Instructables
Picture of Photoshop: Desaturate All Colors Except One
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Ever seen a photo that is all black and white except one color and said, "Man, I wish I could make a photo like that..."

Well now you can!

This tutorial is geared toward a beginner user of Photoshop CS5. It will teach you the basic steps on how to desaturate all colors except for one color of your choice.

During this tutorial, if you find that a step is incomplete, inaccurate, or needs rewording, or that instructional images are inaccurate, please post a comment that will provide us with enough information to edit the tutorial. Thank you, and Good Luck!

Please note that the screenshots will only be useful to Windows users. The Photoshop Menus look different when you're running a Mac operating system.
 
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Step 1: Opening Photoshop CS5

Picture of Opening Photoshop CS5
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- 1-A. When you installed Photoshop CS5 on your computer, it normally places the program in a folder titled Adobe Photoshop CS5. Depending on whether you have other Adobe CS5 programs, the folder may be titled “Adobe Web Premium CS5.”

- 1-B. Click your windows “start” menu, go to All Programs --> “Adobe Web Premium CS5” --> Click Adobe Photoshop CS5. This will start the program. You should see a blue rectangle with the Photoshop logo as it is loading the program.

See Image 1, and Image 2

See Image 3 to see what Photoshop looks like while loading.

Step 2: Setting Photoshop to the Correct Parameters for This Tutorial

Picture of Setting Photoshop to the Correct Parameters for This Tutorial
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- Once Photoshop has loaded, you will be confronted with a workspace, many toolbars, and gadgets. Chances are there are menus and other gadgets open from the last time you used Photoshop (if you’ve used it before). For the purposes of this Tutorial, and to avoid error, we’re going to set Photoshop to its default settings.

See Image 1

- You’ll see at the top-left of the screen there is a row of dropdown menus. These dropdown menus will be used to navigate and control Photoshop.

- 2-A. Find and click “Window,” go down to “Workspace” --> Click “Painting,” then click “Reset Painting.”

See Image 2

- Photoshop should now be at default settings, making it easier for this tutorial to help you.
ad_am4 years ago
This was very informative. I actually had trouble opening up adobe from the first instructions, although I know how to do it on my own. Maybe it was the computer I am using but i had to type "photoshop "into the search area when the windows start menu was opened...it may be like this for others too.

Good Job!

This tutorial was extremely intuitive. The screenshots however are for those running microsoft. The menus are slightly different in Photoshop for Mac, but I was able to figure out where everything was using only the written instructions. Thanks
Team_Awesome (author)  dschwartz2664 years ago
I appreciate your reply! We had not thought about what the menus looked like when using a Mac operating system. I will note that the screenshots are only useful for Windows users.
CantCacheMe11 days ago

Great Tutorial for the beginner such as myself. It was easy to follow and figure out. My only point of confusion was when trying to turn my picture black and white. I had been reading other tutorials from other webpages which wanted me to use the color mixer. I had created a color mixing layer and had it selected, so when I tried to change my picture to black and white it wouldn't allow it. So to any other beginners out there trying it, make sure you're on the right layer. If you follow the tutorial exactly you should be good. Thanks for the new skill.

Best Photoshop Tutorial I have ever used! THANK YOU!!!

pablo16204 years ago
Have used Photoshop for quite a while before this so I cheated a little bit. A primary example being that I did not change around tolerance when using the magic wand rather I left the tolerance at 30 by personal preference. That being said, the idea of switching around the tolerance is a good idea for anyone to explore their comfort zone. As a tutorial goes this is a perfect set-up for someone that has never experienced photoshop, though anyone that has had any experience with photoshop at all may find it a little tedious, but aren't all tutorials?
Team_Awesome (author)  pablo16204 years ago
We tried to make this tutorial as one for beginners who have very little or no experience with Photoshop. It is reassuring to know that even though it may be a bit tedious, experienced users can still follow it easily. As for the tolerance, we wanted the user to get comfortable with a tolerance that allowed them to select the color easily yet still make them figure out how to use the magic wand tool! So your personal preference is fine! Thank you for your input.
pablo16204 years ago
Having used Photoshop for quite a while before this, I cheated on some of the directions. A primary example being I did not adjust the tolerance when using the magic wand tool. Rather I left it at 30 out of personal comfort. Beside that fact this tutorial suggesting someone to adjust tolerance is a great idea for anyone to explore their comfort zone. This tutorial as a whole is ideal for someone who has never experienced Photoshop but a person who has had experience with Photoshop may find it tedious. But aren't all tutorials a little bit?
This is awesome! I'm actually excited to try this with my own photo's!

There is kinda a lot of reading involved with the different steps. I guess you kinda need it though. I think that making the steps simpler like "do this...do that..." would make it easier to find what one is supposed to do. Bolding or changing the colors of the different tasks would be cool. Other than that, my photo looked the way it's supposed to! THanks
Team_Awesome (author)  swingfromtrees4 years ago
As for ad_am's comment:

That's weird that you could not open up adobe (i'm assuming you couldn't find the folder for it in the menu?) Glad you knew other ways to search for it. There should usually always be the folder unless it was deleted or had another name? We should mention that "adobe photoshop" can be typed into the search area of ms windows start menu (as another means of opening the program). Thanks!
Team_Awesome (author)  swingfromtrees4 years ago
Thank you for the feedback. There is a lot to explain with photoshop, especially for those people who have never used it before. I think we could space it out more and possibly add more bolding but I don't think this site allowed us to change the color or size of the font without being a "pro" member. We did our best to make the instructions organized and easily readable. Glad you were able to get through all the steps despite the large amount of description in some sections.
chwbcc4 years ago
Great tutorial!

There are many ways to do just about everything in Photoshop.

I would also try:
Right Click
Color Select (Hold the Shift Key to select multiple colors or color shades.)
Use the Quick Selection Tool to refine your selection
Click on the Refine Edge tool make the adjustments as you like and then send the selection to a new layer.

This way you haven't edited the original layer and still have the roses as a sepearate layer. Then you can duplicate the background layer and change it to black and white.

You will have the same effect but this way you could also quickly change the color of the roses to be purple with a simple color overlay or hue change.

One thing I would suggest, and it's something that I try to teach all of my interns at work, is to think in Layers. If you could show beginners how to do everything in layers that would help them a lot. Because as they advance in skill they will find that seperating everything into layers and groups can increase productivity.
Team_Awesome (author)  chwbcc4 years ago
Great suggestion. It is very unfortunate that we didn't get into "Layers" as they are such an essential and necessary part of Photoshop's power. It would indeed help if beginners understood layers. I'm assuming we skipped that part as it isn't exactly necessary for the overall goal, but for the overall understand and teaching for the user it would definitely be necessary.

Thanks!