Photo Manipulation

Here’s some simple technique’s to adjust or manipulate elements of color within a given photo.

Tools used will be some adjustment layers and the extract tool, so follow along and have fun.

Below is the original picture I will be using, courtesy of via NAAP membership.

  1. To start things off I’ll manipulate the color of the eye.So, set the foreground color to one of your choice. I used #FD6E13.
    Then, select the ‘Elliptical Marquee Tool (M)’ from the ‘Toolbar’, Ctrl + Plus key to zoom in, and draw a selection around the eye as I have captured.
  2. Next go to ‘Layer/New Adjustment Layer/ Hue/Saturation’ menu command and on the next screen, check the ‘Group with Previous Layer’ option. (As I have captured below)
  3. Next, your in the ‘Hue/Saturation’ control panel.
    Select the ‘Reds’ from the ‘Edit’ list, and alter the sliders as I have captured below. ( Ultimately, the amount of adjustments is up to you.)
  4. This is what your image should look like, and below is a capture of the ‘Layer’s Palette’ thus far.As you can see the ‘Hue/Saturation’ layer is grouped above the original. No affects or damage done directly to the original.
  5. Next, lets clean up the excessive areas, by selecting the new ‘Hue Saturation’ layer, set the foreground color to ‘Black’ (D key), then select the ‘Brush Tool (B)’ and paint the excessive areas away.TIP: Adjustment Layers include ‘Layer Masks’, so by setting the foreground to ‘Black’ and painting over areas ‘hides’, using ‘White’ foreground ‘reveals’.You can also reduce the ‘Opacity’ of the ‘Hue/Sat’ layer to soften the affect.
    Below is my cleaned up area followed by the progress, thus far.

  6. Next lets change the color of the lips.
    Select the original image layer, zoom in on the lips area, then select the ‘Pen Tool (P) (make sure ‘Paths’ is turned on up on the ‘Options Bar’.) and trace around the lips to a complete path.Then use the ‘Convert Anchor Point Tool’ to create curvature to fit the shape of the lips.

    Next, right click on the path and choose, ‘Make Selection’ from the context menu, leave it at the default ‘Feather Radius’ of ‘0.5’.

    Now we have a selection made of the lips. As in step 3, go to ‘Layer/New Adjustment Layer/ Hue/Saturation’, select the ‘Group with previous Layer’ option, and as captured below, ‘Edit’ the ‘Reds’.

  7. Here’s how your ‘Layer’s Palette should look, followed by the new image thus far.
  8. Finally, let’s alter the hair color. For this we will use the ‘Extract Tool’.
    So to begin, duplicate the original image, but select the last layer in the stack. (As I have captured below)
  9. Then hit the ‘Alt + Ctrl + X’ key combination to open the ‘Extract Tool’.Once inside the ‘Extract Tool’ control panel, select the ‘Edge Highlighter Tool (B)’ (first on the left) and with a relatively small brush size (choose on the right) trace around the hair line.
    Be sure to have the ‘Show Highlight’ option ticked. (second last option bottom/right)Edge Highlighter screen shot here.

    Next select the ‘Fill Tool (G)’ (second on the left) and click inside the area of your drawn edge selection.
    Be sure to have the ‘Show Fill’ option ticked. (last option bottom/right)

    Fill Tool screen shot here.

    Next, hit the ‘Preview’ command option (third top/right), to see how the extraction looks.

    Not all will be perfect, especially in this case since there was not enough contrast between the background color and the edge of the hair.

    Preview screen shot here.

    So to alleviate the somewhat poor extraction (in this case) select the ‘Edge Touch up Tool (T)’ and slowly drag the ‘circle/cross hair’ cursor around the edge of the hair. (esp. in areas that appears messed up) This should smooth out some areas.

    Note: most of Photoshop’s shortcuts work in this panel, like undo. So you may need to make use of them.

    Also, hold the ‘Alt’ key and the ‘Cancel’ command button reverts to a ‘Reset’ command button. However, if you reset, you will lose any touch ups done thus far.

    Edge Touch up Tool screen shot here.

    Once you’ve completed the extract/touch ups, hit the ‘Ok’ command option.

  10. Now, back to the canvas, here’s what your ‘Layer’s Palette’ should look like, as I have captured below.
  11. Next, drag the ‘Original’ (which is the hair) from the last one in the stack to the uppermost position in the stack. (As I have captured below)
    Alternately: Ctrl + Shift + ] (Right Bracket key) combination will move the selected layer to the uppermost position in the stack.
  12. Almost there!.
    Have the ‘Original’ (extracted hair layer) selected, and repeat as we did for the other facial elements (in steps 3 & 8).
    ‘Layer/ New Layer Adjustments/ Hue/Saturation’, on the next prompt tick the ‘Group with Previous Layer’ option and tick the ‘OK’ command. Then the ‘Hue/Sat’ control panel. There’s so many directions to go here to alter the color of the hair, so I stuck with the red theme, as captured below.
  13. Here’s what your ‘Layers Palette’ should look like and below that is the final result.Final Note: some of the areas that came out shabby in the extraction process may appear visible depending on what color you go for here, so you may want to clean them with some simple smudging.

Here’s my hig res version.

Color Balance with Levels Command

Below is an image of an vintage camera that I own.

Go to ‘View/Histogram’, and as captured below, the histogram reveals that theres not enough lights – far right (barely any at all in fact, indicated by the sudden drop towards the highlight zone), to much midtones (indicated by dominating peaks- middle area) & sharp shadow zones – immediate left.

Even in expanded view (Individual Channel Mode), it’s easy to tell where the problem areas are, as I have indicated below in boxes.

Here are a few ways to correct this.

Manual Correction.

Go back to the Levels command & adjust each of the channel items from the drop down list so that it equates to a corrected color balance as seen to the image on the right.

Set Black, Midtone, Whites with Eyedropper Tools.

But before we do this, let use the ‘Threshold Command’ to help pinpoint the Darkest & Brightest area of this image.

Go ‘Edit/Adjustments/Threshold’.

To locate the darkest area, drag the Threshold slider to the left (encircled in red) and drag to a point where your document preview shows small specs of black (as indicated by the red arrow).

Then bring your cursor to that black location, hold the Shift key, as this will revert the Eyedropper cursor to the ‘Color Sampler’ tool – encircled in blue).

Then click to set a sample for the darkest area.

Repeat the process to sample the brightest are by dragging the same thresshold slider to the right, bright the cursor to the brightest location, hold the Shift key and click to sample.

Note: You can see the first sampler that was set. (Encircled in yellow)

Next, exit/cancel out of the Threshold Command, and go back to the Levels Dialog.
To the lower right, select the Set Black Eyedropper and click inside the Sampler 1. (Indicated by the arrow)
Select the Set White Eyedropper and click inside the Sampler 2.

Here is the result.

Notes: If you find there’s still some overspill in color, simply go through the manual method above.

Also, for more control, instead of using the ‘Image/Adjustments/Levels or Threshold’ commands, rely on the ‘Layer/New Adjustment Layer/Levels or Threshold’ commands as they allow for edit ability.

Color Replace with Ease

Below is the target image.
This and similar images are available from AbsolutVision image library.

As with most image manipulation, always back up your original image layer. As captured above, lower right, duplicate the target layer and turn off visibility of the original layer.

Next, select the Color Replacement Tool from the toolbar, then on the ‘Options Bar’ adjust it’s tool features as I have captured below. Most important option here is the ‘Color’ blend mode.

Experiment with your Brush Preset and Tolerance level, depending on the size of your document.

Set your Foreground color to your desired preference. I will use #24b246 – green.
Click ONCE anywhere in the blue shirt area of the target image, and drag around until all is covered.

First sampling from the collar area only got the above covered.

A second (sampling) click and drag process beginning underneath the hand was able to complete it as captured above.

Match Color Photos

Below are the two images in question.

The (A) image is the one with the preferred color cast, and will be used in the ‘Match Color’ process for the (B) image.

To correct this, have both images open in Photoshop CS2.
Have the target image (B) active then go ‘Image/Adjustments/Match Color’ menu command.

Then select the Source image (A) from the ‘Source’ drop down list to instantly Match Colors.

If the color cast does not match your preference adjust:

  1. the ‘Luminance’ slider to control the amount of light,
  2. adjust the ‘Color Intensity’ slider to boost or lower saturation
  3. and or adjust the ‘Fade’ slider to control the amount of the above items to the overall result.
  4. Select any custom shape from the preset picker.

Here is the resulting Match Color Effect.

Thats fine and dandy, but theres a little more control here than meets the eye.
Refine the Match Color to a specified selection. Example match color from a limited area (selection) from A. to the entire image of B.

To do this, simply refine a selection to the source image (A) as I have captured above.
Activate the Target image (B)
Go Edit/Image/Match Color.
Set the Source to (A) and adjust sliders to refine.

All image sources on this page are courtesy of AbsolutVision Photo Gallery.

Change Eye Color

Below is the sample image.

One option to start with is to sample from another image that has a different eye color you would like to mimic.

With the target sample open, activate the ‘Eyedropper Tool (I)’ and click once in the blue eye area to sample from. Note: That new sample now becomes the foreground swatch.

Switch back to your original target image. (Duplicate original image layer before proceeding)

  1. Activate the ‘Color Replacement Tool (B)’.
  2. Then up on the Options Bar, select a brush preset and ensure your ‘mode’ is set to ‘Color’, as captured below.
  3. Then brush over the old eye with the new foreground swatch color.

Not intense enough for you!

Undo the last step. Double click the Foreground Swatch color and pick a new one from the Color Picker Palette. Then repeat the above 1, 2 and 3 process.

Here is the final before and after shot.


Hue/Saturation Adjustments

Here’s simple ‘Adjustment Layer’ technique on how to alter a particular color within a photo.

Below is the original photo I took of a mini car from my neighborhood.

In this lesson I will use the adjustment layer ‘Hue/Saturation’ to do this. So please follow along.

    1. So start off by placing the original photo in a new document.
    2. Next, go to ‘Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation…’ menu command.
    3. Because this is a ‘New’ adjustment layer, the next screen prompts you with a few more options. The only one to be concerned with here, is to make sure to check the option ‘Group with Previous Layer’.TIP: The benefit of using adjustments layers is that it provides unique adjustments to your composition without destroying the original pixels. Unlike the same ‘Adjustments’ from the ‘Image’ menu option, any affects done through those options is applied directly to your photo.

      So ultimately, flexibility and non-destructive habits are well worth learning.

    4. Next is the actual ‘Hue/Saturation’ control panel.
      Just a brief: This panel allows for two ‘Edit’ color ranges from your composition. Particularly, ‘Master’, meaning all color channels are affected. Then the Selective options below the ‘Master’ list giving you even more flexibility over what you want to change.Also, tick the ‘Preview’ option on the lower right to see in real time the changes you need to make.

  1. In our case, we’ll concentrate on the yellow color based on the body of the mini car. So from the ‘Edit’ list choose ‘Yellows’ and match the ‘Hue’ and ‘Saturation’ values I have captured below. (Feel free to experiment with the sliders!)

And here’s the modified image.

Some other variations.