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Photoshop - How to Give a Black Horse White Facial Markings
 By T W I   •   27th Jul 2012   •   3,033 views   •   5 comments
Software: Photoshop Elements | Skill level: Advanced

How to Give a Black Horse White Facial Markings

Ever wanted to give a horse facial markings, like stars or snips, but don’t know how? Today we are going to learn how to change the color of a horse’s whole face, to make the bald face marking. This tutorial should be applicable to creating any white facial marking, however.

Today we are going to learn how to change a black horse’s face to white. Black is the hardest color to change to white, as the two colors are direct opposites of each other. While this tutorial may work for other coat colors, it is intended to be used on stock photos of black horses.

Before I color change, I usually cut my horses out, however since this horse’s face is not against the background, but rather against the horse’s chest, I skipped this step. However, unless the horse’s face is surrounded by the rest of the horse, always cut your stock photo before editing it.

Select the horse’s face. I used the magnetic lasso for the job, but there are many ways to make a selection. It’s usually a good idea to select the whole face, even if you only want to give the horse a partially bald face (like I‘m doing), so that you always have enough to work with.

Feather the selection to 2 pixels.
Right click and make a layer via copy.

Select the dodge tool. Change the range to ‘midtones’ and the exposure to ‘25%’. Now start rubbing the dodge tool over the face a couple times until your image looks roughly like the one below.

How to Give a Black Horse White Facial Markings

Duplicate the face layer. Press the key ‘D’. This handy keyboard shortcut will change your colors to default, which is crucial for the next step. Now, go to filters - adjustments - gradient map. A box should come up, with a black and white gradient in the middle. Click on it. Drag the little slider to the left (circled in the image below), to enhance the white content in the selection. Hit okay.

How to Give a Black Horse White Facial Markings

Pull down the opacity of the top face layer, the one we just applied the filter on, to 70%.

NOTE: Most of the above steps can vary greatly from stock image to stock image, so don’t be afraid to tweak any of the values I mentioned.

Now our bald face marking is almost done! We now need to concentrate on the muzzle, which should be a soft pink color.

Make a new layer and pull up your color picker. Look for a color in the general reds area and pull the circular picker to an area in the top left, as shown below.

How to Give a Black Horse White Facial Markings

Carefully paint over the muzzle with the brush tool, on opacity 20%. Put the layer on the mode “color”. Duplicate the layer and change the mode to “soft light”.

Now pull down the opacity of both layers, to taste. I put both of mine on 50%, but again, the values can vary greatly.

Take the eraser tool and zoom in on the eye. Since it was selected with the rest of the face, it underwent a color change as well, and will most likely look quite odd. Simply erase the edited eye until the original horse’s eye shows through the top layer.

Now it’s time to shape our bald face! I’m reducing the size of mine to cover only half the face.

Merge down all the layers together, except for the original, unedited horse layer. A handy shortcut, if you tend to use a lot of layers like I do, is to hide the unedited horse layer and then, instead of clicking “merge down”, instead choose “merge visible”. Once merged, you can make the horse layer visible again.

Start shaping the bald face using the eraser tool, creating whatever marking or pattern you’d like. Once you’ve finished, you now have the option of touching up the face by painting over it. If any detail was lost during the color change, you can now attempt to restore it by painting over the highlights with white and the shadows with black, then putting the layer mode on “soft light”.

I ended up leaving mine as it was, however do whatever you’d like with yours. And that’s all there is to it!

How to Give a Black Horse White Facial Markings
Photoshop - How to Give a Black Horse White Facial Markings
Photoshop - How to Give a Black Horse White Facial Markings
Photoshop - How to Give a Black Horse White Facial Markings
Photoshop - How to Give a Black Horse White Facial Markings
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