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In Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training, Jan Kabili highlights the key features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. She shows how to correct and enhance photographs, and how to organize a growing collection of digital photos. The course also explains how to use photos in creative projects like photo books, calendars, and greeting cards, and how to share work online and in print. Exercise files accompany the course.
Some photos suffer from problems with color. There may be an unwanted colorcast or some of the colors may be oversaturated or too desaturated or you may need to adjust the color temperature of an image. Let's take a closer look at the color controls in the Quick Fix workspace to see how we can use them to fix those problems. The color controls are located here in this panel, the Color panel and in the Balance panel. I'll start in the Color panel with the Auto control. The Auto control comes in handy for removing colorcasts. A colorcast like the blue colorcast in this photo is usually caused by the light in which the photo was taken.
This was taken in a shaded canyon, so the rocks look more blue, than they did to my eye when I was there in the canyon. But a single click, on the Auto color button, can solve that problem, neutralizing the blue that was visible primarily in the midtones in the rocks. Keep in mind that you don't always want to remove a colorcast. There are some images, like this one, that benefit from a colorcast. This has a kind of a gold cast that I think emphasizes the season. If I were to apply the Auto color correction to this image, I think it detracts from the overall mood by turning it to blue.
So, I'm going to click the Undo button at the top of the screen. Notice that there are a couple of sliders in the Color panel; one to adjust Saturation and one to adjust Hue. Saturation means the intensity or purity of color. A less saturated color has more gray in it than a highly saturated color does. If I wanted to desaturate the colors in this image, I would drag the Saturation slider over to the left and if I wanted to take the color out completely, I could drag the Saturation slider all the way to the left, although, I don't think this is the best way to convert an image from color to black-and-white.
If I want to make the colors in the image pop a little, I'll drag the Saturation slider over just passed where I started to make the colors a little more intense. If I want to commit this change, I'll click the check mark here in the Title bar of the Color panel. Now let's take a look at the Hue slider in the Color panel. I'm going to go to another image for that. If I drag the Hue slider that changes the overall color of the image. As you can see, it affects the entire image, at least the parts that are light enough to take color here. That's the foreground flower as well as these flowers in the background.
Often when I change Hue, I mean to change the hue of just a particular object in an image. How can I do that? Let me cancel by clicking the X here on the Title bar of the Color panel and I'm going to go over to the toolbox and I'm going to get a tool that we haven't seen before the, Quick Selection tool. With this tool, I can click and drag in the image to select an area of the image based on its color and its tone. This tool takes note of the edges of objects. So it makes it pretty quick and easy to select. I'll move into the image and I see that the circumference of my brush tip is pretty big.
This tool works better with a really small brush. So I'm going to go up to the Options bar for the Quick Selection tool and I'll go to the Brush picker right here and click the white arrow. In the Brush picker, I'll take the Diameter slider and I'm going to drag it over to the left, making the brush smaller. I'm also going to make the brush a bit softer by dragging the Hardness slider over to the left a bit and then I'll click in a blank area of the Options bar to close the Brush picker. I'll move into the image and I'm going to click on the petals of the foreground flower and I'm just going to drag and Elements automatically selects the flower by its edges.
If I do this carefully, I'll get a good selection, but I came a little bit too close to the edge here. There is no problem because I can go up to the Options bar for the Quick Selection tool and click on the Subtract from selection icon; the one with the minus symbol on it and then come back into the image and move my mouse over the part of this selection that I don't want to include which is this background flower here. I can refine this selection further if I want to take the time, going back and forth between the Subtract from selection and Add to selection buttons.
I also can click the Refine Edge button and that opens up some more options that I can use to fine-tune my selection. We'll look at those later when we learn about selections, but for now, I want to show you that I can use a selection to limit the area that's affected by any of the corrections here in the Quick Fix workspace. In this case, I happened to be applying a Hue correction, but this works with any of these corrections. So I'm going to take that Hue slider and drag it to the left and this time, only the selected area changes in color. I might also reduce the saturation of that color and when I'm done, I want to deselect.
So I'll go up to the Select menu and I'll choose Deselect. Well, I could have used the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+D, that's Command+D on a Mac to make that selection boundary go away. I'm going to open one more image to show you another color correction feature here in the Quick Fix workspace and that is Color Balance. Depending on how your camera is set when you take a photo, your image may tend toward blue or gold. You can change that Color Balance here in the Quick Fix workspace using the Temperature slider.
If I drag the Temperature slider over to the right, I'll add more gold to the image; to the left, the image becomes more blue. I like it with a little bit of a gold tint, so I'll, move Temperature over to the right. There's also a Tint slider that adds either more magenta or more green. I'm going to leave that at zero, but sometimes when I am correcting a portrait, I like to add a little magenta for the skin color and when I'm satisfied, I'll click the check mark to commit those changes. So that's how to use the controls in the Color panel and the Balance panel of the Quick Fix workspace to fix some common problems with color in your photographs.
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