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Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique by Photographer Jason Tarr

Article by guest writer John Tarr

Sometime we need to tell a stronger visual story than is available with standard color or black and white photographs.

We want something to “jump” off the page in our image and grab the attention of the viewer and hold it.

If you do, I have something for you. 

Painting with Color A Photoshop Technique by Photographer Jason Tarr
Painting with Color A Photoshop Technique by Photographer Jason Tarr

As a graphic artist and photographer, I employed something that I feel is part of both worlds. It is a technique I learned from my son, Jason Tarr, who is the photographer, master Photoshop technician and owner of this website.

We call it “Painting with Color”.

I have used this photography skill many times when I have designed newsletter and websites because it does demand attention from the viewer.

It’s like underling a word in a sentence to make sure the reader does not sail on by. Some images take on a surreal eerie effect that stumps the senses.

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

The manipulation is done in Photoshop and is not hard at all.

First you will want to pick a suitable image. Something that will have a sharp contrast going from color to black and white.

 Not all photographs work and some better than others.

As you play with the tools you will get a better feel of what to look for in the way of an image to use.

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

I have made a step-by-step video on YouTube detailing how use this technique on your own photography. Click the link below to view it.

Happy painting.

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique by Photographer Jason Tarr

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  1. Open an image in Photoshop. Make sure the “Layer” pallet is open so you can keep an eye on it throughout this whole process. If it’s not open, go to the top > Window > Click layers
  2. You will also want to make sure the “History” pallet is open and can find that in the same place as the layer pallet.
  3. Now the magic begins.
  4. Make a second layer of the image by dragging the first layer into duplicate layer tool located at the bottom of layer pallet. It looks like the paper with fold on it (to the left of the trash can).
  5. You will now be working on the top color image in the layer. That is the image that will be turned into B&W while the bottom image stays color. When you paint that part of the B&W it will give way to the color image below in just that spot only.  
  6. To change the color image on top to B&W, highlight the top image in layer. Go to top > Image > Adjustments > Black & White. Now adjust the B&W using the tool pallet that will show up. Adjust the B&W to the best way that you like it. This is important to make a good B&W because that part of the image that will stay B&W will be most the image.
  7. Now you want to click “add layer mask”. That is also located at the bottom of layer pallet. It looks like an image with a BIG hole in it. This tool will then allow you to paint to the color image below. You will notice a white image will appear next to the B&W on the top layer.
  8. Remember this saying: White reveals, Black conceals. That is what you will want to remember as you move forward.
  9. Now you will want to select the eraser tool in the main tool pallet. If you do not know what that tool is just hover over each tool for a second and a pop up will show which one of the tools are.
  10. When that tool is open, you can the adjust the size of the tool by going to the top and change the brush size. On a Mac computer, the shortcut is the two bracket buttons to the right of the letter P. That is also where you change the mode, opacity and flow. I make the mode: brush and leave the Opacity 100% and Flow 100%.
  11. Remember when I said white reveals and black conceals? To switch back and forth on that tool go back to the main tool pallet and down below you will see two screens with an arrow pointing to both. You will want to make one black and one white. By clicking the double arrow it will switch which one is on top and regulating what the brush is doing.
  12. White will reveal what is on the bottom layer. In this case, it’s the color below. If you made a mistake and painted too much area you can switch to black and it will turn that part back to B&W. Very cool.
  13. Make sure you use the magnifying glass and make the image BIGGER so you can do fine detail. That will give your finished image more believability.
  14. You can leave this image in the layer form when you save it because it will make a Photoshop Document (PSD) file out of it. That way you can go back and work on it some more if you wish. You will also want to make a .JPG so you can share it with others and you can do that by making a “Save As” and clicking .jpg.

 

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique by Photographer Jason Tarr

Beyond The Shutter Photography Specializes in Wedding, High School Senior and Family Portraits.

Jason Tarr

(480) 369-2761

info@bts.photography

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