Color Splashing | Point Out The Subject

Color Splashing | Point Out The Subject

What is Color Splashing?
Color splashing is a basic picture editing method that is utilized to accentuate specific features of a photograph. By leaving specific areas of a photograph colored, and filling the rest of the picture with grayscale, you are able to highlight certain parts of a picture to create them stand out. Probabilities are, you have possibly noticed a colour splashed photograph prior to reading this article but you just don’t know what it is called. Though some modern DSLRs today have a digital filter that can separate a single color from the other (Like a Pentax K-m), I’d like to show you how it is done on Photoshop.
There are various ways you can achieve this. The easiest way on Photoshop would be by using the Adjustment Layer and using the Black and White. To summarize things, here are the steps: (we will get into details after listing the summary)
  1. Open Image in Photoshop
  2. Adjustment Layer > Black & White
  3. Click the Black & White Layer Mask
  4. Brush with Black Paint
Here are the detailed demonstration with illustrations for examples.
1. Opening the Image in Photoshop (I know this is a no brainer…but still you’ve got to do it )

For our example, I am going to use the image below.

2. Make the Photo Black and White – I used Photoshop CS5 for this, if you are on CS3 or CS4, you should be able to use the “Black & White”.

After this step, you should have successfully converted your image into Black and White. (Monochorome looking image)

3. Click the Black & White Layer Mask – By default, the Black & White adjustment layer should have created a new layer on top of your image layer. As you go back to your Layers Pallet, will notice the adjustment layer “Black & White” will have a white thumbnail beside it. That blank white thumbnail is called the “Layer Mask Thumbnail” Click it. See image below.

4. Select Brush Tool and Paint with Black – By painting the Layer Mask with Black color will reveal anything under it, in short, Black paint makes the layer transparent while White makes it opaque. See image below.

In the case of the image above, for demonstration purposes, I just brushed horizontal from a random point on the left going to the right just so you can see the effect.
With this, you can now brush out what ever part of your image you want the color to appear. See samples below.
With this effect, you can add more drama to your images. Just don’t be afraid to experiment to come up with different variations. There are other ways to achieve this effect though. If you shoot raw, you can manipulate the image’s saturation per color, or inside Photoshop, instead of using the Black & White adjustment, you can use the Hue Saturation to remove the color, then Mask it.


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