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Correcting color pt. 2: Using curves

From: Photoshop CS4 for Photographers: Desktop Printing Techniques

Video: Correcting color pt. 2: Using curves

Now that we have defined our black point and our white point, we are ready to color correct this photo. So here is what we are going to do. Let me go ahead and click on the icon to open up the Curves adjustment. Now, here you can see we have three eyedroppers. Now, these three eyedroppers work pretty well. If I go ahead and hover over one of these eyedroppers, we are going to see a little bit of a Help menu here, which says Sample in image to set the gray point. Now, we can use this Midtone eyedropper in order to color correct our photos. So I'll go ahead and select that eyedropper. Then I'm going to hover over the image and I'm just going to look to click on something that I think should be neutral. I'll go ahead and click on the shirt there.

Correcting color pt. 2: Using curves

Now that we have defined our black point and our white point, we are ready to color correct this photo. So here is what we are going to do. Let me go ahead and click on the icon to open up the Curves adjustment. Now, here you can see we have three eyedroppers. Now, these three eyedroppers work pretty well. If I go ahead and hover over one of these eyedroppers, we are going to see a little bit of a Help menu here, which says Sample in image to set the gray point. Now, we can use this Midtone eyedropper in order to color correct our photos. So I'll go ahead and select that eyedropper. Then I'm going to hover over the image and I'm just going to look to click on something that I think should be neutral. I'll go ahead and click on the shirt there.

Now when I do that, it removes the colorcast in a pretty good way. Well, let's undo that. Command+Z on a Mac, Ctrl+Z on a PC. Well, what if I click on the cheek? When I do that I then have quite a bit of a problem. I have more of a color problem than I had before. So when you are using these eyedroppers, one of the things to keep in mind is that we are looking to click on something that should be neutral. Let's go ahead and undo that. Now, we are not always going to use our Midtone eyedropper. Sometimes we will. But what I want to do now is actually go into my White and my Black Point eyedroppers. So I'll go ahead and double click on my Black eyedropper. This will open up the Color Picker window, except this one has a little bit different, and here is how it's different. At the top it says Select target shadow color. It's giving me a little bit of a help here saying, hey, use this dialog in order to select the color for your deepest shadow.

In my case, I'm going to give that a percentage point right here at the Brightness value. We have a Hue and Saturation of 0 and 0. The Brightness for our Black is going to be 5%. Now, this is a default number. Black is at 5% and then our White will be at 95%. Later in this training, we are going to look how we can create a more specific percentage point for this in order to create more accurate detail in our shadows and our highlights, but for now we are going to start off with this default number. So go ahead and click OK to choose that number. Do I want to set that as a default? Yeah, sure. I'll then go with the Black eyedropper and I'll click on this dark shadow area.

Now when I do that, I'm going to see that all of a sudden my image is lifted up a little bit and in addition, there is a little bit of an effect on the color. Okay. Well, next, I'll double click on the White eyedropper. Now, my Brightness value for the White is going to be 95%. I'll go ahead and click OK. I want to set that as my target color as well. I am going to go over here to this button, and this is going to be a little bit tricky, because this button is reflective. Now did that click work for me? No, not at all. So I'll zoom in on the button. Command+ Plus on the Mac, Ctrl+Plus on a PC. Now, I don't want to select one of the deep areas, but I want to select one of the areas that's a little bit of a bit bright white. So I have gone and selected that.

Okay, let's zoom out, Command+Minus on a Mac, Ctrl+Minus on a PC, and look at our before and after. Here is before and then after. So now we have more detail in those shadows. We have also color corrected this photograph. Now, we can of course go back to that Midtone eyedropper and click on the image as well to remove any further color shift that we are seeing. So one of the things that you are discovering here is that you can use these eyedroppers in unison with each other in order to color correct our photos. Let's check our numbers. Well, go ahead and open up the Info palette and here you can see our two points. Here is the before. We had no detail in these shadows at all, now we have quite a bit of detail. That's going to print just fine.

Now, with our highlights, we have pretty high numbers, yet we are seeing quite a bit of a blue shift. There is a bit more of a blue shift that was recognizable there. Now the after, these numbers are much, much closer. Now, there is still a little bit of blue in that, but that's most likely due to the fact that there is a little bit of a reflective nature on that particular button. Let's go ahead and set one more point. How about on the shirt? We will grab the Eyedropper tool by pressing the I key, if you don't have it already, and then we will hold down the Shift key and we will click on the shirt. And there we have yet one more point. In order to have neutral color these three points need to be pretty similar.

I can also hold down the Shift key and click and drag this around and open up the Eyedropper again and we can see what another point looks like. Again, we are pretty close in our numbers. There still is a little bit of a blue shift here. So let's look at our before and after. Here is before, and let's also open up the Info palette so it stays; I'll drag it out for a moment, and then here is our after. Again, we can see how those numbers are changing. What's happening here is that these numbers are much closer together. Now, the closer together these numbers are, the more accurate or neutral the color is, because if we have equal amounts of red, green, and blue, then we have neutral color.

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This video is part of

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  1. 4m 20s
    1. Welcome
      3m 23s
    2. Using the exercise files
      57s
  2. 12m 3s
    1. Introducing color management
      2m 32s
    2. Creating a neutral work environment
      2m 49s
    3. Calibrating your monitor
      3m 54s
    4. Calibration demo
      2m 48s
  3. 31m 39s
    1. Correcting color pt. 1: Determining the white and black points
      2m 27s
    2. Correcting color pt. 2: Using curves
      4m 15s
    3. Correcting color pt. 3: Fine-tuning
      3m 14s
    4. Correcting color pt. 4: Adding finishing touches
      4m 35s
    5. Color-correcting an outdoor portrait with curves
      2m 41s
    6. Color-correcting skin tone by the numbers
      2m 36s
    7. Applying skin tone color correction by the numbers
      3m 52s
    8. Correcting reflected color
      2m 25s
    9. Color-correcting a studio fashion portrait
      3m 18s
    10. Color-correcting skin in a natural light portrait
      2m 16s
  4. 40m 52s
    1. Camera Raw input sharpening
      4m 14s
    2. Sharpening with Camera Raw
      2m 28s
    3. Introducing Smart Sharpen
      4m 57s
    4. Sharpening pt. 1: Using Smart Filters
      3m 15s
    5. Sharpening pt: 2: Using Smart Sharpen
      6m 5s
    6. Sharpening and blend modes
      2m 46s
    7. Using Unsharp Mask
      5m 41s
    8. Using High Pass to sharpen
      6m 0s
    9. Adding texture and effects with High Pass
      5m 26s
  5. 19m 25s
    1. Business card resources
      4m 11s
    2. Using a business card template
      1m 22s
    3. Designing the front of a business card
      5m 7s
    4. Designing the back of a business card
      5m 17s
    5. Repurposing a business card for others
      1m 26s
    6. Business card examples
      2m 2s
  6. 32m 11s
    1. Typography resources sites
      3m 32s
    2. Tips and shortcuts for working with type
      4m 7s
    3. Promo card inspiration and resources
      3m 26s
    4. Using a template to build a promo
      2m 19s
    5. Customizing the template
      5m 1s
    6. Building a grid-based promo card
      7m 29s
    7. Resources for creating a photo book
      3m 22s
    8. Photo book examples
      2m 55s
  7. 53m 53s
    1. Creating a PDF layout with the Output module
      6m 35s
    2. Creating a layout pt. 1: Using the Output module to create a rough layout
      3m 24s
    3. Creating a layout pt. 2: Customizing a PDF layout in Photoshop
      5m 1s
    4. Creating a three-image layout in Photoshop
      2m 50s
    5. Creating a grid photo montage
      5m 23s
    6. Building a creative layout pt. 1
      4m 24s
    7. Building a creative layout pt. 2
      8m 6s
    8. Multiple-image layout pt. 1: Using Bridge and Photoshop
      3m 59s
    9. Multiple-image layout pt. 2: Masking and resizing photos
      6m 19s
    10. Multiple-image layout pt. 3: Finalizing the layout
      2m 39s
    11. Multiple-image layout pt. 4: Color and sharpening
      5m 13s
  8. 13m 34s
    1. Printer recommendations
      2m 47s
    2. Paper recommendations
      1m 50s
    3. Paper resources
      3m 27s
    4. Printing recommendations overview
      5m 30s
  9. 15m 46s
    1. Color management refresher
      1m 53s
    2. Finding sample files online for test printing
      3m 0s
    3. Soft-proofing with paper profiles
      1m 49s
    4. Soft-proofing to correct an image
      2m 52s
    5. Setting white and black points based on the test print
      6m 12s
  10. 34m 0s
    1. Starting with Camera Raw
      3m 3s
    2. Resizing in Photoshop
      5m 9s
    3. Setting the white and black points
      2m 17s
    4. Checking skin tone
      3m 48s
    5. Sharpening with Smart Sharpen
      3m 55s
    6. Making soft proof corrections
      2m 54s
    7. Introducing the Photoshop Print dialog
      2m 44s
    8. Color management and the Photoshop Print dialog
      3m 32s
    9. Final Print dialog settings
      2m 33s
    10. The final print
      4m 5s
  11. 23m 7s
    1. Setting up a test strip print
      2m 32s
    2. Modifying the test strip print
      5m 30s
    3. Understanding rendering intents
      2m 20s
    4. Test-printing rendering intents
      2m 35s
    5. Batch-processing with actions
      5m 50s
    6. The image processor
      4m 20s
  12. 23m 55s
    1. Overview and intro
      4m 45s
    2. Using a promo card template
      2m 47s
    3. Converting to CMYK
      7m 36s
    4. Field trip to a printing press
      8m 47s
  13. 6m 36s
    1. Resource sites
      2m 0s
    2. What's next
      2m 51s
    3. Goodbye
      1m 45s

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