// January 31st, 2007 // 2 Comments » // Photoshop
Today I’m going to show you something that people are always asking me to do: Selective color in Photoshop. Essentially, you are selecting something you want to be in color, and switching the rest of the image to grayscale. There are many ways to do this, but this is what I have found to be the easiest for me. Feel free to play around and see what works for you.
Selective color is fun, but it can be overused, or not used in the right instance (i.e. I would not pick someone in the top row to color in the below photo). Use at your own judgement.
Click images to enlarge.
(DOES ANYONE KNOW WHY THE IMAGES WON’T LINE UP?) / Wordpress newbie
(Right Click < Save Target As… to download source image)
Step 1: Choose your photo and open it in Photoshop (any newer version (6.0+) should work).
Step 2: Select Edit in Quick Mask Mode on the toolbar.
Step 3: Start selecting the portion you would like to be in color. I am choosing Howard from this image of the Blue Crew during the free throws in the final seconds of an overtime game. I like his expression combined with his bright hair. D Pratt would have also worked but there is a hand in his face.
Step 3a: You can select your subject in many ways. I stick with the paintbrush, line, and paint bucket tools. I have found that a combination of them works well. When you use the line tool, make sure the weight is 1px, as circled below.
Step 3b: When you use the line tool, just trace the outer edge of your subject. When you have completed the trace, use the paint bucket tool to fill it in. See the selection below around his arms?
Step 4: Continue to select. Again, a mixture of the 3 tools mentioned above works best. For fingers, shoes, etc, it’s usually easier to use the paintbrush because you can round the edges easier.
Step 4b: If you go to fill in a section you have outlined and it the images turns into this:
You have a crack in your line somewhere. The lines do not meet, so the fill leaks to the rest of the image. Use the line or paint brush tool to fill it in.
Step 5: Now that you have completely covered your subject, click the edit in standard mode button, which is to the left of the button you clicked to get in to quick mask mode. Your subject will be selected.
Step 6: The subject is outlined, but you notice that the border of the image is also outlined. Therefore we need to hit Select < Inverse (Ctrl+Shift+I). To remove this step, paint everything but your subject in the quick mask mode. I find it easier to paint what I want, and then select inverse.)
Step 7: Copy the selection. Do not click on the image, we want the selection to remain in place for a future step.
Step 8: Now we are going to turn the entire image in to a grayscale image. Choose Image < Mode < Grayscale. Again, do not click on the image.
Step 8b: Discard color information? Yes.
Step 9: Now we want to make the image ‘color’ again, so that when we paste our subject back in, it will be in RGB. Note that the rest of the image will remain grayscale because we discarded the color information in Step 8. Choose Image < Mode < RGB Color.
Step 10: Click on Edit < Paste Into (Shft+Ctrl+V) to put the colored subject back into the picture, on top of the grayscaled image.
Ta-Da! Your image should now look like this. Save it and enjoy!