When dealing with color correct on your image in Photoshop, there are three main adjustment layers that are the “go-to” in post-processing. Today will take a brief look at Selective Color Adjustment. I’ve noticed most people tend to shy away from this adjustment in relation to color toning. It is a shame, because this is quite a helpful tool to use in your color correction workflow. Selective Color Adjustment layers give far more control over the color spectrum and can result in some subtle, yet powerful improvements to the look of your overall photo.
The Three Big Boys of Color
7 color channels: 3 general sliders: 1 color hue, 1 color saturation, 1 color luminosity
4 color channels: shadows, mid-tones, highlight
9 color channels: 4 color sliders for each
The range is pretty impressive and can be intimidating at first.
With the Selective Color Adjustment, all Color Channels will have the same 4 sliders: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.
Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow will effect the density, or presence, of each color (and its opposite), within that specific Color Channel.
For example: How red or green your yellows are.
The Black slider effects the luminosity of the image. Increase for more contrast / saturation, decrease for more luminosity. Again, this is adjustable for each specific Color Channel. It is definitely something you should play around with to find the tone and luminosity you desire.
For each, you can choose Relative or Absolute adjustments.
Also, this is added with an automatic layer mask, so if you need to block out the effect for separate areas of your image, just brush on the mask (black or white) and you are good to go.
Skin Tone and Selective Color
Skin tone is a great place to test out this technique. Skin tone is a blend of all colors, and finding that right balance can be quite a challenge. You may also want to try this out with a photo that has a fairly color neutral background, such as true black, gray, or white. This way you can get a good visual of the subtle (or dramatic) shifts you are making.
Color channels you may want to play around with include (but are not limited to):
Fair Skin Tones: Red and Yellow
Olive Skin Tones: Red, Yellow, and Green
Dark Skin Tones: Red and Yellow (depending on Hue)
As you begin to become comfortable with this technique, try a variety of tones to appreciate the diversity and unique characteristics inherent for each subject and lighting condition.
How Selective Color Works: Tutorial
Until Next Time . . .
Stay Inspired ~ Jules