Create a pastel photo effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a beautiful pastel effect in the photo. I will try to explain everything in as much detail as possible so that even newcomers who first discovered Photoshop can get at least a good job.

1. Preparation of the document

Step 1

To begin, open the photo with which we will work. To do this, go to the menu File– Open (File – Open), select the desired file and click on the Open button. Now we need to check some parameters:

– Your photo should be in RGB color mode, 8 Bits/ Channel (bit / channel). To check this, go Image – Mode (Image – Mode).

– for best results, the size of the document should be in the range of 2000-3000 pixels in width / height. To check this, go Image – Image Size (Image – Image size).

– Your photo should be a background layer. If not, proceed Layer – New – Background from Layer (Layer – New – Layer from the background).

Step 2

Now we have to expand the working canvas left and right in order to free up additional space for working with the image. To do this, go Image – Canvas Size (Image – Canvas size) and use the following settings:

Step 3

Do the same for the bottom of the document. Move on Image – Canvas Size (Image – Canvas size) and use the following settings:

2. Create a pastel brush

Step 1

In this section we will create with you a special bed brush. You can take a pencil and a piece of paper and draw a texture on it, then scan it. Or use a picture with a grunge texture. I got this result:

Step 2

Now go Edit – Define Brush (Edit – Define a brush) to save the texture as a brush, and call it “Temporary Brush.”

Step 3

Now we need to adjust the settings of the saved brush and re-save it. Click the button B, right-click on the document, select the brush “Temporary brush” and press the Enter button. Then go to the menu Window – Brush (Window – Brush) and on the panel Brush (Brush) we enter the following settings:

Step 4

To save this brush again, in the lower right corner of the panel Brush (Brush) click on the button to create a new brush, in the dialog box, enter the name “Pastel Brush”.

3. Create a background

Step 1

In this section we will create a background. Move on Layer – New Fill Layer – Solid Color (Layer – New fill layer – Color). Name this layer “Background Color” and select the color for it # d9d9d9:

Step 2

Select a layer Background (Background) and the key combination Ctrl + J duplicate it. Then move the copy to the top of the layers panel.

Step 3

Move on Filter – Filter Gallery – Sketch – Photocopy (Filter – Filter Gallery – Sketch – Photocopy). Install Detail (Detailing) on ​​2 and Darkness (Darkness) – by 5.

Step 4

Switch the blending mode of this layer to Multiply (Multiplication) and reduce the opacity to 50%. Name this layer “Contour photo”.

Step 5

Using the menu Layer – Layer Mask – Reveal All (Layer – Layer Mask – Show All) add a white mask on the layer.

Step 6

Set the foreground color to black (# 000000), take the tool Brush Tool (B) (Brush), select a soft brush and drag over the frame to hide it.

4. Create the base

Step 1

In this step, we will create the basis for our effect. Add a new layer Layer – New – Layer (Layer – New – Layer) and call it “Basis”.

Step 2

Hide the “Contour photo” and “Background color” layers by clicking on the eye icon next to the layer name in the layers panel. Then we activate the tool. Brush Tool (B) (Brush), choose a soft brush and paint over the portrait in any color. After that, turn on the visibility of all layers again.

5. Create a texture for the portrait.

Step 1

In this section we will create a pastel texture. Add a new layer Layer – New – Layer (Layer – New – Layer) and call it “Texture_1”.

Step 2

Select the black color (# 000000), activate the tool Brush Tool (B) (Brush), take our “Pastel Brush” and guide her to fill the portrait. Also paint over the outline of the portrait. If during work to adjust the diameter of the brush (the keys [and]), the result will be more interesting.

Step 3

Hide the “Texture_1” layer and select “Base”. Then create a new layer. Layer– New– Layer (Own – New – Layer) and call it “Texture_2”.

Step 4

Select black (# 000000), activate the tool Brush Tool (B) (Brush), take the “Pastel Brush” and again hold on to fill the portrait, this time we do not press on the brush. Also do not forget to use a different brush diameter.

Step 5

Reduce the opacity of this layer to 30% and hide the “Base” layer.

Step 6

Hold down the Ctrl key and left-click on the thumbnail of the “Base” layer. Then select the layer Background (Background) and press the key combination Ctrl + J to create a duplicate of the layer according to the selection shape. After that move the resulting copy to the top of the layers panel.

Step 7

Select the “Texture_1” layer and go to Layer – Layer Mask – Reveal All (Layer – Layer Mask – Show All) to add a white mask.

Step 8

Now hide the “Contour photo” layer, turn Image – Apply Image (Image – External channel) and use the settings as in the screenshot below:

Step 9

The key combination Ctrl + I inverts the color of the mask. Then set it up with Image – Adjustments – Levels (Image – Correction – Levels):

Step 10

Turn on the visibility of the layers “Texture_1” and “Contour photo”. Then select the topmost layer and press Ctrl + Shift + U to discolor it.

Step 11

Move on Filter– Filter Gallery– Artistic– Film Grain (Filter – Filter Gallery – Imitation – Film grain). Install Grain (Grain) on 5, Highlight Area (Area of ​​lights) – 0 and Intensity (Intensity) – by 10.

Step 12

Now go Edit– fade Filter Gallery (Editing – Loosen: Filter Gallery). Set the opacity to 100% and switch the mode to Darken (Blackout).

Step 13

Switch the blending mode of this layer to Soft Light (Soft light) and reduce the opacity to 70%. Then rename the layer to “Portrait Details”.

6. Add color

Step 1

In this section, we will fill in some of the details of the portrait with color. Hold down the Ctrl key and click on the thumbnail of the “Base” layer to load its selection. Then select the layer Background (Background) and the key combination Ctrl + J create a copy of the selection form. After that we move the duplicated layer to the very top of the layers panel.

Step 2

Now go Layer– Layer Mask– Hide All (Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All). As a result, the layer will have a black mask.

Step 3

Choose white color (#ffffff), take Brush Tool (B) (Brush), select “Pastel Brush” and draw on the details of the portrait that you want to fill with color. Do not forget to adjust the diameter of the brush.

Step 4

Now switch the layer blending mode to Color (Color) and reduce the opacity to 60%. Name this layer “Portrait Color”.

7. Perform the final color correction.

Step 1

In this section, we will create several adjustment layers. Select the “Portrait Details” layer. Create an adjustment layer Layer– New Adjustment Layer– Levels (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Levels) and call it “Total Brightness”.

Step 2

Double click on the layer thumbnail Levels (Levels) and on the panel Properties (Properties) we enter the following settings:

Step 3

Reduce the opacity of the adjustment layer to 33%.

Step 4

We reset the colors to the standard ones by pressing the D key. Create another adjustment layer. Layer– New Adjustment Layer– Gradient Map (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Gradient Map) and call it “Texture Contrast”.

Step 5

Hold down the Ctrl key and click on the thumbnail of the “Base” layer to load its selection. Select black (# 000000), go Edit – Fill (Edit – Run Fill), in the window that opens, set Contents (Content) on Foreground Color (Main color), Mode (Mode) – on Normal (Normal) and Opacity (Opacity) – 100%.

Step 6

Press the key combination Ctrl + D to remove the selection. Then we switch layer blending mode to Overlay (Overlap) and reduce the opacity to 58%.

Step 7

Right-click on the “Base” layer and select Delete Layer (Remove layer). Then add an adjustment layer. Layer– New Adjustment Layer– Curves (Layer – New adjustment layer – Curves) and call it “Color”.

Step 8

On the layers panel, double click on the thumbnail of the adjustment layer and set it up:

Step 9

Add a new adjustment layer Layer– New Adjustment Layer– Vibrance (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Juiciness) and call it “Total Saturation”.

Step 10

Double click on the thumbnail of this adjustment layer and set it on the properties panel Vibrance (Juiciness) at +28 and Saturation (Saturation) – by +19.

Step 11

Press the key combination Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E to create a combined copy of all visible layers. Then bleach it (Ctrl + Shift + U). Then go Filter– Other– High Pass (Filter – Other – Color Contrast) and set Radius (Radius) by 2 pixels.

Step 12

Switch the blending mode of this layer to Hard Light (Hard Light) and call it “Sharpness.”

We are done!

Here is the final result:

If you want to get a more interesting effect using just a few mouse clicks, then try my Pastel action (paid).

This action will allow you to create a realistic pastel effect on your photo. You just need to color the photo and start the action. He will do everything for you! At the end you will get a multi-layered and customizable result.

The action is made in such a way that each time you use it, you will get a new result, even if you apply it to the same shaded area. Each time the action creates a unique pastel texture, so that you can generate many options for one photo! Also included in the action 35 color options from which you can choose any.

The action is accompanied by a detailed video instruction on its use and configuration.

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