zen PRO 7:53pm, 22 March 2005
First off thanks for inviting me to this group! I love seeing how color influences what we think we 'see.'

I've approached Selective Colour from both ends - both colorizing parts of B/W photos and completely desaturating portions of color photos (which we used to call 'Cutouts' in Fotolog). It seems to me that even though the coarse effect is similar, the two approaches are very different. I'm glad that this group allows both because i'm interested in that difference.

When i'm colorizing a B/W photo, i tend to be more object oriented. The person, the car, the THING. When i'm desaturating portions of a color photograph, i tend to be more oriented towards what the final color (or color palette) will be. For instance picking out all the reds.

Which technique do you prefer? Or do you approach this in a completely different manner? Inquiring minds are just that: inquiring!
Beachy PRO 12 years ago
Interesting post - and thanks for joining

I like to experiment and as such my efforts have been rather haphazard. My favourite effect is where a colour photo is desaturated except for one object or colour. It doesn't always work, but that shows there's an art to it. Some of the work I've seen on Flickr has been inspirational.

I find it interesting that humans actually have two different 'processors' for b&w and colour images. At night, when the 'rods' in our eyes take over from the 'cones,' colours appear really desaturated and often one particular colour will completely dominate all others.

For example, if you stare at bright red numbers on an alarm clock at night, they will often appear to float above the dark background, and may even seem to move around independently of the rest of the clock - it's bizzare!

I look forward to seeing more images and chat appearing in this group.
The_Iceman 12 years ago
I've been mulling this over the topic for awhile, not sure where to begin, where to end, and how much content to put into this response.

Having tried various colorizations (desaturating Colors and colorizing B&Ws) I've come to my own conclusion when working with cutouts. This conclusion is 'general' and for me seems to work well 80% of the time. The other 20% ... I throw away what I know and go a different direction.

Let the colors be as natural as possible. What I've found, as a whole, is taking a B&W and colorizing it ... well I like the colors a little more desaturized. I guess it can depend on the photo one is working on. I've seen some beautiful pictures of flowers with a blured background. The background has been 'darkened' to the medium-dark gray with the saturated (and sometimes heavily saturated) flower giving great contrast to the image. The Yellows, Reds, Magentas...etc look awesome against the darker gray backgrounds. I think this type of technique is perfect for close-up shots, using Macro Lenses, keeping the lens fairly closed for a very close focus on the subject.

For Scenes with a lot of imagery.... Well I kind of go a little different route, as a general rule. I've seen a lot of pictures out there and have found that if there is too much saturation of the part of the image you want colorized the image can sometimes have a little too much 'shock-value' to it rather than going with the flow of the scene itself. Sometimes there are too many colors being shown and it totally distracts one from the entire scene. I have typically liked to see scenes with the colors a little more desaturized unless it is one or 2 colors. Not necessarily taking a beautiful 'blue' and making it an ultra-light pastel-blue, but probably somewhere in-between.

I don't want to come across the wrong way to people, as I enjoy the coloriztion of photos so very much, and have done some myself. I would tend to like the saturation of a b&w to be a little more natural in color. Of course there are always exceptions. The great photo that Zen put out with the rocker/punker with the green/redish hair is a great example of a picture with great sharp contrast in b&w and colors, including the hair colors themselves. This is an outstanding photo. I would also say the photo from "The Pretender" of the Ceramic Cafe. Limited Colors goes GREAT in contrast against its b&w surroundings. I have found I would much prefer these photos to my taste of the cutout process than some of the photos where the colorized subjects/areas as a whole might be a little too un-natural based on the coloring. A Monarch Butterfly cutout with it's natural coloring, in my opinion, is better than one which has been turned bright red or pink.

While the contrast of the vibrant colors to the B&W Background is wonderful, a small sense of un-realism to the image can take place. Again... depends on the subject and the framing of the picture for it all.

My process, normally, is to use color images and work from them. Since I use a digital camera .... I just take the color photos, desaturize a copied layer and then mask what I want brought back in as color. I may increase the saturization some (usually not more than 15%, and even potentially alter the hue a little to the color I think it should be (Granted I'm not the best photographer and still working on capturing exactly the richness of the color I intend to get) and then make the necessary changes.

I guess.... bottom line .... I desaturize and bring back natural color from the photo with small adjustments to those colors. I use this method about 80% of the time. the other 20% I change things up more.
how would you desaturate portions of color photos with Photoshop CS2?
hegarty_david 9 years ago
the easiest way is create a hue/saturation layer and turn saturation all the way down. you can paint on the layer mask of this layer to show or hide the B/W effect.
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