Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Let's take a look at another technique which will allow us to enhance the color and tone of the lips in our portraits. And in this technique, we'll be using a Color Balance adjustment layer. We'll also be duplicating that, and changing its blending mode, and kind of combining two layers together in order to come up with some nice results. So with this portrait, let's zoom in on it a little bit, and the first thing that I want to do is I want to select the lips. One great way to make a quick selection is to use the Quick Mask mode. To do that, press that Q key.
That will then enter Quick Mask mode. You can also click on this icon here. Next, what you want to do is select your Brush tool, and then you're going to paint with black. So here, we'll choose black in our color picker. When you start to paint with black, what you'll see is this red overlay. This is showing you how you're starting to build up your selection. So I'll go ahead and just paint over the lips, and right now I'm painting at 100% opacity. Now, as I get closer to the edges, I want to decrease the opacity of the brush. So we'll go ahead and decrease this, and what this will do is it will select this area with less intensity.
And by building up a good selection now, it'll just speed up our overall workflow later as we start to work on the selected area. So again, Quick Mask is just another way to make a selection, and in this case, we're able to make the selection by painting in this area. Well, now obviously this looks kind of funny, but that's okay, because right now we're going to press the Q key to exit the Quick Mask mode. The next step is to click on our adjustment layer icon for Color Balance. If we make an adjustment now, say, by modifying the color, you can see that we're modifying everything but the lips.
We want the exact opposite, so we'll go to the Masks panel, and here we can click on Invert. Well, now that we've inverted that mask, we'll go back to Color Balance, and here we can start to modify the color. I'm just going to change the overall color characteristics here a little bit. Next, we'll go to the Shadows, and here I'm also going to modify the color of the Shadows. Well, currently the color that I have doesn't look exactly how I want it. It's a bit kind of over the top. I also notice that my edges need a little bit of work over here. So we'll grab the Brush tool, and then I'll paint with black.
I'll do so by increasing my brush size, and just kind of painting this away over here in this part of the picture. By painting away part of the edge, it can just help kind of soften this effect a little bit. Well, I think that's looking fine. The next thing I want to do is I want to change the blending mode, and I also want to dial in a better color. So take a look at how this will work. We'll copy this Color Balance layer, so that we don't have two versions of this. I know it doesn't look good now, but stick with me. Next, we'll change the layer blending mode to Multiply.
In doing that, this will darken up this whole area of our photograph. Now it's too dark; it's also too colorful. Well this is where changing the opacity of these layers really comes into play. Here we'll go ahead and decrease the Opacity, and by doing that, we can come up with this really nice, natural color. It kind of fits the color palette of the photograph, and also looks like a color that this person might wear. After having done that, and after having realized this is going to work, I'm going to go back to my Masks panel, and just Feather out those edges.
By feathering those edges for the color, and also for the darkening effect here, it could help me dial in a more natural or realistic look. I did the Feather later, because I wanted to see what level of Opacity I was going to use for these layers, and the level of Opacity here does determine how we want to then soften those edges. As you can see, with a higher Opacity, well, the edges are a bit more prominent or hard; with a lower Opacity, they're a little bit less. All right! Well, next we can just go ahead and really kind of modify how we want that color to appear.
Here you can see we have that before, and then after; a really easy way to draw out some of the color and tone there. And this technique, it involved using Color Balance, dialing in color in our Midtones, and in our Shadows, and then also duplicating that layer, and changing the top layer to the blending mode of Multiply. All right! Well last, but not least, what I want to do here is just cheat a little bit. What I mean by cheat is, I want to step ahead to something we'll be covering later, but I think it's important to show here.
And that is that, now that I've brightened the lip color, the cheeks feel a little bit too pale. I need to bring in some color to this part of the image. So let's click on our adjustment layer icon for Color Balance, and create another Color Balance layer. Here I'm going to bring in some reds, and also some magentas, and I don't exactly know what I'll need to do with the color, but I'll just make a color adjustment. Next go to Masks, and click Invert. That conceals all of this adjustment. Then, with our Brush tool, we'll go ahead and paint with white. And what you're going to do is you're going to paint with a relatively low Opacity, something less than 100.
I guess I shouldn't say relatively low; it's going to be a mid-range Opacity. Probably about 70% will work well. I'm just going to paint a couple of circles on the cheeks here, and then I'm going to exaggerate something, so you can really see what's happening here. Notice how I have these two red circles on the cheeks? That's because I'm controlling my midtones. Let's go to Shadows, and as I decrease that, you can see I now have a darker hue. So in working with Color Balance, many times you're going to go between these different tonal ranges in order to dial in the color. Well, right now it looks a lot like a clown, but I'm doing this to illustrate how we'll work with this.
We'll get our color, and then we'll go to the Masks icon, and we'll increase the Feather. As we do that, it will diffuse all of that adjustment across the cheeks. Once we have a nice amount of diffusion, we can paint around that area. We obviously don't want a circle, and we obviously don't want it this bright, but I'm showing you this at this brightness level in order to kind of see how we can really dial this in. Next, let's go back to Color Balance, and let's soften this up a little bit. Rather than so much red, I want a little bit of yellow, and a little bit of magenta there, and then in my Shadows as well, I'm going to drop that down.
And by dropping that down, I'm looking to just bring in kind of a healthy look to the cheeks. This is important, because, like I said, when we changed the color of the lips, it now made the cheeks look a little bit lacking in color. Last, but not least, we'll dial in the Opacity here, so that we can just bring in a nice little subtle hue to that area of the photograph. This adjustment is really subtle; it's barely noticeable. Here's the before, and after, but it's adding, I think, some nice quality to this picture. All right! Well, now that I've done that, what I want to do next is just control my overall Opacity here for the lips, so I'm just going to decrease these values a little bit more.
I'm going for a little bit more of a natural look with this picture, so I'll take that back even more. Then you can see how we can really modify this. And when it comes to working with makeup, or changing color, or tone, as I mentioned previously, it is all about trying to experiment with how far to go. Sometimes, with some pictures that are maybe surreal, and bright, and vivid, well, you're going to really leave your Opacity level high. In other photographs, like with this portrait, which is pretty natural, the light is really kind of quiet and subdued, I'm going to then choose some color and tone options like this, which help to kind of communicate and convey the overall mood of this picture.
So here for this image, again, I think it's going to be really key to drop those amounts back. But hopefully by seeing how we can work with this, you can start to see how you could use this technique on all sorts of different types of photographs. And really, it's about knowing the technique, and then deciding how best to apply it in order to improve your own pictures.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
180 Video lessons · 66494 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 90502 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 59134 Viewers
103 Video lessons · 27595 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.