Friday, December 20

CoffeeShop Selective Color Pro Photoshop/PSE Action!

Today I am really excited to be posting my newest free action called CoffeeShop Selective Color Pro.  I can't even count how many requests I have received to write this action, and I am so pleased to finally have it posted up here on my blog.

You might have used my Denim action that automatically selects blue in your image and turns the rest of the image B&W.  However, if you wanted to select a color other than blue you would have to use my Selective Color action where you had to paint on the layer masks by hand to "colorize" your image.  Sometimes you don't want to mess with the layer mask method, so why not automate it?

Up until today I hadn't figured out a really reliable way to automatically select a color other than blue in an image in PSE.  It is really easy in Photoshop (use the Color Range selection), but that tool is not available in PSE and I try to keep all of my actions PSE-friendly.  So I went to sleep last night puzzled and my tiny little brain went to work as I was sleeping, and when I woke up I had figured out a go-around to make this action work in both programs.  I did a little happy dance in my head because I am a true editing geek.

As you are probably aware, adding color on a B&W image is a "love-it" or "hate-it" edit for many photographers.  I see it on many professional ads (photos and film) of popular products and also on greeting cards and calendars, so I think it is safe to say it is here to stay for now.  And people have been selectively hand-coloring prints since B&W photography first came out, so it has been around for a long time.  I personally think it can look amazing on the right images.  However, if you are not a fan of selective color editing or simply want to experiment with selective color enhancement, I want to show you a few different ways you can use this action on your own images.

In this action tutorial I am using this stunning image from Blue Lily.

CoffeeShop Selective Color Pro Action Tutorial:

1.  Open your image.

2.  Use the eyedropper tool and Fuzziness slider to select the color you want to isolate or highlight/enhance in your image.

3.  Selective Color on B&W Image:  Once the action finishes running your selected color should be "painted" on a B&W image.  Use a soft white brush on the black Colorize layer mask to remove any unwanted color.  In this case I painted the red off his lips.

4.  Muted Color with Selected Color Pop:  If you want to highlight a color in your image (such as the red car in this image), simply turn down the B&W layer to bring back some color to the rest of your image.  This allows a nice pop of color in a soft-muted edit.

5. Custom Selective Color:  In this edit I kept the B&W layer at 100% opacity and used a soft black low opacity brush to add some color back to his face and hands while keeping everything but the red car in B&W.  I really like this version because your eyes go to the young man leaning against the red car, and not just to the red car.  The young man is the main object in this image and now he really pops out.

I really hope you enjoy playing with this image!  I would love to see samples of your work on my Facebook page.

Download the free CoffeeShop Selective Color Pro action.  You can also download it here.  PSE-Users Note: If the action is not running in your program, make sure you don't have the Smart Brush selected.  Just click B to grab your normal brush and start the action.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions (including this one) and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? If you have Photoshop or PSE11-12 you can even load all of the actions in one simple group rather than one-by-one!  Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


  1. This is great! You are very talented!

  2. Thank you very much for this tutorial as well as all the other, free actions, etc., over the past year. I have learnt so much just by following your tutorials. Thank you for sharing.
    Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous 2014!
    Kindest regards
    Marie Antoinette Voges

  3. Oooohhhhh....I need to find a photo I can try this on. Love it! Thanks!!

  4. Love, love, love this action. Thanks so much!


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