In this lesson, we are working with powder photography. This is a type of photo created using powder and movement. We are going to discuss some common techniques for improving pictures, and also we will apply a rainbow effect, creating an interesting and unusual look.
Before editing in Photoshop and adding rainbow effect to photo
After editing in Photoshop and adding rainbow effect to photo
In this lesson, I want to show you how to add a rainbow effect with the powder, and a couple more tricks on how to make your picture more attractive and creative. So this is the picture we’re going to work with. You can use talc or ordinary baby powder for this shoot. Keep in mind that after you finished with your shoot, the black background can be thrown away. The powder is very messy and spoils it. Before we apply any effects, let’s first improve our black background. I want to make it a darker black. Select the Crop tool on the tool panel and click on the picture. You can think about portrait crop, but I’m thinking to stay with the landscape crop, and move the girl to the left so I will have some free space in the right part for some situational text or advertising.
By the way, when you move the picture, you can hold the shift key to avoid vertical shift. Okay, let’s stay with this position. Now I will just fill in the white part with the black color. You can see that I now have some other colors on my color swatch. For a quick switch to the standard black and white colors, just press letter “D.”
Looks good, but I still have this light part on the wall. You can think about using the Clone Stamp tool to hide it, but I’ll show you first how I hide it. First, let’s select the zone we want to hide. I’m using the Polygonal Lasso tool. When our selection is ready, go to the menu Edit, then Fill and in the small box make the selection for Content Aware in the Content field. In this case, our program will analyze the surroundings of your selection and try to fill it to match this background. You can see the result is very good. We still have a light spot, and I’m going to hide it with the Clone Stamp tool in a normal mode. Nice and easy. Alright, our background is ready and looks quite good.
For the next step I’m going to transform our powder trace. I want to give it a more symmetrical and uniform look. Let’s start with filling these gaps. I want to add more powder here, but I don’t want to mess with the black background. So, I will take the Clone Stamp tool and change it’s mode from Normal to Lighten. In this case, the Clone Stamp tool will copy of the details that make our image lighter, so it will add light powder over the black background, but it will ignore black color over the white powder, just like we need it to. I try to sample very accurately so we don’t create any strange repetitions.
It looks better now, but I’m still not very satisfied with the form. I want my trace to be more curved, and we are going to fix it in the Liquify panel. But before that, let’s create a copy of our layer. Press in and hold Command or Command + J.
And now go to the menu Filter – Liquify. The main instrument on the Liquify panel is the Forward Warp tool. It allows you to distort the image any way you want. You can see that when I drag it left, it shifts pixels of my image to the left. The two main parameters of this instrument you can manipulate which is size and pressure. It controls the power of your distortion. If I make it 100, you can see the result. The distortion is big and fat. So I prefer to stay with some safe number. Thirty is perfect for me. Let’s restore our image and start with correction of the powder to make it more like a circle. But you see when I work too close to the girl, I can accidentally distort her. I don’t want to do that, so I’m going to use the Freeze Mask tool. When you draw with this tool over some part of the image, it creates a safe zone that cannot be changed, so we safely work with the rest of the image.
After we’re finished with the powder, let’s erase the Freeze Mask and make some little changes to the girl. I’ll make her hair more curved. Let’s also improve the line of her chin and her back. I also want to make her stomach a little smaller … slight change in the waste and a little bit in the chest. You can see that this photo has a sports theme, and the figure of the girl must be perfect. When you’re finished, press OK.
You can compare results for before and after. And now we’re ready to move to the rainbow effect. So for the rainbow, let’s create a new layer. Now I will click the Rectangular Selection tool, and create a selection which is wider than my powder haze. I will draw a rainbow here. For this purpose, select the Gradient tool, and open the gradients collection on the top panel. You can see that now I have the full gradient set: black to white, red to green, and also here is the rainbow. You can experiment with this gradient. I prefer to use another one which I believe gives a better result. To choose another gradient, click on the side panel and select to set color Spectrums. Select OK to load this set, and I will select the first gradient and draw it inside of my selection. Hold the Shift key to create an exact vertical gradient and remove selection.
So now we have the color gradient, but I want to place it along the powder trace. To do that, press Control or Command +C for the Free Transformation tool. Now let’s move and rotate our gradient. Of course, it’s not enough. For more changes, press the right button on the mouse and select option Warp. Warp is the best distortion tool. You can see the grid over our selection. You can drag any line of this grid. Also, you can move the dots and extensions. Basically, now we can create any form we want.
Alright, let’s stay with this result. We can see the gradient color on the powder, and now I will just change the gradient mode of this layer from Normal to Color. Looks nice, but if I go closer, we can see the line and some color over the background. I want to see color only on the powder, and keep the background black. To do that, press the right button over the layer with the rainbow, and select Blending options. On this panel we are interested in the Blending section. Here you can adjust the visibility of your layer. So I want my rainbow to be visible above light powder, not on the dark background. So on underlying layer, I will move my slider away from dark colors. And you can see the result, but it’s too sharp and inaccurate. I need some smooth transition. So, I hold the Alt/Option key and and start to move two pieces of the black slider, creating this soft transition. Let’s stay with this result. Press OK. If you don’t like it on other parts of the image, you can always return to the blending panel and fix it.
I like this result, but you can see that we still have some color over the girl’s face. We don’t want to see it here, so I will just create a layer mask and and draw over this part with a black brush. And the same for her hands. Let’s go back to her face. You can set that the transition to her hair is not perfect. I want to erase some more color, but I still have blue on the hair. For this purpose, let’s just change the flow of my brush to 10% and now, with slow and accurate movements, I’ll erase some color, blending it to her hair.
You can see that she has some powder on her blouse, so let’s add some color here. Select our color layer, select the color you want, and draw it over the white spots. Let’s add some blue to her back and her pants. If you see that we added too much color … no problem. Just go to the layer mask again and add some black. Finally, let’s add a little bit of the color to the powder on her hand. I need the light color here, so I’ll also change the opacity of my brush to something like 20%. By the way, let me know if the comments section if you know the difference between opacity and flow, or if you need more information about it.
Let’s look at the final result. Our picture before colorization, and after. This is it. Thank you a lot for your attention. I hope you like this lesson and find a couple of interesting and creative ideas for you. My name is Diana Kot, this is MCP Actions and we hope to see you in the next lessons.