Join Janine Smith for an in-depth discussion in this video Matching colors in elements you add, part of Photo Restoration with Photoshop.
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In the previous video I added a bright blue sky with more details to this older image of a cowboy. Now I need to match the colors of the new sky to the colors of the cowboy, so it looks like it was part of the original image. First, we'll select the sky layer. Go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate. We want to take the color out to make it easier for the new element to accept the color of the original image. Now go back to Image > Adjustments > Match Color. In the Match Color dialog we need to go down to the bottom and select our Source, which is the image you want to take your source from.
If you have more than one image open, you'll have that choice. You can take your colors from a completely different image. Obviously, we only have one image up, so we'll use this one. Next, we want to select the layer itself we want to source from. In this case, it's our Background layer. Sometimes Match Color works great, but sometimes you'll get these blown-out patches of color, like this green clipping or these pink colors, that you can't adjust out with any of the sliders.
Let's try to move them, see what happens. Mostly we're just getting more blown-out areas. That pink really comes out when we come down here. Color Intensity is not doing anything for us. We can fade it, which brings more of the black and white in and sort of defeats the purpose in this case. I could neutralize it, which also fades is to black and white. So even though you should always go and try Match Color--because it really does work sometimes-- what you do when it doesn't? Well, we'll cancel out of this, and we'll go over to our toolbar, and we'll select our Eyedropper tool.
Now we want to sample color from our original image. Let's choose one of the darker colors perhaps, or maybe one in between here. That's another thing you can always change at anytime. In this case, we'll sample from right here; that's a good mid-color. Now we want to add a new blank layer over our sky layer, and then we're going to fill it with the color we selected. It's your foreground color, so hold down Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete to fill your layer, go up to your Layer Blend modes, and choose Overlay.
Now go back to your sky layer and bring the Opacity down to around 50%. Go to your mask itself and click on it. Select it, go up to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. We just want to have a nice blur, a nice blend between our mask and our skyline there, our tree line. You don't want to go too far up, or it's just going to look messy.
You still want to be able to see a line, but it needs to be nice and soft. And take away all the evidence that we made a mask to begin with and cut out the old sky. When you have a blur you like, click OK, then you use Ctrl or Command. Let's bring this in and look at our skyline. You see, this looks pretty good. Now let's go back out here a little. This is a pretty good blend. That looks pretty natural. But say now you want to make your image black and white. You can either add a black-and-white adjustment up here in your Adjustments panel in CS4 and CS5.
Come down here and add a black and white with your Create a new fill or adjustment layer icon--and that's a really good blend. Maybe the sky isn't quite as blended as this was. It doesn't look quite as good. You can either add a black and white to blend them both, you can bring it way down, just add a little tint or tone, or if you don't like that, you can take the visibility away, and you can always go back to your color layer, and you can just refill it. After re-sampling with a different color, you can refill it with another color and start over again and see if any other color matches well.
Even if your ultimate goal was to make an image black and white, matching the colors and tones of a new element will ensure a perfect match.
- Assessing the damage
- Rebuilding color channels in a grayscale image
- Removing small splits, specks, and spots
- Repairing red eye
- Reassembling torn photos
- Removing stains
- Fixing mold damage
- Understanding the basics of levels and curves
- Correcting color problems
- Repairing and recreating backgrounds
- Sharpening a photo
- Comparing before and after images