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Selective Color

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Old 12-02-2009, 12:36 PM
dcmcintosh79 dcmcintosh79 is offline
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Selective Color

Particularly with respect to skin tone, I often see people here suggest using a Selective Color adjustment layer. This makes perfect sense, though it kind of took me by surprise because it doesn't seem that there's a lot of "how to" material on this tool out there. Most often I see Curves suggested for this kind of work (or any kind of color correction for that matter). For example, in Skin by Varis he uses Curves almost seems that if Selective Color were such a useful tool that it would have gotten more press.

So this all makes me think Selective Color is a pro-level tool or something that only retouchers know how to finesse to make work. Is this at all accurate? Either way, are there any good tutorials on how to use it to best effect?

I imagine the more color theory you know, the easier it would be to use this adjustment...are there any good resources out there for learning this? In particular, I'd love to learn more about skin color and the kinds of problems encountered with digital capture. I know that decreasing green adds magenta and so forth...but I imagine there's more to it than that. For example, in Gry Garness's wonderful e-book, when talking about the HSL sliders in ACR she does this to an image in order to "drive all the warm colors...apart": "In Hue I made reds more magenta and oranges more yellow. In Saturation I saturated both reds and oranges a bit. In Luminosity I made reds somewhat darker. This defined the lips quite nicely." Other than a lot of experience, is there any way to acquire this level of sophistication with respect to skin tone correcting?
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Old 12-02-2009, 01:56 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Selective Color

There is no magic associated with Selective Color - its just another one of the 20 different tools you can use in PS to do the achieve the same result. Some tools take more steps than others. It really depends on the image and the problem you are trying to address. For example in a portrait shot, if you want to remove some magenta from a person's face, you might select the Red channel in Selective Color and pull back on the Magenta slider. But there might be other elements in the image which are adversely impacted because they fall into the range that Selective Color considers "Reds". In that case you might prefer to use Hue/Saturation to make a very narrow targeted selection. In yet other cases you might want to make precise corrections via Curves where you will isolate an area of the image and make adjustments to one or two channels. Or you may find in the case of skin that you can find that adjusting the Temp sliders and the one channel in the HSL panel gives you a perfect solution to a specific but frequent skin problem, that may be the way to go for you. There are no right or wrong best solutions. You should play around extensively with multiple tools on the same image and see the effects. You will find fairly quickly which tools / solutions lend themselves best to which problems. I don't think you will find a recipe book. There are a frooglepoopillion tutorials out there if you poke around a bit, including a bunch right here on RetouchPro.
Regards, Murray
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:46 AM
Quantum3 Quantum3 is offline
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Re: Selective Color

Or using gradient maps.

Didn't know HUE could be useful for skin problems. I thought it was a lame tool. Each day something new to learn
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Old 12-03-2009, 12:43 PM
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seattle-light seattle-light is offline
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Location: Vancouver, BC (formerly Seattle and New York)
Posts: 133
Re: Selective Color

It's funny how we get used to doing things one way and then stop Photoshop has so many different ways to do everything. It's important that you work out a fairly straightforward approach that will get you through most images, but it's also important to keep searching for different ways to achieve the look(s) you're going for.

Hope you are doing well. Take care. Alan.
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