This technique is as old as Photoshop itself, in fact it’s older. Ever since the days where the colours of a photo were hand painted, people have been altering colour, or selectively colouring images to create this very powerful effect.
This technique is simple to achieve and anyone with a version of Photoshop should try it out. This simple tutorial will show you the basics of creating a Colour Pop image.
Choosing an image
Any image will work using this technique, but I find the best images are ones in which the item that you want to “Pop” has a good strong colour that is well saturated, and that the rest of the image works well in Black and white. This is why you often see Selective colouring techniques used on a red subject, this is because reds are often well saturated and contrast well against a black and white background.
Duplicate the layer.
I will assume that you already know how to open your image in your version of Photoshop. Once loaded the first thing we need to do is duplicate the layer. There are several ways to do this, but I find the easiest method is to right-click on the layer thumbnail, then select >Duplicate Layer…
What this action does is create an exact copy of the original image directly on top of your starting image.
Convert To Black and White
The next step is to convert this “Top” layer into a black and white image. To do this, make sure you have the top layer selected on the right hand side, then click “Image” (located on the top menu bar) >Adjustments>BlackAndWhite .
When you do this you will notice a dialogue box pop up, with several sliders to adjust. For the purpose of this exercise you can ignore these and just press ok.You should see your image be converted into black and white.
Create a Layer Mask.
Layer masks seem to be a mystical force of sorcery according to many people I speak with, but it’s really quite a simple concept. When you put a layer mask over a layer, it hides the contents or effects of that layer where the mask is black, and shows them where its white. That’s as complex as it needs to get for this task.
To add a layer mask, make sure once again that the top layer is selected, then click on the button at the bottom of the layer tab, that looks like a box with a circle in the middle.
Once you’ve done this, you should see a layer mask appear next to the layer. It should be a white rectangle depending on your settings, but if its black then select it with a mouse click then hold ctrl (cmnd for Mac) and press “I” this should turn it white and reveal the Black and white layer again.
Paint Back The Colour
Now for the fun part. All you have to do is select your brush tool by either clicking th icon on the left hand side, or just press “B”. Make sure that you have selected the mask by clicking on it and that you have black selected as your brush colour, then just paint black on the mask where you want your colour to show through. If you make a mistake, you can undo it by simple painting the mask white again where the effect is unwanted.
Once you are happy with your result click “Layer” (Top menu bar again) then “Merge Visible” This will compress the image back into one layer and allow you to save the file in the format you prefer.
I hope this tutorial has been of some help, and that you enjoy making the most out of your images.