There is an option to filter only one color (R,G,B,Y) in my camera. What I want to know is can this effect be achieved in photoshop? And what is this called? I tried googling monochrome and came up with nothing. My camera calls it part color.

image image2

  • \$\begingroup\$ So no matter what the picture is, it should be B&W except the the objects havibg the selected color. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sid
    Commented Dec 29, 2012 at 5:58
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Once you figure out how to do this, I would recommend using it in limited fashion. It can be effective in certain cases, but far too often it is overused. Just a friendly tip :) \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Dec 29, 2012 at 22:48

2 Answers 2


This technique is called Selective color.

Sometimes, you select a point (in this case, somewhere on the CD-R case), and the region around that point that is close enough to the same color retains its color, while the rest of the picture becomes black and white.

Other times, as you mention, you can select a color and a tolerance, or a range of colors, and the software will allow anything within that range to remain colored.

On the example on the Wikipedia page, it appears that the saturated region was hand-selected or masked.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this is not that. What I want is to retain all the objects in Red to be as-is and the rest of the image to be B&W. See the new image \$\endgroup\$
    – Sid
    Commented Dec 29, 2012 at 5:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sid, it's still selective color, just more work is involved since you have more object parts to mask back in. Basically, you do whole image to select for the red, for example, then mask in (or alter the selection) the remaining parts of the mostly red objects that are not red. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Commented Dec 29, 2012 at 14:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ JoanneC: Er.. Could you direct me to a good tutorial please? Google only has ones doing invert selection and change to monochrome. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sid
    Commented Dec 29, 2012 at 14:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ wikihow.com/Use-Selective-Coloring-in-Photoshop covers the basics, but you can use selection (e.g. color selection, magic wand, etc.) and inversion as a way to get most of your work done and then you just mask in the remaining bits as needed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Commented Dec 29, 2012 at 14:36

It's called Selective Color

Although masking techniques can be used to create such an image, most of the time one can use a simple Hue-Saturation-Luminance tool that is contained in many photo editing applications to accomplish very close to the same thing with a lot less effort.

Suppose I want to edit this photo to only show the blue in the sky and leave everything else B&W:
original image

I would only need to adjust the saturation of all the other colors to zero with an HSL tool (I boosted saturation of blue and aqua while reducing the saturation of all other colors to the minimum. Reducing the luminance values for blue and aqua also caused those colors to become deeper):
HSL blue/aqua blue/aqua

But then I change my mind and want Red instead. No problem:
Or green:
Or even the pinkish/purplish color of the costumes' waists:
Notice that this last one demonstrates some "overlap" where some of the red flags in the scene have areas that are just over the line from red into magenta to leave them partially colored. To eliminate the reds one would need to either mask those parts to grey or use a tool that allows user defined widths of the specific color bands. The elementary HSL tool I'm using doesn't include such a feature, but some HSL tools do.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can this effect be done with video? Is there any specific software or equipment needed? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 5:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ can't get better answer and example of Selective Colors. superb @Michael :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Parth
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 13:12

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