Photo Correction

Classroom Demonstration

I will demonstrate the following Photoshop correction tasks during class. Try them out on these images (click for the full-size photo):

photo correction dinosaurs natural history museum  t rex photo correction dinosaurs natural history museum  t rex photo correction dinosaurs natural history museum t rex photo correction dinosaurs natural history museum t rex
  • adjust image size
  • straighten and crop and image
  • adjust the tonal range with Levels and Curves
  • use the Spot Healing Brush
  • use Content-Aware Fill
  • use the Clone Stamp tool
  • use the Content-Aware Patch tool
  • remove digital artifacts
  • sharpen photos
  • quick tips for making photos pop

Illustration Effects on Photos

We will complete this tutorial in class as an introduction to many of Photoshop’s photo transforming tools.

  1. Find a high-resolution color photograph of a person, preferably showing most of the body and with a solid background.
    David Bowie
  2. In the Edit menu, select Define Pattern. Name your pattern and click OK to preserve an original state of this image that we will use later.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop pattern name
  3. Press Ctrl-J (PC) or Cmd-J (Mac) to duplicate the Background layer. Rename it as Sketch.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop duplicate layer
  4. With the Sketch layer active, go to the Filter menu and find Stylize > Find Edges. This gives us a quick line drawing effect upon which we’ll continue to build the illustration.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop find edges filter
  5. Turn off visibility of the Sketch layer by clicking on the eye icon on the left edge of the layer.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop turn off layer visibility
  6. Select the Eyedropper tool from the Tools panel. Click anywhere inside the original photo to set an existing color as the Foreground color. We will use it to fill the background behind our subject.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop eyedropper tool
  7. Create a new layer. Fill it with your Foreground color: Alt-Delete (PC) or Option-Delete (Mac).
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop add filled color layers
  8. Name the new layer Backdrop, and move it to just under the Sketch layer.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop rename layer
  9. With the Backdrop layer active, go to the Filter menu and select Filter Gallery. Twirl open the Texture section, and click on Texturizer,
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop filter texturizer canvas
  10. In the settings for Texturizer, set the texture to Canvas. Set scaling to 100%, relief to 3, and the Light source to Top. Adjust to your tastes. Click OK.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop texturizer filter settings
  11. Turn visibility of the Sketch layer back on, and make it active.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop layers panel all visible
  12. Change the blend mode for the Sketch layer to Multiply. This will make the white parts invisible.
    Illustration Effects on Photo Photoshop multiply blend modes
  13. Create a new layer named Painting and move it just under the Sketch layer. Set its blend mode to Hard Light.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop new layer hard light blend mode
  14. Zoom into your image a bit. Select the Pattern Stamp tool, which is located in the flyout menu for the Clone Stamp tool.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop pattern stamp tool
  15. In the Options bar, click the Pattern Picker to open the menu. Locate your original photo image and select it.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop pattern picker
  16. At the left end of the Options bar, choose a small, soft-edged brush.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop brush settings for pattern stamp tool
  17. Start painting on the Painting layer inside the image. It should be aligned because you’re in the same working document.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop painting with pattern stamp tool
  18. Use the Eraser tool with a soft edge to remove excess color on your Painting layer.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop eraser tool
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop
  19. We’re going to fade the bottom edge of the painting: begin by adding a layer mask by clicking the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop add layer mask
  20. Press the D key and then the X key to set the foreground color to black.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop default foreground color
  21. Select the Gradient tool in the Tools panel. In the Options bar, click the triangle to the right of the Gradient Editor Swatch and select Foreground to Transparent. Make sure the gradient is set to Linear.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop gradient tool foreground to transparent linear
  22. Starting in the bottom half of the image, click-and-drag the gradient upward a ways. Painting black on the layer mask thumbnail conceals content on that layer and reveals the layer below.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop draw with gradient tool
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop gradient applied to layer mask
  23. Add another new layer, name it Gradient and move it to just under your Painting layer. Set the layer’s blend mode to Screen.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop gradient applied to layer mask
  24. The Foreground color should return to your prior color. With the gradient tool still active, go to the Options bar and choose the Radial Gradient setting.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop gradient tool radial gradient foreground to transparent
  25. Beginning at the center of the illustration, click-and-drag the gradient outward.
    Illustration Effects on Photos Photoshop radial gradient applied
  26. Save your work.
Illustration Effects on Photos completed tutorial Illustration Effects on Photos completed tutorial

Colorize a Grayscale Photo

In days gone by, photos were black and white. In order to achieve a color photograph, professional tinters painted directly onto photo prints. Let’s transform a modern image into an old-fashioned, hand-tinted postcard.

  1. Find a high-resolution color photograph that would look interesting with a hand-tinted effect. Avoid photos with mostly black or mostly white areas (pure black and pure white areas will not pick up the color with this technique.) Vintage or romantic images are a classic for this effect, because it gives images an old-fashioned feel, but you can try other types of photos.
    Colorize a Grayscale photo - Photoshop original image
  2. Open the photo in Photoshop. Press Ctrl+J to make a duplicate layer of your photo (this protects your original photo from being ruined, in case you need it again.) Rename the duplicate layer as Grayscale. Save as a Photoshop file.
    Colorize a Grayscale photo - Photoshop duplicate layer
  3. If the photo is in color, go to Image > Adjustments > Black and White. Adjust the sliders until you like the result, and click OK.
    Colorize a Grayscale photo - Photoshop black and white adjustment
  4. Set your foreground color for the first color you want to paint with. Keep in mind that you want to keep your color palette limited and that you don’t need to paint everything. Just key areas. You can “cheat” by using the eyedropper tool to select a color from the Background/color image.
    Colorize a Grayscale photo - Photoshop set the Foreground color
  5. Create a new layer at the top of the layer stack and name it after your color or what area you plan to paint.
    Colorize a Grayscale photo - Photoshop new named layer in layer stack
  6. Select the Brush tool from the Tools panel.
    Colorize a Grayscale photo - Photoshop brush tool
  7. In the Options bar, select a round brush with 0% Hardness.
    Colorize a Grayscale photo - Photoshop brush options
  8. Move your brush out over the picture. You can adjust the size of the brush by using the [ key (smaller) or the ] key (larger). Paint on your image a bit, on the active top layer.
    Colorize a Grayscale photo - Photoshop painting with brush tool
  9. Change the blend mode for the layer to Color, and adjust the Opacity percentage so that it is more subtle.
    Colorize a Grayscale photo - Photoshop layer blend mode and opacity
  10. Keep painting the same color on the same layer. Adjust your brush size as you go. To erase, press the E key to access the Eraser tool. Then press B to return to the Brush tool.
    Colorize a Grayscale photo - Photoshop painting with brush tool
  11. If you want to adjust the hue, go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and slide the Hue slider a bit. Click OK.
    Colorize a Grayscale photo - Photoshop hue/saturation adjustment
  12. Repeat the steps above for each new color: choose a new foreground color, create a new layer and name it, set its blend mode to Color and bring the Opacity down, and paint.
    Each hue should have a separate layer, so that you can more easily adjust each if needed. Adjust the hardness and size of the brush as needed. Save your file frequently.
    Colorize a Grayscale photo - Photoshop painting with brush tool
Colorize a Grayscale photo - Photoshop final