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A Vauxhall Monaro in Pink


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A Vauxhall Monaro in Pink

16 Mar 2021 3:23PM   Views : 538 Unique : 394

Colour popping is one of those techniques that had a brief period of popularity at the beginning of the century.

Colour popping became a widely used technique when digital imaging took off in a big way. I'm talking software rather than cameras because wide availability of software came several years before wide adoption of digital cameras. It matters little, as once an image is digitised that's where the fun starts.

Colour popping, for anyone who doesn't know, refers to the practice of making a colour subject stand out against a monochrome background. That could be a person such as a bride with a bouquet or a single colour object such as a car.


I, as I'm sure many of you have and are doing, have spent some time going through archived images during lockdown. That's good in many ways. There are forgotten images, unprocessed folders and incomplete sets of pictures. Some get given a new airing, others get their first airing. That's better than leaving them sitting on a hard drive and ignored.

So I came across a few colour popped images. It's a technique that's fallen from favour because it was so overdone it became a cliché. You rarely see it these days. Sometimes it's done well (and I'm not saying my examples here are). Soft pastel shades in a dreamy scene would be a good place to start. A Vauxhall Monaro V8 can hardly be called pastel and dreamy!


While you may or may not like the technique it does require some practice and competence using Layers and Selections which are useful skills to acquire for image editing and manipulation. That doesn't just mean wild processing or composite images, as 'bread and butter' processing such as Contrast and Colour Balance adjustments can require the same skills. Changing particular colours is useful commercially. For example, I only need one Monaro but can end up with a whole catalogue of different paint jobs. The lime green version may fetch a lot less on the second hand market than the red one if it existed in reality.

There are memories and stories associated with images. I recall some local radio adverts a couple of decades earlier. Adams of Tipton was a Vauxhall main dealer that has, a far as I can tell, lomg gone, possibly taken over by a large dealer group. An internet search these days comes up with Vauxhall Adam cars for sale in the area. Ironic, perhaps. They advertised their servicing with a song based on a tune used by US soldiers on the march. I don't know what the song is but I know I've heard it on films. I've customised it by adding a few words of my own here.

I like my Vauxhall very much
I think my Vauxhall's very butch
I get my Vauxhall checked for free
Suspension, steering ba-ttery.


All text and images © Keith Rowley 2021

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DicksPics Avatar
16 Mar 2021 7:05PM
Hi Keith,
That's very impressive and skilfully executed colour popping. It probably has been well and truly overdone but, it remains a technique I'd love to master ....... well!.
Lockdown has indeed enabled those who have the time to experiment with post-processing in Photoshop and other available software.
It would be good to know how you achieved the results shown here.
Thanks for posting this blog, which I have found very interesting.
dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
17 Mar 2021 1:20PM
I don't recall exactly Richard, as there are several ways. However, my current approach would be to roughly cut out the car and place it on a new layer. The background would be converted to mono using an adjustment layer. I'd then tidy up the car layer using a Layer Mask and a soft edged brush. Colour changes courtesy of Hue and Saturation.
DicksPics Avatar
17 Mar 2021 6:45PM
Thank you, Keith - I'll give it a go!

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