Department of Creative Arts
St. Pius X High School

Ms. D. Gravelle

S2.T6 - Selective Colour



Selective Colour is when the photographer manually removes other colors from the photograph: leaving only one color left visible in the shot.




Selective Colour




Selective Colour Method 1

How to Make a Photo B&W Except One Color in Photoshop
by Waseem Abbas on May 14, 2019

Open your image in Photoshop. If you don’t have it yet, you can get Photoshop here from Adobe’s site.

Right click on the Background layer in the Layers panel on the right-hand side of your Photoshop screen, and select the Duplicate Layer option (a new layer will be added named Layer 1).

Next, select the Background layer again and press Ctrl + Shift + U to desaturate all the colors from the image.

Make Layer 1 invisible (click on the eye icon) to see the effect of the desaturation on your photo.

Next, make Layer 1 visible again, and select it in the Layers panel.

Then go to Select » Color Range from the top menu bar in Photoshop.

You’ll need to pick a color that you want to pop out. For this example, we’ll pick the blue color, so the image will be desaturated except for the blue roses.

In the Color Range dialog box, choose the Eyedropper Tool with the plus sign (this tool is called, “Add to Sample”).

Then click on the color that you want to pick. We are going to click on multiple areas on the blue roses, so we add all the different shades of blue to the sample.

Once you’ve picked your color, hit the OK button to create a selection on your photo.

Then press Ctrl + Shift + I to inverse the selection, everything is selected except for the color you want to preserve.

Go ahead and press the Delete button from your keyboard to remove the selected area from Layer 1. Now your photo will be B&W except for one color! (You can press Ctrl + D to remove the selection from the image.)

If there are any leftover colors that you don’t want, pick the Eraser Tool and simply erase the leftover colors for a perfect result.


Selective Colour Method 2

Use a smaller brush size for detailed areas.
Left Bracket Key = decrease brush size.
Right Bracket Key = increase brush size.

Make a mistake? Hold down the option key and click to deselect or subtract from an area you selected by accident.

Certain edges can be very difficult to select- like hair (shown here), fur, or foliage/leaves.
If you have a tricky edge with lots of fine detail in your image, here is how to select it...


Now pick up the paintbrush.
Paint around the difficult edges

Left and Right Bracket Keys will change your brush size.

In the "View Mode" you can change how you view your selection so that it is easier to see what you are "picking up"

Keep painting until all of your edges are selected.
Click OK when finished.


Select the inverse.

Go to Select at the top, and scroll down to select "inverse"
OR use the keyboard shortcut: Command, Shift, i


Click on the "Add Adjustment Layer" icon at the bottom of your layers panel.
Select "Black & White..."

This should turn the background black and white.

You can see the area you have masked out in the small mask icon to the right of your adjustment layer.

Fine-tune the black and white values by using the color sliders.
For example: sliding the "Red" slider to the right will lighten all of the areas that were red in the original picture, or had some red in them. Sliding to the left darkens that area.

Play around with the sliders until you achieve a good range of light and dark values, with good contrast.


If you made a mistake when "quick selecting" you can still fix it.
Click on the mask icon to the right of your Black and White adjustment layer so it is selected.
Use your paint brush tool.
Paint with black to bring out color. (this is masking or hiding the B&W adjustment)
Paint with white to turn it black and white. (this is revealing or unmasking the B&W adjustment)