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In this Photoshop for Designers course, Nigel French focuses on the tools and features in Photoshop designed for choosing, applying, and editing color. The course looks at concepts such as the color wheel and color harmonies as well as the practicalities of using the Color Picker, leveraging the power of color channels, and the characteristics of different color modes in Photoshop. The course includes exercises on correcting color, enhancing color, shifting and replacing colors, working with spot color channels, hand coloring black and white images, and designing with a reduced color palette.
There is an old faithful color correction tool called Variations which still has its uses. You'll find it under Image > Adjustments. The thing is about Variations, you may come to the menu Adjustments, and you may not find Variations, and if you don't find it, it's because you're in 64-bit mode. 64-bit mode is a more efficient way of using RAM, Random Access Memory, but for some reason, Variations which is a very old tool is incompatible with 64-bit mode.
So I've re-launched Photoshop in 32-bit mode so that I can take advantage of Variations. Let me show you how you can do that, should you choose to do so. On a Mac, you'll need to come to the Applications folder and go to the Photoshop application and then File > Get Info, and then right there, you'll see a checkbox, Open in 32-bit mode. If you're currently in 64-bit mode, you'll need to quit and then change this option and then re-launch Photoshop and you'll be in 32-bit mode.
Now, actually its biggest use I find is just as a visual representation of colors and how they relate to each other, and how if you have an image that, say, is too blue you can add its complement yellow diagonally opposite to reduce the blueness. If you have an image that's too green, you can magenta; if you have an image that's too red, you can add cyan. So we see a clear visual representation of colors and their complements opposite each other, surrounding this preview of the current pic.
So in this case, if I wanted to warm this image up a bit as I do, I would need to add yellow, because I think it's a little bit too blue. And I can do that in the Shadows, the Midtones, and/or the Highlights, and I can adjust the amount of the color that I'm adding with this Fine to Coarse slider. Now I'm actually going to quit out of here, cancel out of there and before I apply Variations, I'm going to do one other thing and that is I am going to convert my layer for Smart Filters so that if I need to revisit the amount of change I've made, I can do so and I'm applying the Variations nondestructively.
So with my image now as a smart filter, I have here on the white painted area of the boat, I have a color sample and if we look at the Info panel, we can see that my blue is a bit higher than my red and my green, which is numeric evidence, if you like, that this image is a little on the cool side. So using that as my sort of numeric yardstick, I'm going to go back to Variations and now working in the Midtones, working with my Fine to Coarse slider all the way of it to Fine, I'm going to add a bit of yellow, and I'm also going to add a little bit of magenta as well.
That's my current pic, that's my original. Let's see how we go on there. How have those numbers changed? Well, actually, they're now closer to being neutral; we now have the red a little bit too high. If I turn off my Smart Filter by just clicking on the eyeball, we'll see the numbers toggle back to how they were. So, the blue has been reduced, the red has been increased, and the green has been reduced.
So I'm going to now revisit Variations and we saw that we had a little bit too much red so I'm going to add a small amount of cyan. And we now have neutrality in that region 93, 94, and 93. Let's turn off the Smart Filter; there is the before, the image looking a little bit cool, and there is the after where the image looking quite a lot warmer, and I hope you'll agree a lot better.
So Variations, useful for understanding colors and their complements, but not that great really for doing numerical color correction, but if you just want to adjust your colors more subjectively and you like the visual feedback that Variations give you then it could be a viable option.
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