A simple, yet often over looked technique, is selective coloring.
Selective coloring is when we take a photo and desaturated it(make it black and white) and then re-add some color to certain areas to draw attention to them… get it? Good, read on for the step-by-step.
As you can see the original image is “ok”. You see the eyes and since they are the only thing in the image, you do tend to focus on them. But we can do better than that!
With our image open in photoshop, we will first label our layer to something we will easily recognize, like “eyes”.
Some sloppy designers (and some friends of mine… you know who you are… J.P.!) tend to not name their layers and just keep going on and on with the layer 1, layer 2… all the way to layer 3,000,000!
PLEASE, I beg of you, name your layers appropriately, it will make your life so much easier in the future.
After naming our layer, we will convert the image to black and white.
Simple, just click Crtl + SHIFT + U and you’re done… if you want a quick and dirty way to do black and white.
I prefer to use an adjustment layer when converting to black and white. Why? Because this will add a new layer above our original layer that we can tweak in the future and not permanently destroy our layer.
Adding an adjustment layer for black and white will also give us more control and deeper contrast in our image as you can see below.
Click on the “Black & White Adjustment layer” icon in the adjustments panel.
This will open the “Black & White Adjustment Settings” panel where you can start fooling around with the sliders to see what works best for your.
Now we’re talkin’ Black & White!
First we’re going to duplicate our “eyes” layer and drag it above our “Black & White Adjustment” layer that was created in the step above.
By now you’re saying, “But R3AP3R, wait! Now we don’t see our black and white work anymore…” Patience young one, you are not a Jedi yet!
Next we will add a mask to our “eyes copy” layer and simply mask out the eyes so that the black and white layer below is visible (no tutorial for this). It will look like this:
Now let’s go back to our Adjustment panel and click the icon to add a new “Hue / Saturation Layer“.
In the new panel for the “Hue / Saturation” settings, click on the “colorize” checkbox (towards the bottom of the panel) and begin adjusting the sliders to suit your image/taste.
After we are happy with our settings, we will apply a “clipping mask” (ALT + CTRL + G) to our “”Hue / Saturation layer” so that the new color (blue in our case) will only effect the eyes that were previously masked out in the “eye copy”.
As you can see (pun intended), just by spending 10 minutes in photoshop, we completely changed the look (ha!) and feel of the original image. Little touches like this will separate the noobs from the ninjas!
Author’s Note: The image used in this tutorial was purchased from istockphoto.com for a client project. It may not be copied or reproduced with out buying it!