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Lightroom is a great choice for color correction. In this course, photographer and educator Taz Tally details the concepts, tools, and techniques behind correcting and enhancing color in Lightroom. Learn to evaluate the color in an image with the Develop module tools, Lightroom's histograms, and (crucially) your own eyes. Then discover how to use the color correction tools to balance and tone adjust an image, using tried and true techniques like neutralization and color ratios. Taz then takes you through a variety of color correction scenarios, from improving landscapes, fixing skin tones, and recovering faded images to making product shots pop, removing color casts, and making creative color adjustments.
In this movie, I'd like to add quantitative analysis and adjustment to our Lightroom tool bag that we have for color correcting images. In this case, we're going to use the ski pole image. So, just select that and then press the D key to go to the Develop module. And let's begin a kind of analysis of our image visually. Look at the horizon line, that's way off. And the reason why I'm using this image is to kind of remind you and me both that any sort of dimensional correction or adjustment you need to make, do that first, because it's going to alter the pixels that are actually in you image.
And you may do some adjustment based upon some pixels, and then rotate the image for a better horizon, and then lose those pixels. We go to this tool, go to the Angle tool, and we just drag that across the horizon and then click the Enter key. Now we can start to analyze the color and the tone in the image. Over here, in the histogram, we see we've got a high key image, which it should be, it's a bright sunny day and lots of snow. We can see that there's no clipping on the highlight or the shadow end, which is good. Which means we can push things out a little bit.
But we're gon, want to be careful not to clip, in this image in particular because there is so much snow, you don't want to lose detail. We can also see here there is a bit of a blue cast. Now, the next thing that I very often do, is I locate the critical highlights and shadow areas. So, I'm going to come down here. I want to Option or Alt+Click on the white. And just drag this over until I see the portion of the image that is the critical white highlight in the image. See if it's specular, which is, shouldn't have detail or gets its diffuse white highlights which should have detail. Notice it's in the sky. Also notice there's a yellow-green lights that come out which mean that it's a little bit warmer.
I suspect that the foreground is going to be a little bit bluer based upon what we see here. That's not uncommon, by the way, for a background to be a little bit warmer than the foreground or vice versa. What do we want to color correct? In this case, it's going to be the foreground. We want to get the snow correct. If the sky is a little bit warmer, that's not going to be a big deal. In fact, it's fine to have it a little bit warmer. Alright, so we can see, that's going to be the critical highlight. Let's look at the shadow. And let's just rotate this up a little bit so we can see. Hold down the Option+Alt in Windows. And then drag this over. We see where the shadow portion is.
And it's going to be right on the handle of the ski poles. So, we'll double-click on those just to return everything to normal. Remember, you can just double click here to return all of these to normal and then we'll come up here just to make sure that all the clipping has shown up. And then, let's go about deciding what we're going to correct and how we're going to do it. Very often, if I go to diffuse white highlight, like we have in this image. I would focus on that in terms of my color correction, but because I know that that's probably a little bit warmer than what the foreground is, I'm probably going to use the foreground here, which is going to be more of the quarter tone and mid tone, which is where most of the data is in this image.
So, this is one of those adjustments that we make that we have a critical evaluation of the image and go, oh, in this case the white highlight is not where we're going to focus our attention. It's going to be more in the mid-tone. And just to confirm that this is indeed blue like the histogram indicates over this portion of the image here anyway. Is that we can look at those RGB values and notice that it's 70.8 and I'm looking right over here. 66.8, 65.6, sure enough, the blue is higher than the green which is slightly higher than the red.
So, we do have a blue color cast here. Now, we can do an adjustment just by looking at those RGB values. But what I like to do is, I like to take my Color Sampler tool and move it over here because it brings up this target and see the RGB values at the bottom of the target? 68.2, 69.2, 70.2, then I can look at the image and look at the RGB values at the same time. And then, instead of moving back and forth over here, we know we're going to have to move our temperature slider away from the blue, but instead of having to move back and forth, what we do is we.
Select the field, move our Eyedropper here over what we want to be representative sample of the snow and then just use our up and down arrows to start adjusting th RGB values and then we just watch down at the bottom as we move away from the blue. And, there we go, 71.2, 71.9, 71.8. And could we fine tune this by going down to the tenth? Yes, we could, but we don't really need to. That's pretty darn close. That's all within 1% value of this image. So, the key here, what I'm showing you is using the Eyedropper target, don't click with the Eyedropper.
That would neutralize the snow. We'll do that a little bit later. And we'll see something it's effective and sometime it's not. In this case, we're just using it as a measuring tool. And then we highlight the field over on the righthand side. And then use our up or down arrows to adjust the temperature. We monitor the RGB values right down there below. We've done our color adjustments. And by the way, that's what we want to do first always. Do your color adjustment first and then do your tone adjustment. I think what we've done previously sets that up. If you do the tone adjustment first and you've got a color cast, one of those colors is going to blow out first, you end up moving back and forth between the color and the tone adjustment.
Balance the color and then go after the tone. So, I'm just going to look over on the right hand side and you'll see I'm tabbing down. And typically, I always do the highlights first. And I'm just going to use my right arrow, just to raise this, now watch the image and you'll see where the highlights are blowing out here. Just go a little bit to high and then I'll put my Eyedropper right over that area and then I just start backing off and I watch not only the red pixels but I watch the RBG values and I want to get this down to 95%.
And so, the reason why I'm going 95%, that's a good white highlight then I know it's going to print on just about all printing devices that I might be working with. And if you've got a value that you prefer to work with, 96, 97, 98, if you know you can hold those values, fine. Alright, notice that it's a little bit warmer there, the red and the green are a little above the blue, 2%. And that's different from the foreground and that's okay. If you're working in Photoshop you can mask that area and do it separately but it's really unnecessary. Okay, then let's move down to the blacks and do the same thing.
Now, notice that earlier and I saw this remember the detail in the blacks were. Let's put our info panel right up in there. And we can see 4.8, 4.8, 4.3. We're not concerned about color balance here, we're just concerned about the tonal values. As I move this around in here, I can see that the highest values are in the 4s. And actually, I'm not going to make this any darker. In fact, I want to make sure that these things are going to print so we're not going to lose shadow detail. So, I'm actually going to move this in the other direction. So, I'm going to click on that black field and then I'm going to choose one of the darker areas in here and I know it's going to be below 5% and then I'm just going to actually move it away from that.
I'm going to make it a little bit lighter to make sure that that shadow detail is maintained. And if you watch the image while we're doing this, you can see that that detail actually pops out a little bit on that handle. So, I want to raise this to 5% to make sure that all that shadow detail is going to print. And notice, by working with the blacks rather than with the exposure, I'm primarily focusing on just that deep shadow portion of the image. And it does move the whole histogram over a little bit, which lightens the overall image.
And I can always use my highlights, or my exposure to bring it back a little bit if we want to. But I'm perfectly happy with the way it is. But this is why I typically start with my whites, and my blacks. Set my highlights and shadow ends, and then I can adjust the interior, and we'll do a little more of that later on. Okay, so there's using our target using numeric values using our arrow keys. And using our fields over in the right hand side, so we can monitor the RGB values, and monitor the image at the same time. Just hit the Enter key, and then just hit the Y key.
And we'll look at our before and after. Pretty significant difference between the two. The snow is really popping here. We were able to neutralize the snow. And we know, because the RGB values of the sky were right at about 95%. That the detail in the sky is going to be maintained and compare the handles here with what you see over here. And you'll see even in 100% view you can see that there's more detail in the handle because we lightened it up a little bit. Alright, so there's using numerical analysis and adjustment with some keyboard short cuts using live fields. And our Eyedropper as a measurement tool to monitor our RGB values while we adjust the color and tone in our image.
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