Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating awesome color with Photoshop, part of Photo Tools Weekly.
- One of the first things I want to do is change the brightness value of a few areas. It looks a little dark, so I'll use Curves to do that. Create a curves adjustment, and I'm just dragging this up a little bit, and darkening this area down, I want to make sure I maintain a little bit of the density, and also color that we have there. If we go too high it just sort of washes color out so again that's where I'm being cautious with that. Next, go to the tab for the mask. We'll go here a few times with a couple other adjustments as well, so it's worth noting that each adjustment layer has a mask.
If we go over there, there's a button called Invert, click on that and it fills the mask with black, which is what we want. Next, we're going to grab our brush tool. Here I'm going to paint with white, I want to choose white. From there I'll go up to my options bar for the brush remove all the hardness, and then I want to have a really nice and big brush. Next, for the opacity I'm going to drag this down below 50 percent, go to about 30 percent or so, and then I'm just going to start to paint over a few areas of the image.
If you want to paint it in a little bit more quickly, bring that value up, looks like I can do that, especially because that curve adjustment was pretty subtle, right? And all that I'm doing here is just hand-painting in brightness into a few areas of the image. I'm kind of looking at those areas which I think are a little bit dull, or lacking, or maybe a little bit too dark, and tap the left bracket key, make my brush a little bit smaller, and just paint over a couple of those little areas. Now if we want to modify the Adjustment just double click the Adjustment Layer icon, this is the curve adjustment.
Here, of course, we could bring this up a little bit more if we wanted to have even a little bit more of a brightening effect, and then click back in the mask, and then you can keep painting throughout the image. We're adding this brightening effect. Now whenever you're using a mouse like I'm using here, and not a stylus pen, using a Wacom tablet or something like that what you're going to need to do is eventually go back and fix up your mask, a little bit. So if we go to the properties panel for masks, there's a slider called Feather and what this essentially does is it softens the edges of the brush strokes, it makes them blend in really nicely, so we want to make sure that we're doing that so that it looks seamless, and here again, I'm just looking to hand paint in brightness into a few areas throughout the image.
Okay, well that's step number one. Great! So far so good. Let's take another step. Let's say we want to bring out some more of the Reds that we have in this area. We could do that with a few different adjustments. Click on Vibrance and drag this to the right and also increase my saturation, now when I do that it kind of wrecks the yellows, right? So let me exaggerate for a moment. Can you see how the Reds over here, looking okay, Yellows not so much? No big deal, we'll go to the tab for the mask, click Invert, and then just like we've done before with that same brush tool, we'll go ahead and choose the brush, and we'll just say, "Hey you know what? I'm just going to hand paint in a few little areas.
I want to bring in some of this blue, and some of that yellow over there. Maybe a little bit of the saturation in the yellow in a couple of spots throughout here." Tap the left bracket key makes the brush smaller. I'm just painting over a few of these little areas, and basically what I'm looking to do is just hand paint in these adjustments, which, they are vibrant, and saturation. Alright, next, let's go to that tab for the mask, and increase the Feather just make sure that our brush strokes, the edges are nice and smooth.
Now, when it comes to getting more precise with color, a few other adjustments we might want to try are selective color and hue saturation. Let's begin with selective color. You can find that one right here, or if you go to the adjustment layer icon it's at the bottom of the list right there, so that's a nice way to find it. This is a control which isn't used very often but it allows you to do quite a bit to the image. For example, here we can go to the Yellows, and with the Yellows we have various sliders and what you'll want to do is drag the sliders to start to see how it's going to effect the image.
In this case, we won't want to effect the cyan value of the Yellows, but really the yellow slider here you can see how I can change that or make it a little bit of a, you know, sort of uniform, pure yellow. What about the greens down below? We could go to that area, now with the greens what we could do is we could push those over so that we're kind of losing the distinction or drag it this way, we get even more of that green snap, that's exactly what I want. We can do the same thing with some of the other areas, like our Cyans or our Blues.
Cyans we're going to see a little bit on the door there, and so just modifying the way that door looks and also some of the other tones in the background. Blues, I just want to make those a little bit more blue there, as well. So in this case when working with selective color, I know that was a little bit quick, you want to open it up and just drag the sliders around to see how you can shift colors. If you want to get even more precise, you can go to hue saturation. What's cool about hue saturation is you can use this tool here, Target Adjustment Tool, and you can click on a color like the blue that we have right there.
I'm just going to exaggerate for a moment, but can you see how, what this allowed me to do was to bring out blue that I have in different areas of the image? I like that. Not quite so intense but I want to bring that out and then maybe darken it up a little bit too, or we could use this tool and click on another color like the Yellows and say, "Hey I want to increase the saturation or decrease that, sometimes just adding maybe a little bit and a little bit of brightness there, might be nice." Okay well, those last few adjustments are really a touch more advanced, but it's good to see how you can do that, right, and create these really vivid and vibrant, and beautiful colors? Now if we go through the layer stack here you can see that this was the original image, as it came to us from Lightroom.
It looks pretty good, I think it was in good shape, but then after we did a few adjustments we painted in some brightness into a few areas, brought in some more selective vibrance and saturation, looked at using selective color, and then finally, hue saturation to really finish it off, and if we zoom in a little bit so you can see this you can see how it really helped bring some of those colors out, and that's that before and after in this view. If we go over to this area a little bit, you can see how it helped those Yellows as well, and so the whole point here I think, with this one is just to look at how we can go through that workflow, and really I'm hoping to inspire you to think about how you can start off with tools like Lightroom, and you can apply some other techniques, like we've done here, and finish your images, take them even further by working with Photoshop, and it's the combo of these two tools together which lead to this result.