Friday, July 3, 2009

Repaint a barn in Photoshop

We recently visited Calloway Gardens in Georgia, and I spent a couple of mornings practicing my plein air painting. This little barn is in the vegetable garden area. The bright light hitting the lime green coleus plants caught my eye plus this vantage point was in the shade, so this was the spot. The photo below was taken very early before the light hit the front of the building. One of the tricky things about outdoor painting is that the light changes quickly. You can read my previous plein air posts here.After about 4 hours of painting over two mornings, this is what I was able to finish (below). I left off some of the more complex details of the building, but at least it’s fairly straight. It seems to have lost some of the width of the actual structure... oh well! Anyway, what bugs me about it at this point is the overall brown look between the taupe color of the barn and fence plus the reddish-brown mulch. Before putting more actual paint on this, I’m going to test some tweaks in Photoshop first. One way to change color is to select a section with the magic wand and use Hue/Saturation to try different colors. But today I’ll use the Replace Color feature. First I used the Lasso tool to make a loose selection around just the barn. Then under Image>Adjustments>Replace Color a dialog box will open up. Click in the image window to select the front of the barn. To add to the selection, hold down the Shift key. Slide the Fuzziness lever to increase or decrease the selection amount. Once the front of the barn was completely selected (it appears white in the preview window), I increased the Saturation and Lightness. Below the barn looks lighter and more yellow.The same procedure was used below to make the fence a light gray. Testing out color changes digitally like this can save time and paint! While this doesn’t look exactly like the actual barn now, the issue is making the painting look good. To me this has a better overall value and color harmony. The shadows on the mulch should probably be darker, actually. My favorite part is the trees.It’s fun to push an image even more by playing around with Curves instead, which posterizes it somewhat and inserts some odd colors. There’s no real consistent procedure to follow other than to go to Image>Adjustments>Curves and start drawing little bumps above and below the diagonal line, then see what happens. Give it a try, it’s fun to play with.Have a great 4th of July!

4 comments:

Beena said...

I love the surreal brightness of the last one you have pictured. It borders on explosive color without losing its "believability"...that in a certain light, it may actually have looked like this. I'd almost be tempted to add some bright flowers in there, that weren't actually there! It has a very dreamy quality to it, Loreen. Nice.

You have a fun and safe holiday, too!

Barbara Strobel Lardon said...

Love this scene.....wish it was my garden shed too!! Great tutorial on photoshop. Thank you.

Patti Slawkowski said...

Way Cool! I always wondered what to do with that replace color thing! Can't wait to try it. I like the last one best...now paint it that way for real! LOL!

joyceshelton said...

for some reason my comment went under my Mother's name!! I'll try again...

Way Cool! I always wondered what to do with that replace color thing! Can't wait to try it. I like the last one best...now paint it that way for real! LOL!

Joyce