Skill level: beginner-intermediate
Program used: PS7
Notes: This was requested by foreverred. I have labelled it beginner-intermediate because the steps we use are simple but you do need to know how to access the various parts of the program.
To start with, we are going to be using this picture of Alan Rickman. Cropped down to icon size, we have this:
I prepped the icon by sharpening it once and that's it. It doesn't need to be smoothed out at all in my opinion however depending on the picture you have chosen to use you may need to do more prepping than I've done. Here is the prepped base:
As you can see it just looks a little more clear than the original base. As far as prepping the base, black and white photos are no different than colour pictures. You can oversharpen them and oversmooth them. Below, on the left, is an example of a the base being oversharpened and on the right is one that is too smooth.
The oversharpened one has been sharpened 3 times. The over smoothed one has been sharpened twice and then the skin smoothed out using the blur tool at 70% and sharpened just the eyes. In that case, you may as well use the original base without doing anything to it at all. Note: The blur or smudge tool should never be so high if you're using it to smooth out skin. It is best to keep it low - 5-8%. If you are smoothing out background colours that's different but skin should always be done on a low number to keep it looking realistic.
Now the beauty of a black and white picture is that you can do all sorts of neat things to it to get all sorts of colour effects. Here are a series of effects done on the prepped base.
|I added a new layer and filled it with #5F6E86. I then set the blending mode to Color and the opacity to 75%|
|I added a new layer and filled it with #112035. I set the blending mode to Exclusion and the opacity to 75%|
|I added a new layer and filled it with one of the default gradients - a purple to orange one. I then set the layer to Lighten|
|I added a new layer and filled it with #EB0732. I set this layer to Exclusion and the opacity to 60%. I then duplicated the base layer, moved it on top of the other layers and set that layer to Soft Light.|
The best thing to do is fiddle with the colours and the layer blending modes. You can do all sorts of neat stuff with those. Now for a different type of example. For this part, I will be using this picture, also of Alan Rickman. (I like him :P can you tell? hehe)
My cropped and prepped base is below. I sharpened it once and smoothed out the skin with a size 8 brush and the smudge tool set at 8%.
I personally love working with black and white pictures that have light coloured clothing because it's a really fun way to add colour to an icon. I find the best way to do this is to add a new layer and fill it with whichever colour you want to use. Then set that layer to multiply and erase all parts with the exception of the clothes. Once you've got the colour just over the clothing you can change the blending mode to see what looks best. A few examples are below.
|Filled a new layer with #EB0732 and set that layer to Soft Light|
|Filled a new layer with #2139CD and set that layer to Soft Light|
|Filled a new layer with #CBD96A and set that layer to Multiply|
|Filled a new layer with #CBD96A and set the layer to Color Burn|
Now that's just playing with colours with black and white photos. You can also use brushes and filters and textures and all that fun stuff as well. Here are a few examples!
|I used this texture by dearest. I set the layer to Overlay and opacity to 80%|
|I used a texture by rough_draft___ set to Soft Light|
|I used this texture made by me. I set the layer to Lighten and put the opacity to 79%. I then duplicated the base and moved it on top of the other layers and set it to Soft Light|
I hope this gives you a good idea for all the different things that can be done with black and white pictures. If anyone else has any tips and tricks, feel free to leave a comment with an example or two!