A tutorial for this coloring has been requested a few times, so here it is. I've been using this coloring for quite a while now, so I can't remember exactly why I originally did some of the things I did, but I'll try to explain it the best I can.
Using Photoshop 7. Non-translatable, sorry! 17 steps.
Requires knowledge of photoshop tools (selective color, curves, etc.)
Alright, here we go.
1) The first thing we need to do is get our base ready. I started out with a screencap of Nathan and Haley from One Tree Hill. If you're image is dark like mine, you will need to duplicate your base and set it to screen
. The opacity of the screen layer depends on your image. If it is really dark, you may have to duplicate the screen layer. Mine wasn't too dark, so I only used one screen layer set to 70%. Like I said, this varies depending on the base. You may not need this step at all if your base is bright enough.
2) You don't have to sharpen your base right now. If it suits you, you can wait until the end to sharpen it. Sometimes that works better because you can adjust the sharpness according to how much it is needed after the coloring; however, I decided to go ahead and sharpen mine. I merged by screened base and my original base (Layer>Flatten Image), then went to Filter>Sharpen>Sharpe
n. It was a little too
sharp for my taste, so I went to Edit>Fade Sharpen
and lowered the opacity to about 70%
3) Now that our base is prepared, we can start to work on the coloring. My base was still a bit dull and flat, so I opened up a new curves layer
to make some adjustments (Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Curves). I really just messed around with it until I got something I liked. I knew I wanted more contrast, so in the RGB layer I adjusted it accordingly. My final settings were as followsRGB: Point
1 - Input 9, Output 1Point
2 - Input 24, Output 18Point
3 - Input 101, Output 121RED:Point
1 - Input 34, Output 36GREEN:Point
1 - Input 144, Output 146BLUE:Point
1 - Input 14, Output 3Point
2 - Input 28, Output 19
4) As you can see, it is already looking much more vibrant. However, I felt it was a little bit too orange-y for my liking. To fix that, I made a new fill layer (Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color) and filled it with a dark blue (#000A13). I set this layer to Exclusion at 100% opacity. This softened the image and made the darker parts a bit bluer, and the lighter parts pinker.
5) That lightened it a bit too much for me, I suppose, and I guess I thought it was too blue/pink for my taste. I did this next step to reverse a little of what was done in step 4. Looking back, I have no idea why I didn't just lower the opacity of the exclusion layer.. but I didn't. Instead, I made another new fill layer (Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color) and filled it with #6D675D. I set it to Soft Light @ 50% opacity.
6) It looks alright, but I felt like there needed to be more contrast still. And I still didn't like how orange-y it was turning out. To fix it, I opened up a new color balance layer (Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Color Balance). I knew I wanted more variation in the color, so I played with the sliders in the Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights accordingly. I upped the blues and cyans in the highlights, the reds and yellows in the midtones, and the blues and cyans in the shadows. My specific settings are below. Make sure 'Preserve Luminosity' is checked.
Midtones: +4, 0, -21
Shadows: -9, 0 +10
Highlights: -7, 0 +9
7) I still thought there wasn't enough contrast or color. I didn't want the light parts of the image to be any brighter, just for the dark parts to be darker, if that makes sense. I made another new fill layer (Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color) with #E8E3DE, a very light tan/yellow. I set this layer to color burn at 60% opacity.
8) But then I decided that I wanted to tone down the light parts just a tad. I did this by making anew fill layer (Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color) with #3C2E5D. I set this layer to Luminosity, and lowered the opacity way down to 7%.
9) This doesn't look awful, but now it's very dark and there's still not a whole lot of variation in the coloring. I felt the lights/whites didn't stand out enough, and I wanted to tweak the coloring some more. I opened up a new selective color layer (Layer<New Adjustment Layer>Selective Color). I left it at 100% opacity.These are my settings:
Reds: +30, +7, +12, 0
Yellows: -16, 0, +12, +21
Magentas: -41, +67, -24
Whites: -26, -36, -38, -55
Neutrals: 0, 0, 0, -13
Blacks: 0, 0, 0, +5
10) I still wanted more contrast, I guess. There are a couple of ways to up the contrast of an image, the most obvious being the Brightness/Contrast tool. But I chose to open up a new black and white gradient map (Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Gradient Map) and set it to soft light @ 50%.
11) I can't remember exactly why I did this, to be honest. I'm going to assume that I just wanted to brighten the icon up a bit. Anyway, I made a new fill layer (Layer>New Adjustment Layer>New Fill Layer) and filled it with #A0A0A0, a shade of gray. I set it to screen at 7%.
12) I always like to have some kind of a light source in most of my icons, so I placed this texture (it's been so long since I made this, that I can't remember if it's a texture I downloaded or if it's something I made, so if you recognize it let me know) on top and set it to screen @ 70%.
13) Right. Well, the problem is that a lot of the color has been drained out of the icon in the last few steps. I opened a new hue/saturation layer (Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation) and upped the saturation a bit. I set it to 95%.
Master: 0, +10, 0
14) It looks a bit more saturated, but it wasn't enough for me. I ended up duplicating the layer made in step 13 twice, but depending on your base you may need to do it more/less (or you may be able to skip this step entirely).
15) It looks better, but it's really orange/yellow still. In order to fix this, I made a new selective color layer (Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Selective Color) set to 100%. I knew I wanted the reds to be less yellow, but at the same time, I didn't want to lose the yellows entirely. In the end, I balanced it out with these settings.
Reds: 0, 0, -20, +8
Yellows: 0, 0, +36, 0
Whites: 0, 0, 0, -15
16) For a final touch, I added a bit more light to Nathan's face by creating a new gradient fill layer (Layer>New Fill Layer>Gradient). I chose a white -> transparent gradient with the following settings - Style: Radial, Angle: -25, Scale: 100%. I left the layer on Normal, but changed the opacity to 6%.
Phew! Now we're finally done. I hope this was helpful to you in some way, especially to those who have asked for it. Remember that not all colorings work on certain bases, and you may have to tweak things here and there depending on the image you chose to work with. I'd love to see any of your outcomes, and if you have any questions feel free to ask!
- Please don't copy exactly, or use my base or something like that. Be original!
- Don't claim as your own.
- Thanks for reading!