How to easily desaturate a photograph selectively?

You might came across photos that look-a-like the one shown above where a certain part of the photo is in grey-scales while the subjects are with the original colors. I called this type of editing method, the “selective desaturation”.  So how do you actually make one of these?

The above photo shown the before and after the editing works.  Today, I am going to show how to do it quickly and easily with the powerful ‘Adjustment Brush’ in Adobe Lightroom.

You’ll need Adobe Lightroom 4 & a suitable photograph.  Normally, a photo with a clear colorful subject with plan background work best.

Start with selecting your photograph in ‘Library’ mode and go to ‘Develop’ mode in Adobe Lightroom when ready.

Once you are in the ‘Develop’ mode, activate ‘Adjustment Brush’ from the right panel, or simply press the key ‘K’.

While ‘Adjustment Brush’ mode is activated, you will be presented with a list of options in the right panel, look for the ‘Saturation’ field and set it to ‘-100‘,

This tells Lightroom that we want to desaturate whichever area that we painted on later.  Depend on your photograph, you may also play with the brush-options such as ‘Size’ and ‘Feather’.

For quicker work flows, you may use the short cut keys – ‘[‘ or ‘]’ to adjust brush size, and if ‘Shift’ key is hold when you press ‘[‘ or ‘]’, you are modifying the ‘Feather’ of the painting brush.  If you uses a ‘Scroll mouse’, you can scroll up and down to changes the brush size too.

There is another useful option – ‘Auto Mask’ that you might want to experience with, to further enhance the accuracy of your brush-selection.

By turning this option ‘ON’, Lightroom will try to predict and selectively paint area with similar patterns or colors.  This works best in area that has fine details.  When you need to paint over large area, it is easier to just turn this ‘OFF’.

Once you done your settings, you can now paint over area that you wanted to be desaturated, if you accidentally painted over your main subject which is suppose to be in color, fear not, just press and hold ‘Alt’ to erase the wrong painted area.

In adjustment-brush mode, you can press ‘O’ to turn on the overlay mode that shows the painted area in RED.

Voila, you got yourself a creative photo, check out the before and after for the following shot I made in Semporna, Sabah with a 10.5mm Fisheye lens on a Nikon D600 in DX mode.

The above version is the out of camera, plain boring photo with rather distinctive background.

Selectively desaturate and aggressively toned background make the children standout and in directly make it more interesting (at least to me, duh).  I spent about 5minutes making this photo-edit, and another 30mins writing this simple tutorial.

Hope this helps and do share with your friends if you find it interesting.




Going North for a break – Part 2

Continuing from Part 1, I attempted to shoot a panoramic shot using a long exposure along with moving cloud,  the merging process is more difficult than I taught, auto-merge from Photoshop CS6 does not works, and in the end I manually transformed and merged 5 individually shot photos into one.

One the next morning, before we travel back to Hatyai for more foods and activities, we have a short trip around the town, and visited the 3-pieces dragon/giant serpent monument.  The giant serpent is believed to oversee the town and to offer positive blessing.

The last day from our trips consists of eating, shopping and again shopping at Hatyai, typical Malaysian-lah… 😀  So there’s nothing to show here, fast forward to our last station before returning home the next morning.

We stopped by Danok, and visited Riverview Restaurant for our very heavy lunch.  Beautiful lake side, awesome choices of seafood and cozy weather!  What more can you ask for?

After the very heavy lunch, we headed back to home and this concludes my 4D3N trip up north.

Last but not least, the equipment used in this trip are as following,

  • Nikon D4
  • Nikon AFS 28mm F1.8
  • Nikon AFS 17-35mm F2.8
  • Nikon AFD 50mm F1.4
  • Nikon AFD Fisheye 10.5mm F2.8
  • Tamron AFS 70-200 F2.8
  • Manfrotto 190CX3 Tripod + 701HDV Head
  • Lowepro Computrekker AW 15″

All photos were lightly enhanced using Adobe Lightroom 4, panorama was created using Adobe Photoshop CS6.

Going North for a break – Part 1

Wow, finally the hectic working weeks settled!  It’s time for me to take a break and recharge myself.  So, I’ve took a few day off, and together with my other half and another 2 friends of mine, we drove up North, and visited a few areas in Southern Thailand.

We begin our journey early at about 4am from Butterworth as we wanted to beat the crowd and traffics at the border.  We arrived at Kayu Hitam, Malaysia/Thailand border town and, thanks god!  We settled everything and step into Sadao, Thailand in about 10minutes time only.  Imagine if we are later a little while more, we might be caught in traffics and sometime ones might be stucked here for few hours.

We planned to spent our first and last day in Hatyai, and when we arrived there, it is still too early to check into our hotel, we decided to detour and visited Chedi Thaimongkhon, a big stainless steel monument built by devotees.

This is certainly a good place to do Timelapse, and I was told that the night view here is even better.   On the first night at Hatyai, we stayed in Hotel Hansa JB, a little off town but generally the hotel is very comfy for short stay.

We had some really nice ‘Siam-laksa’ in Hatyai, thanks to a Mr Ang’s Aunty, who stayed locally.  You can pick the sources to go with the rice noodle – ‘Laksa’, and along with it, you can have fresh vege, deep fried chickens and very sweet desserts!

*taken with my galaxy note 10.1*

Our day 2 is a bit more adventurous, we drove further North and visited Ko Yo, a small Island near Songkhla.  Our first stop is a temple, located right when you pass by the bridge connecting the mainland and the island.  I forgotten the name of the temple, but it has a very big reclining Buddha statues, don’t think you can missed it.  I took a few shots at the fishing village nearby here.

Along the way,  while we were scouting for some refreshing drinks, we discovered a nice restaurant right in front of a nice fish farms.

And we have the best steamed fish head of a gigantic 2.8Kg sea bass!

The tail portion of the sea bass was deep fried and also super crispy and tasty!  The whole meal consist of beverages, the fish, a tomyam seafood, a pad thai (Grass noodle salad) and a grilled giant squid cost us ~RM 180.  We thinks it is very cheap in term of the food quality & the portion.  The services however, is below par.

A panoramic view of the fisheries, taken with my tablet and edited with snapseed,

Our journey continued into Songkla, and we stayed at the Hotel Pavilion Songkhla, which is the generally lack of maintenance, and not worth to consider unless you have no other options.  The other hotel such as BP Samila Beach should be a better option.

We took a rest at the hotel, and later that night, we visited the road-side local food hawkers nearby for our dinner,  there’s plenty of good and cheap foods here that you should try!

Before we call it a day, we also visited the infamous Mermaid statues at Samila Beach, and I was really having a hard time photographing it nicely as we arrived there a little too late, the best time would be during Sunset golden hour, so you can get a nice background/skyline.

Continue in Part 2



Happy moments from Seoul

Has been real busy lately with overwhelming works, travels & assignments since I last blogged about something…  nonetheless, I also took a break with my wife, and colleagues from Nikon Malaysia to Seoul, Korea for a short 5 days trip!

Even-though we picked the wrong date to visit, as so happen that Seoul was affected by typhoon and it’s basically raining most of the time while we are there…  I manage to capture some travel shots with Nikon D4 and mainly a 17-35 F2.8 lens.   The camera and lens survived the weather and work perfectly fine…

Here’s some of the photos that I think are worth to be shared here, some are slightly enhanced with Adobe LR 4, while some are at its original tones.

Without further ado, check them out in the following gallery, feel free to leave one or two comments…