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Basically as you can see the photo has this weird purple saturation on the right side. I know it has something to do with overlay or color blending modes but I can't quite connect the dots on how to match the right to the left.

enter image description here

The second question I have is, when I do paint over grayscale image like this, how do I avoid having a uniform single color? Like I can eyedrop the left side of him, and paint the right side with just that color, but it would be better to have different shades of that blue-ish gray to look realistic. Should I use the gradient tool to paint a selection overlay? If so, how do I make my own color gradient instead of these presets?:

enter image description here

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You can use a few adjustment layers and masking.

Create a selection for the affected area. You might want to do this with pen tool for precise selection. The left side won't matter much because we'll mask it soften and blend with left portion of image. Right side edges of the jacket/clothes are the boundaries, so selection needs to be better.

I used quick selection tool for demonstration, you can use pen tool for more control. You can use same selection for all the adjustments and modify the masks individually. That's what I'll do. Also I've highlighted (yellow arrows) which portions will need soft brush in mask area adjustments:

enter image description here

  1. Apply Selective Color and reduce the values of Magenta, Red a bit:

    enter image description here

  2. Use Hue and Saturation layer to reduce saturation of Magenta, Red and blue a bit:

    enter image description here

  3. Now, you might have lost some blue color details. So add a Color Balance layer to 'bring' back some blue and green maybe.

    enter image description here

    Another layer to make it a bit warm: enter image description here

  4. Now the right side look a bit brighter (ignore if that's 'natural' or you want it as it is), so add a Levels layer and make it a bit less bright and add a soft mask so it affects only right portion. And make other tweaks/fixes by cross checking previous layers:

    enter image description here

Layers Panel:

enter image description here

Note: All those adjustment layers, especially color related are not necessary. Feel free to ignore which you don't feel like needed.

The idea is to tweak things and mask and try to see what works best. You'll need to mask with soft brush at some points. Reduce or emphasize the adjustment layers using mask wherever necessary. Try different sizes of brushes and different opacity values. Try adjusting opacities of layers themselves.


About the color changing part, you can use Gradient Map. Your question is a bit unclear to me, but if you want to change colors of the clothes, you need to decide 3 or 4 main colors (some darker, some brighter) of the look you want to create and use them in Gradient Map adjustment layer (use a selection where you want to apply). Something like this:

enter image description here

Or if you want to change entire image look and feel to a single color, you can use a solid color (or paint in a new layer manually with a solid brush, only the areas which you need) and try changing its Blend Mode to different modes like Multiply/Screen. See what works best for you. A few examples:

enter image description here

There's a Photo Filter adjustment layer too in case you want to try.

You may also want to check this answer.

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    that's incredible work and looks perfect. I'll use this technique when I need more accurate color correction. The 2nd question, basically what I'm trying figure out how to have color complexity for a more natural 'lifelike' look. Where if I just paint over with a single color, it does come across as a bit artificial. Especially important for various skin tones I think – Alex B. yesterday
  • @AlexB. I've edited my answer for better explanation and some changes in second half. If it's still not what you want, we will need to discuss it more. Maybe showing some example like what kind of look you need? – Vikas yesterday
  • I've used your techniques. Hopefully this turned out alright. Let me know if there's things I should fix here. imgur.com/hwxFOFF – Alex B. yesterday
  • @AlexB. looks fine, still you can improve it. If you see the photo as whole, the highlighted area, you may want to add some blue tone to it using a new Color Balance layer. imgur.com/lahnOvx – Vikas yesterday
  • It looks a bit grey and off. – Vikas yesterday
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You can quickly fix the purple discolouration using a brush set to Hue. Use the dropper to grab colour from the left side, then just use broad strokes over the tinted side. You need to be more careful than I was near the face to save the poor guy going grey. This was literally 30 seconds' work.

enter image description here

If you want slightly more variance in the colour, grab different parts of the coat & shirt. Some parts of it will come out very blue, others very grey. Pick a couple of areas with trial & error & see how it comes out. You can use 100% Opacity, but use low Flow, so you can paint it in slowly.

The right side then probably needs a bit of a Sharpen to crisp it up a bit, & a little Burn to darken where it's faded. Again, another 30s quick dash…

enter image description here

I often find with tasks like this, you can either carefully mask your working area, or carfully 'colour inside the lines'. Either will work & each will take about the same time to do.

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    wow that's a really awesome technique, I had no clue about the brush set to hue feature! Thank-you. I can see now how that discoloration came about, because of how much blurrier that part of the image is compared to the left. I'll play around with the sharpen tool you suggested, maybe even some patching or clone stamping! – Alex B. 2 days ago

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