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Using Levels to fix color

From: Photoshop Elements 9: Scanning and Restoring Photos

Video: Using Levels to fix color

Colorcast in photos is caused by the same culprit that makes photograph fade, light, in particular, sunlight and incandescent light. By far, the most common colorcast you'll see is red, but cast can also appear blue, yellow, orange, purple and green. The colorcast maybe so heavy that it looks like all the color has gone, but chances are it's still there. The first thing we'll do is add a levels adjustment layer by clicking the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom and choosing Levels. The Levels dialog will appear in the Adjustments panel under layers.

Using Levels to fix color

Colorcast in photos is caused by the same culprit that makes photograph fade, light, in particular, sunlight and incandescent light. By far, the most common colorcast you'll see is red, but cast can also appear blue, yellow, orange, purple and green. The colorcast maybe so heavy that it looks like all the color has gone, but chances are it's still there. The first thing we'll do is add a levels adjustment layer by clicking the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom and choosing Levels. The Levels dialog will appear in the Adjustments panel under layers.

First, let's try the Auto button just to see what happens. As you can see, the Auto button took away much of the red cast. Now, let's click the Reset to adjustment defaults icon at the bottom of the panel to go back to the original. The other options you can try are the Eyedropper tools. If you're having trouble determining your light and dark point, Levels can find it for you right in the histogram. By moving your black slider all the way over to the right, you'll see it becomes really dark, except for certain areas that show green.

These are your light areas. In a normal photograph, these would be white or black, but this shows the color of the cast. There's no way to mark this. So make a mental note of where the light areas are, in this case it's on the arm of the couch. Now go to your Reset to adjustment defaults button to get your sliders back to original and do the same with your white slider taking it all the way over to the left. We can end right about here where we can see the darkest spots. It's being the leg of the chair right here that's what we'll keep in mind when we use our Eyedropper.

Go back again to your Reset to adjustment defaults to get back to the original. Now with the areas in mind that you found with the histogram, take your black eyedropper and click it on that chair leg, which we determined was the darkest area, and take your white eyedropper and click it on the arm of the couch where we determined the lightest area was. Now let's look at before and after, there's little eyeball down here with the arrow, and see where we were before. That's a really nice change.

You have your color back now. Let's hit the Reset button now and let me show you another way to get the color back. You can go up here to your histogram and move your black slider into the area of information on the histogram, move your white over a little if you want to and that looks better already. For a little more control, first hit the Reset button and go up here to your dropdown Color Space menu, at the top of the Levels panel, over the Histogram and choose your Red channel. Again, take your black slider button and move it into the area where the most information is on your histogram, move your white over if you need to a little bit and repeat in the Green channel.

Let's move it over to your histogram information and move the white slider over if you need to and repeat one more time in the Blue channel, and the white over. This gives you a little bit more control. Again, let's look at the before and the after to see how much difference the little levels adjustment can make. As you can see, all trace of colorcast has gone and the photo looks like it did when it was taken with just a few levels adjustments. Don't let a dramatic fade or color cast intimidate you.

It never hurts to try Color Correction and you may just be pleasantly surprised how much better your photo can look.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 9: Scanning and Restoring Photos
Photoshop Elements 9: Scanning and Restoring Photos

40 video lessons · 5998 viewers

Janine Smith
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 40s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
      39s
  2. 13m 20s
    1. Identifying your media
      2m 45s
    2. Determining your equipment needs
      2m 24s
    3. Setting your scanner
      3m 26s
    4. Scanning negatives, slides, and film
      1m 11s
    5. Digitizing damaged and delicate photos
      3m 34s
  3. 10m 51s
    1. Importing photos into the Organizer
      3m 34s
    2. Adding captions and notes
      2m 47s
    3. Adding keyword and smart tags
      4m 30s
  4. 25m 11s
    1. Using Levels
      4m 7s
    2. Fixing fades with Threshold
      3m 22s
    3. Adjusting contrast using Color Curves
      4m 18s
    4. Darkening images with blend modes
      2m 12s
    5. Adjusting brightness and contrast
      2m 2s
    6. Using Quick Fix for lighting
      4m 12s
    7. Fixing automatically with Guided Edit
      4m 58s
  5. 18m 59s
    1. Using Levels to fix color
      3m 29s
    2. Correcting color automatically with Enhance
      3m 39s
    3. Correcting color with complementary colors
      5m 19s
    4. Using Color Variations
      3m 28s
    5. Using Quick Fix for color
      3m 4s
  6. 22m 37s
    1. Using the Clone Stamp tool
      5m 24s
    2. Using the Healing Brush
      5m 5s
    3. Working with newspaper and magazine images
      3m 12s
    4. Softening paper texture
      4m 40s
    5. Taming fingerprints
      4m 16s
  7. 42m 52s
    1. Repairing small rips and creases
      4m 22s
    2. Repairing large tears
      8m 22s
    3. Filling in missing pieces
      5m 36s
    4. Reassembling a photo from pieces
      10m 12s
    5. Fixing and replacing backgrounds
      5m 0s
    6. Using Photomerge with panoramas
      3m 59s
    7. Repairing documents
      5m 21s
  8. 22m 48s
    1. Creating a photo book
      6m 1s
    2. Making a calendar
      3m 52s
    3. Creating a personalized greeting card
      4m 26s
    4. Making a slideshow (Windows only)
      4m 22s
    5. Creating a flyer
      4m 7s
  9. 25s
    1. Final thoughts
      25s

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