Color Correction in Lightroom
Illustration by Richard Downs

Color Correction in Lightroom

with Taz Tally

Video: Correcting a faded image

In this project we're going to do a color correction on a faded image, and So everything confirmed, we know what we're up against, right? And watch the RGB values.
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  1. 2m 20s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 40s
  2. 7m 18s
    1. Overview of color correction tools in Lightroom
      4m 17s
    2. Using virtual copies for color-adjustment variations
      3m 1s
  3. 10m 40s
    1. Setting up the interface for color adjustments
      4m 33s
    2. Setting up the color tools
      1m 45s
    3. Using Lightroom's soft proofing
      4m 22s
  4. 29m 9s
    1. Understanding how the histogram displays tone
      7m 51s
    2. Understanding how the histogram displays color
      4m 35s
    3. Identifying color casts with histograms and the Info tool
      6m 54s
    4. Measuring skin tones
      5m 50s
    5. Using target-based measurements
      3m 59s
  5. 51m 54s
    1. Understanding the interaction of Lightroom's histogram and tone panels
      8m 27s
    2. Adjusting color balance with the Temperature and Tint tools
      5m 51s
    3. Avoiding highlight and shadow clipping
      6m 58s
    4. Adjusting color balance using the Info tool and the Tone panel
      8m 19s
    5. Using Lightroom's automated adjustment tools
      5m 42s
    6. Adjusting overall brightness and contrast
      6m 21s
    7. Using targets for color correction
      4m 0s
    8. Challenge: Evaluating and correcting color
      1m 2s
    9. Solution: Evaluating and correcting color
      5m 14s
  6. 1h 8m
    1. Evaluating and correcting critical highlights, shadows, and contrast areas in landscapes
      7m 28s
    2. Working with near neutrals and images with no neutrals
      6m 42s
    3. Correcting skin tones in a portrait
      5m 37s
    4. Correcting a faded image
      7m 54s
    5. Adding pop to product images
      7m 58s
    6. Making curve-based color correction adjustments
      7m 40s
    7. Color correcting product shots
      7m 12s
    8. Making creative adjustments
      5m 45s
    9. Automating adjustments
      4m 34s
    10. Challenge: Identifying and correcting a color cast
      1m 2s
    11. Solution: Identifying and correcting a color cast
      6m 54s
  7. 1m 26s
    1. Next steps
      1m 26s

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Watch the Online Video Course Color Correction in Lightroom
2h 55m Advanced May 30, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Setting up Lightroom for color correction
  • Identifying color cast
  • Measuring skin tones
  • Adjusting color balance
  • Adjusting overall brightness and contrast
  • Using targets for color correction
  • Using histograms, the Info panel, and Curves
  • Making creative adjustments
  • Automating color correction
Taz Tally

Correcting a faded image

In this project we're going to do a color correction on a faded image, and to make it even more challenging, we'll do a faded portrait. Something with skin tones. These are some of the more challenging kinds of images on which we need to perform a color correction. So it's a good project to see how we can do. Test our skills. We're going to use two images here, the Karin portrait. And then the Tina we'll use Corrine is kind of our example of what a good skin tone looks like. We've assigned two stars to these by pressing the two key. And let's come up here and go and sort by stars. So we're just looking at the two images in which we want to work and let's press the D key to go to the develop module.

And just to remind us what a good skin tone is, we've got the Karin portrait. And remember from our discussion of portraits earlier, the way to remember this is just remember RGB image. A good healthy skin tone. The red should be greater than green should be greater than blue. And there should be about equal separation between them. And if we take a look at the Karin numbers here. 84, 78, and then 70. We've got pretty good separation between the red green. And between the green and the blue. If we look around a couple of different places we see that, that holds up.

Five points of separation and then about seven or eight points of separation between the two. And you can take creative license to adjust the final numbers. But this represents a good healthy skin tone, with red greater than green and greater than blue. And good separation between all three. Alright, so let's use that as kind of our guide and let's go take a look and see what we can do with Tina. Holy smokes! Faded, faded, and skin tones don't look good at all. And when an image is faded, and very often by sitting in the sun.

Lots of strange things happen to the color balance and the image and sometimes it's actually asymmetric across the image. So lets see first visual evaluation it's very low contrast and obviously a yellow cast you don't need a info tool to tell you that. When we look over at the histogram, we see most of the data is in about 30% range here which is why the contrast is so low. And we can see the huge yellow color cast, right? Because the blue is so low. So everything confirmed, we know what we're up against, right? We've got a yellow cast, which is red plus green, and we've got low blue.

Let's add some numeric analysis to this. Let's take a look and maybe find a neutral area like a white shoe or a white sock, something like that. We're not sure about what this is down here, so. Can't use that. There might be, you know, gray blanket. I don't know, but let's take a look at a neutral. And what the RGB values tell us. Alright, about 85, 80 and then 76. And as we move around, we look at a couple different areas. 76, 75, 61. Notice how the blue is low everywhere. 76, 75, 60, you know, just like we saw up in the histogram.

This suggests a couple of things. That red and green is where we're getting our yellow from and that low blue is pushing the red/green color cast. Now let's look at the skin tones because that's going to be the key part of this image. Right? 82, 80, 61. Again, we see that consistency of high red and green, low blue. And we just look at a couple of different areas here. 83, 81, 63. 79, 76, 54 okay. So we're getting consistency now two things pop up in terms of the numbers when we look at the skin tones.

One the blue is certainly low no doubt about that, do you see how close the red and the green are? This suggests that we certainly need to bring the blue up but we also might want to actually lower the green a little bit, as well as raise the blue. So, with that in mind, let's go ahead and start our correction and let's use our neutral as a starting point here. Alright, let's come down here and just one of these neutrals. We can use the white sock on here, so let's start with this field right there. And we know we've gotta raise the blue, there's no doubt about that.

So, let's just come and raise the blue. And watch the RGB values. As we get close here. So we're coming up, the blue's rising. Blue is rise 73, 74. We'll raise the blue up to the red. And notice by doing that, because we have a very complex color cast here. Notice that the green did not remain stable. Because, you know, in this slider, you're moving away from yellow and yellow is a combination of red-plus green, so. What we need to do is tab down and lets lower the green until we get down to, close to having the same values, here.

Notice, we've got the green and the blue at 77.9 and 77. I'm just going to keep lowering that green until it's close down to where the red is. And then let's go back up to the blue shift tab. And we'll just lower that blue value until we get down close to that 75. All right, that's pretty good. 75, 76, 75. We're pretty close to having a pretty neutral. It doesn't have to be right on. because now what we're going to do is, we're going to move over to the skin tones. And let's fine tune our adjustments here.

Alright, we've got 82, 80, 75. Not bad. Right, not bad at all in terms of our values. We might raise the blue just a little bit more. Up to 77. We might take the green and lower the green just a little bit more. There we go. Carry a little bit more separation between the red and the green and the green and the blue. Not bad. Alright, so that's pretty good. Now, we've got red is greater than green is greater than blue. We did a pretty good job on the neutral, but we're really focusing on the skin tone.

We may revisit this in just a minute, this is one of those projects where sometimes you have to go back and tweak things. Now, that we've got our color pretty close, let's re-distribute our tones. Let's go to our white here and let's see where the white background comes in and if we hold down our Option key we can see this is going to be the lightest portion of the image here. So let's just take this, and then just lower our values, until we're at that kind of magic 95 number, right? Now notice this image is just way too light.

The skin tone's not looking too bad, actually, but it's just overall way too light. This is one of the circumstances where we can do. Watch this little trick here. We're going to take the exposure, and I'm going to move the exposure all the way down, here, to collapse all that against the shadow. And then, I'm going to take the whites, I'm going to select this field and, I'm going to, just use my up arrow to redistribute this. And watch what happens to the overall look and feel of this image. We can once again take this to make sure that we haven't blown any of the values here.

94.8, that's right at 95, and at this point we can then come to the highlights if we want to. And we can adjust the highlights. We can increase or decrease the overall contrast and the highlights and I'll probably lower contrast just a little bit. Just watch as a move the slider. You see increase contrast, lower contrast, see that. If we increase contrast we'll probably have to refine the whites. But I really don't want to increase contrast, I want to flatten it out just a little bit just to soften it because it's a skin tone. There we go and in terms of the shadows we can do the same thing with the blacks that we always done in all our images.

We can find were the darkest portions of the image is. Right up here. And we're not worried about the RGB ratios, what we're worried about is the total values. We want to make sure that these up above five, or 95% black. All right, so I'm just hitting my up arrow. Monitoring my RGB values and making sure those are going to be all up above 5%. There we go. That way we're protecting the lightest and darkest portions of our image. Let's hit the Y key and we look at the original and then the fine tuned version. Obviously, we've got some retouching to be done but that's beyond kind of the scope of this course.

On this image, but huge improvement. Remember, this is all driven by analysis of the histogram, and then those RGB values became very, very important to us in terms of guiding us as to how we were going to correct this image.

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