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Shifting color with Levels

From: Quick Fixes with Photoshop Elements 10

Video: Shifting color with Levels

When the color in an image doesn't look accurate or it's shifted in one direction or another toward a different color, making the overall color appearance inaccurate. Your first thought might be to go to the Enhance menu, and either try an Auto Color correction, or to look at the Adjust Color menu. For example, the Color Variations command found on the Adjust Color menu. Allows you to click through various Thumbnails to try to find the more accurate color for an image. However, in most cases I think it's a lot faster to work with a control that you might never expect to be used, for adjusting the color in the image. I'll go ahead and click Cancel in the Color Variations dialog, and then I'm going to choose Enhance > Adjust Lighting and Levels. If you're already familiar with Levels, you'll know that it's a great tool for adjusting overall brightness and contrast in an image. What you might not have realized, is that levels can also be used to apply a very quick color correction to an image.

Shifting color with Levels

When the color in an image doesn't look accurate or it's shifted in one direction or another toward a different color, making the overall color appearance inaccurate. Your first thought might be to go to the Enhance menu, and either try an Auto Color correction, or to look at the Adjust Color menu. For example, the Color Variations command found on the Adjust Color menu. Allows you to click through various Thumbnails to try to find the more accurate color for an image. However, in most cases I think it's a lot faster to work with a control that you might never expect to be used, for adjusting the color in the image. I'll go ahead and click Cancel in the Color Variations dialog, and then I'm going to choose Enhance > Adjust Lighting and Levels. If you're already familiar with Levels, you'll know that it's a great tool for adjusting overall brightness and contrast in an image. What you might not have realized, is that levels can also be used to apply a very quick color correction to an image.

I'll go ahead and choose the Levels Adjustment and instead of adjusting the black point, white point, and middle tone values, I'm only going to adjust middle tone. But not for the RGB channel, that would adjust overall tonality. instead I'm going to choose between the red, green and blue channels. The red channel will allow me to shift the color between red and cyan. Green allows me to shift between green and magenta and blue allows me to shift between blue and yellow. For this image it looks like red is the biggest problem and so I'll choose red. And then adjust the mid tone slider for reds.

Moving to the left will increase the amount of red and moving to the right will decrease the amount of red, shifting the image more towards a cyan color. I can fine tune the slider left and right in order to find the adjustment that seems to produce the best balance between red and cyan. That looks pretty good, and you might think to stop here but I actually encourage you to check all three channels. For example, I'll go to the green channel now, and shift the balance between green and magenta. I don't think we need much of an adjustment there, but maybe slightly toward green, just to improve the overall appearance of the image. And then I'll go to the blue channel, and I'll adjust the mid tone slider again. Moving to the right, we'll shift the image toward yellow, and to the left we'll shift toward blue.

For this image I think a little bit of a shift toward yellow will actually improve things. It will give us a little bit more of a gold and white type of effect. That looks to be pretty good, but with color adjustments in particular, it can be very helpful to check the before version of the image. By turning off the preview checkbox, and then turning preview back on to see the final effect. I think that' a great improvment in the color for this image so I'll go ahead and click OK to apply the change.

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Quick Fixes with Photoshop Elements 10

35 video lessons · 483 viewers

Tim Grey
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