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Retouch a Damaged Photograph

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3. Correct colors of water

Make a duplicate of the Blue Sky layer in Photoshop, by clicking on its thumbnail in the layers palette and dragging and dropping it onto the Create a new layer icon New Layer :

Duplicate layer


Remove its mask by clicking on it in the layers palette and dragging and dropping it onto the Delete layer icon Trash Can :

Remove mask

In the window that opens click on discard (delete in Photoshop CS2):

Dicard mask window

Rename this layer to Water by double clicking on its name.
Hold down the Alt key (Option key on the Mac) and click on the Add layer mask icon in the layers palette. The result is a new mask, filled with black because we held down the Alt key:

New (black) mask

Notice that when we copied the Blue Sky layer that we also copied its blending mode. Don't you worry, because that's exactly what we want.

Our mask is 100% black, which simply means to ignore everything that's on that layer, so the image will look exactly the same before we copied the layer.

We want to use the same trick we used for the sky to fix the red in the water. To make that happen we need to paint in that area of the mask with white where we want the blue of this layer to affect the water.

First we have to select the mask by clicking on it (see red arrow). It will now have a double border and if you have Photoshop CS or older you will see a mask icon Mask Icon appear in front of the layer:

Select mask

Press the letter D on your keyboard to set the foreground color to white and the background color to black.
If they're switched, just press X. Just make sure that the bottom of your tool bar looks like this: Foreground color white

Select the brush tool Brush Tool in the tool bar. Go to the option bar and open the Brush Preset picker window like we did in step 1, but this time select a Master Diameter of 60 px and a Hardness of 100%.
Press the \ key on your keyboard to show the mask as a red transparency. Paint over the water, but not too close to the rocks or horizon, because we're going to use a different brush for that later:

Quick mask view of masked water


Return to the Brush Picker window and this time select a Master Diameter of 5 px and a Hardness of 0%.

Zoom in by going to the Navigator Palette and entering a value of 500%:

Navigator palette

Now position your mouse cursor on top of your document window and hold down the space bar. Press and hold your mouse button and you'll notice that the cursor changes into a little hand Hand Tool. This means that you can now move the image inside your document window as long as you hold the mouse button in combination with the space bar.

Move your image inside your document window until you see the left side of your image where the transparency ends. Release both your space bar and mouse button and then start painting between the edge of your red transparency and the area where the rocks touch the water and move more and more towards the right. Release your mouse button after after every short stroke and hold it again to continue painting, this allows you to undo (Ctrl + Z or Command + Z on the Mac) this single stroke if needed.

Tip: holding down the shift key while moving your mouse cursor allows you to paint a straight horizontal line.

Tip: Undo is just one way to correct a stroke. You can also switch the foreground/background colors by pressing the letter X on your keyboard. At that moment the foreground color will be black, which means you can make little corrections by painting back an area with black, until you press X again which will return your foreground color to white and you can continue where you left off.

Tip: Sometimes it will be hard to see where to paint. In that case you can press the \ key on your keyboard to turn off the red transparency to have a better view and press the \ key again to turn it on again.

After a few minutes you'll have something like this:

Improved mask for water

Turn off the red transparency by pressing the \ key.

Continue by changing the opacity of this layer to 30% (A).
Click on the layers thumbnail (B). Click on the thumbnail a second time but this time hold down the mouse button, position your cursor on top of the Create a new layer icon New Layer and release the mouse button to duplicate the current layer (C):

Duplicate water layer


After that your layers palette looks a bit like this:

Layers palette after duplicating water layer


Move your mouse cursor over the next image to see how it looked like before the two blue layers on top of the water were added. Notice that I left some red in the water to reflect the reddish rocks. If you want to remove more red then just raise the opacity value of both layers with the same amount.

Also notice that the rocks in the top red corner still look a tad too red. We will fix that in our next step.


Image after/before water correction


Why did we use 2 layers? If we had used 1 layer and an opacity value of 100% then we would have ugly, unnatural looking blues in some areas of the water, something we wouldn't have with two layers at 50% opacity:

Blue posterization in water when using only one layer

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