Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Bringing back skin tones with advanced masking, part of Photoshop for Photographers: Color Emphasis.
So far in this project, we've highlighted a few different techniques that we can use in order to hand paint, or hand color, our photographs. In particular, we've looked at how we can use the selective color layer on a blending mode of color. Or, how we can use a hue saturation adjustment layer and use the option of colorize in order to bring in some unique color. Well, with this image, we could continue to use these techniques to paint in color on the skin tone or on the hair, or we can also use another interesting technique which I want to show you here.
Now this one is a little bit more involved and it involves taking advantage of the masks which we've already created. Let me show you how this works. What we'll do here is we'll click into the background layer. We're going to copy the background layer and move that to the top of the layer stack. One way that you can copy the background layer is by clicking and dragging it to the new layer icon. Notice it's now called background copy. Click and drag that layer to the very top of the layer stack. Next let's double-click the layer name, that allows us to rename it.
We're going to go ahead and name this one, Color. What we want to do with this layer, is rather than having this on a blending mode of normal, we're going to change the blending mode to color. Here, we'll click on blending mode pull down menu and then select color. This will just give a bit more of a soft pastel painterly type of a look. And if you go back and forth between normal and color, you'll see how it's a little bit softer and more interesting. All right, well next what we need to do is begin to build a mask. So here, one of the ways that we can do that is we can take advantage of some of the masks which we've already created below.
First we'll click on the add mask icon Currently this mask is filled completely with white. Well, rather than using this particular mask, what I want to do is I want to use one of these underlying masks, this one here. Let's click into the mask for color fill one. Hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt on Windows, and click and drag that layer mask all the way up to the top. What this will do is replace what's there with the one which we just brought over. Click yes and what you can see has happened now is this is now allowing us just to bring in the color from this particular layer in this area.
Well that's kind of the opposite of what we want, right? We actually just want it on the skin tone. Well to invert this mass, just click into it and then click on the Invert button in the Properties panel. Now the color that we're seeing here isn't affecting the background, rather it's affecting the skin tone, which is great. The hair, the lips. But it's also affecting the dress. We lost all of that color that we had painted in. So we need to get rid of that. One way to do that is to Cmd+click on a Mac, Ctrl+click on Windows on our Hue Saturation Adjustment layer.
So just go ahead and try this. Go ahead and hold down Cmd on Mac, Ctrl on Windows and then click on that Hue Saturation Adjustment layer. Let me zoom out so we can really identify what we have here. On this now, we have a Select In, which we have just activated, which is just the dress. Well, for this topmost layer, that's exactly what I don't want to have affected. So while we're in the mask above, we want to fill this area with black. To do so, we'll navigate to the Edit pull-down menu, and here we'll choose the option for fill.
Click on that menu item and then, from the Contents pull-down menu, we're going to fill this area with black. Here we'll click OK, so that we're now concealing that area, we're concealing the adjustment from that particular area of the photograph. Now, last but not least here, we need to navigate to our Select pull-down menu and then choose Deselect. So now what we have on this layer is an adjustment, which is just filling in, or affecting the hair, the mouth, the skin. It isn't effecting the background, the belt or the dress.
And so what we were able to do is to combine both of these masks together. And to take advantage of the work that we've already done, in order to have this new layer on top. Now if you didn't catch all of those steps, feel free to rewind and watch this again because I do realize this is a bit more advanced. What this allows us to do is to use some of the original color here, and then we can lower the opacity so we still have this sort of hand-painted vintage type of aesthetic. Yet where we've added color in unique ways and we also have a little bit of the original color as well.
We could of course further customize this color, with some of the techniques which we've talked about previously. Yet for this particular process and project, I think this looks pretty good. Let's evaluate how we've done overall. If we click through our layers you can see here is the overall before. And then now here is the after. Let me zoom in much closer so you can actually see the picture up close. Here it is, our before. And, then we convert it to black and white. We filled in some color in the bakcground. We changed the color of the dress, also the belt.
And, then we brought back some coor into the skin tone so we have this painterly hand painted vintage type of aesthetic.
- Isolating color
- Removing and highlighting color
- Selectively desaturating an image
- Hand painting in color in a specific area
- Posterizing an image
- Creating a sepia-toned look
- Colorizing an entire image
- Changing the background color
- Creating vibrant color with adjustment layers
- Copying and reusing color adjustments to a new photo