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The Tinting category is designed to apply color to grayscale imagery, like a black-and-white photograph. These variants are used in tandem with either a Gel or Colorize layer. By using multiple layers and layer opacity, an amazingly rich colorization can be applied to an otherwise colorless image. Let's go ahead and take a look at tinting. So I'll go up to the Brush Selector Bar and down at the bottom we'll find the Tinting category. And as I said at the outset, this really has to happen on layers.
It's only through the layers that you get the translucent, transparent quality that is required. And if you don't switch to one of the preferred methods, this is what will happen. You'll just get kind of an opaque over color, and that's not what we want. So let's try the two layer types here. There is Gel, which in this case is very dark, and there is no hard and fast rule to this, but it always pays to kind of look at both of them and see which one works correctly, and in this case Colorize is going to make quite a bit of difference.
And you may also need to adjust your color, so that-- in some cases it's not very intuitive. You can see here a darker color actually gets lighter just by the way that the Colorize layer works, so what I'll do sometimes is just kind of try a few different strokes until I find the one that really works, and that's working for me. So I can Select All, Delete, and then kind of go in here to apply it. And what you'll find is where this works very well for this combination of color and tonality that it finds underneath of it.
Let's say if I want to do the lily pads, I'll create a new layer and get a green in the range that I'm thinking I want to paint it in. It just depends on what's happening. Now first of all, we're still in the default layer, so it's going to pay to try both of these. Now, if we try Colorize, you can see what's happening here. It's just way too light. But if I switch to Gel, that's closer to what I want. And if you want to get the sweet spot, if this is too dark, you can play around with the opacity to determine how strong you want that color on there.
So you've also got opacity as a factor to play with here, to start to adjust what you want in terms of the colorization. And another thing you're going to probably want to do is, if you just use one color in regions like the water or the lily pads, it starts to look rather flat. Because nature really is made up of many, many much more complex color than just a flat shade on here. So I'll very often just take and slightly offset either the color or the hue a little bit and just start throwing some variation into this, so that it doesn't all come out looking like one flat color.
And tinting is somewhat of an art. You're not just going to pick these up and instantly turn a black-and-white photograph into looking precisely like a color photograph on the first time. It takes time, if that's exactly what you're after in a piece. But by using multiple colors, you start to get a little more natural feel within an element that would naturally have some variation of color going on. The same goes for something like the water. I would probably want to try putting couple of extra colors there.
Now, once again, what I don't want to do here is I'm painting on the wrong layer, so I want to switch back. And one of the things I do when I start building up one of these is you want to go in and start to name your layers, and double-clicking on a layer will bring up this Layer Attributes dialog. So I'm just going to call this Water. And if you go through each one of these and do this, as you go and get more and more layers, it's far more easy to play around with the layers, knowing what exactly each layer is assigned to.
Without it you'll very quickly find that it's very confusing to keep track of things. I want to go to the Water layer. Once I go ahead and start to apply some different color, I have tools like a Blender, for example, that I can go in here and start to blend these colors together. And by doing that, once again, you'll get that more kind of natural mixture of varying colors. In some case it's the water, in some case it's the sky here. I'm not going to try to do a super- duper job on this, but I just want to do enough techniques so that you can see exactly how these different tools interact.
Another option to the Blender are the two Diffuser tools. And they just apply a diffusion that is hard to see unless I switch to default temporarily. You can see that it just softens the edges up, and it is something that you can use to blend colors with, almost in a watercolor kind of style, but once we go back to the correct layer type, it's much more subtle, but it also acts as a way to blend. So the whole idea of tinting is to take advantage of the Colorize and Gel layers, that is, the layers that enable the colors on those layers to interact with the grayscale imagery underneath of it.
And using one of the two types of layers, Colorize or Gel, along with the opacity of these layers, you can get some pretty amazing results in colorizing an image. One of the great places this works is in imagery that comes from the era of black-and-white photography. It was very popular back then to do hand tinting, and this enables you to do some of the very same techniques. You probably won't be using the Tinting category on a daily basis, but for the specific task of adding color to black-and-white imagery, Tinting is the perfect choice.
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