I posted this image on Facebook this morning and asked people if they could tell which was the original rose and which three were Photoshopped. As of right now, the majority of guesses are for peach (top right) with yellow, pink, and white tied for second place.
The answer is (drumroll please)…
I’m actually kind of glad it wasn’t obvious which color was the original. It means I’m doing something right in Photoshop. Would you like to see what it is that I did? It’s simpler than you might think.
This is the image straight out of the camera. It needs a boost for sure.
Here is is after running my “Better” action. I run Better on all of my photos. Essentially, it brightens the photo, boosts the saturation a bit, adds a touch of crispness, and allows me to optionally bump up the warmth or coolness. In this case (as in most), I adjusted the warmth. I go into much more detail about the Better action here, if you would like to dig deeper.
Usually Better is enough for me, but in this case I thought it could use a little something more. I added a Levels layer and dragged the black slider a bit to the right to enhance the darks. Then I dragged the white slider a bit to the left to enhance the lights.
I was satisfied at this point, so this is where I stopped for the yellow rose. Until, that is, I wondered how hard it would be to change the color of the rose.
It turns out, you can apply a color change quite easily by adding a color fill layer and changing the blend mode to “hue.”
Hue mode preserves the lightness and darkness values of the layer below, but replaces all of the color (or hue) with that of the current layer. See how the flower is just as bright as it ever was, and the leaves are just as dark? But the entire image is a single hue. It’s like converting to black-and-white, but instead of grayscale, you have peachscale.
Of course, in this case, we actually don’t want to change the hue of the leaves. We only want to change the flower itself. To accomplish this, we need a layer mask.
I added a layer mask to the Color Fill layer, and I painted on it with a soft brush.
Here is how a mask works: it’s an excellent, non-destructive way to selectively add effects to a layer. An entirely white mask lets the whole layer show. An entirely black mask hides the whole layer. If you paint some parts of the mask black and some parts of it white, then the white parts will show and the black parts will be hidden.
The beauty of this is that you can easily fix mistakes. Color something black accidentally? Color over it with white. You can go back-and-forth like this for hours until you get it right, if you are a perfectionist.
On the image above, the area in red is the part that is masked-off, or black on the mask. To put it another way, that is the area where the Color Fill layer will not be showing through (aka, the leaves will remain their original green).
Don’t be confused by the red. That is just Photoshop’s way of showing you what is masked and what is not. Once you get the mask to your liking, you can turn off the red highlight and see what your image really looks like.
And there you have it. Not bad, right?
The hue blend mode is so powerful, because it preserves all of the highlights and shadows, changing nothing but the color. I don’t have any proof, but I strongly suspect this is what fashion catalogs use when they show a model wearing the same shirt in six different colors…
You can have a lot of fun playing with colors not necessarily found in nature.
Or, why stop at single colors?
Instead of a Color Fill layer, I used a plain old raster layer, and then filled the top right corner with a radial rainbow gradient, and now I have a rainbow rose.
Really, though, my favorite is still the yellow. Yellow roses, for some reason I don’t really know, remind me of my grandmother. That’s why I bought this plant in the first place. I love to see it bloom every spring.
I hope this little tutorial made sense! Please feel free to ask, if anything is not clear.
Also, I’ve made this photo available in my Deviant Art Shop. I haven’t mentioned my photography shop for ages, and, in fact, I kind of let it languish for a while. But I think it’s worth keeping up. To that end, I added several of my favorite Spring images a few weeks ago, and today I added the Yellow Rose.
You can buy it as shown, in a 12×18 Jet Black Box Frame, or you can try any number of interesting formats and sizes from an unframed 5×7 to a 24×36 gallery-wrapped stretch canvas! If that’s too rich for your blood, there are greeting cards, post cards, mouse pads and mugs, too.
Have fun playing with the hue blend mode! And please, if you make any cool images, let me know. I’d love to see!