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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
In the next few movies we are going to take our color correction skills to the next level. And in this movie I want to introduce the topic of color correcting skin by the numbers. Now color correcting skin is actually quite difficult and one of the reasons is why because in digital capture, the red channel is the channel that's most sensitive to light and that stores a lot of our skin information. So these next few movies are going to really help you color correct your photographs and even more importantly they are going to help you get correct or accurate color in your skin tone because if you see inaccurate color in the skin, it's just a dead give away that something is wrong.
Okay, well I'm going to be focusing on this file here. It's titled skintone.jpg. I just want to point that out so that you can open up this file later and go back to that for review. All right, I'll go ahead and double click that file to take it to Photoshop, press F a couple of times. Now I'm in Full Screen View mode. All right, well one of the things that I want you to begin to think about is that we can color correct skins based on these numbers yet these numbers are just a bit of a recipe. Now how does a recipe actually work? Well, when you think about cooking, for example, and using a recipe, you follow these guidelines. Now these guidelines aren't truth, yet the guidelines say, hey if you follow these most likely you will come up with creating a good meal. And that's what we are going to try to do here. What's the recipe for good color in skin? Well, the first thing that you need to do is find a diffused highlight, you will notice that we will click right here in the chin, right off of the side, right to the left of the highlight there. And then we will Shift-click to add an Eyedropper point there, then we are going to change our Info in the Info palette to read the CMYK values. Now, those CMYK values are going to be come really important. Now I know right here this screen shot is really small but keep in mind what I'm trying to do here is just introduce the topic and then later we will actually go through these steps. But I find it's helpful to talk about it first before we actually do it.
All right, well so far so good, we then move down to the numbers and we start to evaluate the numbers. For example, for Caucasian skin tone the CMYK recipe is as follows. It's basically your magenta and your yellow channel is the same although the yellow channel is a little bit higher and then your cyan is one third to one fifth of the yellow and magenta. Now you may be thinking, oh my gosh, I have no idea what this guy just said. All this math, well it's actually not that complicated. Let me show you an example. Let's say that these are our values for CMYK. Well, here we can see that our Cyan is 8, our Magenta is 30, our Yellow is 32. So our Magenta and Yellow are relatively equal, perfect. Although the Yellow is a little bit higher than Magenta, okay we are got to go. Now what about this one fifth to one third deal, well if we multiply 5 times 8 it's 40, we multiply 3 times 8 it's 24. So is this approximately between that one third to one fifth ratio, yes? As long as I can multiply these numbers 3 by 8 is 24, 5 by 8 is 40, these numbers as long as they fall within 24 by 40, I'm in good shape. So again just think about multiplying your cyan by 3 or 5 and seeing if you are right in the range, comparing that to what your Magenta and your Yellow value is.
All right, well let's go ahead and move down the list for a moment. Now one of the things that I obviously have to point out is that all skin is different and there are specially types of tones of skin. Now the darker the skin, the higher the numbers are and the ratio of the Cyan maybe closer to one half rather than one third or one fifth and also some people may have more red, or yellow in the skin. The recipe is only a starting point. Now, let's say that we evaluate our CMYK values and we notice that the values are a little bit off. What we are going to do is we are going to open up our Curves Adjustment panel, we are to go into our Red, our Green and our Blue channels, we are going to make some modifications in those channels in order to get the CMYK numbers correct.
All right, well now that I have introduced the topic of color correction by the numbers, let's go ahead and dive right in and we will do that in the next few movies.
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