How to Make Part of a Picture Grayscale Using Photoshop


Adobe PhotoShop, a graphics design and photo manipulation computer program, can be used to make part of your picture grayscale. This technique can be used to deemphasize an area of the photograph--such as a person's face that is too reddish or discolored--or to emphasize an area of the photograph by desaturating (removing the color from) the rest of the photo. This latter process is referred to as "selective coloration" and can draw attention to a particularly vibrant area of a picture, such as a bird's plumage, or bring attention to an important subject, such as a bride.

  • Open the photograph you would like to manipulate by clicking on the "File" menu in Photoshop and choosing the "Open" option. Find the image file, click on it and click the "Open" button.

  • Choose the selection tool that most closely matches the shape of the area you want to make grayscale. The "Rectangular Marquee Tool" and "Elliptical Marquee Tool" are both useful for polygonal shapes, while the "Lasso Tool" is useful for irregular shapes. If the area you intend to edit is uniform in color, use the "Magic Wand" tool to automatically select the entire area.

  • Open the "Image" menu, and select "Adjustments" then "Hue/Saturation" to open the Saturation window.

  • Drag the "Saturation" slider all the way to the left, or enter "-100" in the "Saturation" box. This will entirely remove the color from the selected area, turning it grayscale.

  • Click the "OK" button to apply your changes.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are performing selective coloration, select the area you want to remain colorful and then open the "Select" menu and choose "Inverse." You can also use the shortcut key Shift+Ctrl+I on a Windows PC or Shift+Cmd+I on Mac OS X. Then, desaturate the image.
  • Desaturating an image is considered destructive, which means that the image will be permanently altered. If you wish to retain a copy of the original image, do not overwrite the image file. Instead, choose the "Save As" option to make a copy.

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  • Photo Credit Ciaran Griffin/Lifesize/Getty Images
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