Monday, 10 August 2009

Partial Desaturation Tutorial

Partial Desaturation - originally appeared on Tip Squirrel

First and foremost - i am a photo manipulator (or manip as i like to say) i like to try and fool myself from time to time that i'm a traditional artist, i buy paper, paints, pencils and charcoal. But in the back of my mind the whole time i'm thinking - where the hell is the undo function :) One of my friends the Artist Tim Shelbourne has many techniques he's developed that can be used in Photoshop to transform a photo into different styles of traditional art (water colour being my favourite). Check out his website for info on his books -

Last week i gave you a few tips on making photoshop work well and getting around a few silly problems. I think from now on i will try and write a tutorial each week. If anyone has any requests then please let me know by e-mailing me at For this week i thought i'd show you how to do partial desaturation of a picture - its nice and easy - but looks effective.

Step 1

I will be doing this tutorial in PS7 - but it will work on later versions - start by download the image from

Step 2

we now want to add a hue / saturation adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue / Saturation)

drop the saturation slider down to -100 as in the picture then click okay - Please note - If you're using later versions you can use the Black and white adjustment layer.

Step 3

Hide the newly created adjustment layer by clicking the eye icon in the layer palette; then choose Select > Colour Range > click on the red part of the rose and move the fuzzyness slider to around 58 and click OK.

step 4

a selection is now put around the roses - This will give you an idea of what parts to the rose to colour. Reactive the hue / saturation layer by pressing the eye icon. Now choose its layer mask, the Layer Mask is by default set to white - which is reveal all. As we are on the Layer Mask we are now going to fill the selection with black which will hide the black and white layer and make the red show through.

giving you an effect like this....

This effect can be added upon by adding some more black to the mask with a soft edge brush to hide the white areas as in the picture below.

If you make a mistake or want to remove some of the colour just set white as your foreground colour and paint over the part you want to remove. For example....

Of course - this is only 1 way of doing it - as with Photoshop - there are many ways of doing the same thing :)

Some Good Tutorials

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was rather interesting for me to read the article. Thank you for it. I like such topics and anything connected to them. I would like to read a bit more soon.