Photoshop Top 40, Feature #23: Color Range

I have returned from Southern France. And with the exception of a few exciting airport debacles—never ever try to return your car to the “French sector” of the Geneva International Airport!—I had a great time. Avignon, Les Baux-de-Provence, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Mouth-watering cheeses, world-class wines, and chocolates like you’ve never tasted. Plus everyone’s super polite and the speed limit is >80 mph. You can’t get a decent martini, but I did manage to parlay a glass of 15-year Laphroaig, which’ll tide me over in a pinch.

In the meantime, I’m in Toronto. In fact, this very day I’m teaching a full-day, super-intensive Channels & Masks seminar at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, at which every attendee gets a copy of my book Photoshop CS4 Channels & Masks One-on-One.

So it’s only fitting that today’s feature is Photoshop’s most successful automated masking function, Color Range. To say it’s good is an understatement. Like a Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine, it is soigné. Check out the free high-quality streaming video to learn more.

As usual, the base photo comes from image vendor Fotolia. This time it’s image #8840472 from a photographer who goes by the handle Lvnel. Click this link for a special deal.

(For a list of all Photoshop Top 40 videos thus far, click here.)

Photoshop Top 40 is available as a downloadable podcast from iTunes. Click here to subscribe. dekePod subscribers will get the videos automatically.

Oh, and did I mention Southern France’s wealth of antiquities? Like Glanum, where a modern road covers a Roman city over a Greek town on top of a Gaul village? Here’s me rendered in mask-like silhouette, as captured from the healing waters deep below even the ancient Gaul stratum.

What does that have to do with Color Range? I dunno, but get a load of what Color Range can do with it!

And that’s just the beginning. For those interested, I’ll post a complete travelogue of my exploits when I settle back in next week.

Next entry:Martini Hour 040, In Which Deke and Scott Kelby Appear Together in Front of Witnesses

Previous entry:Martini Hour 039, In Which Colleen Is Fooled by Jack Davis’ Hair


  • Your excellent taste in drinks


    Enough said…


  • Neat

    I liked that alt-drag on the mask. I do it in more steps (load the selection, then ask for a layer mask), so that’s a time saver.

    And the dark inner glow was interesting. I thought you were going to go for refine edge. I was curious to see what would happen if i did a ‘create layer’ from the effect. It was a soft black inner glow clipping masked against the lowere layer.

  • Drat

    Ah rats…..I’ve just found your PodCasts and love them - wish I had known you would be in Toronto I’d have signed up to attend.

    BTW there are definitely good places for martinis in TO but you gotta know where…

    Don’t mind the gay district?  Try The Byz (

    Want something traditional? Try the Consort bar at the King Eddie (

  • PhotoShop is the daddy!

    PhotoShop is the daddy!

  • Downloadable Videos

    Heya Deke, Colleen,

    I’d like to download the video’s to store them in my training library. Before in these kind of video posts there was also a link to a mp4 file to download.

    Am I overlooking something or do I really have to download and install iTunes now to be able to keep them local? I’m not really a fan of the bloated iTunes so if there’s a way around it I’d be most happy smile

    Thanks in advance for a response.

  • Greetings,

    I have been experiencing with my green background on my latest photoshoot and I am trying to extract my subjects from the green background.  I know my background is kinda not uniform but that is not my biggest problem.

    Normally I open my images as objects, copy them to a new layer and then use the select color range command.  I can usually get the selection I want pretty good and if need be I will use the select and mask command to refine it.  Then I apply a layer mask.  This will usually give me a half decent subject extraction.  The problem I face and I cannot solve is that when slip a different layer background, usually the green color cast still appears on the edge of the subject, often his/her clothes.  The process that fails goes as follows:

    1. I use the select color range again on the foreground subject to pick the left over color cast.
    2. I create a hue/saturation adjustment layer from the selection
    3. I select the colorize option and try to use the adjustment to change the color cast to one more appropriate for the background I selected

    The problem is that I cannot make an adequate selection in step 1.  Because of this I cannot select adequate adjustments to alter the color cast.  Do you have any suggestions? If you provide me with your email I could provide you with my sample document which is a test shot not using the final model.

    Your help is much appreciated.

  • You can send your file to (And for the record, our new site let’s you put it up with your comment as well!

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