VinnyPrime's blog

Tutorial: Adding Rainbow Skin Tone

posted by VinnyPrime, Jan 18, 2007 3:36 AM — 83 comments

Ok, so let's learn how to add this somewhat useless, but cool-looking rainbow glow to skin tone!

Please note that this tutorial utilizes Photoshop CS2. While I'm sure a similar effect could be achieved with other programs... I would have no idea how. :-P

Ok, so we'll start out with this photo:

As you may see, this is a simple close-up shot of a woman's eyes, nose, and lower forehead.

Ok, so let's get started.

Step 1. Open the photo in Photoshop. Simple! :-)

Step 2. Create a new layer. You can do this by going to Layer>New>Layer.

Step 3. Select the gradient tool from the tool box. It looks like this:

Step 4. In the gradient selection box, where you select which colors you want your gradient to be, select the transparent rainbow, which looks like this:

Step 5. Now, you need to select the direction in which the gradient colors change. Select "Reflected Gradient," which looks like this:

Step 6. Now, drag the mouse from the top left corner to the bottom right corner of the photo, kind of like splitting the photo into two triangles. Your photo should now look like an ugly, fake rainbow, and your layer pallete (the box showing your layers) should look like this:

Step 7. Now, we need to make it so that you can see through the rainbow. Right click on the rainbow layer in the layer pallete (see the above picture), and select, "Blending Options." Now, set the "Opacity" setting to a number that makes the rainbow opaque to your liking. For this example, I used 25:

Your photo should now look like this:

Step 8. Now, grab your eraser tool, which is right next to the gradient tool in the tool pallete, and use the eraser to erase your rainbow layer away from the parts that you don't want to be rainbow... esque... Your photo should now look like this:

Almost done!!

Step 9. Now, zoom in on the eyes and erase away the rainbow from the eyes, as such:

Step 10. Now, with some minor tweaking, such as using an unsharp mask, and adjusting color and contrast, you're done! Congratulations! :-)

Let me know what you guys think of this, my first tutorial!

(-: Vince Petaccio :-)

Comments | RSS

1. posted by DrugsOrMe, Apr 20, 2007 7:17 PM

I really liked this i thought it was awesome. Although, if people wanted to get back something they erased rather than using the undo button. On the gradient layer add a layer mask. Make sure your colors are set to black and white. Using the brush tool go over what you would like to get rid of and hit x to bring it back.

Google Mac Lab to check out my class! 1st one!

2. posted by escan, Aug 18, 2010 10:59 AM

Wow nicely explained tutorial.

3. posted by acruben, Mar 1, 2007 8:49 PM

Realmente... trivial

4. posted by omar_franc, Jan 18, 2007 5:50 AM

not very useful but thank's

5. posted by VinnyPrime, Jan 18, 2007 7:17 AM


Thank you?


6. posted by weirdvis, Jan 18, 2007 10:05 AM

Looking beyond the artistic merit I think this is an interesting basic introduction to layers and the gradient tool for beginners. Instead of just dabbling without aim people learn better if there is a definite goal in mind. You've given them that.

Well done. :0)

7. posted by real_eyes, Jan 18, 2007 11:15 AM

i guess it's like a little bit disco. Well done :)

8. posted by a_kartha, Jan 18, 2007 7:24 PM

Well done, nicely written. Knowledge of 'how do to stuff' is ALWAYS useful, whether you already know it or not!


9. posted by spiz, Jan 20, 2007 3:25 PM

That was great!!!
i would have made it hard on my self by trying to do it a crazy, complicated way. Thanks~

10. posted by JenTiger, Jan 20, 2007 9:54 PM

I can't figure out how to place the image directly on the background layer as you have it. Then again, I am just starting to learn the program at Art Institute. Maybe my instructor can help.

11. posted by VinnyPrime, Jan 21, 2007 3:33 AM

Instead of making a new file then placing the image, simply open the image as you would open a .doc file in MS Word.

Good luck! :-)

12. posted by schimmel, Jan 22, 2007 1:06 AM

Very helpful. Thank you!!!

13. posted by kiranaryan, Jan 23, 2007 5:41 AM

very nicely explained. thanks!

14. posted by tedd_sfc, Jan 23, 2007 6:30 PM

you seem to have a firm grasp of the KISs rule... Keep It Simple... i never could figure out what the other s represented, or if it's even needed... anyway, Good job =)

15. posted by neneboyz, Jan 24, 2007 2:59 AM

Who knows? we might use this technique someday. It's always nice to have a referrence.

16. posted by sanaljose, Jan 27, 2007 8:09 AM


17. posted by t-florie, Jan 29, 2007 5:05 PM

When do you ever wanna use that? :P lol!

But anyway, as an tutorial it's great, even though I dont think you need to create rainbow effect in peoples faces, its a nice way for beginers to learn how to use, and have fun, with the gradient tool.

Even though.. As you writhe "erase" the rainbow from the eye, I'll hardly recommand that you do it with a layer mask.. That way you can easy get the rainbow back if you sometime gonna need it.

18. posted by dirtypaper, Jan 31, 2007 1:32 PM

Reminds me of an 80's album cover from blondie or something. great.
gona try it right now :-)

19. posted by lawnsman, Feb 8, 2007 12:30 AM

Nice intro to basic gradients. Brilliant and simple for beginners.

20. posted by coosee, Feb 15, 2007 9:48 AM

nice job, it's useful.

21. posted by robertkur, Feb 16, 2007 3:58 PM

thats all?:P

22. posted by VinnyPrime, Feb 17, 2007 11:19 PM

Sorry about the photobucket bandwidth problem... I'll fix it here real soon.

23. posted by clumpx1, Mar 1, 2007 5:37 AM


24. posted by anwarkn, Mar 3, 2007 6:30 AM


25. posted by Woopidoo2, Mar 3, 2007 4:38 PM

Simple but effective. I own photoshop for over a year, and I didnt knew this :)

Thanks for sharing, keep it up


26. posted by Ammmelia, Mar 4, 2007 11:02 AM

Simple, but great! it is very nice,I like the idea :D

27. posted by hgfdis, Mar 4, 2007 8:59 PM


28. posted by d45, Mar 5, 2007 4:38 PM

oh thats great and easy .in the first I tought that made by more that 1 efeect > Thatnks about this tutoriel

29. posted by veez, Mar 5, 2007 5:52 PM

Very nice tutorial, easy to understand and a cute idea =)

30. posted by richcam, Mar 7, 2007 6:19 PM

I dig this. It's quite retro, and I've seen plenty of 70's & 80's wacky glam shots with similar makeup jobs. Simple, too, which is a bonus. If you play with the layer blending mode you can get some nifty variations also.

31. posted by coldfreeze, Mar 15, 2007 10:12 AM

This is a good tutorial. Suitable for making posters like cosmetics. Even for CD covers. It teaches how to use blending effectively and erasing the unused portion correctly. Good tutorial for those starting on photoshop.

Keep it coming!

32. posted by quirolant, Mar 16, 2007 8:52 PM

nice tutorial

33. posted by deathroll, Mar 20, 2007 12:25 PM

Cool! ^_^

34. posted by fofo_77, Mar 21, 2007 3:37 PM

so cool man >> thanks

35. posted by anfas, Mar 21, 2007 5:34 PM

verey nice ..

36. posted by cafe-ole, Mar 21, 2007 7:10 PM

hey great step by step action, thought it was great and well laid out :) kudos for that

and as to those who ask when it will ever be used, it's used quite often, i've never used it myself for a portraiture, but i sure am now :) (have one due in my digi photo class)

side note:
KISS ( keep it simple stupid, last "s" is for stupid!)

37. posted by mammi, Mar 30, 2007 8:07 AM

very is good effots to convey to others a right path of designing .......thanks From: Munir Ali

38. posted by kylegarrow, Apr 2, 2007 8:03 PM


39. posted by TiKiPants, Apr 4, 2007 5:43 AM

To #11. The KISS Rule is: Keep It Simple Stupid. lol

and as far as the tut goes, it was helpful, as I've applied it to other things that I've been working on. :] Thanks

40. posted by Nessielive, Apr 8, 2007 4:57 AM

I once got this effect by taking a photo of a cd. You know how at certain angles it appears rainbow-like?
I took that image and cropped it a bit and simply added the layer on top of another photo.
The steps are the same from that point.
That way does work, but this way looks better and is easier!
Thanks! : D

41. posted by VinnyPrime, Apr 9, 2007 1:21 AM

Oh, neat idea!

42. posted by wreckedm, Apr 10, 2007 12:20 PM

in my opinion, there is a better way to do that colorful effect. try: images>gradient map, to convert your img in one tone ... ; then you can use Hue/saturation layers (in "fill or adjustment layers") and paint were ever you want you color effects to be

43. posted by tom_net, Apr 11, 2007 7:10 PM


thanks :D

44. posted by VinnyPrime, Apr 11, 2007 10:49 PM


I'm sure that there are many ways to achieve a similar effect.

45. posted by navafsar, Apr 14, 2007 8:20 PM

sweeeeet stuff, but it doesnt work for the Pics with different settings and lighting, but still very helpful and very nice thankyou for the post :)

46. posted by kyogotmilk, Apr 21, 2007 5:35 PM

Very nice, but is there any way to convert these instructions to PaintShop Pro? I really want to achieve this effect!

47. posted by boanerges, Apr 21, 2007 9:28 PM

Besides learning how to use Layers and Gradients I can think a lot of uses for this technique, not only in people's faces but in many other environments. Put your creativity to work. Many Thanks VinnyPrime, your tutorials are very useful.

48. posted by Euphausia, Apr 25, 2007 9:00 AM

its so much simpler than how it looks!
Its a great tutorial. ^^

Well done, very well explained as well. keep it going

49. posted by asimaga, May 4, 2007 2:08 AM

nice nice jobs just gooooooooooooooooo

50. posted by outer, May 5, 2007 12:37 PM

Nice, i just suggest to change the layer blending mode to Overlay.

51. posted by tnt2br2, May 9, 2007 8:04 AM

nice good job !

52. posted by hoser13, May 14, 2007 5:04 PM

Nice simple tutorial.Just about my speed..( getting old..ehhe )Good results.

53. posted by ric03, May 23, 2007 8:02 PM

su trabajo es simple y grandioso esperemos que llegue a profesor.

54. posted by TacoChel, Jun 10, 2007 7:43 PM

Very nice, simple tutorial. Cool trick to know. And I like doing randon stuff for my friends on their photos, so I will definatly use this.

Thanks. :D

55. posted by fishmonk, Jun 25, 2007 4:30 PM

Excellent tutorial. Thank you.

56. posted by nemokali, Jul 21, 2007 2:59 AM

cool bro.. tnx for sharing..

57. posted by maunder, Jul 29, 2007 9:10 AM

actually, you'll find that a lot of fashion editors use this technique to create those random makeup styles on models you see on programs such as americas next top model....

....nice introduction to layers and the opacity tool. you could have taken it further by experimenting with overlay in the layer pallette. perhaps there wouldnt be a need for using the opacity then :]


58. posted by kip0130, Jul 30, 2007 12:34 AM

actuallly i liked this tutorial
i never knew how to duch such things like i see in the media

59. posted by Black_arch, Sep 20, 2007 11:04 AM

not usefull but funny tutorial! I like it!! :-)

60. posted by sxchuman, Sep 20, 2007 2:07 PM


61. posted by lxvxjxnkie, Sep 23, 2007 10:55 AM

Hey Vinny,

Re Omar's comment, I'm thinking you needn't worry much about the opinion of someone who can't spell "thanks" lol.

Pretty simple tutorial but I like it because I would otherwise have gone to great lengths to mask out areas of skin to work on them separately, when really that's unnecessary. Thanks!


62. posted by carlos24, Nov 6, 2007 9:31 AM


63. posted by ITAMidwest, Nov 13, 2007 12:18 AM

Very nice-and USEFUL. If it wasn't a technique all of us thought we might want to use sometime, we wouldn't have clicked on to the tutorial, right? This is exactly the type of image that's in right now in fashion advertising and iconic imagery. (Well written, too; very easy to follow. I was smacking myself in the forehead going "why didn't I think of that?")

64. posted by lenzzy, Nov 21, 2007 5:23 AM


65. posted by jessada, Nov 22, 2007 4:02 PM

Good and Simple ;)

66. posted by Ami-Wiraku, Nov 24, 2007 4:38 AM

Great! i'll use this. :) very interesting, and it doesn't look 'fake' at all.

67. posted by enajrich, Nov 25, 2007 1:49 AM

it's very useful for when i want a 'dramatic' makeup effect... works nicely on the eyeballs too :P

68. posted by adelloodel, Nov 28, 2007 4:12 AM

wow... now i get the whole function of layer! :D

nice thank you

69. posted by mackydi, Dec 1, 2007 12:27 PM

great job

70. posted by Elle1971, Dec 17, 2007 10:57 PM

Stunning effect - and great inspiration for people like me.
Elle xx

71. posted by jannieh, Jan 16, 2008 8:23 PM

I really like it. I'm going to adapt for use with Paint Shop Photo Pro X2. It's a very cool idea. Thanks!

72. posted by bglife, Jan 17, 2008 7:54 PM

i think it is awesome! now im gonna try it! :D

73. posted by nostalgicm, Jan 17, 2008 8:45 PM

If you change the blending mode to color it gives a really nice finish to it.

74. posted by zulio2006, Mar 20, 2008 1:21 PM


75. posted by hades, Jul 3, 2008 3:10 PM

Muito bom tutorial Vince!
Simples e bonito...

Very good tutorial Vince!
Simple and beauty...

I'm Brazilian designer and I like your tutorial's...thanks men!

76. posted by fatema-ali, Aug 8, 2008 4:36 PM


77. posted by fatema-ali, Aug 8, 2008 4:36 PM


78. posted by trainer2, May 31, 2013 9:12 AM

NICE! and quite simple! Thanks.

79. posted by piabpn953, Jun 21, 2013 2:27 AM

Very helpful. Thank you

80. posted by chrissaluu, Jun 28, 2013 4:37 AM

nice job, it's useful.

81. posted by carlislekm, Jul 29, 2013 4:21 AM

Very interesting

82. posted by korinci, Aug 24, 2013 12:02 AM

nice job, it's useful.

83. posted by shannahqxh, Aug 24, 2013 6:38 AM

very nice

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