Skip to main content

Color Range

Lesson 6 from: The Beginner's Guide to Masking in Photoshop

Jesús Ramirez

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

6. Color Range

Lesson Info

Color Range

One way of selecting pixels is by selecting their color. So, if I wanted to select the blue or red pixels on her shirt, I couldn't just use the Quick Selection Tool, because it would be really really difficult to just select those pixels, right? And, if I click on Select Subject, it's gonna select everything. I'm not even sure exactly what it's going to select, but it definitely will not select those red or blue pixels. So, there's actually a method in Photoshop that you can select based on the color of something, and that's by using the Color Range command. So, with the Color Range command we have, I'm gonna show you two ways of doing it. We have this photo and we want to select, we'll just go with reds, we wanna select the reds of her shirt and we wanna make 'em a different color. Well, if I wanna select those colors first, I can go into Select, Color Range and you get this weird window here that you really can't see what's going on. You can click on Image, and you can actually see t...

he image, but you can't make it any larger, so usually what I like to do is work with selection but then just work with the larger version here on the side. If I click on any color, notice how Photoshop attempts to select that color. If I click on red, Photoshop selected that shade of red. You can kinda see it there. I could add to those reds by clicking and dragging on similar colors. See that? How it's adding those reds? And I can adjust the Fuzziness slider, which is the, adjusting the range of reds that it's selecting, so you kinda have to fine tune the Fuzziness slider with these eyedroppers and then work with that preview. When you're done, you can press okay, and it's selected those reds. We also had reds on her face and her hair. That's okay. We could create a Hue and Saturation adjustment, a layer, with the selection active, we've got a layer mask that contain everything in that selection. If I hold Alt Option on the Mac and click on the layer mask, you would see in white what is selected. I'm gonna hold Alt Option on the Mac again and click on that layer mask. Then, I'm gonna adjust the Hue and Saturation adjustment layers, so see I did select the reds, but I also selected part of her face and her arm. We can easily fix that by zooming into her face and paint with black on the layer mask. Remember what I said about the focus earlier? The white outline? That white outline needs to be on the layer mask. So, I'm gonna click on the layer mask to get that white outline on there. Then, with my brush tool, I'm going to paint with black to hide, so I'm gonna hide that adjustment. So, I'm hiding that adjustment in those areas. I actually hid the adjustment here. I can press X on the keyboard, remember? X swaps the foreground and background color. So, I can swap to white and then paint the adjustment in in those areas. So, obviously I didn't do her hair. I'm gonna show you another way of doing this. So, here it is. Before and after. We easily were able to select those specific colors by using Color Range. The second way of doing this is by first creating a selection just around the shirt. There we go. And hold Alt Option on the Mac and remove some of that hair, 'cause I know it's gonna select some of those pixels there. There we go. So now, we have a selection. And now we're gonna go into the Color Range, and Color Range is only going to look at the colors inside of that selection, and it's only going to apply the selection to everything inside that selection. So, if I go into select Color Range once again, we don't really need to adjust anything because Photoshop remembers your last settings. So, since I'm really selecting the same color, I don't have to adjust anything. But, I want you to notice one thing. Notice now how in the preview, we're zoomed in to the areas that I selected. So, we no longer see the entire image, we just see the preview of what's selected. So, you can actually use that 'til you fine tune the image and see the results better. But in this case, we know pretty sure that it's gonna work because it worked in the last example, and the settings are the same. I'll press okay. Notice now how the selection is not a, I guess I missed one spot there when I was painting that selection, drawing that selection in with the polygonal lasso tool or with the lasso tool, excuse me. But for the most part, I only targeted her shirt. Then I'm gonna go into Hue and Saturation, and now I can adjust the saturation and the color of just those colors. So, you can select colors really easily by using the Color Range tool. Now, I know that maybe somebody online, or even one of you guys here might be thinking, "well, why do all that work", 'cause there's actually an easier way of doing that, but you don't get a layer mask, that's the downside though. The point is that doing this adjustment in this way that you get a layer mask and sometimes that can be beneficial because you can apply that layer mask to multiple layers. For something like this, though, you don't really need a layer mask, so I'm gonna show you how to do it without a layer mask just so that you know, so. If you create a Hue and Saturation adjustment layer, you can actually click on this little guy here. This little finger, you can click on that, and then if you click on the reds, notice how I'm just targeting the reds, and then I can hold Alt, or actually, sorry, hold Control and it changes the hue of just the reds. I'm actually, obviously, adjusting her face as well. I will need to do, sort of, what I did before and just use a layer mask just for the shirt, but I don't need a layer mask just for the colors. You know what I mean? So, this layer mask is only for the shirt. What I had before was a layer mask that was actually just targeting those specific colors, but in this case, I only have a layer mask that just targets the shirt. So, it's another method of doing the same thing. Once again, the downside is that it's just a large layer mask, as opposed to a very detailed layer mask that is based on the colors that are found in the image. So, they both are beneficial, but for their own purposes. Bruce has been asking, is there a way to make a mask based on detail density? So, he says that mask exists in Lightroom for the sharpening tool-- I see what he's saying, yeah. But, he'd like to use it in Photoshop, but can't figure if that exists. That's a really good question. I've never-- So, I'll show you what he means. Okay. And then I'll see if I can figure it out. (laughing) Okay. Good, that's a really good question. So, what the person online, and, I'm sorry, what was the person's name? Bruce. Bruce, what Bruce was asking is about the masking that you can find in Lightroom and also in Camera Raw. So, if you go into, and I'll make this into a smart object just so we can work undestructively. So, if I go into Filter, Camera Raw Filter, you can see in the, I think he was talking about sharpening, you can sharpen an image, right? But, when you sharpen an image, you really don't know what you're sharpening, right? I mean, I'm just sharpening there, and yeah, sure if I go into 100%, yeah, she gets sharper obviously, right? But, there's also this slider here titled Masking, which is what I think Bruce was talking about. If you click and drag on the slider, you mask that sharpening effect, but what are you masking? Like, we really can't tell. If you hold Alt Option on the Mac and click on that Masking slider, you get a layer mask, so everything in black is-- Okay, it's not that one. Hidden. (laughing) Everything in white is revealed, so the effect is only being applied to the areas that are in white, so, we're only applying sharpening to the areas that are in white. So, that is the masking that I think he's referring to. Yes, yes. I, to be frank with you, I don't know of a specific way of doing it, but I know of a way that-- I mean, I'm not saying that I know. I'm thinking in my head of how, 'cause I've never been asked that question, so now I'm tryin' to figure out how to do it. The one way, I don't know if this is the right answer, but this is the answer that I'm coming up with right now just on the spot. So, the way that I would probably do that would be by using maybe a filter. I think. Let me see. What, maybe the Find Edges Filter. Yeah, maybe something like the Find Edges Filter. Then press Control + Shift + U to desaturate. Press Control + I, Command + I, to invert. And then I can use the image adjustment levels to sort of find the right detail. Once I'm happy with it, remember what I said before? Selections and masks are basically channels, you know? Like a channel. So, I'll just create a channel. So, I'm gonna go into the Channels panel. Duplicate any one of the channels. They're all the same. 'Cause I'm working with black and white. Click and drag, duplicate it. Now, if I hold Control, Command on the Mac, and click, I make a selection out of those edge pixels and now I have a layer mask where it's just targeting the edges and details of the image, so that's one way I thought of doing that just on the spot, so I hope that works. But, just for reference, I used the Find Edges filter, which is under Stylize. Stylize, Find Edges. So, that's basically how I did it.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Hair Brushes

Ratings and Reviews

Gary Price

Probably mistitled as "for beginners" Moves very quickly, sometimes without clearly describing actions taken. This is fast paced and often assumes that the listener is very familiar with photoshop. Good tips if you are already familiar...

Student Work