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Removing a color cast is like stripping paint off a piece of furniture. You are removing the top coat to reach the original color underneath. A feature of Photoshop Elements 9 that makes stripping the color cast easier is called Variations. Variations require you to eyeball the results, but it's not as hard as you might think. Variations isn't an adjustment layer, the changes happen on the photo itself. So be sure to duplicate the layer by using keyboard shortcut, Ctrl on a PC, Command on a Mac + J.
Double-click on layer 1 and we'll rename our layer. I'll name this one Variations and click Next to it to accept the change. With your Variations layer selected go up to your Enhance menu, down to Adjust Color and in the pop-out menu go to the bottom where it says Color Variations and select. The Variations dialog contains a before and after image to gauge your progress and little thumbnails that show you step -by-step what increasing or decreasing certain colors will do to your photo.
There's also an area where you can select the area of the image to adjust, midtones, shadows, highlights or saturation, and you can also adjust your Color Intensity. Feel free to play with these settings to see what they do for you. For right now we'll stick with the Midtone adjustments and leave the Color Intensity at the default midrange setting, that's always a good place to start. Looking at the thumbnails see if you can tell by eyeballing them what colors you need to Increase and Decrease? In this it looks like maybe if we Increase the Blue and then perhaps Decrease the Red.
If at any point you don't like how your adjustments look simply press the Undo button over here at the right. What's nice about this is you can undo each change you've made individually, if you hit Undo once it takes away the last change you made, do it again and the one before that and now it's back to the original. That kind of liked what we did with that, so let's increase the Blue again and then Decrease the Red and select OK. Now to get a really great result you can do quick levels adjustment by selecting the Create a New Filler Adjustment layer icon at the bottom and select Levels.
Take your Black Eyedropper tool and find the darkest portion of your photo and here it looks like they are in the rosebush and then take your White Eyedropper and find a nice white area. I think we'll use this area in the little girl's skirt, and that came out really bright. So what you need to do is go over to your layers panel and lower the Opacity. We'll keep it down about 65%, looks good, and click on your Levels layer. Variations is an often overlooked but very useful tool for color correction and photo restoration.
With very little effort simply determining the color of the cast on your photo then decreasing that color can bring the color of your photo back. So let's take a look at our original image by hiding the Levels layer and the Variations layer and then we'll bring them back, here is our Variations layer and our Levels layer. Variations is an often overlooked but very useful tool for color correction and photo restoration with very little effort simply determining the color of the cast on your photo and then decreasing that color you can bring the color of your photo back.
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