Photoshop Tutorial: Color Accents Method 2

A fun technique to use in PhotoShop is color accenting.  You can add emphasis to your pictures by making a photo black and white and then letting the true color show through on select items.  You can accent your child in a photo by making everything but them black and white, or bring out the bright colors of a single flower.  Bright colors work best.  I am using Adobe Photoshop CS3 to do this tutorial, but you should be able to follow the same instructions for all versions of Photoshop.

Open your photo in Photoshop and use the crop tool if needed.  Here is the original image I started with and the cropped image I decided to use.

Color Accent Original Picture

Cropped Image

In the Layers Panel right click on the background layer and select duplicate layer.  Follow this step two times so you have two new layers in addition to the original background layer.  Since the original layer is often locked (indicated by the lock on the layer), you will not be able to make changes to this layer.  If your Layers Panel is not visible go to Window in the menu bar and select Layers.  By default this new layer will be called Background copy and Background copy 2.  You can change the name of a layer if you wish by double clicking on the name of the layer in the Layers Panel.

How to Duplicate Layer

Select the top layer in the Layers Panel. 


The selected layer will be blue.  In the menu bar, select Image>Adjustments>Black & White.

Make Layer Black and White

A window will pop up that allows you to adjust how the black and white layer will look.  For this example I left the default settings, but you can play around with the available preset options or adjust the color bars to make your picture just the way you want it.

Black and White Adjustments

Black and White Image

Turn off the visibility of the black and white layer by clicking on the eye next to that layer in the Layer Panel.  Select the colored layer by clicking on this layer in the Layers Panel.  The layer will be blue in the panel showing that it is selected.  Now select the Magic Wand Tool from the Tools Panel.

Magic Wand Tool

Select the color you want to keep in the final picture with the Magic Wand Tool.  You will probably need to adjust the tolerance of the wand in the Magic Wand settings bar.  The higher the tolerance the more color variation the magic wand will select with each click.  Hold the Shift button down as you click on the image to select several areas.


Now turn the visibility of the black and white layer back on by clicking where the eye icon was in the Layers Panel.  The eye icon should reappear.  Select the Eraser Tool in the Tools Panel and erase where the color should show through.  You will notice that the Eraser Tool will only work inside the selected area.

Deselect the image by choosing the Magic Wand Tool again and right clicking on the image and selecting Deselect.


Your image is now complete.

Final Image

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *