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Design Tip: Color Isolation

Splashing black and white photos with pops of color can turn any dull image into one with an instantly obvious focal point.  It’s a great technique to showcase a message or detail that might not get noticed otherwise.  Plus, it’s fun!

Here’s a step-by-step guide for doing a very basic color isolation using Photoshop.  We’ll use the girl in the blue as an example to walk you through the process.

STEP #1:  In Photoshop, open your image and create a duplicate of it right away.  In your Layers Tab, right click on your background layer and select duplicate layer.  This is a good way to start off no matter what you’re working on.  If you make a mistake, it will allow you to easily revert back to the original for a fresh start.  Now, work off the background copy.

STEP #2:  Select Adjustment Layer (looks like a yin-yang) and create a Hue/Saturation Layer.  It will be added in the Layers Tab above the background copy.  This is where you can select which colors you want to get rid of.  At the top of the tab, you’ll find the Master Channel.  Drop down to the color you want to eliminate.  In our case, we drop down to the ‘red channel” and using the saturation slider, bring it all the way down to 0%.  It instantly takes out the hues in her skin and nailpolish.

STEP #3:  To make the colors really pop, you can use a Vibrance Layer.  To do this, add another Adjustment Layer. Increase the slider to get the look you want.

STEP #4:  When you’ve reached your desired result, save your image as a JPEG.

C’est fini! Your first colour isolate.