Everyone has had the situation where you get what could be a great Infrared image, but the colors tones just don’t work out right. There are times that even after you set a good White Balance on your RAW file you may end up with an image that has color tones that distract from what you are trying to create. You’ve probably made images where a building or road has the same color as the sky. When this happens, there is a quick, easy way to make your image look the way you want. The process is called Selective Desaturation.
Note: if you are an advanced Photoshop user, this piece will probably not interest you.
Let’s look at an an example. I shot down a corridor to make use of the architecture and create a natural frame for the foliage at the end. The problem is there as so much IR light bouncing around that even working with the RAW file I couldn’t get all the red out.
This image has a decent exposure, but after I swapped the Red and Blue Channels there is a definite blue tone that we don’t need or want.
So, let’s get rid of it. Now we could try and just remove that color tone using Hue/Saturation, but what if we only want to remove the color from part of the image? What I am going to show is a way to only remove the color from the areas that you want. Once you have the image open in Photoshop, you will want to make a duplicate layer. By making a duplicate layer all you are doing is making a copy of the image and placing it on top of itself.
To do that, go to Layer, then Duplicate Layer.
You will see a window open telling you you’ve created a new layer. Click Yes.
Now you will see that you have two layers showing under your Layers tab. For your next step you will want to make sure the top layer is highlighted.
Now we are going to remove the unwanted color tones. To do that, we will go into Image, then Adjustments, then Hue/Saturation.
You can adjust the Saturation and Lightness until it looks right to you.
Now we have the top layer with the color tones we don’t want, removed.
The next step is to paint this layer onto the original layer, and we can do that with a layer mask.
To do that, click Layer, then Layer Mask, then select Hide All
You will notice that the top layer has now disappeared and there is a black box (the layer mask) showing in your Layers Tab
Now we can paint that layer in anywhere we want the color gone. To do that we will use the Brush tool
I like to use a soft brush because it doesn’t make sharp edges that can draw your attention. To adjust your brush size and brush type click at the top.
Now all we to do is brush the areas that we want to lose the colors.
Then we can create this, instead of the the original.
From here, you can continue on anyway you want with your image.
Here’s another example, only in this one the blue color tones were removed only in part of the area, leaving the blue sky.
It gives the image much more depth, doesn’t it?
So, what do you think? Wanna try it?
This is one of many things you can learn to become proficient in by taking an online training session.
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