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Chapter 4. In Living Color: Color Effects > Instant Stock Photo Effect

Instant Stock Photo Effect

This “wild color” effect is incredibly popular right now. In fact, there are entire collections of royalty-free stock photos that use this technique, and you often see it used in print ads, in magazines, and on the Web. It's ideal for taking an otherwise boring image and using wild colors to make it trendy and interesting.

STEP ONE: Open the photo you want to apply the effect to. In this case, it's a regular RGB photo that looks kinda, well…boring.


STEP TWO: Go to the Layers palette, and from the Create Adjustment Layer pop-up menu, choose Gradient Map. This will bring up the Gradient Map dialog (seen in the next step).

STEP THREE: Click on the little down-facing triangle to the right of the current gradient swatch to bring up the Gradient Picker. From the Picker's flyout menu (the right-facing arrow), choose Color Harmonies 2 to load this set of gradients; when they appear, choose the “Purple, Green, Gold” gradient (the second one in the Picker).

STEP FOUR: Click OK and this applies a Gradient Map adjustment layer over your photo. This gradient map is usually too intense, and pretty much trashes your photo. To fix that, go to the Layers palette and change the layer blend mode of this layer from Normal to Color. Now the color of the Gradient Map layer blends in more smoothly, and also replicates the wild color effect that's so popular with stock photo collections.

STEP FIVE: To fine-tune the effect, press the X key until you've set your Foreground color to black, and then press B to switch to the Brush tool. Up in the Options Bar, lower the Opacity for your brush to 50%, then click on the brush thumbnail and choose a large, soft-edged brush from the Brush Picker. Now, paint over areas where you want to have more detail. You're actually painting on the layer mask of the Gradient Map adjustment layer, and as you paint in black, some of the original color will start to reappear.



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