Color Correction in Lightroom
Illustration by Richard Downs

Color Correction in Lightroom

with Taz Tally

Video: Solution: Identifying and correcting a color cast

Alright, well here we go.
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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

Solution: Identifying and correcting a color cast

Alright, well here we go. Here's my solution to our second challenge in the color correction in Lightroom course. And the image we were working with in the challenge is the Christina gallery image. So, let's go ahead and just make a virtual copy of that so we can do a compare and contrast when we're looking in the gallery if we want to. And let's press the D key to take that to develop and let's begin, as we always do, with a visual evaluation of the image. And, boy, even if you're colorblind, you can probably tell there is problems with this age.

Big, strong, color cast. Lots of yellow in this image. What we're looking for, of course, to help us as a guide. Are there any key elements to this image? Any neutrals? Any skin tones? Well, you know, such a big color cast, it's hard to tell if this wall is white or not. But I'm going to guess that this wall is white. If we can't use that, then we've got kind of this white portion of the stepladder. I think that may be white. And we certainly have the skin tone that we can go adjust, can't we? We'll do a numeric analysis in just a second, let's come over here. And look at the histogram, huge color cast here.

Look at the big offset of the red and the green, particularly from the blue. The fact the we have an offset of the red from the green, and both of these from the blue, indicates a fairly complex color cast. Now, a lot of color cast are fairly simple, there's one color that's higher or lower than the other two. But in this case, all the colors are kind of different. So, we got a little bit of a challenge in front of us. Alright, let's take our Info panel, and just move it over here so we can see right on screen. If we assume this is neutral back here; 58, 49, 20.

Huge, huge red-green color cast. Red plus green, of course, equals the yellow, which is why we're getting this yellow cast. You notice that 58 and 49 are, oh, about 10 points of separation. And then there's almost 30 points of separation from the blue and that's exactly what we see over here, is a little bit of separation between the red and the green and a big separation from the blue. So, anything else in this image? Well, yeah sure, we can see that we've got data spread from, this looks a little noisy out here, so probably about the end of the highlight area, all the way down to the shadow.

So, after we do our color correction, we might be able to do some tweaking of the highlights and shadows in the image. But first, we want to do our color balance. We know we're going to have to attack the blue. So let's go ahead and start there. Let's click on our Blue field. And let's assume, for now anyway, that the wall is white and we can use that as a neutral. And let's just start moving the blue over, I'm hitting my down arrow and we can watch the numbers on screen, the numbers up underneath the histogram and the histogram itself. Now, notice that the blue and the green are starting to move closer to the red, which is a good thing.

What you want to focus your attention on, and this is so obvious right here, we tend to really pay attention to that. What you want to focus your attention on though, this is pretty tricky. Unless you know to look here is, at the end of the grey area we want to get the grey area over to the right. So, that's what we're going to be focusing on as we move this around. And we'll put this down here in the lightest, I don't want to put it up here in the shadow, put it down here where it has about the same lighting as the face. And so, let's just keep going here until that grey area moves over and covers most of the red and yellow.

Right about there, it's kind of hard to tell exactly because its a little small but we can always fine tune a little bit later. And then, remember, we said, we had offset to the red from the green and the green from the blue. So, we're probably going to have to go to the green tint. Let's take a look and see what we've got here already in terms of our numbers. We've got 64, 66, 58. Let's just tab and go down there. And let's just start moving away from the green a little bit and see what we get.

Alright, 65, 66, 64, you know, we're getting pretty darn close and look at that. It looks like when you look around here, our wall is just about neutral. 64, 65, 63, we could move a little bit further away from the green, maybe. 64, 65, 64, boy, we're just right within 64.6, 65.4, 65.4, we're pretty darn close to being neutral and look at that wall back there. I feel better already, because I thought that wall was white, but I wasn't real sure. But now I'm pretty convinced that it is, and we can move over here and kind of test this.

And look at the RGB values there, all within one or one and a half value of each other. All right, that's not a bad color correction, all by itself. Let's take a look at the facial values, since we have them, and it's going to be a key portion of this image. Notice when we look at the face, remember, what we're looking for is red greater than green greater than blue. And in this image, with this complex color cast, the skin tone is red and it's a bit high in blue, isn't it? We've got 65 and 47, and then we've got 50 are for the blue.

So, we have a complex color cast. We're going to have to make a choice here. Are we're just going to neutralize the wall and go with that, or are we're going to kind of split the difference between the facial values and the wall to try to get the face a little bit better? Well, I would say that, why don't we come back and work on the green a little bit. And let's just push this a little bit further towards the green. Just a little bit, so we can at least get the green greater than the blue. We're going to give up a little bit of that pure white on the wall but we're going to end up with a better color cast on the skin.

The skin is not going to appear quite so red blue. Now we've got 65, 47, 41. And you know, if we go much further, the wall starts to get a little bit too colored. This is one of those images that unless you can mask an area, and two areas here, the facial skin tone and the wall in the background. And you kind of have to split the difference between hue. That's why this is a little bit of a challenge, the image. So here, we've got about eight points of separation between the blue and green. And then 48 to 58 about 15 for between the green and the red. That's at least decent. So, we might push it just a little bit more.

I don't want that wall to get too far off of kilter. So, hey, you know there's not just one solution to this. No doubt about it. There's more than one solution. And it's more of a creative judgement. But I think we end up with a little better skin tone when we split the difference between the two. And, of course, we can also overall brighten the image a little bit if we want to. We can move this over. We want to make sure we don't blow out any values. Now, one more thing I do want to do here is I want to go to the contrast. And I'm going to lower the contrast a little bit. Why? Because that going to smooth out that face. See how that smooths out the face when we lower that contrast.

About 25 points or so. Compared to this, see how everything's a little bit harder. If we lower that contrast, 20 to 25 points. It's a little bit smoother skin tone. It doesn't look quite so obnoxious. And the textures in the skin are smoothed out quite a bit. And then, let's take a look at our original, and then our final version of our image. So, not bad. Very complex color cast. I'm curious to see how you did on yours. And I bet you'd be interested to compare yours with mine.

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