Friday, September 3, 2010

Just A Splash Of Color

Count the peppers. How many do you see? If you said two, you’re missing one. It’s not there, not because of some trick, but by careful use of a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. Frequent readers know that I use individual (Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, and Magenta) Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers in a specific way. I make a half dozen ALs, one for each color, and maximize the Saturation only. I draw the slider all the way over to 100% and, while holding down the Shift Key, walk the saturation back down to what gives the maximum color without getting garish. Holding the Shift Key down moves the amount in ten point increments rather than one point steps. The difference between 60% and 50% is noticeable. The difference between 55% and 56% isn’t. Today’s image has an added wrinkle thrown in. On the Red Adjustment layer the Hue Slider was moved to turn the red peppers green. Each Adjustment Layer comes with its own Mask. The purpose of that Mask is to affect the adjustment that was just made. By creating a Selection (using the Quick Selection Tool (W)) and replacing the mask was all that was required to return the two subject peppers to their original color. With the third pepper effectively removed from the image a “normal” image could be started. There are a couple of things that will direct a viewer’s eye in a shot. One is an acceding color placed against a receding color. Warmer colors, reds, yellows, oranges, etc. project forward in an image. Cooler colors, blues, greens, muted purples all fall back in an image and serve to accentuate the hotter colors. Another device that can be used to separate a subject from a background is focus. Sharp focus brings things to the front and soft focus pushes objects further into the depths of the shot. To hear about how each technique was used in today’s image, hit the “read more”.

The fact that the third “red” pepper in today’s image can’t be seen at all lends credence to the idea that color is a major influencing factor when people look at images. If today’s image were Black & White, the third pepper would probably be easier to find. As it is, the third pepper was reduced so much that it, literarily disappeared. At the start of processing today’s image, the third red pepper was in the lower left portion of the shot that now appears black. It was every bit as bright as the two remaining peppers, but, by using the Hue Slider in the red Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer it was reduced to just above zero visibility. The final blow to the pepper came with the addition of the vignette. Remove the vignette and you’d see a ghost. Remove the red Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and you’d have a red pepper in the lower left corner on the image.

Some people might say they’d use the Eraser Tool (E) to remove offending objects. Don’t do it. The Eraser Tool is the most destructive tool in Photoshop’s arsenal. Using it is using a crutch. If I have one piece of advice to people (including people putting tutorials out on the WWW) using or promoting the use of the Eraser Tool it would be “STOP”. There are better ways.