True yellow/green color separation for foliage is a difficult task without the proper tools. ACR and Lightroom can only get you so close! You NEED Photoshop’s Selective Color Tool to go all the way. Luckily for you, I’ve done all the hard work 🙂
More often than not, our foliage colors are brutalized by the white balance of our cameras. They are either too yellow and far from green, or the other side of the WB spectrum makes them too blue, and yellow is forgotten, leaving dull washed-out colors.
The key is to find a good separation between yellow and green in your photo. Easier said than done, right? Well, there is a tool in Photoshop called Selective Color, and it is the most surgical approach to modifying color at our disposal. That’s what I am going to show you today! The secret sauce of yellow-green color separation.
00:00 Selective Color in Action!
01:17 Selective Color Explained
02:53 The Sliders Explained
04:59 Foliage Colors Targeted
08:44 Why YELLOW for GREEN?
12:25 The Foliage Actions
15:00 Your turn to Experiment!
One of the best tuts I’ve seen in a long time, thanks Blake!
So glad to hear it.
As always, great tutorial. I know you have a lot to cover but slowing it down a bit will help make it more digestible. About 3/4 of the way through my brain is playing catch up with the concepts you are presenting and and once that happens I start to fall behind and either have to watch it again (and again) or I resign myself to continuing on but know I will have to…watch it again to get the understanding.
Hey Matt, I get it, but it’s my style and I know that very well. I won’t slow down. That’s just how it’s gotta be for me 🙂 But I have a video here that explains why and some strategies you can use.
Honestly, I felt like I was going too slow here, if that’s any consolation.
What I have seen, almost universally, on all instructional videos is that the lead-up to the issue to be taught is fast – very fast – and that works. The difficulty comes when a teacher gets to the point of actually making moves, selecting triggers and tools, opening micro windows, bringing up controls, and opening certain adjustment methods and when that happens most of us have to really stop, rewind and watch over and over until the move is figured out. PS is tough to follow when this stage is happening. Sometimes I have seen teachers use keystrokes that aren’t seen but most are fairly good about clearly describing keystrokes. In PS there is a nomenclature, there are specific tool clicks that get very specific results and it is tough after you know the subject to slow down because it is very intuitive to the experienced teacher. I think it becomes muscle memory, like playing and instrument and your fingers just do what they need to do on a third plane of knowledge happening in muscle memory. Knowing how to back up and play over effectively in YT becomes the only way to get the exact point in tools selection and application. Blake is not the fastest I have seen and I picked his syle over others. I do think the topic of PS is not easy and it may be why so many people tend to keep their photography adjustments lite in LR. But I believe Blake is one of the best I have seen. He breaks things down into bite-size chunks and leads you through a better way to create beautiful inspirational results. It can’t be done overnight or in a matter of minutes. It is not as hard as playing guitar, for example, but it is a process that is worth learning if you want to make beautiful music with your photographic art or you could cut corners and use LR and accept that your images may be cheated out of their potential. To each his on – and that is ok. I think if you are going to put down huge amounts of cash to capture images and not have the desire to take the capture to its highest level is a bit of a shame. To learn to play guitar well you have to slow it down, learn each move and transition very well and then speed up over time and over time your fingers form a way on their own almost, and something beautiful emerges. That’s the way of art. Blake is solid and the value is great. I highly recommend him. Sorry for my length here.
You can slow the speech down. Select the settings (cog icon) at the bottom right (on my screen it shows to the left of “YouTube”) and try out different speeds. That way Blake can continue following his energetic teaching style and you can have control on how fast he talks.
What you cannot do is have him say: watch the screen while I click on the action play button to see the change in effect.
And you cannot get him to draw a circle around where he is clicking. Blake is not going to do that. But slowing down his speech gives you more time to figure out where he is clicking.
Hope this helps.
Thank you Blake,
What you teach is great, its just way over my head, however I always like to watch your tutorials.
BTW, thanks for actions and I will play with the color selection sliders.
Thanks for a super helpful tutorial. It opened up a whole new world for me. I’ve already used the actions–a first for me. I’d love to see more like it with other colors. I photograph orchids and could use help on separating reds, magentas and greens. My efforts with Selective Color are very unpredictable and sadly often make the colors worse. I really appreciate your teaching style-fast, clear, and relevant. There is a lot in each video and I often return and rewatch so as not to miss anything.
How you teach color science is the best. Thanks Blake.
Aw thanks! That means so much to me 🙂
Blake gets excited about what he teaches! I still have a tough time sometimes getting it all but it’s very worth either stopping the video briefly or watching it a few times to get it all to sink in. This one is no different, I’ll watch it again until I get the concepts and then practice it on my shots. This one, in particular, will be very useful I think. Thanks Blake!
I NEVER paste comments on YouTube, but WOW !!!
Excellent tutorial. I admit I did pause the video from time to time and look over my Photoshop just to make sure I got it right. I tried the actions… They work great 🙂 Thank you.
I will try to do the adjustments the long way as in the tutorial for a while… just to help me work on adding/subtracting colours and using the colour wheel.
The more I understand the better my edits and it is just that… you explaining things that helps me understand the workings behind the controls.
Great tutorial Blake. I was using color balance on selected materials for similar purposes. I believe your approach will make it a lot easier.
Every time I listen to you I learn something more about color.
THKSM Blake !!! … Excellent tutorial !!! … Best wishes !!!
Excellent as always Blake !!
The master at it again! Brilliant. Thanks ver much.
Blake: Once again you’ve earned your coffee money. Thanks for the excellent tutorial and for the actions!
Really enjoyed your video, Blake. In my earlier work life, I was a quality controller in a photographic processing lab so a lot of this was familiar, but I never thought to use selective colour in this way. I used exactly the same theory when balancing the colour on a printing machine.
Thank you so much for the tutorial and the actions. I had no idea that was even there. I have tried your actions and they made an amazing difference in the Fall photos I took last year at Great Smoky Mountain National Park! With the insight you’ve given me I am feeling brave enough to venture into that part of Photoshop and see what else I can do with it. So, thank you again!
Excellent tutorial, Blake. Superb explanation
Love the idea of selective color as opposed to hue and saturation. I have to play with it more in IR. Like you, I just wish the sliders reflected the opposites as opposed to the positives, but it makes me stop and think every time.
That was a really good tutorial Blake. Thank you.
A game changer! The impact of the separation of yellow, green, and red in foliage has a simple but meaningful change to the overall appearance of an image.
I have applied your simple action on 10 finished/published images in the past few days, and it improved 9 of them. I have added it to my workflow and will use/try it on each finished image going forward.