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Correcting a very bad image in RGB

From: Photoshop CS3 Mastering Lab Color

Video: Correcting a very bad image in RGB

Now that we have seen how to take some beautifully captured photographs and make them look even better with the help of the Lab Color mode. Let's see how to take a really bad photograph and make it look better. So, the idea is that you can dRAW forth colors where either you have very little color to work with in the first place or seemingly no color at all as in the case of this image right here. God light.tif, so called because we have the streaks of light raining down from the heaven. So, it's a typical God light shot here, with the exception of the fact that barely has any contrast and it doesn't seem to have really anything in the way of color saturation for all intensive and purposes like a grayscale photo.

Correcting a very bad image in RGB

Now that we have seen how to take some beautifully captured photographs and make them look even better with the help of the Lab Color mode. Let's see how to take a really bad photograph and make it look better. So, the idea is that you can dRAW forth colors where either you have very little color to work with in the first place or seemingly no color at all as in the case of this image right here. God light.tif, so called because we have the streaks of light raining down from the heaven. So, it's a typical God light shot here, with the exception of the fact that barely has any contrast and it doesn't seem to have really anything in the way of color saturation for all intensive and purposes like a grayscale photo.

But there are colors there, now this image is found inside the O2_what_it_can_do folder if you want to open it on up. We are going to take this image and we are going to dRAW forth this image right here and those are natural colors folks, these are not colors that I painted in, I didn't add the Photofiltre or anything like that, these are all colors that are actually extent inside of this image right there, believe it or not. Now, this correction was created in the Lab Color mode and you are going to be able to get much better result in Lab than you are RGB.

For example, here is what I'm able to accomplish in RGB, not bad but not this good either. So, let's go back to the image that hand here. Let's start things off by attempting a correction in RGB and this is an RGB image. I'm going to go ahead and Tab back my palette. You can see the Histogram palette up on screen here. So, we have just got a bunch of mid tones to work with, almost nothing in a way of highlights, nothing in the way of shadows. So, the first thing that we need to do is hit it with the Levels command in order to increase the contrast.

So, I'm going to go ahead and press the Alt or Option key and click the black/white icon and choose Levels and that will bring up the New Layer dialog box, I will call this guy Contrast and I will click OK and that brings up the Levels dialog box. Now, possibly the easiest thing to do here, just to get a sense of what kinds of shadows and highlights we have available to it. The easiest thing to do is to click on the Auto button, which invokes the Auto Levels function here inside the Levels dialog box. That goes ahead and corrects the image on a channel by channel basis.

So, notice that we don't have any values assigned here inside the RGB composite view. So, I have to press Ctrl+1 or Cmd+1 on the Mac in order to switch to the Red channel for example and then I can see that the black point and the white point had been altered. The Gamma value is not altered at all by Auto Levels and there is the Green value. So, you can see each one of the channels is altered independently, thanks to Auto Levels. The problem with working that route, it sometimes can be actually quite successful, but the problem, the downside, the potential downside is that you are going to introduce colors that are not really native to the photograph.

What if you would prefer to adjust all of the channels in kind? Why, then you would click on the Options button right here and instead of enhancing Per Channel Contrast, you would enhance the Monochromatic Contrast. So, go ahead and click on that item and now we will see this invokes the Auto contrast function as you can see there in parentheses inside of that hint. I will go ahead and click OK and what that does is it applies the exact same modifications inside each one of the channels. So, here I'm looking at the Green channel, 59, 217.

If I go back to the Red channel, 59, 217. Now, I don't want it to be quite that type. Notice that the black point is just sort of abutted right against that histogram, against the far edge of the histogram there. It's going into it, just ever so slightly and that means we are going to get a lot of contrast, but it also means that we have that potential for increasing the amount of noise in the image or for quite that type to the edge of the shadows there. Because we are going to be bringing out a ton of noise in this image no matter what we do, I suggest that we ease up on this value.

So, I'm going to take it down to 55 and then I'm going to Tab over to the white point value and I'm going to take it up to 230 and then I'm going to Shift+Tab back to the Gamma value, Shift+Up arrow to take it to 1.1. So, 55, 1.1 and 230 and I'm going to do the exact same thing for the Green channel, 55, I'm going to just enter those values, 1.1 and 230 and then for the blue channel, we are going to be operating pretty much the same, 55, 1.1 again. But rather than going with 230 which would retain the natural colors that were captured by the camera, I'm going to introduce the little bit of additional blue by taking this value down to 220.

So, we are emphasizing the blues by reducing the white point value. In other words we are making more of the colors blue inside the image. All right, then I'm going to click OK to accept that modification. So things look better, this is before, this is after still pretty nebulous, but we do have a little bit of contrast going on and we are spreading out the histogram as you can see here inside the histogram palette. It has got lot of gaps in it, so it is not a good histogram but it's a better looking image than it was before. Now let's bring out the color saturation by Alt or Option clicking on the black/white icon, choosing Hue/Saturation.

Go ahead and call this guy up sat, click OK. You can take the Saturation value as high as a 100 if you are crazy and you want to just completely damage the image beyond all possible recognition there. We do want to take it really ultrahigh, partially because we want to bring out those colors partially to see how raising the color saturation to this extent inside RGB doesn't work all that well but it really works pretty darn well inside of Lab. Anyway, so we are going to take it up to 85, +85 which is really super high, you would pretty much never do that in real life.

But we are going to the Mac for this image, click OK in order to accept that modification and go ahead and zoom in on the image if you care to and you will see that we have got all kinds of problems going on now. We are bringing out a lot of noise, we have a ton of banding going on now. We can get rid of some of that, we can limit that to an extent by focusing the Saturation value that we just applied on just the saturation. The weird thing about the Saturation function inside the Hue/Saturation command is that it effects luminance Levels and if you wanted to just effect color saturation, then you need to apply it to the Saturation values or you need to actually choose Saturation from a Blend Mode pop up menu and I am going to do that and notice how things calm down quite a bit.

When we apply that function now, we still have a lot of noise, if you have to zoom in some more, you can see all kinds of color noise going on. But we don't have the degree of luminance noise that we had just a moment ago. So, this is the color corrected version of the photograph, this is the original one, we just opened a moment ago. This is the corrected version here inside of the RGB mode. It's better, I won't go so far as to say it's best, you can see may I look over here in the upper right corner of the image, you can see that we have quite a bit of luminance noise going on over here and we are not going to get quite that much, we are going to get some in Lab Color mode, but not as much as we get here in RGB.

But there is one more thing we need to do and that is we need to sharpen this image, it's just too cloudy. We need to have more sharpness associated, more details associated with this God light. So, we are going to apply some sharpness in the next exercise.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS3 Mastering Lab Color
Photoshop CS3 Mastering Lab Color

70 video lessons · 10757 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 23m 32s
    1. Your doorway to better color
      2m 18s
    2. Lab and the untreated JPEG image
      6m 15s
    3. Lab and Camera Raw with a JPEG file
      6m 5s
    4. Lab and Camera Raw with a raw photograph
      8m 54s
  2. 1h 6m
    1. Don't fear the Lab mode
      1m 5s
    2. Why color is 3D
      4m 22s
    3. Device-dependant RGB and CMYK
      5m 15s
    4. Device-dependant CIELAB D50
      5m 33s
    5. Color by the numbers (mixing Lab values)
      5m 35s
    6. The Hue/Saturation color wheel
      4m 0s
    7. The slightly skewed Lab color wheel
      9m 56s
    8. Lab's wide world of "imaginary colors"
      6m 41s
    9. Examining RGB and CMYK channels
      6m 37s
    10. The strange (but powerful) Lab channels
      6m 47s
    11. How RGB and CMYK channels blend
      6m 45s
    12. How channels blend in Lab
      3m 54s
  3. 1h 17m
    1. Bad becomes great, great becomes better
      1m 0s
    2. Cheapening a perfectly good image in RGB
      5m 3s
    3. Making a great image even better in Lab
      8m 9s
    4. Saving a Lab image file
      2m 13s
    5. Favoring yellow to balance skin tones
      6m 12s
    6. Dropping out the blues
      5m 34s
    7. Correcting a very bad image in RGB
      7m 20s
    8. Sharpening luminance independently of color
      5m 22s
    9. Correcting a very bad image in Lab
      7m 34s
    10. Sharpening the Lightness channel
      5m 47s
    11. Finessing the Lightness channel with Curves
      8m 27s
    12. Applying Curves to the a and b channels
      7m 52s
    13. Sharpening for effect, blurring away noise
      7m 14s
  4. 57m 23s
    1. The convergence of all things nondestructive
      1m 26s
    2. Correcting saturation and color cast
      8m 5s
    3. Fading the oranges and reds
      4m 32s
    4. The secret power of Brightness/Contrast in Lab
      5m 5s
    5. Smart Objects and sharpening
      3m 33s
    6. Fixing chromatic aberrations in RGB
      8m 51s
    7. Adding clarity with High Pass
      3m 13s
    8. Reducing color noise with Median
      4m 35s
    9. Protecting the sky with a density mask
      5m 48s
    10. Nondestructive cropping with Canvas Size
      6m 23s
    11. Convert to RGB, flatten, and save
      5m 52s
  5. 1h 34m
    1. Images with bigger issues
      1m 6s
    2. Fixing a color cast
      6m 14s
    3. Exaggerating a color cast
      5m 23s
    4. Quantifying and correcting a color cast
      8m 11s
    5. Sharpening an image with the Emboss command
      4m 38s
    6. Introducing a more complicated color cast
      3m 43s
    7. Drawing a custom contrast curve
      7m 21s
    8. Performing a gross color cast compensation
      3m 49s
    9. Fine-tuning a color cast compensation
      5m 52s
    10. Restoring neutral highlights
      6m 8s
    11. Masking away aberrant hues
      5m 16s
    12. Sharpen, save, convert to RGB, and crop
      6m 18s
    13. Applying a Shadows/Highlights Smart Filter
      5m 1s
    14. Tweaking Shadows/Highlights in Lab
      5m 25s
    15. Rendering Shadows/Highlights in Lab
      7m 57s
    16. Correcting color cast and contrast
      6m 16s
    17. Completing a low-frequency portrait with High Pass
      5m 22s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Changing some colors, leaving others as is
      1m 7s
    2. Rotating hues in RGB with Hue/Saturation
      5m 0s
    3. Modifying colors in Lab with Curves
      5m 47s
    4. Blending colors with Underlying Layer
      6m 8s
    5. Changing colors in wardrobe shots
      6m 1s
    6. Blending the Red and b channels
      8m 5s
    7. Developing a base mask
      8m 8s
    8. Colorizing an isolated area
      7m 33s
    9. Revealing complementary highlights
      3m 18s
    10. Repairing strangely colored shadows
      5m 37s
    11. Tanning and deepening skin tones
      4m 13s
    12. Exposing bright eyes and teeth
      4m 39s
  7. 1m 8s
    1. See ya
      1m 8s

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