Fix It In Photoshop | How To Create A Color Pop Effect

David Coultham

If you want to create that classic black and white image with a single color look, then it is easy to achieve in Adobe Photoshop in just a few simple steps. This article covers two similar approaches, the video uses the Layer Mask to isolate the areas we want to Color Pop. The text in the article uses the Effect Mask to do the same. The video demonstrates the simpler of the two methods!

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Video | How To Create A Color Pop Effect In Adobe Photoshop

STEP 1: With your image opened in Adobe Photoshop, head across to the Layers Tab and then make a copy of your Background Layer. Rename this new Layer to “Color Pop Layer”.

Now convert the Color Pop Layer into a Smart Object by heading up to the Application Bar and ‘Layer > Smart Objects > Convert To Smart Object’. Alternatively, you can right-click directly on the Color Pop Layer, and Convert To Smart Object is one of the options in the pop-up window. 

STEP 2: Head up to the Application Bar, and ‘Image > Adjustments > Black & White’. This desaturates your image and presents you with a Black & White Panel. 

The sliders enable you adjust the contrast (illustrated below-left). These work by filtering the colors in the visible spectrum to either enhance them or filter them out. You can therefore dive straight in and adjust these to get the effect that you are looking for. However, a useful starting point is to use the Presets at the top of the Black & White panel. Just click on the word Default, and select one of the preset options (illustrated below-right).  When you are happy, select the OK button to commit the change.

Press OK in the Black & White Panel to commit the change.

STEP 3: Right now you will have a completely Monotone  image, and in this example, I wanted to make the phone boxes stand out in color. Using your favorite selection method (I used the Object Selection Tool), make a selection of the area you want to color pop.

STEP 4: Select the Smart Filters Mask (illustrated below). You can tell if you have it selected, as brackets [ ] will appear  around it.

STEP 5: In the Color Picker Tool (illustrated below), make sure that your Foreground color is set to White and the Background to Black.

If they are not, you can reset the Color Picker using the white/black icon symbol in the very bottom left of the icon.  Now go ahead and press Delete (on a Mac) or Backspace (on a PC). This creates a black area on the Smart Filters Mask; kind of like a window through the mask. The result is, that your color pop should now display.

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