Duplicating Canon’s “Color Accent” Effect

I shot this picture of a rose back in 2006 with a Canon Powershot S3 IS.  It was one of those point-and-shoots they call a “super zoom” because it had a very wide range of focal lengths. It looked like a little mini-SLR. Anyway, a lot of Canon cameras have a special scene mode called “Color Accent” which turns the picture black and white except of one color. One cool feature is that you can adjust the sensitivity, or color range, while looking at the preview on the screen.

Color Accent Rose - Powershot S3 IS

Color Accent Rose – Powershot S3 IS

This has always been one of my favorite photos from that little P&S camera, and I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to learn how to edit a color image file to get the same effect. Six years later, I finally decided to dig in and start Googling to see how the experts would do it.

The most common way I found was using adjustment masks in Photoshop. But erasing the parts of the black and white adjustment that I wanted to be color gave me a hard edge. Even with a soft-edged brush, it still wasn’t the effect I wanted.

Then I saw somebody using a color selection tool in Photoshop to select a range of color. For example: dark pink to light red. I can’t afford Photoshop, but I have Pixelmator and discovered that the “Select Color” option did the same thing. Once the parts you want to keep color are selected, invert the selection and desaturate.  That’s it! Easy!

I took this with my EOS 10D in 2004 (before I became RAW-enlightened), but the original JPEG file was a good exposure and didn’t need major adjustments.

Daisy - EOS 10D

Daisy – EOS 10D


Daisy - Orange Only

Daisy – Orange Only


Daisy - Yellow Only

Daisy – Yellow Only


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