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  • How to Color Nail Polish in Photoshop

  • by Aaron Nace
    January 12, 2016
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Applying Nail Polish

Often times you might want to change the nail Color of your subject.  Maybe you want to try a color that would better fit the overall image.  We have a very simple but effective solution for you!

Getting Started

We start off by adding a new Adjustment Layer and choosing Solid Color.  Don’t feel locked in to the Color you choose.  It’s extremely simple to change the Color later on.  From there, we Invert the Layer Mask.  We then paint white on the Layer Mask and we only paint on the fingernails.  The great thing about a layer mask is you don’t have to be incredibly precise when painting the Color on the nails.  Something like the Pen Tool would probably give you more precision if that’s what you desire.  Once you paint on top of your nails you are halfway done.  It won’t look realistic at all because there are no highlights on top of the nails.  The next step is figuring out how to add highlights on top of the color you just added.  If you can do this successfully, your image will look realistic and the color will blend in seamlessly.

Adding Highlights

There are a lot of different ways to grab the highlights of your image.  We start off by making our Color Fill layer invisible.  We then click on our Background layer and then click, Channels.  Channels helps us separate the Colors in the image.  The Red, Green and Blue in our image.  Our Blue Channel is what we choose to focus on while we try to grab our highlights.  We duplicate our Blue Channel and then pull up our Levels.  We then make our darks a bit darker to help Darken the Skin and to help the highlights stand out.  We then make a selection of the Light areas on our Blue Channel Copy.  After that, we create a New Layer and fill our selection with white.  This creates a layer with Highlights from our entire image.  We make our Color Fill layer visible again and then create a Clipping Mask.  This allows the highlights to show up only where our Color Fill layers are.

Finishing Touches

We then add a Gaussian Blur to help things blend it a bit more.  We also add a Layer Mask and paint away all of the areas that we don’t want to be visible with the nail polish.  This helps us get a very clean and precise look.  It didn’t take us long but we were able to color finger nail polish right in Photoshop!  Now get out there and try this technique on some of your own images.

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