Monday, April 15, 2013

Photoshop Brushes And Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers

Face blurred because I don't have parental permission yet.
I was almost set with today’s image and was giving it a once over to make sure I was happy with the way it came out.  I wasn’t.  I didn’t particularly like the background colors in several Layers.  They just didn’t add any spark to the image.  I could have tossed the offending Layers, but that would mean redoing just about the entire background.  Luckily, each form and each color were on different Layers.  Layers are one of Adobe Photoshop’s magical things to work with.  (Layers have been around since Photoshop 3 [Not CS3.  Plain old 3].)  One of the things I do when attempting to “create” a “work of art” is label each of the Layers.  Not with some general title, but adding some detail.  A typical Layer might be something like: “green from turf – abstract 237 – opacity”.  That way, if I want to go back and add more Brush strokes or make changes I know what I’m looking for.  I know where to sample the color.  Will it be an exact match?  Maybe not, but it’ll be something above 95% the same color.  Close enough.  I’m be able what set of Brushes it came from.  Was it a cloud, a paint stroke, an abstract, a star field or a splatter?  I can get in the right area and I’ll know I played with the Opacity of either the Layer or the Brush.  Seeing as its one color and one shape on one Layer, it really (in this case) doesn’t matter which Opacity I change.  To understand the color changes that can be made, hit the “Read More”.

The abstractness of the background was pretty reasonable.  I liked the interplay of the different Layers and how the color of one came through the Layers above it.  The poofs of color that you see as pink started out as the gray color seen in the stripe on the shorts.  It’s comes from the sunlit area below the shadow of the arm.  It brought the mood of the image down to a more sullen tone.  With that particular Layer selected, a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was added.  The Colorize checkbox was clicked “On” and the Adjustment Layer was Clipped to the Layer being worked on.  (Layer/Create Clipping Mask)  With that combination of steps, the Hue of the  gray Brush strokes could be altered independently of the other colors.  Rather than gray, the Hue was brought down to a pinkish tone.  I felt that better suited the female athlete. 

One of the keys to making an “artwork” piece like today’s image is to keep things as flexible as possible.  Rather than piling up all the Brush strokes (actually dabs) on one Layer, it’s often better to place a few strokes on one Layer and then add more dabs of the same color and shape on a second (or third, or fourth) Layer.  The greater number of Layers, the greater flexibility can be had creating the density that is appropriate to the image you’re trying to develop.

The big deal is play and stay flexible.