Selective Color Masking

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Duration: 13:24

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If you’re a serious landscape photographer, the colors of your images need to be spot on including tone, saturation, and luminance. This means manipulating and isolating color, and having control over color. The technique is called color masking. In this video lesson Outdoor Photography Guide’s pro photographer Matt Bishop shows you how the powerful tool of color masking can improve desired changes.

Matt features his image of a mountain meadow with vibrant yellow wildflowers. He starts with the Camera RAW filter. To give dimension to the foreground flowers, he selects the color mixer tool and increases the yellow saturation and also the yellow luminance, both as global adjustments. Now the flowers are glowing.

Next, he adds a black mask over the entire file, hiding the changes. With a white paintbrush, he paints over just the flowers to bring back the glowing gold colors. Using color masking, he has created a dynamic image.

Continuing with color masking, Matt works on the other colors of the mountain meadow image. For the blues of the sky, he manipulates the blue sliders in saturation and luminance as global changes, and then follows the same process he had used for the flowers, black mask and white paintbrush to bring up the blues.

Another option for color masking are plug-ins, tools you can download from an outside source. As an example, Matt uses the TK7 RapidMask, which allows you to select certain colors. He then selects a paintbrush representing an isolated color. Each paintbrush has its own color picker for infinite tones and range.

The main thing to remember is that color masking involves the process of isolating colors and then manipulating each one. In this video lesson Outdoor Photography Guide’s professional photographer Matt Bishop takes you through his step-by-step method of color masking.