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Another interesting use of Camera Raw's Adjustment Brush is to achieve a selective color effect. Typically the majority of the image appears as grayscale, and only the primary subject remains in color. This is another way to really focus the viewer's attention on the subject. So let's open up this plant image in Camera Raw using Cmd+R or Ctrl+R. There are two primary ways that you can achieve this effect. The first way would be to select the Adjustment Brush or tap the K key on the keyboard. Then we're going to fill this brush with a negative saturation.
If you've got other settings here in the brush, go ahead and click on the minus next to saturation that will reset all of the other sliders, and then move the saturation slider down to negative 100. Let's take a look at our brush options as well. The brush size is fine, the feather's good and the flow's good. I do want to turn on the option for Auto Mask. What that will do is it will tell Camera Raw that the center point of this brush is the hot spot and anywhere that I paint with that center point Camera Raw is going to identify the color and tone under that hot spot.
And it's going to automatically create a mask so that only the values under that hot spot are affected by the brush. Let me show you what I mean. If I click and paint over here, you can see that I'm taking the image to grayscale. Now, when I get closer to the leaves, instead of having to be really precise around the leaves, as long as I don't cross that hot spot on top of the green leaves, then those leaves will not be affected. So you can see how I can quickly come in between the leaves and Camera Raw is automatically making the mask for me. So, anywhere that I position that hot spot, the values underneath there will be converted to grayscale.
Anywhere that I don't will remain in color. So, let me just show you if I make a mistake and I click in the leaf area, you can see that now the leaf is being converted to grayscale. I'll use Cmd or Ctrl+Z in order to undo that, and then I'll just finish painting around the image. Now you might want to toggle on and off the mask, that overlay, while you're painting just to make sure that you don't miss any areas. And you can do that either by clicking the Show Mask option here or you can toggle it on and off with the Y key.
So the Y key is going to show the mask. Now you'll notice that I can click right here in this area, in order to convert that area to grayscale. Again, here. Maybe here. Anywhere where the plants aren't. And you'll see that it's actually selecting the values that I click on. And then, it's going to use that whole brush size, in order to remove the color from those areas. Now I might want to turn off Auto Mask and then decrease the size of my brush. And paint over here in these areas, where I might have missed a little area.
That's kind of a quick way to go in and just touch up all around the main subject. Then I'll tap the Y key again and that will turn off the mask. And then we can tap the P key, that'll toggle on and off the preview. You can see how we've turned all the area outside of the plant to grayscale. Of course I can do additional effects as well. If I wanted to darken down that same area, we can scroll up and then just decrease the exposure. Right? And it's affecting that whole area because I still have that pin selected.
Now, of course, we can add additional effects if we wanted to. For example, I could click on the color swatch here and we could add a color tint to that background area if we wanted to. I'll go ahead and click Cancel for now, but just remember that you can combine any of these different sliders in order to create an effect. Alright so that's the first way to create the selective adjustment effect. Let's go ahead and revert the file by holding down the Option key or the Alt key on Windows and clicking where it says reset. For the second method I'm going to put back the Adjustment Brush for a moment so I'll tap the K key and then I'm going to move over to my hue, saturation and luminosity panel. In the saturation area, I'm going to decrease the saturation for all of my sliders.
Now, you might think that it would be easier to simply convert to grayscale, but if I convert to grayscale, then I can't use the Adjustment Brush to selectively paint back in a color. If I simply desaturate all of my color ranges, then Camera Raw thinks that this file is still in color and I can add back in color. So, let's tap the K key to access the Adjustment Brush, and next to the saturation slider, I'm going to click the plus icon to reset all of the other options. And then I'm going to increase my saturation to 100%.
We'll also scroll down, and just make sure that the Auto Mask is turned off for now. Now you can see that wherever I paint in the image, I'm adding back in the original color. And of course I can be as loose or as tight with this painting as I want to be. So I can just limit this area to a few different leaves, or I can paint over the majority of leaves. It's really up to you. But the key to this technique Is that you don't convert the image to grayscale. Instead you just decrease the saturation in all of the different color ranges. Which then enables you when you're using the Adjustment Brush, to paint back in a color selectively.
And of course, we can modify this after the fact as well. If we don't want to bring back 100% of the color, we can decrease the amount of saturation in that pin and make this a much more subtle effect. So, both techniques allow you to adjust the colors in your image. Of course, all the changes that we've made here were rather obvious. But if you try using this technique with more subtle changes, you can really use it to your advantage and draw attention to your subject.
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