Using Levels to fix color
Video: Using Levels to fix colorColorcast 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.
- Final thoughts
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In Photoshop Elements 9: Scanning and Restoring Photos, professional photo restorer Janine Smith shows how to bring new life to old photos. The course begins with a look at the types of photos that may require restoration, including slides, negatives, prints, and newspaper photos, and options for scanning them. She discusses the types of scanners that are available, from flatbed to film, and the best settings to use for originals. The course then delves into Photoshop Elements tools and techniques to help restore clarity to faded photos and fix problems such as dust, scratches, and tears. Exercise files are included with the course.
- Determining equipment needs
- Scanning negatives, slides, and film
- Importing photos in Photoshop Elements
- Adding captions, keywords, and Smart Tags
- Adjusting contrast
- Fixing fading with Threshold
- Making automatic fixes with guided edit
- Removing dust, spots, and texture with the healing tools
- Repairing rips and tears
- Sharing restored images
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.
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