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By Lauren Harmon | Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Selectively convert photos to black and white

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Selective color adjustment is almost as old as photography. It was just 20 years after photography was officially “born” in 1839, that photographers started hand-painting images. Today selective colorization is easy for anyone to achieve with digital tools like Photoshop. Instead of recoloring areas of a monochrome image, you desaturate a color image, masking the portions you wish to remain in color. Deke shows you how in this week’s free episode of Deke’s Techniques.

The techniques kick off with a simple Black & White adjustment, and a liberal application of the Targeted Adjustment tool to heighten the contrast in the image. Then Deke shows you how to create a color-based selection with Color Range—a command that allows you to make more precise selections than tools like the Magic Wand alone.  Color Range’s “sticky” dialogue box, which remembers your last selection, and Fuzziness sliders allow you to refine your selection even further.

Your selection complete, Deke will show you how to mask the adjustment away from the areas you want to retain in color, reduce any harsh edges, and then magnify the saturation of the full-color objects with a Vibrance adjustment layer. The end result? You’ll have selectively transformed portions of your photo to black and white, while enhancing the color in remaining areas.

Like this technique? You’ll love the next one. Come back next Tuesday for more Deke’s Techniques, and learn how to restore a cutoff photo in post.

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