How to recolor in Photoshop

I had a question today about recoloring the png files I include with my Photoshop brushes, so I thought I would do a quick tutorial on how to recolor in Photoshop. I am using Photoshop CC for this tutorial but the instructions will work for any version of Photoshop. For the purpose of this tutorial I am going to use my Clean Watercolor Splodge Photoshop Brushes available in my Etsy store, Clikchic Designs store and Creative Market store.

Clean Paint Splodge Watercolor Photoshop Brushes

For this tutorial I am going to use the .png of the brush named Clikchic_ABR_PaintSplodgeClean_03.png.

01_BrushExample - Recolouring in Photoshop

As you can see, all the .png’s of my brushes come in black as this is the best shade for making Photoshop brushes. It is also more easy to recolor sometimes than other colors.

I am going to recolor the brush stroke to pink, since that is my favorite color. As for most things in Photoshop there are multiple ways to do that. For the purpose of this tutorial I am going to do it using my foreground color picker. On the toolbar on the left side of the Photoshop screen there is a tool where you can select your foreground and background colors. I am going to change the foreground color to the color I want my brush stroke to be.

01_Foreground Color - Recolouring in Photoshop
The foreground color is the black square and the background color is the white square. To change the foreground color, I need to click on the black square, which will bring up the color picker.

03_Colour Picker - Recolouring in Photoshop

With the color picker, I can slide the rainbow scale to the color range I want to work in and then choose the color shade from the resulting screen.

04_Colour Picker_Choose Colour - Recolouring in Photoshop

As you can see I have moved the slider up to a reddish pink and clicked and moved the cursor to a mid range pink on the gradient. The color I have chosen appears in the new rectangle.

Once you have chosen the color, click OK and that color will become your foreground color.

05_Pink Foreground Colour - Recolouring in Photoshop

Now we have to adjust the color of the brush stroke using the foreground color. To do so we need to go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation

06_Hue Saturation - Recolouring in Photoshop

In the Hue/Saturation screen you need to click on the Colorize check box which will change the color tone of the brush stroke to your foreground color. In my example this is a dark shade of pink. The black of the stroke is a much darker shade than the pink so we need to adjust this to get the correct shade.

07_Recolour Hue Saturation - Recolouring in Photoshop

To do this we need to adjust the saturation and lightness. To do that you move the sliders till you are happy with the shade of your chosen color.

08_Adjust Saturation and Lightness - Recolouring in Photoshop

As you can see I have increased the lightness by quite a bit, and have also increased the saturation to get a good depth of color.

This is the end result of the recolored paint stroke.

09_End Result - Recolouring in Photoshop

You now have a gorgeous colored stroke and can now save as a new file so that you preserve the original in black.

Using Composition To Improve Your Photography

Photographic Composition can have a dramatic effect on the impact of your photographs.  There are several easy techniques which you can use help improve your photography.

Distracting Backgrounds

Distracting Backgrounds can spoil an otherwise great photo. For instance, a brightly coloured object behind the subject, say a child, can draw your eye away from the subject. I took a snap of my daughter when she was 2 while she was playing in the backyard. The background was the plain green of the grass apart from one distracting element, a bright red swing in the background. The bright colour drew your eye away from the main subject. It was such a nice natural candid shot it was a shame to have it spoilt by the swing in the background.

Wherever possible it is best to keep an eye out for such distracting elements when taking your image and change your position or recompose.  However this is not always possible and in this case I was able to remove the swing with the help of the clone tool in Photoshop.

Fill the Frame

Another way to avoid distracting backgrounds and maximise photo impact is to fill the frame with your image. Because the frame is filled with the subject it draws and holds your eye on the subject. Simplifying the photo further by converting to black and white can also dramatically improve an image, or simply give a different feel or mood.

Depth of field

Depth of field can also help with distracting background elements. Using a narrow depth of field works to keep the field of focus on the subject and details in the background are blurred out. In the case of using long lenses, you might also get bokeh effects which are commonly a pleasing (and currently popular) effect created by the shape of the shutter and sometimes becomes apparent with narrow depth of field and highlights in the background of an image.  If bokeh highlights are too bright however, they too can be distracting. You can avoid bokeh effects by using shorter lenses.

Jasmine

Rule of Thirds

It is not always best to fill the frame as sometimes you need to show more to tell the story. Sometimes positioning the subject in a certain way can add tension to the image. A common technique is to use the ‘rule of thirds’. When using this technique you mentally divide the frame into thirds by way of horizontal and vertical (mental) lines. The points at which these lines cross are the best points to position the subject to take advantage of maximum ‘tension’ and compositional ‘correctness’ emphasise the feel or mood.

It can be very tempting to place a subject in the centre of the image. Using the rule of thirds makes an image more interesting to look at and increases tension and balance. Below is a photo of my son being born with him positioned in the centre of the frame. Also shown is the same image cropped using the rule of thirds to add interest to the composition. This format makes the image more interesting to look at and adds tension. Take a look and decide for yourself.

© Robyn Gough 2006, All rights reserved

Creating Layouts Using Blend Modes in Photoshop

For the purpose of this tutorial I am going to do a layout where the photo blends into the background paper, and a second smaller, crisper copy of the same photo for a repeated effect.

For some using blend modes in Photoshop is second nature, and it is a relatively simple method but for those who have not yet discovered it, here is a quick tutorial. To start my layout, I have selected a background paper and feature photo.

1-LayoutStart

 Next I am going to place a larger version of the image on the background paper, underneath the smaller version of the image.

2-WithLargeImage

Next while the larger flower layer is selected, we need to change the blend mode. In your layers palette you will find a little white rectangular box which currently has normal selected, if you click on the drop down arrow, you will see the blend mode options available.

3-BlendModesMenu

There are several different modes to choose from, and each will have a different effect and are great to experiment with but for the purposes of this tutorial we are going to use Overlay mode.

4-BlendModes-Overlay

Once your layer blend mode has been changed to Overlay, your photo will look something like this.

 4-OverlayMode

As you can see the look is quite effective and quite vibrant, you can make it look less vibrant by adjusting the layers opacity. This will in turn bring more of the colours of the background through, and soften the colours in the overlaid photo. This option is worth experimenting with to suit your taste.

 At this point while I like the effect on the photo, I feel the edges need blending into the background a little more. I like to use layer masks for this purpose to make corrections easier. While your larger photo layer is selected. Click on the Add Layer Mask button.

6-AddLayerMask

This will bring up a second thumbnail next to your image in the layers palette. To ensure the mask is selected, click on the mask to show the four corners surrounding it showing it has been selected.

7-AddLayerMaskThumb

Once you have done this, you can use your black soft brush to remove portions of the image, and the white soft brush to add them.

8-SoftBrush

If you make a mistake, you can simply change the brush colour to white to add back the portion of the picture you wish to. On my layout, I softened the edges two sides of the photo to blend them into the background a bit more.

To finish off the layout, I changed the stroke blend mode around the smaller photo to overlay in the layer styles and reduced the drop shadow to bring it more in keeping with a graphic style layout. I then added the titles in dark brown and changed their layer blend modes to Linear Light at 59% Opacity. I also reduced the saturation of the colour in the background of the smaller photo, to help bring out the pink a little more.

 9-SampleLayout

 © Robyn Gough 2009 Credits: Cupids Bow by Robyn Gough Font: Vtks Sonho

Here are a couple of blended style layouts I have created with my Floral Fancy Digital Scrapbook Kit and some photos of my daughter at ballet.

Floral Fancy Digital Scrapbook Kit by Clikchic Designs

Floral Fancy Digital Scrapbook Kit

Importing Presets into Lightroom

I have done a quick video tutorial on how to install presets into Lightroom! Enjoy and excuse the ums and ahhs!!  I will do another one soon on how to install presets into Adobe Camera Raw (ACR).

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OchJBRBJmQ4&w=450&rel=0]

These are the Lightroom Presets I have currently available in my Etsy store.

Lightroom Presets - 5 Sweet Sepia Photography Presets for Lightroom Lightroom Presets - 5 Drama Photography Presets for Lightroom Lightroom Presets - 5 Berry Tone Photography Presets for Lightroom

I also have a video tutorial on Installing Presets into Adobe Camera RAW.

 

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