How to preserve one colour and make the rest of a photo black and white in Photoshop
Seyed Mojtaba Pegah wrote this article as part of their Bachelor of Architectural Design 3rd year elective, MADAboutMADA. In the elective, students are introduced to digital media and how it can be relevant to the architecture, design and art professions.
In this tutorial you will learn how to create an image black and white except for one colour. This technique is useful for representing and bolding the object of your interest. This technique also allows you to delete or to extract the selected object from the rest of the image. As an example, we will show you how to preserve the colour of an object to make that object bold in an image.
Step 1: Open your image file in Photoshop
In the top navigation bar, click on “File”, and then click “Open”. You can also use the shortcut “command + O”.
Step 2: Duplicate the layer
Right click on the Background layer which is on the right-hand side of your screen. Then select the option “Duplicate Layer”. Now, you will have a new layer (layer 1) in your Layers panel.
Step 3: Desaturating all the colours from the image
To desaturate all the colours select the Background layer and then press Ctrl + Shift + U for (Windows) or Shift + Command + U (for Mac).
Step 4: Pick a colour that you want to preserve
Next, in the top navigation bar click on “Select” and then click on “Colour Range” option.
Pick the colour of your interest and press “OK” button.
Now, you have created a selection on your image.
Step 5: Inverse the selection
To inverse the selection press Ctrl + Shift + I (for Windows) or Shift + Command + U (for Mac). Now, everything is selected except the colour you want to retain.
Step 6: Remove the selection from the image
To remove the selected area press the “Delete” button from your keyboard or (control/command + D). Now your image is complete and you can see your selected colour while the rest of the image is black and white.
You can use Eraser tool to erase any leftover colours.
You can see the before (left) and the after image (right) below.
Step 7: Exporting the image file
From the top navigation bar click on “File” and then click on “Export” and then select the option “Export As”. Next, select the format (PNG or JPEG) and then select the file destination and save the file.
In this tutorial you learned how to create an image black and white except for one colour. Now, you know how to draw attention to your object of interest by preserving its colour and making the rest of an image black and white.
Image that was used as an example was taken from