Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a sepia-toned look with Color Balance, part of Photoshop for Photographers: Color Emphasis.
In this movie, I want to take a look at a few different techniques that we can use in order to colorize a photograph. What I mean by colorize is, here we'll look at how we can remove the color and then add our own color, so that we have a sepia tone look or perhaps a cool tone throughout the entire photograph. So let's begin with this picture here. And we'll go ahead and convert it to black and white by clicking on the black and white adjustment layer icon. This is a photograph of a couple of my friends down at a local beach. And then this black and white picture, one of the things I like about it is it makes the image really simple.
Bbut I want to add a bit of color back to the picture. In order to do that we can use a few different techniques. One technique that we might try to use is to reach for the color balance adjustment layer icon. When we click on color balance, what it allows us to do is to bring in colors by working with these various sliders. And here, I'll bring up the reds a little bit in order to add some reds. And also bring in a little bit of yellow. Now, at this point, we have this brighter sepia tone type of look here in our photograph. Now, if we want to add a little bit more contrast, if we want the colors to be darker, perhaps more muted, the image to feel a little bit overall richer, or have more density, you can simply take this layer blending mode to soft light.
And when you do that, all of a sudden you'll see that we now have this really deep rich photograph with these colors in them. We lost a little bit of the brightness of the colors but we can always change that. We can modify the color by working with these sliders here. We can add a little bit more yellow or a little bit more red. And, we can also customize the overall look of this colorization by working with an adjustment like with curves. Here, if we click on our curves adjustment layer icon, you'll notice that we have two endpoints, a black point and a white point.
Well if we make our way down to the black point we can click and drag that up. Ad what that will do it will brighten up those deepest tones there. And we can do this if we need to, if those have become too dark. Or with the highlights, if those are too bright, we can click and drag these down as well. Now here I'm making pretty subtle adjustments. You can see the before and after. But sometimes, you'll need to do this, when you're working with that soft light blendy mode, because soft light increases contrast. And it does a nice job of blending in the color, but sometimes it can make those blacks kind of blocked up, or those whites blown out without any detail there.
And the quick fix for that is to create a curves adjustment layer like we've done here. And to bring up the blacks, and then to bring down the whites. All right, well, so far so good. Let's review this. We converted the image to black and white. This was step one. Step two, we created a color balance adjustment layer, and we worked with this on normal in order to bring in some color. We brought in some red and some yellow. Then we decided to change that layer blending mode to soft light. That's really where the magic took place. Then as needed, we can use a curves adjustment layer here in order to bring out some detail in different areas of the photograph.
Now I should point out, you don't always need to use this layer. Sometimes it's nice to have really deep dark blacks. And so you can even bring this down further if you need to. Yet I do want to at least highlight that you can make some corrections for that soft light blending if you need to. All right, well, there's one technique of how we can create a colorization effect on this photograph. Let's go ahead and leave this image open, because I want to show you another technique as well. And we'll do that, in the next movie.
- 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