Partial desaturation of a photo can be a good trick to give your photo an edge. Here we show you how to do it in Paint Shop Pro X3, but you can follow along with just about any program as all image editing program have a hue and saturation slider somewhere in their menu.
Step 1: Apply desaturation
This would normally be a one step technique, but we're going to take desaturation to another level by applying a different amount on the model than the background. But first lets do what a one step process would do and choose the Hue/Saturation/Lightness from the menu Adjust> Hue/Saturation> Hue/Saturation/Lightness (Shift+H).
The palette that pops up has three sliders: one for Hue, one fore Saturation and one for Lightness. Make sure the Settings drop down list is either blank or set to default. If you've used this before and have it on Last Used you may find the sliders are in previously set positions. We want the Hue and Lightness at 0 and the Saturation slider at -60. You will see this takes away a fair bit of colour, leaving your model with softly muted skin tones.
Step 2: Make a selection of the background
Now using the Freehand Selection tool, third icon down in the lefthand toolbar, draw around the outside of the portrait, close to but not touching the skin, hair or clothing. Start at the bottom right and work your way around to bottom left. When you reach the bottom edge go down and around the outer border back up the left, across the top and down the right to join where you started. Let go of the mouse and you will have a selection of the background area, leaving the model unselected.
Step 3: Feather the selection
Now make a feather of the selection. This smooths out the selection so it's not a harsh step between the selected and none selected areas. In PSP X3 you can use the Inside/Outside Feather (selections>Modify>Inside/Outside Feather...) to set the feather (smoothness) to appear on both sides of the selection or just inside or outside. You can see the result of this in a before and after preview window. We've indicated with the red square which area the preview is displaying. On this method you don't need a feather on the background area, so the feather is set to Outside, making the smoothness go into the areas of the model. Set 37 on the feather amount. Click OK.
Step 4: Desaturate the background
Choose Hue/Saturation/Lightness from the menu again (See Step 1) and move the Saturation slider to -100 to totally remove colour.
We now have a model with -60 saturation and a black & white background.
Normally that would be the job done, but we're not happy with the tone of the model's lipstick...for some reason the desaturated colour has made the lips stand out more.
Step 5: Change the lip gloss
Make a selection around the lips using the technique in Step 2, Feathered like we did in Step 3, and use the hue and saturation sliders from Step 4, this time setting Hue at 46 and Saturation at 8 to give the lips a more natural colour.
You've read the article, now go take some fantastic images. You can then upload the pictures, plus any advice and suggestions you have into the dedicated Photo Month forum for everyone at ePHOTOzine to enjoy.