How to Wash out Color with Desaturate in Photoshop CS6

Adobe Photoshop’s CS6 desaturate command can wash all the color out of a layer or selection. Photoshop offers a variety of tools to brighten and enhance colors, but this may not be what you need. It may seem contradictory to using Photoshop, but, sometimes, you don’t want any color at all.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Use this command with caution because neither the Desaturate command nor Photoshop’s Image→Mode→Grayscale command is the best technique for converting a color image to monochrome. Simply removing the color can produce an image that appears to be too low in contrast, which is another kettle of fish altogether.

However, if you simply want to eliminate the color from a layer or image selection quickly, the Desaturate command does the job. To apply it, select your desired layer in the Layers panel, select the area you want to operate on, and then choose Image→Adjustments→Desaturate or press Shift+Ctrl+U (Shift+Command+U on the Mac).

Using the Saturation control in the Hue/Saturation command gives you better control over the degree of desaturation you desire, while leaving the image looking richer.

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