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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.
The color temperature of the light in which a photo is taken can cause a color cast or an overall unwanted tint to the photo. For example, if you take a photo in an office building with fluorescent lighting you may get a green color cast or if you take a photo of snow outdoors it may have a blue color cast. In this case, I took this photo in mixed lighting indoors and the white balance control on my camera was fooled. So I ended up with this gold color cast. Now, sometimes it's not exactly clear to the naked eye what the color cast is.
You can see that there's something off, but you can't see exactly what. In that case, you can measure a color cast by the numbers. To do that I'm going to open a panel called the Info panel. I'll go to the Window and choose Info. The top left quadrant of the Info panel can display the RGB color values in a color. RGB stands for Red, Green, Blue which is the color mode of color photos here in Elements. I have been the Move tool selected and with that tool I am going to move my cursor over the image.
In the top left quadrant of the Info panel I can see that the numbers for red and green are higher than the number for blue. Pretty much anywhere that I move my mouse in this image I get a similar result. The numbers are different, but there's always a lot less blue than red and green. Blue is the complement of gold. So those numbers confirm that there is a gold cast in this image. So, now that I've diagnosed the problem, how can I solve it? To do that, I'm going to go up to the Enhance menu and down to Adjust Color and I am going to select Remove Color Cast.
That opens this dialog box that has pretty clear instructions. What it says is that I should click on a part of the image that I think should be neutral, either gray, white, or black. Elements will set that part to neutral and everything else will fall into line around it in terms of color. So, I'll move into the image and maybe I think that this fan should be neutral, so I'll click on it. Of course, that isn't the result that I wanted. Now, the image has a blue cast. So the lesson here is not to be discouraged if your first click doesn't get you the result that you want, because the result that you get depends on the color of the particular pixel on which you happen to click.
So, I'm going to click the Reset button in this dialog box and I'll try again. It looks to me like this wall over here should also be neutral. So, I am going to click on the light part of this wall and this time I do like the result. If you take a look down in the left quadrant of the Info panel, you'll see two sets of figures next to the R, G, B, the Red, Green, and Blue fields. The numbers on the left represent the color at this location in the image before I clicked to remove the color cast and the numbers on the right represent the new value of the pixel underneath my cursor.
So as you can see there's almost an equal number of red, green, and blue at this location and that's what neutralizes the color cast in the image. So I have the result that I want. I'll click OK and the Remove Color Cast dialog box to close it and I'm done. But before I end this movie I want to remind you that not all color casts are bad. There maybe some color cast that you want to keep in a photo. An example is, if you're photographing a sunset and there is a gold glow. You may want to keep that glow in the photo, because that's a color cast that reflects the mood of the scene.
But when you have a color cast that you don't want give the Remove Color Cast command in the Full Edit workspace a try.
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