(1 to 100 of 108 replies)
Tennessee_Gator PRO 4:00pm, 12 January 2007
Playing with an idea

I've been tinkering with this idea for getting sort of a muted color effect that's sorta neat. It also looks pretty good on portraits. Here's what I did.
1. Go to the channels pallet and command/ctrl + click on the RGB layers in the channels pallet. Making a selection of the luminosity.

2. Add a new blank layer. Hit "d" on the keyboard to get DEFAULT COLORS.
3. Invert the selection command/contol + shift + i.
4. Fill the selection with black.... option/alt + delete/backspace put in multiply blending mode.
5. Invert the selection command/contol + shift + i.
6. Add an new blank layer and fill with white command/control + delete/backspace and put in screen blending mode.
7. Add a hue/saturation adjustment layer and put saturation at +25 (to the right using saturation slider).

If you like this effect you can easily make and action of this by adding a new action before you do these steps and then clicking to close action in the actions pallet after you're done.

(1 to 100 of 108 replies)
Baron Von Aaron 11 years ago
I'd love an action of this--too bad I'm too lazy to learn how to make one! So I'll sit around here to see if someone makes one to download :-P
2~Chord 11 years ago
Nice Tennessee, can't wait to try this one out.
corriehoogen PRO 11 years ago
Very nice effect. Thanks for sharing!
RastaRicanStudio 11 years ago
you done did again, thanks
Stevekin PRO Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Stevekin (admin) 10 years ago
Great technique Allan !
Have just been playing and liking the results very much :-)

This is the before of one in my stream :

Kenilworth Castle (by Stevekin)

And this the after, created using the Tennessee Gator muted colour effect Action ;-)

Kenilworth_Castle (by Stevekin)

If any lazy ones out there would like the action ;-).... You can download it here !
Wale Ariztos 11 years ago
thanks! can't wait to try it too.
Stevekin PRO 11 years ago
Link to download action in my last post.
OneMipipippi [deleted] 11 years ago
Great action - thank you both - Just what I've been looking for.
RastaRicanStudio 11 years ago
Hey stevekin, I was unable to download to my mac. Any ideas? I have download stuff before and have some from Tennessee-gator.
Stevekin PRO 11 years ago
Do you have a pop up blocker running ?
That might stop it.

See if that works. If not, Flickrmail me an email address and I'll send it to you :-)
I did try to find some way to get it to you from your web site, but couldn't.....
RastaRicanStudio Posted 11 years ago. Edited by RastaRicanStudio (moderator) 11 years ago
Thanx, did you try comments and or email at the bottom?
I was able to download but not able to get the rar to open...I had a folder on my desktop but empty.
Stevekin PRO Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Stevekin (admin) 11 years ago
Oh, I've just sent you the winrar file !
I'll send the unzipped .atn file, see how that goes.

I clicked on contact, and got a message box. But no means to add an attachment.

No I didn't try the email link....I didn't notice it !

Will do if it doesn't get through.
EntityDesigns 11 years ago
I got a quicker way that get a similar effect, I have had it saved in my personal actions but it is so much simpler, I call it a semi sepia since it is like half way between black and white and color.

1) Make a new Gradient Map Adjustment Layer of black to white(do not have reverse set).

2) Duplicate the Background layer (one with your photo on it) and drag it above the adjustment layer and set its layer blending mode to color and its opacity to 40%.
Leo Reynolds PRO 11 years ago
Never heard of the rar compression format before. Is there a free "unzip" utility available anywhere?
EntityDesigns 11 years ago
try winrar
PSEFrank 11 years ago
@ LeoL30...................I use winzip. I'm not sure if this will help you or not. It is free though.
Ndeabla 11 years ago
Thanks a lot, I've made step by step and it worked. I had to try several times since I don't often Photoshop.
Thanks again.
iamKatramarie [deleted] Posted 11 years ago. Edited by RastaRicanStudio (moderator) 10 years ago
This is the results of the muted color effect. I belong to a group on PBase called Digital Nuts and we get several photos each week to work some magic on. I used the muted color effect on one of this weeks photos. It looks great on this photo of the old Buick. Thanks for sharing the technique with us.
joris besseling Posted 11 years ago. Edited by joris besseling (member) 11 years ago
I liked this technique very much. I applied it, amongst others, to this photo.

samboyd Posted 11 years ago. Edited by samboyd (member) 11 years ago
and me, first attempt:

i did it slightly differently to this method though
H@shim A ™ 11 years ago
i'm really enjoying the results of this and have applied them to a few shots recently.

reminds me a bit of two motion pictures a little bit.

*three kings* and *o brother, where art thou?* and if i'm not mistaken, *the matrix* series seemed to have a very slight green/flourescent light type cast in it.

would be interested in hearing if i'm not the only one who sees the similarities.

this is a super group btw...
john_bolin2002 Posted 11 years ago. Edited by john_bolin2002 (member) 11 years ago
DSCN0732 muted

Well since the .rar file is corrupted i made it manually.
And since I´m a lazy bastard, I made a new adjustment layer - gradient map and adjusted the opacity to 50% and presto muted colors.
Don´t overwork yourself now ;)
john_bolin2002 11 years ago
Working fine now.
Thanks Gator
Leo Reynolds PRO 11 years ago
muted cutout
Beverly426 11 years ago
Hi there gator,
I really like this color mutted effect, but I can't download it for some reason. I tryed to just do the action & record it like you said, but I must not have done it right. Is there any other way for me to get it?

Rebel Girl
J.B. Vancouver 11 years ago
good stuff...going to try it out this weekend when I get my soul back for 2 days
Tennessee_Gator PRO Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Tennessee_Gator (admin) 11 years ago
Rebel Girl: I added it to my collection of actions at:


only I added an additional highlight bump. This may not work on earlier versions of PS (pre CS2)
euphoriaspell Posted 11 years ago. Edited by RastaRicanStudio (moderator) 10 years ago
Hey, Tennessee_Gator
I'm not meaning to sound like a smart-ass but there is a MUCH quicker and easier way to do this and get pretty much the same effect.
If you use Photoshop then select your brush tool and set the color to white. Paint over your entire image. After completing that go to the 'Edit' drop down menu. Select 'Fade Brush Tool'. In the 'Fade Brush Tool' window set it to color and bring the opacity down to around 40% give or take a few digits. The higher the opacity the more it mutes the color.

Here's an example:
Tennessee_Gator PRO 11 years ago
That's not quite the same effect, but you don't need to go to the trouble of painting it

Just hit the "d" to get the default colors.

Then command/control + delete to fill with white.

and then Shift + command/control + f to fade fill.
Jamie and Greg 11 years ago
Here is my attempt at it.

work boots
does Lightroom have this effect too? or should i say almost? like the Zero'd action in lightroom?
Tennessee_Gator PRO 11 years ago
You have immense control in Lightroom with colors, blacks and blown out parts of a photo. You could get very similar results in the Develop module in Lightroom.
Kasandra_A PRO 11 years ago
I really love this effect but Photoshop Elements doesn’t have a Channels palette.
I'm using PSE5 ... does anyone have a similar method for Elements users?

PS - just found this group ... great support group!

Kasandra ... also from TN :)
APD Photo 11 years ago
This is a really neat effect. You might call it either a "70's snaphot" or "anti-Velvia." Much more subtle and effective than what I've been doing (and won't share; you're welcome...)
Hengky.S 11 years ago
Hi, I really love this effect. but I got lost wherever it is while following the steps, dunno what went wrong? :/
And I can't seems to download Stevekin's link. Could someone help pls? :X
Haggis Chick 11 years ago
mmm Hengky I kinda got lost too. From step 4 onwards it was like being hut by a frying pan :-))) I'm going to keep trying though as I must be doing something so silly.
Lil_miz_Cheeky 11 years ago

Muted colour effect:
© JD Enarsico | Photography Posted 11 years ago. Edited by RastaRicanStudio (moderator) 7 years ago
so here's mine. but for those people who's not creative enough or doesn't have a photography skills or a point & shoot minded clients who doesn't love post processing, a noob clients will say it's too dull, no colors at all, why is it like that? you dont know how to shoot? it's too ugly.

DoF Punk 10 years ago
Okay, I just feel plum silly, can't seem to get the first post directions to work for me. I've got CS 2... but i'm losing the fill in black and fill in white options... and the action is no longer downloadable.

Help anyone?
spinningwatermelon [deleted] 10 years ago
Ditto with Jeremy. I can't seem to get it to work.

Anyway, sorry for the retarded noob Q, but what's the diff between this and desaturating? Thanks!
ACreepingMalaise 10 years ago
Independence Day
Photon-Painter 10 years ago
I am not sure if I am correct, but I found an easier and more flexible way of doing this: Muted colors created with an inverted S-Curve with "Color" as its blending mode. Another normal non-inverted S-Curve was used to boost the contrast with "Luminosity" blending mode.

Pura Ulu Danu

Balinese Temple
Tennessee_Gator PRO 10 years ago
Photon_Painter: That's a good idea. I'll need to try that.
Photon-Painter Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Photon-Painter (member) 10 years ago
Allan, please do share with us what you think when you have tried out the method. Thanks!
Photon-Painter 10 years ago
Hi, I am just wondering: anyone tried the method which I've mentioned? Any feedbacks?
RastaRicanStudio 10 years ago
I like it photon-painter thanks.
dapen 10 years ago
How do you invert an S-Curve?
Layers --> New Adjustment Layers --> Curves, create an S-Curve, then Shift+Control+i ?

wyzard 10 years ago
maybe its a curly Z curve?
sgcallaway1994 PRO 10 years ago
This is probably a stupid question, but couldn't one achieve similar results by:

1. Open Image
2. Duplicate Background Layer
3. New Layer Adjustments > Gradient Map
4. Adjust the Layer Opacity on the Gradient Map Layer to Taste.
Mack2 10 years ago

Past out?

Muted color effect + some more effects.
(The) Appleman PRO 10 years ago
Photon-Painter - Excuse my ignorance but what, exactly do you mean by an "inverted S-Curve with "Color" as its blending mode"? Are you referring to creating a new Adjustment Layer in the Layers palette (choosing Curves) and if so, what does an inverted S-Curve look like and how to create this? Would really appreciate your explanation - or example.
vidabobida [deleted] 10 years ago
your actions never work in my cs2 :(
Tennessee_Gator PRO 10 years ago
vidabobida: hmmmm! it should work, I reworked it this morning and it worked in a windoze version of CS2. I even added a highlight twist at the end. I'll upload it to my actions later. Are you starting with a flattened image. By that I mean it only has one layer and that layer is called "Background Layer"? In the new one (as a warning) it WILL flatten your image and put the mute part in a set so you can loose it, or reduce the opacity.


I get a kick out of the comments about doing the same thing only differently. My answer is Duhhhhh!!! This is Photoshop we're talking about, where there's never, NEVER, N E V E R (well almost never) just one way of doing something.
Daniel E Bruce 10 years ago
Brilliant! I'm working on something right now bro...

Thanks for sharing =)
Lady Smirnoff 10 years ago
Thanks for the tutorial!!! I tried Entity Designs suggestion and got this.
My first attempt. Be benevolent ;)

Me olvidé...
Photon-Painter Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Photon-Painter (member) 10 years ago
Dapen and NovaMan396: For more information about the curves, please have a look here. Let me know what you think. Thanks!
Loopsta 10 years ago
Ok i thought i would resurrect this one again as i have a new technique for you to try that is quite simple but effective. sort of a "mish mosh" of previous techniques with a few different ones ...does that make sense ? anyhow it will in a minute so....

1.Hit D to load default swatches

2.Load a luminosity mask of the background layer, windows version is ctrl + alt + ~ mac version you will have to command click on the RGB channel

3.With the selection active, while holding down the Alt / Option key make a new gradient map adjustment layer, check use previous layer as a clipping mask and set the blend mode to color while you are there, you could even drop the opacity to maybe 70% also while in that dialog box.

Thats it .. a nice even color mute !
vidabobida [deleted] 10 years ago
tennessee.. it won't load into my cs2! it says it's not compatible with my version of phooshop but i'm using cs2.
Tennessee_Gator PRO 10 years ago
vidabobida: I don't know what to tell you. I tested the new one on CS2 Windoze and it worked. Don't have access to CS2 on a Mac.

I'll try downloading, and seeing if the download will work.

You unzipped it right?
vidabobida [deleted] 10 years ago
yes, sir i did! it just happens when i try to load into my actions it says that it's not compatible with the version that i have :( and i'm using windows so it should work!
alison d'bird 10 years ago
I'm fiddling with this little gem...but I'm only running PS 6.0, :( Is there a way to load default colors for li'l ol' me in the dark ages???
alison d'bird 10 years ago
Know what, its okay, it worked well without the default colors....or maybe I had them and didn't know it :) At any rate, thanks a bunch!
James Kaarremaa 10 years ago
Mine just black & white adjustment layer over the original layers with a 80-90% opacity. I like the desaturated look for portraits because a) It's easier to create good looking skin tones, b) It seems to create more variation in tones and c) it can change the mood dramatically.

You're getting THE CHAIR
Marc-Cologne 10 years ago
I would like to try the action that stevekin has posted, but the file is deleted.
Has somebody still that file to share with me?

Thank you!
Stevekin PRO Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Stevekin (admin) 10 years ago
Marc-Cologne Sorry, I've uploaded it somewhere else, should be OK now (same link) :)

Though I just noticed TG has it too, but with an additional highlight bump :

Mine is the original that Allan first posted the tutorial to :)
Stevekin PRO 10 years ago
"Muted color effect, if you like that kind of stuff"

Just wanted to say again Allan....yes, very much indeed !!!
Marc-Cologne 10 years ago
Thanks alot Stevekin!!!
NikolaT 10 years ago

i dont understand good this tutorial ,coz u said make a blank new layer and than invert the selection ( wich means i have to marka picture layer again) and fill it with black ........the question is :

wich layer should be fill with black or white ( blank new layer or selecter layer)????
NikolaT Posted 10 years ago. Edited by RastaRicanStudio (moderator) 8 years ago
[photo no longer available]
tastygiant 10 years ago
thanks to Gator and Stevekin for the action!!
Siddharth C Posted 10 years ago. Edited by RastaRicanStudio (moderator) 8 years ago
[photo no longer available]

Picture Courtesy: Andy Hobden.
~SCF~ [deleted] 9 years ago
I want to try this but on a Mac.
Can someone repost the instructions without the keyboard shortcuts?
Tennessee_Gator PRO 9 years ago
I do it on a Mac It's simple

Control (pc) / command or apple key (mac)

Alt (pc) / option (mac)

backspace (pc) / delete (mac)
~SCF~ [deleted] 9 years ago
I'm interested in knowing the steps, what is it you're doing. That way I can adapt it, fine tune it. I don't want to copy your effect (no offense) I want to know your technique so I can play with it and make it mine.
Tennessee_Gator PRO 9 years ago
No offense. I think that is the smartest thing to do. The steps I used are specifically listed above.
Syl_au 9 years ago
um..is there any difference to this and making a gradient adjustment layer? I compared both and I can't see a difference.
Jeff Engelhardt 9 years ago
well, a gradient adjustment layer is pretty flexible - there are a lot of different ways to use it. I'd think if you just did the standard gradient map, it would just turn it black and white, unless you reduced the opacity or changed the blend mode . . but then it's just like a b&w overlay (assuming you don't do anything else with the gradient map).

This is different in that it sort of "crushes" the tones, similar to the style that was used in 300. It darkens the darks a lot (without necessarily blacking them out) and saps the saturation.

The effects probably come out fairly similar, but this is just another style / way to do things. There are always lots of ways to skin a pixel.
michille_baker 9 years ago
Thanks so much Gator. You are the answer to my prayers. I've been trying to pull of this technique for ever and could not get it to look just right. Now i know. Thanks sooooo much!

Here is my photo that I used it on

muted colors
Stellablue72 [deleted] 9 years ago
I'm pretty drunk right nopw, but I'm gonna give this my best shot.
Stellablue72 [deleted] 9 years ago
I failed.
dave dube' PRO 9 years ago
I think what some folks need to realize is that the action works great but, not for all photos.

You need to have a vision first and then pick the right combo.
PhillipChester [deleted] 9 years ago
ya true, its pretty cool for portrait work though. heres one i did of myself....

RubberIcons 9 years ago
eeps, I suck at photoshop when it comes to channels and shortcuts. Having trouble with the initial tutorial.

when making my first layer, am I supposed to copy my selection to the layer? I get a message when I proceed that my layer is blank....
GMB Photography 9 years ago
No. You fill the layer with black after having inversed the selection (which you would have created by ctrl/cmd-clicking on the composite icon in the channels palette).
RubberIcons 9 years ago
Ohhhhhhh, Doh! I get it now. thank you geoffyjb
Geoff in Worthing, UK 9 years ago
This one goes back a bit but I like the effect and it would work well on some pictures..... Tennessee Gator's tutorial just doesn't work in Elements (from the moment he said, "Channels Palette" I knew I was sunk). So I thought I'd give Stevekin's Action a try-out and (just to show how much is actually in Elements but hidden) it works fine.
strange_drew16 9 years ago
I tried tennessee gator's tut and it worked great on my pics. i just had to adjust the curves separately on RGB to give a hint of every color. but it worked great coz the colors are still mute. i love it. thanks for the post gator. i'll be using this effect more.
Avec Lumière 9 years ago
I still have a lot to learn on pp but how is this different from desaturation in Lightroom?
Jose Felix Garcia 8 years ago
Thank you very much, I really appreciate it, these are my results:

Rostros de Chihuahua2
beccaspics 8 years ago
Thank you for the actions!
-Garfield- 8 years ago
Really love this effect. Thanks!

Orange's Kill by -Garfield-
See1,Do1,Teach1 8 years ago
Care to translate this to PSE? (since you've been popping over to that group)
dlihchtims 7 years ago
Hello everyone.

I'm on old photoshop 7, the original actions provided above didn't quite work properly so i had a go myself (very basic)

duplicate layer,
desaturate this layer so it becomes b&w,
up the contrast a bit,
then drop the opacity of this b&w layer

I'm pretty happy with the look.

IMGP0489.PEF.psd by dlihchtims

thanks to everyone for the tips
Royi Avital 7 years ago
What is the result of filling a Blank Layer with a Color Fill with Opacity?

Mathematically I mean.

Is there another way to get the same effect?
Chrisser PRO 7 years ago
I did this using a tutorial that was in another group called It's an Addiction (Learning & Sharing) that was posted by photoshopman27 who posted the tutorial in a blog.

Simon Fraser Rose Muted Effect by Chrisser
thedarklordchucklesthesillypiggy Posted 7 years ago. Edited by thedarklordchucklesthesillypiggy (member) 7 years ago
I was wondering how to get this exactly.. can't really get it.. :( is this muted effect?

Love this technique! Thank you for sharing!
bump :)
Tennessee_Gator PRO 7 years ago
thedarklordchucklesthesillypiggy: Yes it's muted slightly with a color tone.

Use any mute technique and add a photo filter adjustment layer and seek the color you wish.

A simple mute is:

1. Dupe layer and to command/control + shift + u ..... Put in color mode and reduce opacity to 30%.

2. Add a photo filter adjustment layer and choose a yellow and move the slider up a bit.
Pradip Chowdhury Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Pradip Chowdhury (member) 7 years ago
Entity Designs method is very simple and the result is good. I followed his steps then added some of my own. It is not exactly muted colors.

Muted Effect/Cross Processing


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