Step 03: Making Your Picture Blue open online photoshop
Back to homepage

Before we go any further, let's take a quick second to learn a little about how computers think about color.

While there are hundreds of millions of different colors in nature, the human eye can only distinguish a few million (anywhere between 3 and 10 million depending on the person) because our eyes compress visible light into three primary colors: red, green, and blue. So, when we designed movie projectors, televisions, computers, monitors, etc. we only worried about reproducing the colors we can see, and not about reproducing colors in their true nature.

There are two basic ways of reproducing color:

  1. The first is used when a light source, such as a computer monitor or TV, is projecting the color. ToolPic calls this the RGB color system because it uses various shades of Red, Green, and Blue to make every other color. When all three are present, as in the top graphic to the right, we get white. When none of the three are present, we get black. This color system also goes by the name of Additive Colors, as the more color you put in the brighter the resulting color is.
  2. The second is used by printers, inks, and paint and is known as CMYK. We start with a surface, like a sheet of paper or the side of a house, and as we add various colors onto it the result will get darker and darker. Here, our primary colors are Cyan (the absence of red), magenta (the absence of green), and yellow (the absence of blue). These three mixed together will create a very dark color, but not always true black, so there is also a separate black color as well. Yes, the "K" stands for black, because "B" already stands for blue. If you use this method, ToolPic will be thinking of your colors in these four channels, but of course it will still be translating them to RGB to be displayed on your monitor. This color system also goes by the name of Subtractive Colors, as the more color you put in the darker the resulting color is (think about pouring all different colors in a paint can, what happens as you add more color?).

Keep in mind that RGB color is best for viewing graphics on a computer monitor while CMYK color is best for creating printed graphics.

All of this is leading us to the fact that ToolPic works with RGB color (well, ToolPic actually works with sRGB color, but the s just stands for Standard), which is great because we will be viewing our image on a computer and not printing it.

Okay, back to our picture. We want to change the color of the picture so that it has a blue tint so that when we begin creating the line work (which we will do in black) we will not be confused by the colors in the picture.

  1. If your Face image is not open, open it in ToolPic now; this is the image I will be using in this Picture editing help...

    I know...he's a stud

To give our image a nice blue tint, we need to work with colors within RGB. We first need to get up the Levels editor.

  1. Click Image on the Menu Bar...
  2. Point at Adjustments then click Levels...

    The Levels editor window (pictured below) opens...

Before we make any changes, let's look at how the Levels editor functions. The Channel selector at the top tells whether you are working with red, green, blue, or all of them at once (named RGB, the default selection). ToolPic keeps separate level settings for each of these four channels. The histogram (that black mountain looking thing under the Channel selector) tells you how common shades of the selected channel are, ranging from 0 (dark) on the left, to 255 (bright) on the right. Since we are working with a full-color Best free photo editor online, the graph should show a large amount of black, as in the screenshot above (since you are working with a different image your graph will not look exactly like mine). If our image had only a few colors, or was black and white, we would see a much smaller amount of black in the graph.

The main controls in this panel are the three boxes under the graph (see Image 1 below) which control the Input Level, and the two boxes under the gradient below them (see Image 2 below) which control the Output Levels. The input arrows define where black, white, and 50% gray are on the scale. The output arrows define how white the brightest white can be, and how dark the darkest dark can be.

Image 1

Image 2

If you have changed the levels in a way (and you should NOT have, but if you did...), hit "Cancel" and then get the levels editor back up again. We're going to use the levels editor to turn the picture a light blue. We do this because the dark colored picture can obscure some of the details of the black ink that we will be drawing with, and dark smudges cannot slip by as easy if they don't blend in with the picture color.

 Here is how to make yourself blue.

  1. Click the dropdown arrow next to Channel and click Blue...

    Notice when you select Blue that the histogram changes
  2. We want to make it so that blue is all light, so grab the dark output box (this is the one under the gradient bar all the way to the left under the black section)...

    and drag it as far to the right as it will go - when you drag it all the way to the right, it should disappear behind the white box...

    This is ok - we want this at this point - and you should now be blue...

You should now be blue! You can now fine-tune your image to get a shade of blue you are comfortable working with.

  1. Change the Channel from Blue to Green...

    Notice that the dark output box we were working with a moment ago has now returned to the left side (bottom arrow above) - this is because we are no longer working with blue but are now working with green
  2. Grab the dark output box (the same one we dragged around when working with blue) and drag it to the right until you have a nice shade of blue that allows you to see all the image details...

    You can drag to any amount you like, but 90 is usually an amount that works great...
  3. Click OK

GREEN OR LIGHT BLUE or any other color!

It should look something like the image above - if your image is purplish or greenish or light bluish then close your image without saving and reopen it and start over and be sure you are working with the correct channel when you make your changes.

I should probably point out that there are other ways, even easier ways, to turn the picture blue, but it will help a lot if you familiarize yourself with the Levels editor, which can be very useful at completing other tasks, such as brightening a final picture that is too dark. Keep in mind that your shade of blue does not have to match mine (in fact, when doing this on your own at some future time you can actually make the image any color other than black that you like), you just want the image a color other than black so that you can see the lines when you begin drawing them in.

Let's save our image at this point so we can begin creating the lines in the next step.

  1. Click File then click Save as PSD
  2. Name the file Face03 (Face because it is the face file, and 03 because this is Step 03)

01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20