Photoshop Basics: “Tinting” Photographs

For the past couple of years, I’ve put together my own version of Madonna’s Ray Of Light album. It included the full album, as well as a few B-sides and outtakes from that era.

Recently though, I downloaded a disc of Ray Of Light demo tapes. I decided to create Ray Of Light: The Ultimate Collectors Edition. The thing was, I wanted something special for this new 3-disc set… something distinctive. So I decided to change the artwork.

The original album art:

Ray of Light, original cover

My version:

Ray of Light, edited cover

“Tinting” a picture like this in Photoshop is amazingly easy and only takes a couple of minutes. To do it yourself, just follow these simple instructions:

  1. Download an image you like and open it with Photoshop.
  2. Convert it to greyscale by clicking on Image > Mode > Greyscale.
  3. OPTIONAL: You might need to tweak the levels or brightness\contrast of the image. To do so, click on Image > Adjustments > Levels or Brightness\Contrast.
  4. Create a new blank image the exact same size as your original image. Make sure that “Color Mode” is set to “RGB”.
  5. Select your entire greyscale image and drag it to the new image. You may close the original image now if you wish, since we won’t be using it anymore.
  6. Create a new layer by clicking on Layer > New > Layer.
  7. Choose a color for the tint. My version of the Ray Of Light cover uses “dark khaki”, which has an RGB value of 189 183 107. Whichever color you choose, enter it into the color picker and make sure that it’s the foreground color.
  8. Using the Paint Bucket tool, fill the entire new layer with your tint color; at this point, the picture will appear completely one color.
  9. Using the layer tool, reduce the opacity of the fill layer to let the original image bleed through (I used 39% in my Ray Of Light example).
  10. Save your new image!

I’m using much smaller versions of the images here in this article, but you should see the full-size versions… they’re gorgeous! Play around with this – you can become a “tinting master” in under 15 minutes, and the effect looks pretty cool in my book!

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