The Selective or Highlight colour effect in Adobe Lightroom allows the user to remove all unwanted colour from the image, leaving just one or two colours left. Converting the whole photograph black & white except for the selected elements you want to leave as colour. Here we’re going to show you how to create a simple selective colour image using Adobe Lightroom.
Creating the Selective colour effect Lightroom
Start with the image you want to edit selected in Lightroom and switch to the Develop module.
There are several ways to monochrome a photograph in Adobe Lightroom and the one we should avoid for this effect is switching your image to B&W in the Basic panel.
Instead, navigate to your HSL panel. Here you’ll see eight colour channels laid out in front of you. Make sure that you have the Saturation adjustment on the panel open and then move the sliders of the colour channels you don’t want fully to the left. This will reduce all their saturation and monochrome that particular channel.
This should really be quite a broad adjustment. So for example, if you’re just wanting to keep the yellow of a taxi in the picture, you may also have to keep in the Orange or Red colour channels, as these can often bleed through into each other.
Play around with your sliders until you achieve the general effect you are looking for. Don’t worry if there are still elements of the photograph with colour in that you don’t want as we’ll move on to refine these sections on the next step.
Use the adjustment brush to finish the effect
Once you have made all your initial adjustments on the HSL module, you should now switch to the Adjustment Brush tool so you can better define which sections you want to remove colour from. This can be located in the top right-hand side of your Adjustments panel. Make sure to have Show Effect Sliders on so that you can adjust multiple sliders at once. Now drag the Saturation to -100 and set your Feather, Flow and Density to +100. You should also have Auto Mask set to Off.
Now just paint on your photo wherever you want to remove the colour in your image and convert those sections to black & white. Make sure to zoom in and out to check details up close. You can reduce the size of your Adjustment Brush to edit the finer sections of your photograph and help create a nice clean image.
Also when adjusting the intricate details of your photo, trying to get exact lines, for example, you can turn On the Auto Mask effect we touched on earlier and Adobe Lightroom will snap to any boarders your painting along. Again this will create a cleaner image but beware, it certainly isn’t always perfect. Lightroom can become confused between lines on your image and won’t get it right every time. However, it’s a great tool to be utilized when attempting to clean up the border of the part of the image you want to remain as colour
If you click the checkbox on your screen labelled Show Selected Mask Overlay, or hold down the letter O key on your keyboard, to better see where on the photograph your paintbrush has taken effect.
If there is any part of the image that you’ve accidentally removed the colour from unwillingly, just hold the Alt key and your Adjustment Brush will invert allowing you to paint the colour back in.