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Selective Color

Lesson 19 from: Color Techniques For Retouching

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

19. Selective Color

Lesson Info

Selective Color

All right, so I wanna talk about selective color for a second. And I wanna talk about how it's kind of similar to hue saturation. In selective color, what y'all can do is go in and selectively in one color, say I'd like to make some changes. So you've got reds, yellows, greens, cyans, blues, magentas, whites, neutrals and blacks. And what you're actually saying in this function here, and in fact, let me just start from scratch here. What you're saying when you start this is, for example, in the greens, I would like to change the value of the greens. I'm not saying I'm changing the color of the reds, the blues, the cyans, the magentas. Just the greens, and within the greens, let's say I'd like to add some cyan, which takes out red. You've got magenta, you can either add magenta, or take out magenta. Yellows, you can take out yellow, or add yellow, but only, excuse me, only in the greens. So it's a really controlled color movement, whereas in the channel mixer, for example, you couldn't ...

do all this. So this is a very, very good way to change color. You can also change the luminosity of that color. So I can change, it's not really affecting too, too much, but I'm changing how much green is in there. It's a pretty subtle move here. So selective color is super awesome for colors. Again, if I took the red tone here and moved the reds, you're only going to see it, can you see that in her flesh color? That's because her dress has no reds in it. Okay, so it's a way of quite literally selectively changing color without having to mask it out. So it's great for color clothing, products, trees, that kind of thing. If your trees are a little too yellow, and you wanna make them a little more magenta, you can use this function, which works great. It will darken them down. There's always that tone that will come down. Where it's problematic is where you have cross-contamination. What I mean by cross-contamination is let's say you have that green dress, and there's green in the background, then you're gonna have to mask it out. But that's okay, right? A little masking never hurt anybody. So this is selective color for clothing. You can use it for anything. I'd like to show you for something I use it for all the time and I'm gonna explain why. I like to use selective color for highlights. And what I tend to use them for, it's not that she necessarily needs some highlights here, but let's say you wanted to add some hot highlights to it, but you didn't want to pull a channel or paint them in. If you go to the whites, do you remember we were just in the greens. Now we're gonna go to the whites, and you you say hey, I wanna take the black out of the whites, which translates to, you have to translate this in your brain, luminosity. I wanna add, I wanna take out those darks out of the lights, which means I wanna brighten up the lights. It's a little counter-intuitive, you may have to trust me on this, but if you're in the whites and you say take 'em down, that means you wanna take the black out of it, and you're making it brighter. If you go the opposite direction and you add black, 'cause you see how it's the percentage points right here, these numbers? I'm adding black. That means you wanna take the highlights out. It's a little crackers, isn't it? So what you have to remember is it's saying how much density is in the blacks. I mean the whites, pardon me. How much density is in the whites? So I'm adding density, i.e. making it darker, or I'm lightening. I will tell you, in all my years, and I use this tool all the time, I can never remember which direction to slide it. Because it's counterintuitive. I'm basically sliding this slider to black, but I'm doing the opposite and not making it black. Holy crap. Slide the eyedropper away from black, the triangle, and I'm kinda adding black to the whites. Totally counterintuitive. So, don't feel like a nimron if you have to do this when you're doing it, all right? Now, so let's say I want to add volume to a face, and I wanted to add contrast and highlight. It's color neutral. Her colors aren't shifting, I'm just lightening her face. And here's the most important thing, is it's retouching neutral. What do I mean by that? It's retouching neutral. So, when you're working on a job like, imagine I have a procession, I have a wedding file, I've got a whole bunch of bridesmaids all next to each other, and I wanna bring out highlight detail on that satin dress. Here's your friend. Satin dress, you want that shimmery look. Well, so you get all this collected, and then the bridesmaids, the maid of honor realizes she looks horrible in that position, and she wants another shot dropped in where she's turned the other direction. You don't have to repaint all your highlight detail, it's a mathematical curve that's doing it. So let's see if I can illustrate this in a little bit of an odd way. Let's say, for example, you need to fix a nose. Sorry, your nose is beautiful, we are not suggesting in any way, shape, or form, we need to fix your nose. But let's just say you wanted to put a bend in it. Why, I don't know. As you see, I am bending poor Sarah's nose, but the highlight detail and all that doesn't change. Well, the old school way of adding highlight detail was, for example, either painting or doing a channel pull. So I'm gonna show you a highlight in a kind of traditional way of doing it. I'm not explaining how to do this because I don't want you to do this anymore. This is the old-school way of doing a highlight, and what you would do is what's called the channel pull, and you do a selection in your channels. I will explain what it is. Channels store your color information, but they also store selections. And you load that selection, you fill it with white, and you get this, basically, floating white layer. Do you see that? That's, I just made a layer of black, there's white. It's a transparent layer of white. It's a very common retouching trick. And then most often you put it on the mode Soft Light, and there's your highlight. It's lovely. Only problem is, it's retouch-independent. If I change the face out, if I change all this out, I gotta redo it. If you use selected color, there you go. It doesn't matter. Cool, seriously, it's a great trick. You may not know it, it's a great trick.

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Color Channel Explanation Images
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Ratings and Reviews


Another awesome course by Lisa Carney, packed full of information This course is really a comprehensive look at colors ... I learned so much, and even stuff I thought I knew pretty well, I found some pretty eye opening new information. I find Lisa Carney to be a wonderful teacher. When she has an important point to make she'll say her point, pause and then repeat what she just said, just to lock it into your memory. Fantastic. Side note: I signed up for the CreativeLive creative pass as soon as I realized how great all of Lisa Carney's classes are. I'd started to buy them one by one and quickly realized they are all wonderful. You can watch this class from beginning to end and get great information ... but to get the most bang for the buck you'll want to pause, hit rewind, get a cup of coffee, open Photoshop and try out her tips while you watch. There are sections I rewound and watched about 5 times, to be sure I understood all the subtle points. Lisa Carney is pretty amazing - she works really hard to thoroughly explain the process she uses to solve problems, and she never glosses over anything important. To cover a particular point, she'll start with a finished file with all the layers - and instead of simply explaining each layer like a mortal would do, she'll literally delete all the adjustment layers and start from scratch to show the process. This is incredibly empowering since it gives you an understanding of just how easy the process can be once you get the hang of it


This is an EXCELLENT class for Photoshop users! Lisa is very professional, knowledgeable and, also, a delight to watch and listen to! Not only that she explains the concepts but she also shares her own experience and her practical ways of using those concepts! Great, great class! Thank you, Lisa and CreativeLive!

a Creativelive Student

This course has an abundance of useful information along with professional tips based on actual field experience. This course is definitely one I will come back to from time to time to reiterate the information. For this reason the way it is organised is perfect to find information about a specific technique or adjustment layer. It is well composed with some humour and advanced information. Loved it and highly recommend it for people who want to deal with the little details and get things exactly the way they want. Not suitable for lazy or sloppy people who just want to get the job good enough for sharing but don't care about getting it perfect for print.

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