Create a selective “color hold” effect


Photoshop CS6 or later, including Photoshop CC


How to preserve specific colors using adjustment layers and masks


15 minutes

THE EYE IS naturally drawn to areas of color in an image that’s otherwise monochrome. It’s a technique often used in advertising, and also creatively to throw the focus on characters or objects, such as in the movie Schindler’s List, in the scene in which a small girl’s red raincoat stands out in a black-and-white setting. The effect works particularly well when it’s applied to iconic subjects associated with a specific color, such as a red London bus.

Typically, however, as innot a single uniform color, so it won’t work to simply cut it out — that would include the unwanted yellow of the bus’s mirrors, the blue tinge in its dashboard, and so on. Equally, the red color we want to focus on is not confined to a single area — here, there’s also red in some of the pedestrians’ clothing, skin tones, even a hint of red in the stone in background buildings. So we’ll need to use some more subtle tools and techniques to preserve the hues we want — and even enhance them a tad — while converting the rest of the shot to mono.

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