Photoshop CS6: Using greyscale and colour elements to create depth

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For a section of my personal portfolio, I chose to focus on endangered animals such as the gorilla and parrot. These animals face some tough times and I wanted to illustrate how beautiful they are within in my artwork.

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create high definition imagery with paint and greyscale effects. You can learn how to compose the layout with the parrot and the paint elements, as well as blend them correctly and effectively.  This tutorial provides a simple overview/walkthrough so you can play and explore by yourself, after all, this is the best way to learn.

 

Step 1:

So the first thing to do is get a good image of a colourful parrot, I would suggest using a stock photography website like Thinkstock. You will also need very simple vector artwork (files created in Adobe Illustrator with a file extension of .eps or .ai) of a couple paint splatters. Once that has been located, open your parrot image in Photoshop. Then create a new rectangle document and set it to 253mm x 176mm at 300dpi in RGB. Drag the parrot image into your new document.

Step 1

 

Step 2:

You need to duplicate the parrot to be able to make amendments. To do this go to Layers; drag the parrot image onto the icon Create New Path. Turn the background layer off so it is not visible by pressing the eye icon.

Step 2

 

Step 3

To ensure the parrot appears striking and vibrant, play with the contrast and brightness. To do this go to, Image> Adjustment> Brightness And Contrast and adjust with the sliders to add more or less contrast/brightness.

Step 3a

Step 3b

 

Step 4

To create the black and white parrot, open the original image again and save a version in greyscale. Image> Mode> Grayscale. Then a pop up box will appear asking you if you want to  ‘discard color information’, select Discard.

 

Step 4a

Step 4b

 

Step 5

Now you have your greyscaled image you need to change the brightness, a contrast and levels. To do this go to, Image> Adjustment> Brightness And Contrast and adjust with the sliders to add more or less contrast/brightness.

Step 5

 

Step 6

Next, play with the levels of black and white, to create depth within the grey tones, to do this go Image> Adjustment> Levels.

Step 6

 

Step 7

Open your paint splatter in Adobe Illustrator (vector purchased from stock photography website) I’ve used 2 different ones. Copy and paste separately splatter 1 and 2 from your vector artwork into your Photoshop file. When the paste dialogue box opens, select ‘Smart Object’ and then place over the parrot where you feel appropriate. I would recommend placing the item over the most colourful part of the parrot. Do this again with splatter 2.

Step 7a

 

Step 7b

 

Step 8

Before you begin, hide splatter 2 for ease. On the layer with the paint splatter 1, use the magic wand tool to select the surrounding area. Then you need to Inverse this selection by Selection> Inverse. Then select the greyscale layer and with the selection tool press delete.

 

Step 8a

Step 8b

Step 8c

 

Step 9

Select splatter 2 and make the item visible using the eye icon used previously.

Step 9

 

Step 10

On the layer with the paint splatter 2, use the magic wand tool to select the surrounding area. Then you need to Inverse this selection by Selection> Inverse. Then select the greyscale layer and with the selection tool press delete.

Step 10

Step 10b

 

Step 11

You’re nearly finished! Select the colour version of the parrot and make this layer visible. Ensure this layer is the bottom and the greyscale parrot is above.

Step 11

 

Voila, you’re finished!

Final Image

About the author

Rebecca is a passionate creative and head of the design team at Punch Communications, an integrated social media, PR and SEO agency. For more information about Punch’s services, including design, asset creation and online PR, please visit punchcomms.com. To see these pieces in my personal portfolio visit Behance

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DezineGuide is a Blog dedicated to Graphic Designers and Web Developers giving them Professional Tips, Tricks, Tutorials, Freebies, Inspirations and much more.