January 24, 2012

Photoshop Tutorial: Vintage Color Splash

You guyssss, I'm so excited right now!!  
I started my Advanced Photoshop class last night and got assigned the BEST project...

Have you ever heard of Anne Taintor
She is the designer behind those hilarious retro/vintage caption cards...
All images courtesy of AnneTaintor.com
Freaking awesome, right? So my assignment is to create my own version of an Anne Taintor design by finding an old vintage photo, coloring it in with the brush tool, creating my own background from a layer mask, then adding my own witty saying with the Text tool. 

FUN right?! Honestly, I could not be more excited. This kind of stuff is right up my alley!

But don't be too envious... because TODAY I'm going to explain the coloring technique I'll be using so you can do YOUR OWN Vintage Color Splash

My girl Aunie at Aunie Sauce likes to do this color splash effect on her buttons, see here:

Ever wonder how she made that yellow pop? She could actually be wearing any color sweater if she wanted to... pretty cool, right?

I figured you would want to know how to be awesome like Aunie, so I'm going to walk you through it step by step using Photoshop CS5. Don't be afraid- this effect is for beginners and you get to COLOR

So... are you ready for this jelly?
I hope that was a yes! 

But before we begin, the number one most important step is to have an awesome vintage photo to edit!

Did you know Flickr has a ton of public domain vintage photos you can use for FREE? Go to www.flickr.com and in "Explore" click the drop down menu next to Explore and find "The Commons." From there you can search through a ton of old photos that are being scanned from archives around the world. 

I found this awesome vintage beach photo by searching for "swimsuit":
Once you find the one you want, click on "Actions", "View all sizes" and then "Download Original Size." Of course, you can use any other photo you have, even if it's not vintage... that's cool too!

OK- now to REALLY begin... :)

1. Open your photo into Photoshop. (Skip to step 3 if your photo is already set to B&W).

2. Right click on your background layer and click "Duplicate layer." Then go to Image>Adjustments>Black and White... and hit OK (You can also adjust the contrast, exposure, etc. at this time).

3. Make a new layer by going to Layer>New Layer or by clicking the New Layer icon (kind of looks like a small sticky note) at the bottom of your Layers Panel: 

4. Choose the Brush tool from your Tools panel. Go to the brush options located at the top of your screen and make sure the brush is set to a soft edge and is sized around 15 pixels

5. Choose a section of the photo you want to color (it could be clothing, hair, skin, etc.). Then pick a color by clicking on your Color Swatch at the bottom of your Tools panel. 


6. Make sure you have the new layer selected and begin to color in the section of your photo. Try to stay within the lines, but don't worry too much (you can always go back and clean up the edges with the eraser tool). 

This is how my the first lady's swimsuit looks colored in:

If you have more than one section you would like to color, stay on the same layer and just choose different colors like I did below. Continue on your coloring spree... we're almost done!

7. So right now there is a bunch of flat colors on top of your image, right? But we want to make them BLEND into the background, so we are going to play around with the Blending Modes found in your Layers Panel here:

8. For this tutorial, we want the colors to darken so the black of the image shows through, so choose Darken, Multiply, or even Color Burn. These should all work well, but I encourage you to go through your options and pick the mode you think compliments your photo best. This is where your designer eye comes in handy :) Too dark? You can adjust the opacity shown next to the drop down menu above. 

9. Now is the time to go through with your Eraser tool and clean up any messy edges! Don't be afraid to zoom in close... mistakes are usually made when you are too far away. 

10. Once you are satisfied, just save it as a JPG and bask in your new found skills! 

Check out my final image!
(using Color Burn blending mode and Opacity set to 50%)

I told you it was easy! 
Coloring is so much more fun with Photoshop, don't you agree? 

If you found this helpful, go check out some of my other Photoshop tutorials:

ALSO, be sure to leave me a comment with techniques you would like to learn in my next tutorial! Until next time... happy Photoshopping! 


  1. Nice Job, Kristen. I remember a siliar project when I was in design school where I had to create a vintage cola ad! Can't wait to see your finished product!

  2. This is ah-mazing! Wishing I had photoshop right about now...

  3. hahaha that is SO CUTE!!

  4. Awesome, I just added you to my favorites on Bloglovin!

  5. That is wicked sweet! I went and tried it out right away. :) Awesome!

  6. I just tried this out! So super cute, thanks!



    your newest follower :)

    follow me back? XOXO

  8. Really useful tutorial. I think you can also use "multiply" instead of "darken" which gives a denser look.

  9. KRISTEN!! This is fabulous! Once picnik dies I'm going to have to go to photoshop and do this.

    OHHH and how AWESOME are you for using my button??? I lovest thee.

  10. That looks GREAT! (what's your witty saying??)

  11. I don't have photoshop. Stop teasing me with these tutorials!!!

  12. What a fun assignment! This looks so cool! I'm going to be trying this. Thanks for the tutorial Kristen!


  13. Hi there!

    I found you through Mama Marchand's Musings and I totally love your blog! New follower, right here.


  14. :0 totally totally awesome!!! I'm dyin over here, love IT!
    And I so love that artist, her magnets CRACK me UP.

    I may give this a shot, I'm learning on my laptop, slowly but surely...

  15. Great tutorial! Think I could do it in PSE7?



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