Photoshop Adventures: Color Correction & Cloning

Photoshop Adventures: Color Correction & Cloning

For quite some time, I would have told you that my favourite pro­grams out of Adobe’s Cre­ative Suite were Illus­tra­tor and InDe­sign, respec­tive­ly (depend­ing on the task at hand). While Pho­to­shop was the first pro­gram I ever used from Adobe, my per­son­al projects and work projects land me in the oth­er two pro­grams far more often. After all, I’m a graph­ic design­er, not a pho­tog­ra­ph­er. Nev­er­the­less, after learn­ing Illus­tra­tor and InDe­sign and find­ing them to be very intu­itive and user-friend­ly, I har­bored a bit of resent­ment towards Pho­to­shop, believ­ing it to be need­less­ly com­pli­cat­ed and inflat­ed to the point of being com­plete drudgery to work with.

But then, not too long ago, my part­ner and I dis­cov­ered the joy that is Aaron Nace’s Phlearn Pho­to­shop and Pho­tog­ra­phy Tuto­ri­als. We spent hours almost every evening for a few weeks watch­ing the tuto­ri­als, and it seemed like a whole new world had opened to me. I’ve always been com­pe­tent in Pho­to­shop, don’t get me wrong. But sud­den­ly it seemed like I could move from mere com­pe­ten­cy into pro­fi­cien­cy. In fact, I must hearti­ly thank Phlearn for mak­ing their valu­able resources so read­i­ly avail­able, as even lit­tle tips and tricks I’ve picked up from the show have been so help­ful to me in my job as a graph­ic design­er.

Par­tic­u­lar­ly when work­ing with stock imagery that’s close to what a client wants, but not quite.

Today’s conun­drum in Pho­to­shop Adven­tures, for exam­ple, was a client request to find a pic­ture of two or indus­tri­al work­ers, not in busi­ness suits, wear­ing hard hats but not tool belts, prefer­ably point­ing diag­o­nal­ly up at some­thing (the head­line of the design project I’m work­ing on for a client).

The clos­est image I’d been able to find was this one, from Think­Stock Pho­tos.

Composite photo with a watermark from Thinkstock. Two men wearing blue construction uniforms and gear with blue hard hats, are looking to the upper-left of the photo. One is wearing a utility belt and pointing. The other isn't wearing a utility belt, and he is holding rolled-up blueprints.

There were 2 prob­lems I encoun­tered:

  1. The tool belt was an absolute no-go for the client.
  2. The col­or of the jump­suit was going to clash with my client’s brand­ing, which is a deep teal.

As I was unable to find some­thing that was exact­ly like what the client want­ed, I decid­ed to go ahead and try to Pho­to­shop the image I had — some­thing that even six months ago I’d have said was too com­pli­cat­ed to com­plete in a time­ly fash­ion.

Luck­i­ly for me, this pho­to was one of a series with the same two men. I want­ed to find an image of the man on the right, but clos­er to the angle of the man on the left, so I could sam­ple the sec­tion of the suit with­out the tool belt. The clos­est thing I could find was this pho­to:

Composite photo with a watermark from Thinkstock. Two men wearing blue construction uniforms and gear with blue hard hats, looking at the camera. The taller man on the left has a brown utility belt on. The shorter man to the right doesn't have a utility belt.

I copied the sec­ond pho­to over into the first, and cre­at­ed a lay­er mask for the sec­tion of tor­so I need­ed. Using the Trans­form tool, I warped and skewed the image to a close approx­i­ma­tion of the man’s stance, then used the Liquify tool to clean up the edges a bit. I cre­at­ed a sep­a­rate lay­er for cloning/stamping the edges to make sure every­thing blend­ed well togeth­er, along with cre­at­ing an adjust­ment lay­er for adjust­ing the curves so that it blend­ed tonal­ly with the rest of the image.

From there, I cre­at­ed a few more adjust­ment lay­ers, adjust­ing the curves, lev­els, and hue/saturation as need­ed. I got every­thing look­ing pret­ty great except for the skin tones, which prompt­ed me to cre­ate anoth­er adjust­ment lay­er and mask out just the sec­tion of the pho­to where the men’s faces are.

The final result, I’m proud to say, is this:

Composite photo with a watermark from Thinkstock. Two men wearing blue construction uniforms and gear with blue hard hats, are looking to the upper-left of the photo. One is wearing a utility belt and pointing. The other isn't wearing a utility belt, and he is holding rolled-up blueprints.

Total time it took? About an hour.

Many many thanks to Aaron Nace and the team at Phlearn for giv­ing me the tools to approach and solve design prob­lems!

Posted in Fat Girl,