|fromamerica (fromamerica) wrote in rp_tutorials,|
@ 2009-08-13 22:18:00
|Entry tags:||images: editing|
Color changing hair in Photoshop
|Hello, fellow RP geeks! Welcome to Part 1 of a little tutorial I'm putting together on some of the many tricks of blending layers in Photoshop. These are pretty basic, and while these are written in Photoshop, it all works just as well in Gimp, there are simply different commands. chaperoned put together a translation of this tutorial into Gimp, click here to read it!|
Today we will start off working with a picture of a lovely singer named Alex Band. Say hi to Alex.
No, I have no real reason in choosing him outside of the fact that I am using him for a face, so I have pics of him in mind. We are going to be turning his hair white-ish for this tutorial. I say white-ish because pure white hair looks a little odd. Things pick up surrounding light, hair especially, and lighter colors and white do this more than darker colors, so pure white looks out of place, it's not picking up the surrounding colors! This tutorial will cover an easy way to turn hair white or other light colors. It does not work as well with darker colors, but I do somewhat touch on that at the end.
The next tutorial will deal with other ways to use these techniques, but this will cover the basics. For now, we're going to copy the photo (or whatever photo you are going to edit) and open it in Photoshop. This technique works very well for light hair, blonde and light to medium brown. Editing darker brown and black is an entirely different story and this tutorial will not be of help to you there, sorry. But for now--back to the photo! Open it and create a new layer, the little sheet of paper icon at the bottom of the "Layer" tab, and make sure it's on top of the photo.
For this image I'm going to use a slightly blue shade of white. Here's a hint: Never use pure white. Never. Never. NEVAR! Use a slightly gray or a slightly pigmented shade rather than pure white. It makes things look better.
So, now our color is picked. On to the next part!
This is what I call the "blob" phase. Just blob the color on. It's easier to blob it on and then erase it later than to try and oh so carefully paint over every single strand of hair. Plus, with the magic of blending layers, we're about to eliminate a whole lot of erasing. Here comes some magic.
Now we're going to find the "Layer" tab and click on the little drop-down menu. It will say "Normal" by default, we're going to click it to "Color" for this tutorial, and look at the difference! The hue and saturation are not changing, but the color of the top layer is changing the hair in the photo. This still does not look entirely natural, even outside of the huge globs of white over the skin, so we still have work to do. On to the next step!
So now it's time for some more in-depth cleaning. Every strand does not have to be 100% perfect, but take the color off the skin or backgrounds, if applicable.
So now we have it mostly cleaned, things are still a little 'sharp' in some areas, and the colors still does not look like it really fits. Don't stress the tiny details, it may be obvious now, but don't forget we will be shrinking these down to 100x100px, so no point in stressing over a single strand of hair.
Reducing the opacity helps to bring in the outside colors and make the white look more natural. No, it is not "pure" white anymore, but it also looks less stark against the rest of the image. In this case, I dropped it down to 72% before it started looking natural, but it varries from image to image, color to color, so play around. Keep moving the sliders until things look right. Also, for whatever reason, everything seems to save brighter/more stark, so when in doubt, go with the lower opacity.
Now to soften those sharp edges, we are going to cheat and use a tool to make our lives easier. Head to the top bar and go to Filter > Blur > Glussian Blur. There is even a preview box you can tick so you can slide the amount of blur until you find a good balance. Do not go overboard with this or you will end up with too much blur which will kill all your previous effort in getting the color on the hair itself. The blur is important as it helps cast a bit of the hair color onto the skin, part of that reflected color mentioned at the start of the tutorial.
Now it's time to make the image icon sized, which we do through selecting the crop tool and holding down the Shift key so we get a perfect square, then go to Image > Image Size and type in 100px. Then we head to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and, with the Preview button clicked, slide it until we find a look we like. Other options that are good to use are found under Image > Adjustments and are titled Hue/Saturation and Levels. Once again, check the preview box and slide the arrow around until it looks good. For images that look a bit blurry, you can go to Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen which will make the image more sharp, but this can result in pixelation. I would suggest using the Sharpen filter first, then using Hue/Saturation, Brightness/Contrast or Levels afterwards, as those seem to help soften some of the more jagged edges.
Is it a lot of work? well, it can be, but once you have the process down it goes fast. I made over 50 icons in 2 hours with this method, they can be seen here. But this is not all that can be done... here's some samples of other results you can get by playing with different colors and layer types.
| How about some crazy loud punk-gold hair? Try yellow-green on a Color Burn layer.|
|Too loud? Not green enough? Try the same color, but with a Hue layer.|
|What's that you say? It needs MOAR GAY? Then gay you shall have, throw a purple/pink in a Hue layer and we have cotton candy hair!|
As stated at the beginning of this tutorial, this method can be used to darken hair, however it is not as easy. In this case, I used a soft, semi-transparent brush to erase some of the brown out of the lightest area to help give more depth to the hair. Spending a bit of time drawing in different shades of your color of choice will help make the hair look more natural. As said before, it doesn't look incredible at full size, but once it's shrank down, it looks a bit better:
Hope someone finds this helpful! Part Two will be coming shortly. Feel free to ask any questions, I'll do my best to answer them as quickly and clearly as possible! :3