Filler
Photo of Shira

 

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Photoshop Wizardry
for Belly Dancers

by Kizzie

 

Table of Contents

 

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Introduction

The techniques on this page are designed for use with a software product called Adobe Photoshop. They should work with version 7.0 or newer of Photoshop, and probably won't work with the consumer version known as Photoshop Elements. Newer versions of Photoshop may contain easier ways to achieve some of these results.

Before trying these tips, you are strongly encouraged to use the tutorials or the documentation to learn how to use the Layers feature of Photoshop. Many of these features rely on being able to use layers proficiently.

 

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Extra Sparkle for Costumes

These steps describe how to create a special effect in Photoshop that adds extra sparkle to belly dance costumes.
Before and After
Click on these photos to see the before and after images in more detail. Closeup of Before and After

#1 Open the Layers Palette

Make sure the Layers palette is visible. If it is not, select Window from the menu bar across the top edge of the screen and make sure "Layers" on the drop-down menu has a check mark in front of it.

#2 Duplicate the Layer

Create a duplicate of the image's original layer. This is the layer on which you will create the sparkly effect. To do this, go to the Layers palette, select the tiny triangle in the upper right-hand corner of the palette just below the red square with the X in it, and click on it. A pop-up menu will appear. Select the choice on that menu that says "Duplicate Layer". It will ask what to call the new layer. Give it any convenient name, such as "Sparkles".

Layers Palette

#3 Use the Unsharp Mask

Working on the top layer:

  • Select the Filter option from the menu across the top of the screen.
  • From that drop-down menu select Sharpen.
  • From the Sharpen pop-up menu, select Unsharp Mask.
  • On the Unsharp Mask window, set Amount to be 100%, Radius to be 2.0 pixels, and Threshhold to be 1 pixel.
  • Repeat the Unsharp Mask step several times until the texture of the image looks bad.
    • If the photo will be used in a low-resolution version, such as on a web site, do this 5-6 times.
    • If the photo will be used in a high-resolution version, such as printed on a flyer, do this 2-3 times.

Click on the image to the right to see the Unsharp Mask dialogue window in more detail.

Unsharp Mask

#4 Create a Mask

At the bottom of the Layers palette, click on the Mask icon, which is the square with a circle inside. Set the Foreground color to black, then use the Paint Bucket tool to fill the layer with black. This will hide the bad-looking layer.

Click on the image to see the Layers palette in more detail.

Add Mask

#5 Paint the Sparkly Areas

Set the foreground color to white and select the Paintbrush tool. Use the paintbrush to paint over the sections of the costume and jewelry where there are sparklies. This will cause the hidden layer to show in those spots, adding a subtle extra sparkle.

Click on the image to the right to see the screen in more detail.

Add White to Mask

#6 Add Extra Shine to Lips or Highlights in Hair

Change the foreground color to 75% gray.

In the color picker window that pops up, under the CMYK section, enter these settings:

  • C set to 0
  • M set to 0
  • Y set to 0
  • K set to 75%

Click OK when done.

Use the Brush tool to brush over shiny spots on the lips and highlights in the hair.

Click on the image to see a close-up of how to set a 75% gray color in the color selection dialogue.

How to Do a 75% Brush

#7 Add More Twinkle to the Eyes

To add some twinkle to the eyes, use the technique described in Step 6 to set the foreground color to 50% gray and use the brush to go over the glint in the eye.

Voila! Your costume looks awesome in the photo!

If You Go Away And Return To Work More On It Later

If you exit the file without finishing the sparkly work, then re-open it later, you will need to put Photoshop back into the mode of working on the mask rather than on the image itself. Otherwise, you may find that when you try to paint white or gray with the brush, it will paint the image white or gray instead of revealing the hidden layer.

To get back into the mode for working on the mask rather than the image:

  • Select the layer that has the mask.
  • Click on the mask icon (the shape on the layer that does not look like the image). You will know when it is selected because a line will appear around the box of the mask. You can toggle back and forth between the image and the mask by clicking on the layers palette, either the image or the mask.

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Improving the Color In a Photo

Sometimes photos come out with great poses, but muted colors. This can happen if lighting is poor. Here's a quick and easy way to make the colors of a photo more vibrant.

Click on either photo to see it in more detail.

Before
After the Color Fix

#1 Open the Layers Palette

Make sure the Layers palette is visible. If it is not, select Window from the menu bar across the top edge of the screen and make sure "Layers" on the drop-down menu has a check mark in front of it.

#2 Make Two Duplicates of the Layer

Create a duplicate of the image's original layer. This is the layer on which you will create the sparkly effect. To do this, go to the Layers palette, select the tiny triangle in the upper right-hand corner of the palette just below the red square with the X in it, and click on it. A pop-up menu will appear. Select the choice on that menu that says "Duplicate Layer".

Make another duplicate. This will result in a total of three layers, all containing the original image.

 

Layers Palette

#3 Set the Top Layer to "Soft Light"

Highlight the top layer to make it active. In the upper left corner of the Layers palette, just below the word "Layers", there is a drop-down box that has a default setting of "Normal". Click on that, and select "Soft Light" from the pop-up menu.

Click on the image to the right to see it in more detail.

  Choosing "Soft Light"

#4 Set the Middle Layer to "Screen"

Change the lighting for the middle layer from "Normal" to "Screen". On the top right side of the Layers Palette, specify "35%" for the Opacity. Experiment with different Opacity settings on the middle layer, tweaking it upward and downward, until a satisfying color effect has been reached.

#5 Leave the Bottom Layer Unchanged

The photo's color is now more vibrant than before, and details of the image are showing up more clearly.

  Screen Mode

 

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Changing a Color Photo to Black and White

Graphic artists generally recommend against using Mode > Grayscale to change an image from color to black and white, because the resulting image tends to be dull. The instructions below describe a preferred method for converting an image to black and white, and also discuss how to allow color to show through in selected portions of the image if desired.

Click on any of the three photos below to see further detail.

Before B&W
After Conversion to Black and White
After Conversion to Black and White With Some Color Added Back In
Original Photo
Change to Black & White
Some Color Restored

#1 Open the Layers Palette

Make sure the Layers palette is visible. If it is not, select Window from the menu bar across the top edge of the screen and make sure "Layers" on the drop-down menu has a check mark in front of it.

Layers Palette

#2 Open Channel Mixer

At the bottom of the Layers palette there is a circle which is half black and half white. This enables changing the "adjustment layer". Click on that, and select Channel Mixer from the pop-up menu.

Click on the image to the right to see this menu in more detail.

Select Channel Mixer

#3 Set Monochrome

In the lower left-hand corner of the Channel Mixer dialogue box, place a check in the Monochrome box. Set the red to +40, green to +40, and blue to +20.

(Another option that some people may like is red to +100, green to -100, and blue to +100. Experiment and see which you prefer.)

When done, click OK. This will result in a high-quality black-and-white photo which includes a mask.

Channel Mixer Dialogue

#4 If Desired, Put Some Color Back

That white box connected to this Channel Mixer layer is a mask. If the majority of the photo is intended to be black and white, leave the mask white and fill in black where you need color to show.

Select the section that you want in color, using the pen tool, magic wand, or any of the lasso tools. Once the selection is the way you want it, fill in the selected area with black. This will bring back the color.

Putting Color Back

 

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Creating a Monochrome Photo

Sometimes there's a need to convert an entire photo to a monochrome effect. For example, you might want to conver the entire photo to a sepia tone for a vintage look.

Click on either photo to the right to see more detail.

Original Colors

Before

After Applying Tint

After

There are several ways to achieve the effect, which are:

  • Color fill
  • Hue fill
  • Gradient map

With all three of these techniques, it is possible to experiment with the opacity (transparency) of the color layer to fine-tune the finished look.

It is also possible with all of these options to add a mask, which would enable you to put the original color back where you want it.

 

Color Fill

This approach can be used when the original photo is in either color or in black and white. It will tint the entire photo to shades of the color selected.

#1 Open the Layers Palette

Make sure the Layers palette is visible. If it is not, select Window from the menu bar across the top edge of the screen and make sure "Layers" on the drop-down menu has a check mark in front of it.

#2 Create a New Empty Layer

Create new layer that is empty. This is the layer on which you will indicate the tint color to use. To do this, go to the Layers palette, select the tiny triangle in the upper right-hand corner of the palette just below the red square with the X in it, and click on it. A pop-up menu will appear. Select the choice on that menu that says "New Layer". It will ask what to call the new layer. Give it any convenient name, such as the name of the color you fill it with.

Layers Palette

#3 Fill the New Layer with Color

Set the foreground color to the tint color you want to use. Use the paint bucket tool to fill the layer with this color.

#4 Apply the Color

On the top left corner of the Layers palette, click on "Normal" and choose the word "Color" from the menu that pops up. This will change everything to shades of the color that filled the new layer.

Click on the image to the right to see it in more detail.

 

Hue Fill

This approach works only when the original photo is in color. It will not work when the original photo is in black and white.

Follow the same Steps 1, 2, and 3 as for Color Fill. For Step 4, instead of choosing "Color" from the pop-up menu, choose "Hue".

Choosing a Color

 

Gradient Map

#1 Set Foreground and Background Colors

Set the background color to white. Set the foreground color to whatever color you want to use to tint the image.

#2 Choose the Gradient Map Feature

At the bottom of the Layers palette, click on the symbol that is a circle with half black and half white. This will bring up a pop-up menu. Select Gradient Map from that menu.

Click on the image to the right to see the dialogue box in more detail.

Choosing Gradient Map

#3 Adjust Settings in Dialogue Box

Experiment with clicking on the Reverse check box to see which way looks better. Click on the small triangle to the right of the color bar to see more gradient options.

Click on the dialogue box to the right to see it in more detail.

Gradient Map Dialogue Box

 

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Creating a Radial Background

Sometimes a photo features a great pose and a fabulous facial expression, but suffers from an ugly background. Such photos can be rescued by removing the original background and replacing it with a Photoshop effect.

Click on this photo of Kizzie to see it in more detail.

Radial Background

#1 Open the Layers Palette

Make sure the Layers palette is visible. If it is not, select Window from the menu bar across the top edge of the screen and make sure "Layers" on the drop-down menu has a check mark in front of it

#2 Convert Image to Editable Layer

If you have opened a file from your scanner or digital camera, it may be necessary to open the Layers palette and double click on the italicized word "Background" to convert it to an editable layer

Layers Palette

#3 Remove the Unwanted Background

Using your favorite method, remove unwanted parts of the background. Some options for doing this include:

  • The Eraser tool
  • The Extract option from the Filters menu
  • Outlining the unwanted background with the Lasso tool and then pressing the Delete key to delete it.

#4 Create a New Empty Layer

Create new layer that is empty. This is the layer on which you will create the background. To do this, go to the Layers palette, select the tiny triangle in the upper right-hand corner of the palette just below the red square with the X in it, and click on it. A pop-up menu will appear. Select the choice on that menu that says "New Layer". It will ask what to call the new layer. Give it any convenient name, such as the word "Background".

In the Layers palette, drag the tile for the new layer so that it lies below the one for the image. This will arrange it behind the image.

Create New Layer

#5 Foreground and Background Colors

Choose colors for the foreground and contrasting background.

#6 Fill the Background Layer with Solid Color

Use the paint bucket tool to fill the background layer with the foreground color.

#7 Render Difference Clouds

Choose Filter from the menu across the top of the screen. From the drop-down menu, choose Render. From the pop-up menu, choose Difference Clouds. Click on the image to the right to see this dialogue screen in more detail. If you're not satisfied with the color generated by the Difference Clouds feature, experiment with choosing regular Clouds from the same menu instead.

Difference cloud filter

#8 Apply Radial Blur

Choose Filter again from the menu across the top of the screen. From the drop-down menu, choose Blur. From the pop-up menu, choose Radial Blur.

Click on the image to the right to see the menu dialogue in more detail.

Radial Blurs Menu Choice

#9 Set the Radial Blur Options

The Radial Blur menu choice will cause a dialogue box to appear.

  • Choose Zoom instead of Spin.
  • Enter "100" in the "Amount" box.
  • Click OK to apply the change.

Click on the image to the right to see this dialogue box in more detail.

Radial Blur Dialogue Box

#10 Add a New Layer

Insert the new layer between the one that has your image on it and the one that serves as the background.

#11 Create an Oval "Spotlight"

Choose a foreground color that is slightly lighter than the foreground color that was used to create the clouds. Then use the oval marquee tool to draw an oval filled with that color slightly bigger than your own image in the photo.

Before moving on to the next step, de-select the oval.

Draw the Oval

#12 Blur the Oval

Return to the Filter menu choice, and pick Blur again. This time, select "Gaussian Blur" from the submenu. In the "Radius" box under the colored square, enter an amount somewhere between 25 to 50 pixels. Experiment with this number until you find an effect that suits your taste. Click on the image to the right to see the dialogue box in more detail.

#13 Experiment with Final Look

To soften up the blur so it blends in a little more with the radial blur clouds, you can change the mode for the oval layer from Normal to Screen in the Layers palette. This gives it a nice blend without the Virgin Mary look. You can also play with the other modes such as Vivid Light to see if one of the alternate lighting effects produces a look that you like.

Gaussian Blur Dialogue Box

 

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About the Author

Kizzie is both a beautiful belly dancer and a skilled graphic artist. She has been studying belly dance for 4 1/2 years, and performing for 2 1/2 years.

Kizzie graduated with cum laude Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis on graphic design, and has worked as a designer for 9 years. She is currently the Creative Services Manager for a paper manufacturing company.

Kizzie is available for freelance jobs. Contact her at kizziebellydancer@hotmail.com

Photo of Kizzie, the Contributor of These Tips

 

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