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Selective Colour in Photoshop CS and Elemements.

Hi Guys.

I’ve been asked to do a tutorial on Selective Colour in Photoshop CS and Elements.

I have chosen to do it in this manner as I know these work in Elements. If you have Photoshop CS you might find one or two moves unnecessary but it won’t hurt to learn them.

To make it easy for me and for you, instead of selecting just one colour we’re going to take all the colour out of the following picture and then replace just the colour in the painting!

Here is the original. It is a jpeg but I’ve left the Resolution high enough for you to practice on!


OK. Step One. Upload the photo into your version of Photoshop

If your ‘Layers Palette’ is not showing go to ‘Window - Layers’ and your ‘Layers Palette’ will appear.

Step One
Step One

Follow the Red Arrow and click on the ‘Adjustment Layer Icon’ (half black half white circle)

Then follow the Green Arrow and select ‘Hue/Saturation’ from the list. See below.

Step One A.
Step One A
This will bring up the ‘Hue/Saturation Palette’

Step Two
Step Two
Follow the Red Arrow. Click on the ‘Saturation Slider’ and slide it all the way to the left. Your picture will now de-saturate!

Step Three

Step Three
Follow the Green Arrow and make sure your ‘Selected Foreground Colour’ is Black.

Follow the Red Arrow and select the ‘Brush Tool’.

Step Four
Step Four
Follow the Red Arrow and select a Large Brush size. I have selected a brush size of ‘300’

You’ll notice it has a soft edge and as our picture has quite a hard edge we’re going to Follow the Green Arrow and increase the ‘Hardness’ to 100% by dragging the slider to the right.

Step Five
Step Five
Now all we have to do is Paint over the Picture where we want to restore colour.

Zoom in close and start to paint.

If you want to increase or decrease the size of your brush try hitting the [ and ] brackets.

If you want to increase or decrease the softness or hardness of your brush use ‘Shift + [‘ or ‘Shift +]’

If you need to Scroll up or down hold down the ‘Space Bar’ and simply drag your picture up or down or sideways.

Use your Zoom Tool to make your picture large enough to work on easily.

If you go over the edge don’t worry. Just go to where the Green Arrow took you on Step Three and click on that little Rocker Symbol and your foreground colour will change to white. Paint out the mistake, go back to Black and carry on!

If you want to check if you’ve missed anywhere you can Hold Down Alt and click on your ‘Layer Mask’ (Follow the Mauve Arrow) and your picture will be replaced by the Black Mask that you are painting on to bring back the colour. Any white parts are missed areas. You can paint them in on the Black mask if the borders are clearly defined.

You can use this method to pick out just one colour or just one object as we have done here.

Play with the process. It gets easier and easier as you get used to it.

Happy Editing !

Love to All ~ Res

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Comment by Res J Burman on January 21, 2011 at 1:12pm

Hi Stephanie W.


So glad this helped. It's always gratifying to learn that! Thanks for letting me know.



Comment by Collie Brook Crossing on January 21, 2011 at 11:44am
This just helped me SO much. I attempted to do this by using the lasso tool, selecting what I wanted to keep in color and putting it all on new layers, then converting the background to b&w. For some reason my layers never quite filled in the spaces left from when I cut out portions of the photo. This looks so much easier and will be much less of a headache. I'm so excited about this that I think I'm going to find more photos to try and do this with! Thanks!!!
Comment by Res J Burman on November 8, 2010 at 3:18am
And one you have followed perfectly by the looks of things Patrick. Bravo and thanks so much for the feedback!
Comment by Patrick Nosbaum on November 7, 2010 at 8:38pm
Fooling around a bit, trying to get the hang of Elements 9.
Thanks for the tutorial, Res, it was a good exercise!

Comment by Res J Burman on November 2, 2010 at 5:30pm
They say the best Tutor is just one step ahead of the pupil, my friend, and in my case that is probably so. Do let me know how your got on with this and show me the results. I will be delighted if it has helped at all.
I have found Photoshop totally baffling until I learned one or two simple techniques and then so many more just began to fall into place. Keep learning, life should be a voyage of discovery!
Best Regards ~ Res
Comment by CUONG TU on November 2, 2010 at 12:49pm
Thank you, Res! you're a good tutor!
Comment by Res J Burman on November 1, 2010 at 6:33pm
Once you have finished your editing in Photoshop click on "File ~ Save as..." and a dialogue box will appear with the Photo Folder selected. I you want to change the Photo Folder, next to where it says "Save in" click the downward arrow and select any folder you wish.

Underneath the selected folder there are two boxes, "File Name" and "Format". In "Format" you will probably have "Photoshop PSD..PDD".

Click the downward arrow on that box and select "JPEG (JPG.. JPEG..JPE)!

Then Click "Save" .

Hope that helps Buddy ~ Res
Comment by CUONG TU on November 1, 2010 at 5:45pm
Thanks for the advice,Res, but how to save in jpg, or do I need a conversion software?
Comment by Res J Burman on November 1, 2010 at 5:41pm
Yes you can Cuong Tu, but it is actually best to save it as both! JPG is obviously best if you want to post on the web etc. But if you also save a PSD file you can re-open it in photoshop at a later date and all your previous working is still there, to be tweaked further, altered or embellished! I know it means you keep more and more information on file but an external hard drive doesn't cost a fortune and the files can be kept on that. Good idea to have your files backed up on an external anyway in case of accidental loss of your computers hard drive. Hope that helps.
Best Regards ~ Res
Comment by CUONG TU on November 1, 2010 at 4:36pm
When the process is done, can I save the picture as a jpg file, instead of a psd one by default?

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