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Selective Color

From: After Effects CS5 New Creative Techniques

Video: Selective Color

The last of the Photoshop derived effects I'll be discussing is Selective Color, and to understand what Selective Color is doing, you really need to understand your color wheel. You do have your RGB, which you're familiar with, but printers, people who work in process color, look at the intermediates, the cyans, magentas, and yellows. And you see yellow is the combination of red and green, cyan is the combination of green and blue, magenta is the combination of blue and red. This is not true in normal artists' attractive colors. This is RGB color space.

Selective Color

The last of the Photoshop derived effects I'll be discussing is Selective Color, and to understand what Selective Color is doing, you really need to understand your color wheel. You do have your RGB, which you're familiar with, but printers, people who work in process color, look at the intermediates, the cyans, magentas, and yellows. And you see yellow is the combination of red and green, cyan is the combination of green and blue, magenta is the combination of blue and red. This is not true in normal artists' attractive colors. This is RGB color space.

So you need to fix this particular color wheel in your mind. You also need to pay attention to your complementary colors. What colors are across from each other in the RGB color wheel? For example, cyan is across from red. That means increasing the amount of cyan in an image may reduce the apparent amount of redness in an image. Decreasing cyan will make red appear to be more prominent, because they are across from each other in this RGB color wheel. Okay, let's go and look at this in practice.

Here is my footage, and I'll apply Effect > Color Correction > Selective Color. It's important to pay attention to the Color pop-up, because it tells you what channel you're working on. Let's go ahead and start with the red channel. By reducing the amount of cyan, the complementary color to red, the redness of an image appears to increase. I am basically removing the cyan color contamination from the red channel, and that's allowing the reds to come through in a much more pure form.

Magenta is more related to red. So it's going to have more of a subtle tinting effect, making the image appear more yellow or even more red / pinkish/magenta in tone. Not only do you have access to the red, green and blue primaries, you can go ahead and adjust the process colors of yellow, cyan and magenta, and this effect even gives you access to whites, neutral grays, and blacks. Basically highlights mid-tones and shadows, and the same principles apply. See this shadowy area down here? If I was to decrease the cyan in the blacks, the shadows, the result is it becomes very red in the shadows.

There is no "cyan" contaminating them, making them darker. On the other hand, if I want to make those shadows deeper, I want to increase that complimentary color and really drive them down. So the shadows are no longer red. They actually pushed towards a middle gray. So, it's a different way of thinking about color, this idea of color contamination and working with complimentary colors. But it does give you a nice tool to subtly tweak out different colors in your images. And again not just the primaries, but the process colors as well the highlights, mid-tones, and shadows as well. Powerful effect.

It will take a little practice to get used to it, but it's another nice tool to have in our arsenal.

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After Effects CS5 New Creative Techniques

35 video lessons · 17915 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
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