Depending on your stock, color changes are minimal or complex. For the end result, you’ll want to make sure your subject(s) blends with the background you’ve chosen. For color changes, I don’t always go in this order or use the same Adjustment Layers or techniques. As any artist will tell you, some things will vary from piece to piece. It’s up to you to figure out what works best for you. For this column, I have uploaded a video showing the process used to do a color change from brown to white for a fewspot Appaloosa using Tambo Valley’s Rumex. Firstly, I want to apologize for my experimentations on various items. It comes with the territory LOL.
The first Adjustment Layer used is Hue/Saturation. Generally, I will only use Saturation here but will occasionally use Lightness as well when moving to a lighter color. For markings or other white areas, Exposure will come next followed by Brightness/Contrast. Color Balance will further blend your white layer into your background setting or theme. If needed, I will also add a new layer to add more shadows to the subject(s). When I feel happy with my white layer, it’s merged and a Clip Mask is applied. Adding a Clip Mask will default the mask color to white. This means the entire layer is shown. By selecting your mask and pressing [Ctrl] + [i], you can invert the mask color to black and the layer will be “hidden.” In order to show only the parts you want shown, you can draw on the mask itself with white and the main layer itself will not be changed. As you can see later, the markings layer is also used for roan and the pink appy spots (+Color Balance) on the nose and eyes. Sometimes these will need to be adjusted, but not always. Next comes the base color. Since I’m actually already satisfied with the base color, I just want to blend it into my background setting using Hue/Saturation, Brightness/Contrast, and Color Balance.
Markings can be tedious to work with but also fun. Take your time and experiment with different ways to apply these. Roan is one of the easiest to work with and is placed above my base color since markings can sometimes “override” the roan. I actually delete the roan layer later since it’s easier to work without one doing a fewspot. Forgive my fewspot inexperience as I haven’t done one in a while – experimentations ya know. Anyway, a big fuzzy brush will make it easy to block out the roan areas and any brush with some noise to it will add a bit more detail.
For the fewspot layer, I decided to “erase” markings instead of drawing them in. Remember [Ctrl] + [i] will change the mask layer back to white and you can “erase” areas using the black color. I prefer using a hard round brush for hard markings (i.e. face, legs) but the lasso tool works well too. Appy markings are done with any brush with some noise, like the ones used for roan. I can’t say this enough but experiment and play around with your brushes to find the ones you like and will serve you the best.
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Until next time,