Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Color improvisations in Photoshop

I like to start with reality then alter it a little or a lot. In digging through my Photoshop how-to books, it seems that I’ve neglected some fun ways to play around with color. This post on Gloria Hansen‘s blog has a photo of boats that she altered that really appeals to me (scroll all the way to the bottom to see her results.)
My hubby Andy and I have been hiking quite a bit lately, enjoying the lovely spring weather and fresh green leaves. Though I shoot quite a few photos, somehow they don't capture the vision in my mind’s eye. This typical image was taken on the oak hammock trail at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. I like the shape of the twisty oaks, but the color is pretty ho-hum. Photoshop to the rescue!

You may be interested to know how this was done... it’s impossible to give a step-by-step formula because each image has its own issues. Basically I added a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to every image, then tweaked individual colors if needed. A filter was run on a copy of the image (it’s always nice to have the original underneath to refer to), either Paint Daubs or Palette Knife. Or try the Surface Blur or Smart Blur. 

All of these have a Curves Adjustment Layer and possibly a Channel Mixer and/or Brightness/Contrast, too. Since they're Adjustment Layers, you can continue to tweak them until you’re happy. 

You also can combine the best of two Layers by masking out part of one. It sounds harder than it is once you’ve memorized that little procedure.

Here are a couple more:

Whether I’ll use these images as inspiration to throw some paint and/or fabric around is hard to say...I definitely find them much more compelling this way.


Diane J. Evans said...

I absolutely LOVE the first image -- I have GOT to try this! Thanks for the tutorial.


Quilt Rat said...

Amazing what a little "tweaking" can do to an image..very cool, thanks for the inspiration.

Barbara Strobel Lardon said...

I love what you can do in photoshop too. Sometimes it is just what you need to do in order to really see the potential the photo has.