Creating a colour splash effect in Photoshop CC

9:09 PM

This tutorial will teach you how to create a quick and easy colour splash effect using the Camera Raw Filter in Photoshop CC
This week, I thought of letting you on my favourite way to create a quick and easy "colour splash effect" in Photoshop, using only the "Camera Raw filter".

This is a trick I have used a number of time on this blog, more recently in ALL the picture on "My Home is a Mess".

It is a great way to make certain elements pop out in a picture that would be too busy left with all it's colours on.

There are many ways to do it in Photoshop, one of which invovles the select tools, and layer masks. It is the method you may need if you only want ONE element to stand out.

If you just want one or a couple of colours to show all over the picture, there is a MUCH much SIMPLER and QUICKER way using the powerful "Camera Raw filter" tool.

I took this picture to demonstrate:
In this picture I will want to only have the pink stand out and mute every other colours using the Camera Raw filter in Photoshop CC
This picture is already quite composed, and not too messy, but for this tutorial, I really want the basket to pop and everything else in black and white.
It helps that the only thing pink in this particular picture is the basket.

The first thing to do is to open the picture in Photoshop CC.

Once it is done, click on the "Filter" tab in the tool bar. In the drop down menu look for "Camera Raw Filter..." or hit "Command + Shift + A" (in mac).
It is important to make sure you click the Camera Raw Filter with the ... in the drop down menu, NOT the first one.

In the Camera raw filter tool, select the HSL/Greyscale tab to affect changes to your picture's colours

Once in the Camera Raw pannel, you need to select the "HSL/Grayscale" tab (look for the pink arrow in the picture above).

It will take you to a very elaborate Saturation tool that will let you toggle the saturation of  each family of colours without affecting the others.
It means that if you only want to get rid of all the blue tones but not the other colours, all you have to do is play with the "Blues" slider.

In our example, I wanted only the pinks and none of the other colour. And because colours are a complex thing, I needed to keep the reds, and magentas up. In this case, I even hiked up the saturation of the magentas but toned down the reds a little.
This is something you will need to play around in each pictures you plan to modify that way.

Here is the final result:
I kept the reds and magentas on and muted every other colours in the picture to make the basket stand out.

As I said, this method affect the picture as a whole, so if you have trace of the colour you are playing with elsewhere in the picture, it will show. As you can see, there is some light pink showing on my cat's ears, and on areas of her coat. In certain pictures, it will only really give a washed out effect to the rest of the picture rather than a true black and white.
If I really wanted the basket and NOTHING else even slightly hued, I would have needed to painstakingly select every pixels belonging to the basket and played with layers and masks to get the desired effect.

But, if you have a flower in a bright hue surrounded by nothing but greenery, like in the first picture on this blog post, the effect will look much sharper.

This effect can sadly only been achieved in Photoshop, no other software or app I know of will really let you affect one family of colours over the other. At the most, you can download the "Photoshop Express" app on your tablet or phone, it is free, and it comes with one preset filter called "Carmine" which will make reds and magentas pop and turn everything else in black and white. It doesn't come with any other similar filters for other families of colours though.

I used the Photoshop express app to create the picture which was used on the "Accidental Path" blog post :

The Photoshop Express app has a preset filter called "Carmine" which will only allows the magentas and reds to show in a picture.

If you don't have photoshop, but want to edit a too busy picture without turning it completely black and white, you can still play with the "Hue and Saturation" tool in most online and phone apps. It will just affect all the colours at once rather than zeroing on just one set of colours like the Camera Raw filter does in Photoshop. 
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