Happy Accident – A FREE Action

Photoshop Before and After


If you’re part of Polished Picture’s Facebook community, you probably saw me post about My Happy Accident.  :)  I was editing a recent session, and I came to an image I was going to turn black and white using the Gradient Map technique.  Well, by default Photoshop used the last color from my color picker instead of black, and I ended up with an unexpected but interesting effect.  Hence, a Happy Accident!  I thought I’d do a quick tutorial if you wanted to experiment as well.  There’s also a FREE action at the end as well as the video tutorial.


Here is my Before image:

Photoshop Before Image

1.  Create a new Gradient Map layer as in this tutorial.  Instead of using black and white, use hex color #816768 and white.

Photoshop Gradient Editor


2.  Simply duplicate the Gradient Map layer and change the blending mode.  Then play with the opacity of your duplicated Gradient Map layer.  I put mine on Multiply mode to darken it a bit and then reduced the opacity to 30%.

Photoshop Layers Palette


Voila!  Super easy.  Here’s the After:

Photoshop After


Play around with different colors, blending modes, and opacities.  This color was actually from his shirt!  I’d love to see what you come up with.


Here’s the effect on a few more images from that session:

Photoshop After

Photoshop After

Photoshop After


If you’re interested, you can download Polished Picture’s FREE Happy Accident action here!


Here is the video tutorial as well if you learn better that way.  :)

Thanks for stopping by, Happy Editing!!

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4 Responses to Happy Accident – A FREE Action

  1. kathy says:

    Thank you so much can’t wait to try this!!!!

  2. Angie says:

    You are welcome!! Thanks for coming by the blog!

  3. I have photo elements 9 for about 2 years now, i didn’t do much of anything last year due to a back surgery. My question is I’m 50 and wiht the medication I’m on I seem to have less and less mem ory. I see where most professionals use CS5 and I am just curious how hard it is to transfer from PSE 9 to that. I can honestly say I could learn something one day and the next day I would forget how I did it. The more I work in the program the better I’ve gotten but I feel there is a qlitch in the PSE 9. Also, when researching them on amagon I notice that there are alot of varies of what seem to be the same program. Any feed back would be appreciated.

    [email protected]

  4. Angie says:

    Hi Rhonda,
    Elements is really powerful, it can actually do a lot of the things that full-blown CS5 can do. It is also a fraction of the price. I’d say unless you are doing photography professionally and need some of the automation capabilities of CS5, you are probably fine to keep using Elements. Rita at The Coffee Shop (www.thecoffeeshopblog.com) and Everyday Elements (www.everydayelementsonline.com) are 2 great sources for Photoshop Elements How-to’s. Hope that helps! Thanks so much for stopping by Polished Picture!

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