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Understanding how the histogram displays color

From: Color Correction in Lightroom

Video: Understanding how the histogram displays color

In the previous movie, we talked about using histograms

Understanding how the histogram displays color

In the previous movie, we talked about using histograms to evaluate the overall tonal distribution in the image. Now I'd like to take the next step and let's talk about how we can use histograms to help us evaluate the color balance in an image. We're going to use four particular images here. We'll use this wild roses image. We're going to use the books. We're going to use the whale tail. And then this Tina original. We can just isolate those for this particular movie and the way to do this is, if you click on these images here, like on the first one, just hit the 0 key, notice you'll get this 0 rating come up, some of the image may already have some ratings on them, you can just hit them or you can select more than one.

And then, on the Wild Rose, the books the Whale Tail and Tina, click in the middle. Press the number 1. Set the rating to 1. And then we can we come up underneath here, at the top, to Attribute. And just choose a greater than or equal to, or rating is equal to and then 1. And then, we'll just have those four images there. You might want to pause to isolate those images. You don't need to isolate them, it's just sometimes easier and less visually cluttered to do that.

And then, later on at anytime you want to get those images back. You just come on up here and just get rid of the attribute all together. You can just turn it on, turn it off. Okay, so, let's first take a look at this image here and let's go to our Develop module by pressing D or clicking on the Develop module up here. And when we look at this image and remember we have data from the bottom of the highlight down here to the shadow. But no data in the white area down to the bottom of the highlight, so we've got some area we can do some brightening here.

What we're looking at here is color cast and see the grey histogram. The grey histogram pretty much covers everything, which means that this image is pretty well balanced there's no huge offsets of the reds, the greens or the blues in this particular image. So overall, by just looking at the histogram and looking at the area of overlap that is the grey histogram in front of the colors, you see this goes almost all the way across from highlight, all the way down to deep shadow. It pretty much covers all of the color histograms.

Now, let's look at the whale tail and you'll see this is quite different. Here, the gray histogram, what it covers and what it doesn't, which is the key. And when you look at this image visually, you can see it's got a blue green color cast to it, no matter what monitor you're looking on, I've chosen this image so it's going to look kind of blue green to you. And when we look at the histogram, we can see the blue green color cast. Notice the offset to the right of the blue histogram. And then the green, the combination of those two, look at the aqua right there, and then the red, as well, to the left.

Now we're focusing here, as we will on most images, on the highlight end. because it's what sticks out on the highlight end which is most obviously the color cast or lack of a color cast. Remember, on the roses image, there was almost no data, in fact no data sticking out at all, whereas on this one, the blue and then the green together making an aqua, which sticks out from the gray background and then the yellow or the reds, the warmer colors, are well to the left. So, this represents a blue or blue green color cast to it.

So, you see, visually, it really makes a lot of sense. And it makes it very easy to look at an image, look at the histogram, and go, oh yeah, looks like I've got a blue-green color cast. So I know immediately, where if I want to neutralize this and balance it, what I need to do. Let's take a look at the books. Alright, we looked at this one a little bit earlier. But now we're focusing on color rather than just tone. Look at the gray area here. The gray histogram is covering only this portion of the histograms. And then all this over here, the yellows, the reds. So we've got huge offset of the warm colors. You look at this image, it's very clear.

This has got a huge warm color cast to it. This green plus the red, it's going to give you this yellow or the orange color cast. Again, we compare this back to this one, which is pretty well balanced. Pretty neutral. The whites are indeed white. In this one, the whites are orange. And we can see that in the histogram. And then finally, when we look at this image, very limited distribution of tonal data. But again, we came to look at the image, there's this horrible yellow cast to it. And look how offset the yellows and greens and the reds are in relationship to the blue.

So, we can very clearly identify color casts as well as tonal distributions by using our histograms. And we're going to be using that both as an evaluation tool and to help guide us when we do our corrections.

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This video is part of

Image for Color Correction in Lightroom
Color Correction in Lightroom

33 video lessons · 3106 viewers

Taz Tally
Author

 
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  1. 2m 20s
    1. Welcome
      40s
    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 13m
    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
      11m 26s
    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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