Complementary Colors and Retouching in Photoshop | Marcin Mikus | Skillshare

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Complementary Colors and Retouching in Photoshop

teacher avatar Marcin Mikus, Retoucher and Photoshop Instructor

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Key Colors


    • 3.

      Basic Practice


    • 4.

      Working with Gradient Maps


    • 5.

      Fill Layers and Masks


    • 6.

      Advanced Masking techniques


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About This Class

Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel are considered to be complementary colors .The high contrast of complementary colors creates a vibrant look especially when used at full saturation. This color scheme must be managed well so it is not jarring.

Complementary colors are tricky to use in large doses, but work well when you want something to stand out.

In this class You will learn:

  • Adjustment layers that You will use in the future for Your Color Grading in Photoshop

  • Basic Workflow Techniques for Complementary Colors

  • Working with Gradient maps

  • More advanced techniques, such as working with masks to have full control on the color, different methods of working with colors

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Marcin Mikus

Retoucher and Photoshop Instructor


I'm open minded and creative Photoshop Instructor and interationaly published Professional Retoucher.  The area I'm interested in is photo retouching and photomanipulation. I believe that massive layers of imagination allows me to create interesting, nontrivial ideas.

I've been teaching Photoshop for the last seven years. I spend almost every day with photoshop and in time I was able to gain more and more knowledge about right ways of teaching Photoshop. After few years of teaching on youtube I felt it's the right time to come out with Premium Courses, where I can share some amazing ideas and make Photoshop fun! 

If you are looking for a place where you can learn photoshop retouching in the right way, this is the best place to be!

See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, my name is marching. I am for the shop educator and photo retouch er, And today I'm coming to you this amazing class on complementary colors and how to apply this to your work in photo shop and to your photo retouching. Why I decided to make such a class on colors, because off course retouching is important knowing everything about the skin. But at the end off the day, the colors are something that make your image is unique. Colors that are opposite to each other on the color wheel that you can see in front of you are considered Toby complementary colors. The high contrast off complementary colors creates a vibrant look, especially when used at full separation. The color scheme must be managed well, so it's not so jarring. Complementary colors are tricky to use in large doses, but work extremely well. When you want something to stand out in this class, you will learn adjustment layers that you will use in the future for your color grading in photo shop, basic work flow techniques for complementary colors, working with Grady and maps, and also more advanced techniques, such as working with masks to have full control on the color, different methods off working with color. So if this is something here looking for and if you are inter photo retouching, inter photo composition or any work that requires colors in photo shop, this is something you cannot meet. So see you in the first lesson. 2. Key Colors: I found this amazing image. I was working not that long ago, and I thought it will be perfect to start from this image introduction in tow. Complementary colors. We're not going to jump in tow DePorter straightaway. What's important for me is to talk to you a little bit longer about theory to make sure that you know what is important when you look at your image, what the things that you have to notice and pay attention after you open the image. And also on this example how you can resolve some issues because this image looks really great to me right now. But it wasn't always like that. So let's start from the story I wanted to talk about. First of all, when you open the image you have tow, pay attention, toe certain things. The color harmonies are not made by mistake or by accident. Nothing like that. You have to find the color that draw attention to your image, the color around which you want to build whole atmosphere, this color we call key color. So, for example, when we have portrait image, we want to draw viewer attention into the model into the face so more likely our key color in this case will be skint on. And as you can see, I draw or rather made this very simple graph over here. It's not even graft this this small painting and as you can see and easily we could say, our key color is skin tone over here, and it dominates it. Take around 75% off these rectangle over here. So why is that? Because your key color has toe be dominating on the doesn't mean it has to take 75% off the image, but it has to draw around 75% off the attention. So it will be rather other the color that complement this key color. It doesn't mean how much space it takes, but rather about attention. So we could have very small element for example, red element on the green background. And this will be our key color toe, which we have to draw attention. So the color I wanted to draw attention was this skin tone and in this case, the perfect complementary color for this yellow skin tone or rather, oranges. Kington was this blue collar. So when you open your image always pay attention to it. What's the key color? And what's the object you want to draw attention to in this object will have your key color around which you goingto build your composition. Second of all, as I mentioned, it wasn't always like that when I did row conversion. The image looks like days, and it wasn't something that made me actually happy because I had a lot off dominant orangey tones and they were taken over the background and you can see it over here. It doesn't look as a really good color composition. It's way, see orange colors. But I cannot really not. Is this blue tones over here? So I did a few things, and we're not going to work in this section yet in this lesson yet because I believe for those off you who going to start, it might be a little bit confusing, but I want to tell you a few words how I resolve certain issue. So in the future, you will. No, this sort of things are swell. And after a few next lesson you will be You will know what I was doing over here. So, looking at this, I As I said, I have two strong orange terms. What I wanted to do. I wanted to cool it down a little bit, so I took down some vibrant. Some saturation you can use for these the huge saturation adjustment layer or vibrance aside, it. I just took five point from the vibrant some things to it. My skin tone's were not that strong anymore. The second step form Iwas to do this even more. I wanted toe bring back some off the blue color, some of the strong blue color from the background, so mostly about getting something back. I used color balance from it for it, which is also over here in adjustment layer and color. Balance for me is the most powerful color adjustment layer that amusing curves itself are most powerful adjustment layer about universal task. But when we worked with colors, for me, color balance is crucial. So what I did? As you can see, I get something more from the background. It's more contrast IQ right now, but still looking at this. We have a lot off these orange tones and another color balance set it up. I got lower with Hugh on the blue color. So I started to get into science Tom's, which were working more with this orangey color. And also I cool down the orange on the face, and right now it looks right, but still, now, as I have this color, I have to get more from this because, as you can see, we most of our image is all rent in this case, and we don't see much off the blue, so it's still something that has to be not. Is that something that gives you the perfect composition of the image? We cannot see just one color. So if selective color, I got strong color off the background. And right now I have perfect balance between these two colors between my key color, which is orange, and between the background, which is complementary for these orange done. So I know it's not explained here. I have some complicated masks, but I want to start from very beginning with you. So in the next lesson, we start working step by step with complementary color, you're going to know more things, different ways off working, and also in the other sections. We will develop the color harmonies even more than this 3. Basic Practice: in this lesson. Finally we going to do some off the practical job. It will be very basic task, but it's really great practice for understanding colors. And we will be support supporting ourselves with, Of course, color will. So this image, when I opened it looked that way. So have a look at first and think once missing over here we have dominant or Ng's, and it looks flat simply speaking on this exhibit. But But when I look at the background, I can see it gives me some opportunities off getting maybe some of them and bluish times. And I did that and off course I'm going toe show you. I would I did over here with this. Just simple steps using and Usman players. So first thing were What am I doing? Let's have a look. I'm taking a sample off the I'm I'm going to use a brush, Chris al direction And I got this orange color. And this is Hugh 24. I'm checking this value over here. Uh, and then I'm going to the website that I want to support myself and before I just different sample. But it was very similar, right? 31 huge. That dress has the hue somewhere between 25 maybe 24 actually upto 30. So you can look in this wrench that the perfect complementary color for this oranges will be sort of science. And I'm going to try toe restore this colors, and we will see if this works better for our image. So OK, we did that and how I could do this. I often started just with the simple color balance color balance. Help me toe define some colors that barely exists on the image. So let's open color balance. And now I want be doing anything with masks. We will wait till they're or the lessons, and I'm just going to have a look what I can restore from the shadows, and I'm really happy that it affects a lot. It also affect the orange color, but in this case, I'm really happy because there's orange was slightly too strong, so I'm going to restore some of the science and blue for the shadows. But the blue, actually in this case off was it and brings up more orange. Let's see also what meet tons gives us, So I'm just going to test I'm not going to lie. It's just a simple test. I'm just going to test. What can I do? What can I do you use in this Onda highlights. I don't know if we can restore much from highlights and that would be way too strong Pass frequency and we affecting the face. So I want to be really working away for with highlights on that the two things slightly on the meat tones and a little bit more for the shadows because it's mostly located in the shadows. So okay, I got this even more and we got this. I, um I'm going to see that I actually affected some of the colors on the dress. The very simple Think how you can resolve it often change just blending more toe color because then you under fake the colors and you don't have think the light. So even we affected color slightly. We not changing cost contrast that exist on the image. But it's of course, after you, if you will like this more contrasting result, which I think is pretty good, you can stay with that other thing is I still feel their orange is too dominant. It's way too dominant, So there is a few simple steps how you can do this. I showed you before the example. I liked work with vibrant, so it gives me really good control. And Vibe runs, actually, as you can see when we go down, it prevents the natural skin color, as you can see, so it's prevent some orange. So it's actually going to very little, I think the orange, the other method, which could be even, maybe better. I'm going to do this few hue saturation, and we're not going to use master in this case. But we going toe look at the colors, and it would be easy for their color would be read or one of these colors that exist over here. But we don't have them. We have different choice, though. We need to find the colors that barely exists on the image. We have plenty reds. We have a lot off yellows. We have some of the greens on the banker, not that much science as well and blues. I have a choice. I would go with greens off magenta toe, define the color off the dress. I feel I might have some off the green over here, So I'm going with magenta. I'm going to choose this eyedropper, and I'm just going to heat on the dress on this. You can see it change the name interes to We don't have man gentles anymore. So this color asking, Actually, you can see it's very simple to take down saturation from the dress, if we think is to saturate it. So if you feel it's dominant, you take in. This is in this method, and I really think it's nicely balanced right now. Now, after we actually defined some color by color balance. I never start with selective color if I don't see actual colors on the image, but now we see them. So if you want to improve more, the perfect choice will be selective color for you. And we can go with Siam, which we already have, and we could just improve as we like. It can improve science. We can take down the yellows if we want this, but I wouldn't go so far. I would just add maybe slightly more science for the better balance and with a few simple steps, working with two colors to colors which are complementary with each other. We got from days to this, and I have proof, and I believe you have that. Complementary colors are super powerful. So let's move into something maybe more complicated, something that will have different colors, maybe even some portrait image. 4. Working with Gradient Maps: At first I was planning to go straight away in tow. Typical studio portrait. But I think this image needs a video because it's a great example how you can work with colors and how you can actually improve the image, which at first, when you look at this, it looks great. It has beautiful skin color, a little orange and going into the rectums over here and also blue crystal sion water. So it will be just amazing toe work with this. How we can improve that it already lose good. So there is a very simple mattered to do this, and I'm going to show you a few different methods. At first we're going to work with gradient bump, and then I'm going to show you how you can speed the colors so that will be toe separate parts and how I'm going to start. I'm not going to use, and the Web for my color will, even if it is the best calorie A and I highly recommend you to to use these page. I was showing you before, but also in further shop, we can find the color color wheel in extensions and adobe color teams I'm not really using adobe color teams, but it has this color will with fuel and their friends color harmonies, of course, like Alan dogs, etcetera. However, it's not really comfortable for me. I don't like this color wheel, but it will be slightly helpful for us to check few things right now. And I want to go with the colors that already exist on this image. So let me take Are you using eyedropper? I have a brush. You can see. I'm thinking the sample of the skin somewhere over here and what I want to see. I want to see the huge. So I have the Hughes 16 and this you, everywhere I go will be some around that 16 2022 24 etcetera. So, like, I want to find Universal Hue and the universal for this will be around this place 16. 17. Somewhere around that, I'm going to stay with this. I'm going to stay with this. But why? I'm using this color wheel. As you can see, my color is already applied over here. And what I will see I'm going toe decide the red because we have the orange skin and over here. Down here we have hue, saturation and somewhere else. So the first number is huge. So I'm going to 17. The hue I need to see 17 because that's what I choose. It can be 16 just around around the same area, right? And then I'm going to the other side, the opposite side, and it shows me 1 68 around 1 70 So I'm going to switch the colors right now to switch the colors. You can press X on your keyboard, and I switched the colors and I have you won 70. I said this on my own. But you can also, just to make sure check which color which color you have on the background, we'll see. Actually, have this 1 71 80 It's going in depends on the area. So I want to find the area or said this on my own around 1 70 as it was, because that will be our complimentary color. One thing I'm going to do in this case, I want to just give a little bit more saturation for this case because I want this bag Toronto full of life. So when I set up my colors I'm going to sweet this once again. Why am sweetin is because these dark color will be responsible for the shadows. So the shadows are over here and on the skin. Actually, most of the shadows exist, and the highlights will be filled with this science color over here and over here when we will be using grading Mom. So now when my colors are already ready, I'm going to Grady in Map and its field. As I said, the shadows are field with that this orangy yellow color, and that highlights mostly because a big part off the water is actually yellowish. And now I'm going to change blending month too soft, light or overly, it's really up to. You can also go with normal and then just lower the opacity and set up your contrast and have a look that's before, and that's after. I really love how far we got with the skin and how he brought up this, and it's much more outstanding for me. The one problem is, still, it affected the background a little bit too much. So what I would do. I would use selective color in this case, as I was doing before, and I'm just going to get push science for greens and I will see how taken down yellow works. So also, I could take some yellows for greens and also I will improve science. So thanks to days, I could get back the water I had. So as you can see right now, this is before and this is after and they meet is much more outstanding. This is the one method, and in the next lesson, I'm going to show you even more selective method separately, for shadows and for highlights. 5. Fill Layers and Masks: in this lesson, I will show you creative way off working with colors, choosing the right colors for the highlights and shadows using simple feel layers. It will be very similar toe radiant map maybe slightly more selective. And this is something I would prefer much more In my work with colors we have chosen already colors over here. So thanks to that, we don't have toe think that much What I'm going to do, I'm just going toe open some off the adjustment layer off At first I cannot open the field layer because I will not be able to get the right selection for the mask in this case. So I'm just going to open curves. I don't really need them for anything. I just need for the mask. If you have not bean working with mask, I'm just going to mention this quickly. The white color represent visibility the back or or represent invisibility. So they say What you see over here, the white color represents that we see everything that it's on the mask and we can invert this with color black. To do this, we can press just control or command and I and then Of course, you make everything invisible. So that's the simple tip. And why I'm telling you this because it will be very important. Off course, white color is fully visible. Black aura, invisible gray color, 50% visible. So it's all about the amount of great. So I opened this curve layer and I want to do a selection firstly for the highlight. But I'm going to them, going to image and apply image and the days actually I'm going to turn this off and once again going to do days apply, emit. And this is going to define the highlights and shadows don't exist on the image is going to merge everything and are on the mosque. I will have her thing to find. So then I'm going to press. Okay, we can invert the days if we would work for shadows. Who would invert this in that case? But we don't need, and I'm going to have a look for them. Ask to have a look on the masculine, just press al corruption and hit on the mask. So, as you can see, I have black colors or rather dark colors in the shadows, and I have white Carlos in the area where we have highlights. So if I apply the blue color into these settings over here that I have on the mask, it will be visible in the white areas. But of course I cannot apply this fruit curves. I was telling you want to apply this fruit feel layers? Of course, you can use other adjustment layers. I'm just working with feel layers because I feel it's super suitable for this particular image. So what I'm going to do, I'm going toe press control or command. I'm going toe hit this or so what I'm going to do. I'm going to create new empty layer and what you can see. I have my colors I have chosen before, but for the highlights, I wanted a sign A column. I'm going to call this highlights, and I'm going to take selection from this curve. So I'm going to press control or comment and hit on this. So we have selection the fine just on the highlight. I'm going to solid color and it will be filled with this science color in this case. What? I'm going to die. I don't need this curve layer anymore because I have selection so I can remove this, that it's the same way looking as you can see our highlights good filled with these cyan color. What we can do, we countries overlay or we can choose soft light. It's really up to us with which color we are going to go, but it actually changing the highlights. Very strong leads. Call me the red tones of the skin and it's improving them Cyan color off the water, so overlay also would be suitable. But I think for now it's just affecting skin to match. I will keep this soft line and then what I'm going to do, I'm going toe create new empty layer. I'm doing this just to see the colors because I could just open. But I need to see the colors to make it be field with color. And this one I'm going toe called shadows and for shadows. Of course, I want these warmer color, some good press X to invert, and I'm going toe. Make selection now, and I'm going toe apply from solid color. The problem is, it's applied once again in tow. Our highlights, some just goingto inverted, is we can invert is the same way as we were doing this before with black and white. I'm going to press control or command and I and what is happening. We just inverted layer mask everywhere was blank before it's white now. So the area where this orangey color is visible and everywhere is black. This color is invisible, so let's see. It doesn't look well. I'm just going to change this to soft line, and that's how it looks. Other fantastic methods. Dough. Once again, I'm going to put this to the group altogether. Combined control and come I'm sorry Control all commanded G colors after is going to call these colors. And once again, actually, this water's quite agree. So it's given us similar result as before. And the reason is why? Because usually these shadows, the white color here will be much more visible. So I'm just going to nine down the opacity down to 50%. So our effect will be more like soft as you can see. And now we have really beautiful results. And once again, off course, we could also work just a little bit with selective color work with science on and greens toe, get out more off the from from the water. So this was two methods off. Working with this sort off in me to come work with great and map super powerful, you can work with feel layers. I just want to show you different methods and what's more so important for me except the methods understanding off how the colors works, which is the main point off these cars? 6. Advanced Masking techniques: so we have this image and I absolutely love this image. I'm on the regretful that I found this on stock and I didn't have a chance to play with the row file. But it's so perfect over the colors toe work with to start with colors. And this is the lesson. What I want to actually start introduction in Tom Split. Complementary because we not only have two dominant colors over here, but actually it's also appearing the Turk corner. We have the warm tones, which will be read and slightly orange, and of course, we have the desire. So we had a bigger range, but it's still main dominant colors. We work work with warm colors and the cold colors over here so that our complementary colors so how to take her off separate colors like red and the background what to do with them. They work really great right now, but I feel it could be we can get even more out of this. We can make maybe this background more more working with with this red, and that's what I will be trying to do in this case. So I love to work with color balance and let me open just few color balance layers. Uh, to maybe will be enough. I will stay with two right now, and I will call the one as a balance number one and the other one will be balanced. Number two. Okay, So the first color is service you bread, which is dominant. And, um, her skirt. I'm sorry on her shirt and also the face. So how to do this? Of course, we can mask this. We can work with shadows and highlights and try different things. But in photo shop, we can do selection for the color range, so go to select and then color range and what it offers to you when you hit this select marks over here, you can to the colors are you can choose the highlights. Shadows are many times, of course, which will be super workable for you as well. You can also sample colors, so if you want to work with specific color, you can just sample. And that's the best way off working with this because you can choose the background, you can trust the dots. You can choose her skirt or go with red color. So then you will be affecting face slightly bad. I think I wouldn't be great idea, So let's sample the clothes. But when I do a sample, as you can see, the blues is not clear. But we can set this up by working with fuzziness. We can push on the fuzziness, but be really careful because it will start affecting some other parts that you might not necessarily want to effect like the nose over here. But this will be things that will be super easy for us to correct. So let's go If this maybe and I'm going to hit OK and the best thing is over here that, as you can see, it's actually visible in our mosque so we can have a look at our mask and it's perfect. It's affecting the red areas that we want. And if it we even if we went on beat far so we affected the nose and the nails I'm going to keep and sleeps. Maybe I will keep this. I will see how does it work. But how to correct the knows. I'm just going to choose the white color So Presti to re reset and white color as dominant and with white brush. I'm sorry. Off course, black color because we need to go back to the color black and with black color, which is brushing over and over here in the areas that you don't want to be affected. Go back to our mask and open the balance. And I'm just going to work with Mick. Tom. So think about what will be best for you have science background. It's not necessarily red. I'm sorry Green and green would be perfect in this case. Were workable with these Read Shared. So what we going to do? We going toe improve, Maybe some red That would be really nice. And I won't be going too far with magenta that way with blues because man gente colors will be more workable for strong Rhett And they want to be so much workable for this for strong green off course and they won't be workable. The magenta colors would be really strong red getting slighting toe yellow tones. So the best complementary color. So where would be off course? The red strong read like this and that will be just perfect for us. It's going in tow, actually, oranges in this case It's still very strong red, so it's after you can get go slightly more into Magen Tick. But it's the your vision and you decide of the colors, and your task is to make the colors looks the best without changing the major. Look, I love too experimental and OK, that's my small change. I was working just with me tons over here, and I will go to color balance, too, my balance toe. And this time I'm going once again toe select color range. And once again I will take a sample of the background and, well, it's not something in my favor. But this time I'm just going toe lower the fuzziness and once again that will be working great for me. I'm going to hit OK, and this time, once again, I'm going to paint with black color over. I want to paint over the colors like dogs because I want to take care of dots separate way on my own in tow, have a little bit more control on it. So it is going toe. She's hard at it and just let's paint over this quickly. It's of course, a little bit off makeup can state I don't want to waste too much of your time on the windows, but this is something we have to do and maybe you will feel comfortable. Okay, so I paint it over and my background is perfectly selected. So what I'm going to do to this background, I'm going to push for sure, some off the greens. And once again, I'm just working with me tons over here. So I'm getting more green. Also, some of the sion. And also I'm going to see how it works in different modes for me, for the shadows, for example. So I could push more green, which going to dark and days and slightly I will see what the sign will do. But there is no silent the shadow. So that would be Maybe I will recover more science over here because I wanted duck. And this is just perfect. Our our our sion On green, though I'm going to maybe lower the opacity toe, get some of the science and that's how it looks like before and after. And of course, you don't have to agree with that. But the colors all together they work just great. The color with the blues, etcetera. So another step would be the dots. What I will do with the dogs, I'm going to balance once again. I was just going to color this balance tree so I could open three layers. At first it would be just fine. And once again I'm going to do the same selection for the color range. I'm going to choose the dots just like that that that they seems. Find for me. I'm going to push it over slightly more, and I will be affected. Background. But But let's see how how it's going to work for us and about the dots. Of course I want them. I want to see the Simon them they were sign, and I want the change in days and slightly in the green just to make this work society better, I'm going to put this all to the group. So that was our small experiment. And now let's have a look. That was before, and that's after. To me, the colors work so much better, and I like this much more. I really would work maybe even more with the colors, because we are free to experiment over here. It off course it's the pens on for the graph for wish, But I would go soft like that, but I would have a lot of fun experimenting over here. We could even see how it actually would go with this more. Imagine the color. So if you have similar images, feel free tow. Experiment in the ways, as I do because I truly love this. I truly love working like this. As you can see, I want to show you how what I was saying about this strong green color that the Magen tick blows would be much more suitable for this. But I decided to go with this way slightly, and this is something I feel more comfortable with. Maybe just like that. And I love the look that's before and after. So after this lesson, you know how you can simply select the color and the particular color off the image that you want to work with. How to make the mosque, how to select them correctly for your own purposes, how to paint on the mask, tohave full control on your colors and gets what best on the image