Thursday, January 21, 2010

Selective Desaturation

This is a continuation of the previous Art of Toning tutorial.One of the highly used effect in Hi Fashion Photography is the desaturated look. Every one has a different style for this and so do we. You will be surprised to see how quickly you can create a custom desaturated image. What we do is something called selective desaturation, using one of the most powerful tool in photoshop/elements.....Layers!

This is a mini tutorial and we will go quickly over this since most of the finer details are already explained in The Art of Toning tutorial. So here goes. Lets start as always, by creating a duplicate layer of the original image.

Now, create a black and white gradient map adjustment layer as shown below.

Make sure thate the foreground and the background colors were black and white respectively and select the layer.

Reduce the opacity of this layer to around 70%. Try to make it a little bit more desaturated than your regular taste.

Now, with the paint brush tool with soft edges and very low opacity, and black color selected, paint on the adjustment layer to 'reveal' color from the underlying areas very subtly. Ok, for sure you must be thinking which areas....for starters, try the most bright colored objects in the image....or the colored hair of the model. In the image below, see the layer thumbnail to see where the brush was stroked. It was on the edges around the model, again, very subtly, and on the hair and red scarf and buttons.

Although, the above look is perfect for this image, lets take at a small trick we do if the image is too contrasty. Just change the blend mode of the adjustment layer to saturation. The image below, has same desaturation, but softer tonal gradation.

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