Make the Final Adjustments

Step 1

In this section, we are going to make some final adjustments to the effect. Firstly, we are going to resume recording the action. Go to Window > Actions, and in the Actions panel, click on the circle icon at the bottom to start recording the action.

Select the Selective B&W layer and press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches. Then, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map to create a new gradient map adjustment layer, and name it Overall Contrast.

creating new gradient map adjustment layer

Step 2

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Overlay and set the Opacity to 70%.

changing blending mode and opacity

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels to create a new levels adjustment layer and name it Overall Brightness.

creating new levels adjustment layer

Step 4

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, enter the settings below:

adjusting levels

Step 5

Press Control-Alt-Shift-E on your keyboard to make a screenshot, and then press Control-Shift-U to desaturate this layer. Then, go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the Radius to 2 px.

adding high pass filter

Step 6

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Vivid Light and set the Opacity to 80%. Then, name this layer Overall Sharpening.

changing blending mode and opacity

You Made It!

Congratulations, you have succeeded! You have now learned how to make Photoshop actions to create amazing Photoshop color effects. Here is our final result:

final result

You can repeat this process with different settings to isolate any other color in the photo. Here is another result:

final result 2

Check out the links below for more image effects and Photoshop action tutorials:



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