Photoshop: Non-Transparent Ink and Watercolour of Watercolour Wash
April 3, 2021 8:28 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to make some images in photoshop. I want a watercolour wash and then I want some images on that background, also in watercolour. I don't want the background to bleed through the drawings on top. I want the colour on the top drawings to look like it would look if they were just drawn on a white background. How do I do this?

Watercolour brushes paint in multiple blend mode, which is what gives them that watercolour look. but I don't want the background blending through. I imagine the answer involves a white fill layer, a layer mask and maybe a clipping mask? But I can't seem to put those things together into what I'm trying to do.

If it matters, there will be many many layers for the on-top-images, not just one. And I'd like to be able to see how images look on the wash as I go along, so I don't want to just make two separate images and then layer them once I'm laying out the document.
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
You could try completely separate layers for all, and balancing different opacities. Check Lynda/Linked In learning for potential leads.
posted by firstdaffodils at 9:02 PM on April 3, 2021

I imagine the answer involves a white fill layer, a layer mask and maybe a clipping mask?

That sounds way too complicated to me. Why would you not just put watercolour and top drawings on their own layers, and temporarily turn off the visibility of any top drawing layer that's occluding stuff you're trying to work on in the watercolour layers?
posted by flabdablet at 11:29 PM on April 3, 2021

I wrote up what I thought you this too complicated? It does require a pretty defined outline to make your white base layer. Sorry for the awful source images!
posted by katecholamine at 11:51 PM on April 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

I was coming in to say something pretty similar to what katecholamine said.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 6:47 AM on April 4, 2021

You can at least periodically check what it looks like! The wash goes on one layer, and the rest of the layers get added on top, yes?

So whenever you want to see how it looks, merge all the top layers, use the magic wand tool to select the non-painted area (or select>color range if that will work) and hit delete. Now you can see the wash, but only in areas without paint.

Now go to the history and just go back up to the action before you merged the layers, click on it, and keep working :)
posted by ananci at 7:42 AM on April 4, 2021

Response by poster: So here's an example image. This is done with a method similar to what Kate and Walker suggested.

So there are three "layers" of watercolour (meaning areas I want be opaque to the layers below -- there are many more photoshop layers).

Layer 1: The wash
Layer 2: Full-body boy and hearts
Layer 3: Pelican/Reading Boy
Layer 4: Pelican on book cover.

So on top of the wash layer is a white fill layer. With the wash invisible and everything visible I do a "sample all layers" magic wand in a random spot (i.e. selects all the transparent pixels), then I mask the wash with the inverse.

That works fine for the wash because it doesn't move. Sure I have to remake the mask every time i move or add things, but i made an action to do that so it's quick.

The second image in the post shows what it looks like without the white fill layers.

But then anywhere else I've stacked things I also need a fill layer with a mask and that's where it gets complicated, because unlike the wash, which stays put, I'm constantly moving or resizing those things or making slight edits (e.g. fixing areas where I called outside the lines) and that messes up the mask and not always in intuitive ways (e.g. see that white stripe on the right? That's cause by shrinking something and the mask shrinks with it and leaving that edge of a fill layer unmasked).

And there will be more layers in this image and many more images, so I would really like to not have to redo this every time I make a change.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:35 PM on April 4, 2021

« Older Why do my hands hurt?   |   How can a new immigrant build a network in Canada? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.