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Chrome, Chrome On The Range

March 7, 2011

I needed to construct a rosary for a recent assignment from the Holy Childhood Association. I found a nice close-up of the part of a rosary known as the center or centerpiece, which contained an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I needed
to substitute an image of the Virgin Mary. Here are the Before and After images. Scroll down to see how I made the change.
before and after images of a rosary center showing the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Virgin Mary

I began with a color photo of a statue of the Virgin Mary. I clipped it out with Photoshop’s Pen tool, desaturated the image, then applied a white to black gradient at low opacity from top to bottom, to give the image some extra contrast.statue of Virgin Mary Blessed Mother showing color, desaturated, and applied gradient

Photoshop does have a Sketch>Chrome filter, but I found it next to useless. I used the Curves adjustment tool instead. There’s no “right answer” in this case. One has to experiment with configurations that resemble the one shown below.Virgin Mary statue color image given appearance of chrome by applying Photoshop's Curves adjustment tool

Applying Curves a second time really boosts the chrome effect. After applying Curves,
I used the Burn tool around the edges to add a bit more contrast. You can see how the main folds are a bit darker in the image on the right below.Virgin Mary statue given more pronounced chrome effect by applying Photoshop's Curves and Burn tools

Next I copied and pasted the chromed image into the rosary centerpiece image, placing it on a separate layer beneath the centerpiece. Then I scaled it down and rotated it into position.Virgin Mary chrome image pasted into rosary center image then rotated and aligned

I applied a Layer Mask to the top image, then selected the innermost image area of the centerpiece. Using color Black and a soft airbrush at low opacity, I brushed away the selected portion of the mask to reveal the Mary image underneath.used Photoshop layer mask to transform rosary center from Jesus image to Virgin Mary image

Final steps: I applied a 2-pixel Gaussian Blur to the Mary image, used the Burn tool to darken it a bit, applied the Texture>Grain filter, Type = Contrasty, and used a soft brush at reduced opacity to add a few spot touches of blue and green.applied Photoshop gaussian blur, Burn tool, and Contrasty Grain texture filter to Virgin Mary chrome image

Here’s a close-up compare of the Before and After images:before and after images of a rosary center showing the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Virgin Mary

8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2011 9:57 PM

    Very cool I would have never though of using the curve to get the effect you did. Ill keep that in mind next time I’m working on something like this.


    • March 8, 2011 8:15 AM

      Yes, certainly one of the more obscure Photoshop tricks, and one I just learned myself. Glad you found it helpful, sir– keep clickin’ that shutter! : )


  2. March 8, 2011 7:05 AM

    I have so much to learn but your instructions are excellent. I have now bought a tutorial on photoshop so with that and your excercises I may eventually achieve something! Many thanks.


    • March 8, 2011 8:20 AM

      Thanks so much for your kind support, Ann. Photoshop’s one of those programs where there’s always more to learn. Somedays I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface myself. Take your time– you’ll get there! : )


  3. March 10, 2011 10:46 AM

    Nice tutorial, Mark. I just wrote a post on The Magic of Photoshop earlier this week with examples of some of the creative things you can do with Photoshop. Take a peek if you get a chance.

    Love that I have a new source of knowledge to learn from when I come here! Thanks for sharing.


    • March 10, 2011 12:04 PM

      Me? A source of knowledge? The idea seems fantastic… : ) Glad you found it helpful, and I appreciate your cheery support. I shall definitely be visiting your blog, where I shall feel the magic… : )


  4. March 10, 2011 2:56 PM

    I like seeing the process of making the change.


    • March 10, 2011 3:15 PM

      I’ve often seen a finished piece myself and wondered how the heck it was done… : ( Happy to give you a peek behind the scenes, and glad you found it helpful. Thanks for stopping by!


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