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Using Retouch Tool to Recolor - Part I


This is an intermediate level tutorial. It assumes you have a basic knowledge of whichever version of PSP you are using. In this tutorial you will use features native to PSP6 and/or PSP7. They include layers, the lasso tool, the retouch tool, the paint brush, the eraser tool, Red-eye Removal, and alpha channels.. We're going to recolor specific portions of pictures. There are other ways to recolor, but this is one that I really like...   :)

Here is a zip file containing the images I used if you'd like to follow along exactly with the tutorial before breaking out on your own. :)

  1. Open flowers1.psp or another image of your choice. (If you downloaded the zip file, we'll use the cat picture in part 2 of this tutorial.)
    Press and hold the Shift key while you press the D key. This creates a copy of the image so that we're not working on the original. You can close the original now.

  2. Activate the zoom tool zoom tool and click on one of the flowers once or twice to get nice and close.

  3. Freehand Tool Options Activate the lasso tool lasso tool.

    Open the Tool Options Palette (Ctrl + T if it's not already on the desk top) and be sure it's set to Antialias and Feather="0". I like the "Freehand" option when I make selections, but if "Point to Point" or "Smart Edge" works better for you, feel free to use one of those.

  4. Select your flower. Zoom in really close if you need to. You want to try and get all of the flower edges without going over into the background.

    Subtract from selection If you need to subtract some of the selection, hold down your Ctrl key while drawing over that section. When you release the Ctrl key and let up on the mouse, the part of the selection that you didn't want will be subtracted. You don't have to be picky about where you're drawing when you're not actually inside the selected area.

    Add to your selected area If you need to add to the selection, hold down your Shift key while drawing over that section. When you release the Shift key and let up on the mouse, the part of the selection that you want added will be now be part of your selection. You don't have to be picky about where you're drawing when you're actually inside the selected area.

    Remember that you can always use the Undo button if you mess up. :)

  5. Ok, got your selection all set? This is a good time to save our selection to an alpha channel and to save the image itself. Go Selections > Save to Alpha Channel. When the "Save to Alpha" screen pops up click OK, then OK again. You can give your selection a name in that second screen if you like, but it's not absolutely necessary. :)
    Save to alpha channel
    Once you've saved your selection, go ahead and save your image. Be sure to save it in psp format...

    We may or may not use the selection that we just saved to the alpha channel, but if something happens to make PSP crash while you're working, you won't have to redo the selection. It will be there for you when you open the image up again. Just go Selections > Load from Alpha Channel. It's a really good idea to get in the habit of saving complex selections like this. It can save you a lot of work.   :)

  6. Activate the Retouch tool Retouch tool and pick a foreground color. I used #C0FFFF. pick a foreground color This is the color you want to use for the flower. It doesn't matter what the background color is set at for this step. If you have PSP7, you can set it to "Null".

  7. Brush size should be large Open the Tool Options palette and set your brush size to about 60 (or any size that is quite large - this just saves you time because you can paint the new color in with less strokes)
    Set the retouch mode to Color To Target
    Set the Retouch mode to "Color to Target"
    Vary color should be UNchecked
    If you're using a pressure sensitive tablet, be sure that "Vary color" is UNchecked.

  8. All Righty Then! Let's paint our flower. Run your cursor over the selected area. Kewl eh? :)
    The colored flower

  9. Now go Selections > Select None... missed a few spots
    Look at the edges of your flower to see if there are any spots that you missed. If you need to fix up a few spots continue on here with me. If your selection was perfect the first time, you can move on to step 14.

  10. I have a few spots here to fix up so will need to go get my selection from the alpha channel.

    Go Selections > Load from Alpha Channel and get your selection back.
    Note: You could also just use the undo button, but since we have the selection saved, let's get it from there. :)

  11. Zoom in really, really, really close. Activate the lasso tool again and hold down the Shift key while drawing to select those stray pixels. Zoom in really close

  12. Activate the retouch tool
    Much better! and paint these newly selected pixels using the same settings we used before. When you're finished go View > Normal Viewing (1:1) and check it out again. Much better!

    Repeat steps 9 through 12 as needed.
    If you have a few pixels that just don't want to work right, zoom in extremely close and use the eye dropper to select a color from the section of the flower that you've already painted , then activate the paint brush with a brush size of 1 pixel and pixel paint those.
    Once you're happy with your painted flower, move on to step 13.

  13. Go back to step 3 and choose another flower to work on. Pick a different color for this one. Let's make a rainbow plant. LOL

  14. When you're all finished, resize your image so that it's about 250 pixels wide. Use Sharpen > Unsharp Mask if your image needs a little punch. Add a border if you like. :) Save in .jpg format.
Here is my finished result...
Colored flowers


When you're ready, move on to the Part II for some more practice in using "Color to Target".

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