Photoshop Case Study

Photoshop Case Study


The following photoshop tutorial was submitted by one of our Forum members – Floris who took an image that another of our forum members submitted and did some photoshopping on it (with permission of the other member). I hope you find it a useful tutorial.

We’ve all experienced it, maybe only once, maybe 10 or even 100 times:

Looking at a photograph you took, and think: “pity, wish I could change the colors a bit, or frame it a bit to the right.” Sometime you can go back an try another shot, but thats not always possible.

Fortunately, you actually can change these things. (although not always)

Here’s a tutorial on what can be changed in this photograph (shown below) with some post processing work. (note – this photo was submitted in the by noamilee).

The photograph:

Post Processing2 Html M2853A3E4

Things some people (like me) would like to change:

  • Remove the date in the bottom right corner.
  • Change the skin color. It’s a little blueish, it makes the blue eyes stand out less.
  • Add some space left, maybe crop the right side a bit.

This all is quite easily to achieve, I made this tutorial as easy as possible, so I hope you can follow it.

Here’s where we’ll take this image in the post- post processing version:

Post Processing2 Html Mbd2A899

See what a difference it makes? The skin has a more natural color, the space left creates a nice atmosphere, the stupid date is gone, and the blue eyes stand out much more!No need to go back and try again! Three hurrays for photoshop! Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! …

Ok, enough talk, let’s get started!

Good luck!

Step1 : Open up your image in photoshop.

Step 2 : Go to Image>Mode>RGB color.

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Step 3: Double click the small lock icon on your layer and hit OK.

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Note: Double cliking the icon makes it disapear, wich means the layer is now editable.

So, we opened the picture, set it to RGB color (allowes us to edit the file), now it’s time to get rid of the date!

Step 4: Grab the Clone Stamp Tool, set a custom size, depending on how big the date-typing is.

Post Processing2 Html M149A6B81

Note: I used size 50, make sure the hardness is set at 0%!

Step 5: Hold the alt button on your keyboard while you click on a piece of smooth skin.

While holding alt you can see your cursor changing.

Step 6: Release the alt button, and start painting over the date.

(Sometimes you have to re-click on smooth skin, you’ll notice when needed.)

Note: press ctrl+alt+z to go back in history, and undo last actions.

Now the date is gone, we can move on to the skin color!

Step 7:

Ok, the skin needs some yellow and some red color.

To add those colors, you have to click the small circle at the bottom of the layers pallet.

A small window will pop up, click on ‘color balance’:

Post Processing2 Html M23029Db0

So, you see a pop up screen like below, right?

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The settings u use are differend on every photo.

On this photo, I used:

Midtones: +20, 0, -42

Shadows: +6, 0, -3

Highlights: 0, 0, 0,

I’m not saying you should use these settings too, just play with the settings, see what you get, and set everyting to what you like.

Note: Hit preview to to see the difference.

Hit OK

Note: This wil add a new layer to your file, with 2 different and importend things:

1: The color settings.

2: A layer mask

Post Processing2 Html Mb5653B8

I’ll explain the layer mask shortly.

Just continue for now.

Only now, we have one little problem: The blue eyes got changed too, along with the skin. And because we want the eyes to be as blue and as clear as possible, we need to fix the problem.

Don’t worry, just do what I’ll tell you in the coming minutes, and you’ll be just fine. (hopefully)

This is the part where we’ll need the “layer mask”.

The layer mask works very simple.

The square is totally white.

There where it’s white, the effect is enabled. (in this case the color balance)

You can brush on it, just like a normal layer, but this works only on black and white.

So in order to DISable the colorbalance at the eyes:

8th step: Grab you brush tool, set it to a soft brush, size as big as the eyes. Now make sure your foreground color is black (hit ‘D’ on your keyboard).

Now, click the layer mask. (In photoshop not here!)

Post Processing2 Html Mb5653B8-1

Sart brushing over the eyes, you’ll notice you wont be painting black paint, but the colorbalance effect will disappear and you’ll only see a slight change of color.

When you’re done, you’ll see 2 black spots on the white square.

Well done!

Post Processing2 Html 58B556E7-1

For the advanced photoshoppers:This can also be done with the history brush, but in a few minutes we’ll need to use the layer mask, and that’s why I already used it this time.

Wauwie.. looks a lot better, doesn’t it?

Yes, the blue eyes stand out more,

but we can make them even blue-er.

It’s not so hard, but we’ll need the layer mask think again.

Step 9: click on the layer mask again, and hit:

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Note: Press ctrl+J on your keyboard for short.

Now you’ll notice the skin got a realy red/yellow color. We’ll remove that in a second.

Step 10 A: Hit: Image>Adjustments>Invert

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Note: Press ctrl+I on your keyboard for


Ok, If you did right, your layer pallet will look like this:

Post Processing2 Html M52215414

What we just did, was inverting the colors, the 2 black got 2 white spots. (2 spots right on the eyes.)

The second colorbalance is only active at those 2 spots.

Step 10 B: So we can double click the left square of the second colorbalance, and move the arrows to ‘cyan’, and ‘blue’.

Just play again with the settings, also try the shadows and highlights.

Ok, time for the last part: adding some space to the left.

To do this we need to increase the canvas size, and add some color.

Step 11: Hit: Image>canvas size.

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Make sure the value is in percent, set width at 200, click the arrow, and hit ok.

You’ll notice your canvas is twise as wide, and your photograph is at the far left of it.

Step 12: Create a new layer, by clicking this small icon at the bottom of your layer pallet:

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A new layer will appear in your layer pallet. Click it, and drag it to the bottom of you pallet.

Step 13: Click the layer with your photograpgh on it, grab your eyedropper tool, and click somewhere on the BACKGROUND of your image, you might want to choose a slightly dark color. Now click the new layer again, and hit Alt+backspace on your keyboard to fill the layer with the picket color.

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Now you have your added space!

Yes.. but it looks like crap probably…

On this picture there’s some noise in the background so i’m going to add that to.

Step 14: Hit filter>noise>add noise.

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This will bring a pop up screen.

Play with settings until you’re happy.

I used: amount: 4

Uniform checked

Monochromatic unchecked.

Now it looks a little bit better, give it a better flow, you can erase the edge of your photograph with a soft brush. You might want to use a biggest size possible.

That’s all i wanted to teach you, I really hope you understood everything and it worked out well.

If you need any help you can contact me on the following email:

Also, my name is Floris on the forums.

My finished product:

Post Processing2 Html Mbd2A899-1

Read more from our Post Production category

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Ingie September 4, 2012 08:15 am

    Tutorial is nice and full. But the picture didn't become better. It became much much worse.
    It's not the beautiful blue baby eyes that was looking into the future.
    It's a cartoon now.

  • Sherif January 24, 2007 02:33 am

    i learn some thing new frome ur photo edit
    the new thing for me is to use the color balance from the layer palet
    and using the layer mask
    i always use Ctr+B

    i sent u a thank mail

    so thank u


  • Elle January 16, 2007 02:21 pm

    This is a great tutorial! Very clearly explained every step of the way. Thanks :)

  • Hancl January 15, 2007 04:49 am

    You know it drives me crazy as to how there are so many critics in this world. Someone tries to help by building a tutorial on how to perform specific tasks, while others want to knock it rather than take what they have learned and edit their photos to their liking. Geeees do you want to learn or just condemn those that know more than you?

  • Floris January 13, 2007 12:53 am

    Well, What do you mean it's not detailed enought? every single step is discribed, each time I say what to do next and how to achieve that, so you will no what part does what.

    also, I haven't said everyone should use this method and no else, have I?

    I understand some people know different and (for them)better ways.

    I explained just 1 road, of those many leading towards that what you want to achieve.

    thnx for your comment anyways, always like to know how people think. :)

  • Ziv January 12, 2007 11:20 pm

    not so good... It isn't detailed enough and doesn't explain what each part does.
    I think everyone should develop his own system to change stuff. So if you want to photoshop your images first read about some other techniques try them and choose your path.
    for example I like to use the curves to fix color and I use the automatic brush to remove dates.

  • Floris January 12, 2007 02:04 am

    Thanks agian a lot naomilee!

  • Justin January 12, 2007 01:21 am

    By any chance, is this baby a Fremen?

  • naomilee January 11, 2007 07:06 pm

    I took the original photo and am the mother of the baby in the shot. I have to say I love the job an can see merits to both leaving the eyes natural and enhancing them. I guess it would depend what you were intending to use the photo for. As someone who is just learning the basics of Photoshop i'd like to say great tutorial though. Now I can touch up some of my thousands of shots of the poor baby in question :)

  • KiwiExpat January 11, 2007 01:43 pm

    Great Turorial Floris!

    Sometimes I do wonder if the people who criticize the intensity of the eyes are wanting too much just served up on a plate. Yes, I agree, they are much too bright for my taste, but I thought it was pretty obvious why you did that. Good work!

    Too often you see a tutorial where the end result looks exactly the same as the starting photo - mainly because of the limitations of web pages. So it was nice to see the difference made so clear.

    Frankly, the only thing missing was a comment in the scenario description about having taken the shot with the wrong colour balance. Now, if you were shooting in Raw the problem is even easier to correct, but that's another story...

  • Bazza January 10, 2007 01:02 pm

    Sorry Floris :-) Your 'floral' name fooled me :-)

  • Bob Rommel January 10, 2007 07:59 am

    I won't weigh in on the eyes since it has been addressed, but I did have one comment. My suggestion would be for people to get in the habit of duplicating the background layer rather than making it editable and working with it directly - although it may not make a difference here, in general I think it is a better practice.

    Thanks for creating the tutorial,

  • Geert January 10, 2007 05:33 am

    Great Tutorial Floris,

    Very clear way of explaining everything, anyone would understand it.

    Thnks a lot


  • Ran January 10, 2007 05:00 am

    Well, this is a good tutorial!
    It teaches some good useful techniques on how to make things look better... also you guys should know, that you don't have to use that eye look, instead, you can keep them as they are, all depends on what you want to create.

    I'd say, this tutorial is well explained and teaches good!
    Good wory buddy!

  • Floris January 10, 2007 04:59 am

    @ bazza:

    I'm a boy, but doesnt matter ;)

  • Floris January 10, 2007 03:56 am

    Well, fellows,

    I Know it's very overdone, and the blue eyes look fake.

    But, I did this on purpose, just to make the difference more obvious.


  • Matthew Miller January 10, 2007 12:30 am

    I can see this used as an advertising image for something blue-themed, though.

  • Tom January 9, 2007 05:15 pm

    I agree -- interesting tutorial, but I think the baby's eyes look better (because more natural) in the original.

  • Bazza January 9, 2007 01:03 pm

    I think this is a great tutorial too. While perhaps she went a little far with the blueness of the eyes I think the steps are all still valid and illustrate how to do some good basic photoshopping. I actually like the end result - definitely eye catching!

  • Martin January 9, 2007 11:58 am

    I like this tutorial.

    Hitesh, do the pictures of adults in Vogue and other places look natural?

    But I would recommend using a screen capture with a little more resolution to be able to see the clicks.

  • elde January 9, 2007 11:56 am

    i agree with the comment above. the only thing achieved here is that the beautiful baby now looks alien. it's very easy to "overdo it" in photoshop. sometimes that is the desired effect...though probably not in the case of a portrait of an infant. less saturation in the eye would have created a more realistic (and corrected) photo.

  • Sydney January 9, 2007 11:43 am

    I think the picture would have looked alot better without the fake blue eyes. It isn't very subtle at all and looks way to manipulated. Other then that though the skin tone is a big improvement and this post has some useful tips.

  • Hitesh Sawlani January 9, 2007 09:44 am

    Sorry to say the final image looks quite fake, its so "perfect" its unnatural