Staining photos in Photoshop
May 9, 2024 6:06 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way I can stain parts of an image in Photoshop?

I’m working with Photoshop 2023 at my local library. I wanted to make a photo look like a Polaroid that’s gotten a bit beaten up. I’d wanted to make the tab part look discolored and had grabbed some warmer white from a different part of the image, but when I went to drop it on the tab, nothing happened. What am I doing wrong?
posted by pxe2000 to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Best answer: I don't know what you mean by "dropped it on the tab", but the easiest way to add color is to paint it on. You can set the opacity of the brush tool, but to have more control, I'd create a new layer and do your painting on that. Keep the brush's opacity at 100% (which is the default) and then adjust the opacity of the new layer in the layers palette. Also, play around with the blend modes, as they can help you get more realistic effects.
posted by jonathanhughes at 7:03 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]

The dropper tool is for selecting colors. To apply the color you will need to select the paintbrush tool. Yo an also do área fills with the paint bucket, but that will have unpredictable results, as it will only fill areas of congruent color or areas that have a defined outline.

Your best bet for making it look aged is to download a high resolution image of stained paper and make that the top layer of your image, then set the layers blending mode to Multiply and dial down the opacity until it looks the way you want.
posted by ananci at 4:07 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If you have a situation where a layer won't take color (paintbrush, fill etc.) check to make sure the layer isn't locked for editing. There are several things you can lock - look for a small row of icons in the Layers panel, right above the top layer in the panel. That's gotten me more than once!

Another thing to check would be the blending mode of the tool you're using to apply the color. This is in the toolbar for the tool when the tool is activated, separate from the blending mode in the Layers panel. There are conditions where a combination of the tool's blending mode, the paint color and the underlying layer color could yield no visible result.

And make sure the tool's Flow and Opacity are not set to zero.

Oh, and make sure you don't have an active selection that you've overlooked. I've had cases where I spend a lot of time trying to figure out why paint won't go down, only to realize there's a one-pixel selection somewhere that I made by accident or forgot was there.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 5:38 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]

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