How to tint a photo in Photoshop

Tinting a photo is a really useful ability to be able to do.   To start with, tinting is important.  Maybe you want to guide the users attention towards certain aspects of your photo and away from others.  Maybe you want to give your photo an “upbeat” feel, or maybe more of a “dismal” feel.  Or maybe you just want to fine tune certain things.

Also, for the casual picture taker, we don’t have the luxury of a professional photographers lighting set ups.  We have to deal with the lighting that we’re given, and the lighting that we’re given is often times imperfect.  Tinting is often a good solution to this.


In order to tint your photo, the first thing you’ll want to do is add a black and white adjustment layer.  This is what will allow you to tint your photo.  As you can see in the picture below, there will be a column that appears on the right side of the screen.  Above the color sliders, close to the top, there will be a check box that says “Tint”.  Click this in order to tint the photo.


The photo will now be tinted according to the color in the box next to the tint check box.  A default color will appear, but you could change it according to your liking.

The question then becomes… “what color is to my liking?”.  If you’ve got a really good design sense, you might be able to just have an eye for what the proper color should be.  However, an easier way to do it would be to sample from your current picture.  For example, consider the picture above.  If you want the light brown area to be tinted more like the darker brown areas, you could choose one of the darker brown areas as your tint color that you want to apply.

To do this, first you’ll want to toggle your black and white adjustment layer off.  Then you can click on your tint color square.  Then, hover your mouse over the picture, and click the part of the picture that has the color you want to use as your tint color.  This will make your tint color the color of the area you just clicked.

This is just one of the many things you could do with tinting.  Keep playing around and explore some other tint functionalities!

– Adam Zerner


So you know those super awesome “Hope” posters Obama campaigned with in 2008? They were designed by an artist named Shepard Fairey. Some of you might also be familiar with the OBEY clothing line and stick propaganda, both of which were based on Fairey’s street art. Anyway, you can do the same effect to your pictures! 1. Open your picture in Photoshop and click “Essentials” in the top right corner.

1. Open your photo in Photoshop and select the “Essentials” tab on the right hand side. It’s highlighted in this photo:


2. Then you will see the color tab open on the right:


3. The “Posterize” option is in the third row of icons, second from the left:


4. Once you select “Posterize,” your picture will be Fairey-fied:


Cool, huh? You can mess with the levels of posterization on the right with the “level” scrubber. Enjoy!


Using the ‘Oil Painting’ Effect

In previous versions of Photoshop you had to use a plugin to create an ‘Oil Painting’ effect, but in Photoshop CS6 it is built in. This effect softens an image and makes it resemble a painting more so than a traditional photograph. It is both quick and easy to learn how to do!

High resolution images will work better, however any image can be used.

To Start:

1. Right click and duplicate your layer so you have your original image to refer back to.

2. Make sure your top layer is selected, then click ‘Filter’ –> ‘Oil Paint’

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3. From the settings options that appear on the right do the following (exact numbers may differ from image to image; this is a guide):

  • Stylization – 8.96
  • Cleanliness – 3.5
  • Scale – 8.96
  • Bristle Detail – 2.2
  • Angular Direction – 244-245
  • Shine – 0

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At this point your image should be starting to resemble an ‘Oil Painting’.

4. Duplicate the layer you just worked with, and set the fill to roughly 80%

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5. Now select ‘Filter’ –> ‘Other’ –> ‘High Pass’

  • Set to about 190 (adjust to your liking)

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Click ‘OK’ and you can toggle between your layers to see the before and after effects of using this tool. It really does help reduce shine and give a nice finished product that could be useful for our projects!

Link to Video:


Drop Shadows

In class this week we made our first (somewhat painful, at least it was for me…) attempts at mixing elements from two different images into one coherent composition. One of the hardest parts about executing this technique effectively is blending the two images without creating something that looks like a second grader’s scrapbook project. There are many ways you can edit various elements from each of the photos you want to combine to make them blend better. One way, is by using the drop shadow tool. Drop shadows create artificial, digitally constructed shadows for selected objects in your image composition. This can be helpful if, for example, you have an image of a landscape that includes a bright sun and you want to insert the image of an animal into the landscape. By creating a shadow for that animal that coincides with the position and intensity of the sun you can begin to make it appear as though the animal was actually in the original photo.

To add a drop shadow to an object within your composition, first select the layer containing that object. Next, select Effects from the windows menu to open the Effects Palette. In the Effects Palette click on the Layer Styles icon and select Drop Shadow from the list. Once the Drop Shadow window is opened you can change the distance from your object, intensity, blurriness, and direction of your shadow. This is where you can play around with the tool for a while to figure out which configuration of shadow components creates the best looking effect. Click the OK button to apply your changes and your generated shadow will appear in your composition.

This article I found from Wiki How illustrates in 8 simple steps the process of creating a Drop Shadow in your photoshop projects.


Making a New Photo look Old

Planning my recovery story was easy. Implementing that plan has not been as much of a walk in the park. The greatest and worst part of my plan is that a single key represents my family history, not photographs. As you can imagine, this presents quite a few problems in trying to uncover the history behind this key in a photo essay. Luckily, I’ve learned how to make new photographs look old by using Photoshop.


Aged photographs can be characterized by their lack of contrast and contrast and the presence of scratches or damage, as can be seen in the above photograph which is authentically old. Photoshop allows us to take a new picture and remove the contrast and color and also add artificial damage. First, open a new picture with Photoshop. Then, begin the process of aging by adding a layer to protect the original file. With this layer selected, a “hue/saturation…” adjustment layer can be added to create a sepia tone appearance that will help remove the large majority of the color. To do this, check the box that indicates, “colorize.” Then, adjust the hue up from 0 until it the hue level is at a level that looks good, a value around 30 is typically good. The saturation must also be adjusted from 0 to a value around 10.  These actions can be seen in the photo below.


Next the contrast must also be adjusted and “flattened out.” To do this a “levels” adjustment layer can be added. You can then adjust the toggles on both the black and white ends of the “output level” adjustment bar. To remove contrast further, you can adjust the highlight level by decreasing the value of the highlight toggle to about 200. The next thing you’ll want to do is add scratches or damage to your photo. Click on the original picture layer, go to the filter tab on your toolbar, and add a “noise” filter. You’ll want a value of about 3% and you’ll also want to select “Gaussian addition” and “monochromatic.” To add further scratches, add another layer above the original that is all black. Then add a “grain” filter.


Then adjust the intensity and contrast on the filter (above image) and set the “blending mode” under layers on the lower left dialog box to “screen.” Changing the blending mode of the layer will remove the black and allow the photo to be seen under the layer. At this point your new photograph should be looking pretty old.


Smart Objects for Smart Photoshoppers

By making an image into a smart object in Photoshop allows you to replicate, edit, and reedit that image! And you can open those smart objects in other Adobe programs and edit them again! crazy talk.

So if you create an image/object in Photoshop:


Then then right click the layer on the side panel, select convert to smart object:


NOW YOUR IMAGE IS SMART JUST LIKE YOU! it wont look different to you, you can move each layer like we saw in class, but now you have the ability to move the layers around after moving the smart object into a different program, like if you make your website through adobe maybe???? (hmm…)

Its really simple, i swear. so here’s some more images of me moving my object around.  Also its a cat wearing a batman mask, so enjoy.

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Layer Mask and Color Splash

Banksy is famous for doing it with graffiti art and oceans of images, movies, and everything in between do it both with subtly and without. Washing out or “color splashing” certain objects is an effective way to either dramatize or call attention to what you deem important. It creates a center, even when that object isn’t in the center. 

M. Night Shyamalan did it throughout “The Sixth Sense” with the color red. The color does not appear in any scene unless there is a dead person present; a subliminal, delicate but no less effective way of splashing color to convey a message. In Photoshop, the process is called layer masking. 


As Banksy has shown us with the balloon heart (innocence?) drifting away from the girl, images are often less coy with color splashing. And photoshop has a myriad of effects, other than saturation depletion, that can isolate specific objects of your choosing. 

Here’s how it’s done: 


  1. Right click on your layer and click duplicate layer
  2. Using the top layer, go to image + adjustments + saturation and hue 
  3. Toggle saturation all the way to the left (-100)
  4. Back in the toolbar menu, click layer + layer mask + reveal all
  5. A white box (the layer mask) will pop up next to the layer, then click on the brush or pen tool, make sure you are painting in this, not the actual layer 
  6. Because everything is black and white, erasing (or choosing white) will reveal the background layer: “White reveals, black conceals”
  7. Zoom in and fill in the shape of the object
  8. Fix up the edges by turning the hardness of the brush all the way up, and turn the color to black to re-introduce the saturation (you can click “x” on the keyboard to switch between black and white. 
  9. You can change effects now that you have the object singled out
  10. Click on filter and choose from any other effects (radial blur, change opacity, etc.) and the layer mask will stay the same, while the layer itself changes.