Use Photoshop’s Blend Modes to add colour to an image
The stone reliefs you see around cities and on churches and cathedrals are usually very plain. However, in times past, many of these would have been painted in vibrant colours. In some cities, these reliefs have been restored, bringing back to life the historical scenes they depict.
Painting a stone relief would have taken skilled craftsman hours, if not days, to colour in the intricate detail. With Photoshop at your disposal, the time involved to colour an image is greatly reduced.
In this technique you’ll learn how to use masks, layers and Blend Modes to apply a restoration effect. And to add an extra element to the scene, we’re going to drop in a new background.
Because stone reliefs are three dimensional, painting in flat colour would have little influence over the tones, but because we’re working on a flat image we’ll need to apply the colour in a way that retains the original tone and detail of the image. Simply painting the colour onto a new layer and reducing the Opacity will result in loss of quality, but by introducing a Blend Mode into the equation we’ll quickly be able to get the look we’re after.
How To Add Colour Using Photoshop Blend Modes
01 Quick Mask mode switch
Start by opening your original images of the stone relief, and a background image on which to place your scene. Copy and paste your stone relief (just the stone figures) into your background image. Select the top layer and switch on Quick Mask mode by pressing Q. Select a black brush with the Opacity set to 100% and Brush Hardness set to 90%. Now carefully use the brush to paint around the figures in the scene.
02 Clean up the cut-out
Adjust the size of the brush using the square bracket keys to fine-tune the cut-out. Press X to erase any mistakes. For the more intricate areas, zoom into the image using Cmd/Ctrl and +. When you’ve finished, press Q to make the selection. Add a Layer Mask then use the black or white brushes on the mask to clean up the cut-out.
03 Blend the background
Click on the Background layer and create a new Exposure Adjustment Layer. Change the Exposure to -3. Choose a black to white gradient, click the mask and draw on the bottom section, removing the effect from the top half of the image. Create a new blank layer. Select the Brush tool and choose an ochre shade.
04 Adding colour
Zoom into the horse in the foreground, adjust the brush size and paint over the horse. Be as careful with the painting as possible, but don’t worry if you do go over the edges. Switch the Blend Mode to Color, and set the Opacity to 20. Repeat the process for the rest of the scene, creating a new layer for each colour or character.
05 Improve the tones
Create a new Curves Adjustment Layer and make an S-curve to darken the shadows and lighten the highlights. Create a new Photo Filter Adjustment Layer and add a Warming Filter (85). Add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and set the Hue to -2 and Saturation to -18. Add a 50% Gray layer then set the Blend Mode to Overlay, and paint with a low Opacity brush to dodge and burn the shadows and highlights.
06 Create the weapons
Create a new blank layer and use the Line tool to draw a dark grey line, then select an arrow head from the Shapes tool and rotate and move it into place. Select a lighter grey and paint in highlights. Finally, create a new blank layer and fill it with 50% Gray, then apply Filter>Noise>Add Noise and set it to monochromatic. Switch the Blend Mode to Overlay.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 at 12:22 pm and is filed under Tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.