Photoshop Artist in Action: Tim Grey's Abandoned Farmhouse
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Evaluating and refining color


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Photoshop Artist in Action: Tim Grey's Abandoned Farmhouse

with Tim Grey

Video: Evaluating and refining color

I've applied a curves adjustment to my image, and that really has made me feel a lot better about the overall tonality, the overall brightness and contrast in the image. And so I think I'm ready to start focusing on color adjustments, to see if I can improve upon the color at all in this photo. Especially because with this image, the color is really quite important. In a lot of ways, we have some of our primary colors reflected here. Green and blue although we're missing red of course, as far as those primaries are concerned. But I want those colors to really jump out. I don't want to over saturate them, but I do want them to feel dominate in the image.

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop Artist in Action: Tim Grey's Abandoned Farmhouse
1h 22m Intermediate Jan 04, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this workshop you'll have the opportunity to look over Tim Grey's shoulder as he works on one of his favorite images and gain insight into why he does what he does. See how he chooses one image from a series of similar captures, processes the RAW file to create the best possible starting point, and applies adjustments to fine-tune the look of the image. Plus, work along with Tim as he experiments with a creative interpretation of the image involving an old-fashioned color tint and vignette.

Topics include:
  • Reviewing the images
  • Evaluating and opening the selected image
  • RAW processing
  • Fine-tuning adjustments
  • Achieving an older look
Subjects:
Design Photography video2brain
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Tim Grey

Evaluating and refining color

I've applied a curves adjustment to my image, and that really has made me feel a lot better about the overall tonality, the overall brightness and contrast in the image. And so I think I'm ready to start focusing on color adjustments, to see if I can improve upon the color at all in this photo. Especially because with this image, the color is really quite important. In a lot of ways, we have some of our primary colors reflected here. Green and blue although we're missing red of course, as far as those primaries are concerned. But I want those colors to really jump out. I don't want to over saturate them, but I do want them to feel dominate in the image.

One of the things I'll often do as I'm trying to make some decisions about color, is to apply and exaggerated saturation boost. That helps me to evaluate what colors are in the image. And what sorts of colors I might need to keep an eye out for. So, I'll go ahead and add a hue saturation adjustment layer by clicking on the Add Adjustment Layer button at the button of the Layers panel. And the choosing Hue Saturation from the Popup menu. I'll then take the Saturation slider on the Properties panel and drag it all the way up to its maximum value. And you can see that we have a lot of blues, of course, and cyans, as well as some green to yellow tones.

In the house we have mostly yellows with a little bit of a red influence. But notice in the sky we do have a little bit of a green influence. And so I'm thinking that I might want to shift that color balance just slightly toward magenta, and I might also want to take things a little bit away from yellow. I don't want to lose the yellows in the wheat, in the foreground, but I think that could possibly used to be shifted just a little bit toward the blue. Which will bring out a little more of the green tones in those areas of the photo. So, now that we've gotten a sense of what colors are present in the image.

I can delete my Hue Saturation Adjustment layer by dragging that Adjustment layer down to the trashcan button at the bottom of the Layers panel. And then I can add a color balance adjustment. So, I'll click on the Add Adjustment layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel. And from the pop up menu, I'll choose Color Balance. Now you'll recall that I was concerned about the greens in the sky, so I might want to take that magenta green slider over toward the left. Not too much, obviously. That will start to diminish the greens in the grass. It will start to make the clouds look a little bit pinkish and the building itself actually starts to look a little bit pink. But just a very slight shift away from green and toward magenta will help ensure that the clouds are remaining neutral.

I can also shift that yellow-blue slider and I think I had just gone a little bit too far with my temperature adjustment in Adobe Camera Raw. And so I want to back off on that a little bit. You'll recall that the temperature adjustment allows us to shift between blue and yellow and I think I was just a little bit too far toward yellow in that case. And so I'm going to bring that value up for the blues here Shifting back toward what is probably a more neutral value. Which makes the blues look a little more pure blue and the yellows look a little more bit more yellow.

I also think it'll help get rid of some of the yellow tones that are in the house here. We'll go ahead and add that Hue Saturation Adjustment layer once again though. And increase the value up to plus 100, and you'll see that we've shifted things a little bit. The sky now no longer has much of that green. It does have a little bit of that magenta, but it's very subtle, even with this extreme boost in saturation. So, I think that's okay. You'll also notice that the wheat looks a little less yellow. Certainly a lot of yellow and those greens are going to have a lot of yellow in them, but not quite as much as we had moments ago.

I'll go ahead, in fact, and turn off the visibility for that color balance adjustment layer and you can get a better sense of the shift. So, we're warming up that sky, shifting a little bit more toward those pinkish values, and we're also shifting those yellows a little bit more toward the blues. Which in the case of the farm house, shifts things a little bit more toward red. And so, I might want to go back to my color balance adjustment, I'll turn off the visibility for the Hue Saturation adjustment. And then shift that cyan red slider just a little bit toward cyan. That will help to neutralize the colors in the farm house.

It will also help to bring out some more of those blue to cyan tones within the sky and I think it'll also improve the overall color within the wheat field. Now, I can always bring back that exxagerated Hue Saturation adjustement to make sure that we're not creating any problems in the overall image. I am a little bit concerned about some of these hot greens that we have in the foreground. I'll turn off that hue saturation adjustment again, and you can see that some of those areas are looking a little bit too neutral. I'll go ahead and zoom in on that portion of the image, and I think those greens are standing out as being just a little bit odd.

So, I might tinker with my adjustments here just a little bit. Maybe back off on that blue adjustment just a little bit, and possibly shift things a little more toward green. And I think in this case, what's happening is, I'm going to want to apply an adjustment separately for these greens, quite possibly. I'll go ahead and zoom out and evaluate things. I think things have greatly improved by toning down those adjustments. You can see that it doesn't take much of an adjustment to have a somewhat significant impact on the overall image. I'll go ahead t this point though and delete my Hue Saturation layer for good. I don't think that I'm going to need that but I would like to improve the vibrance. The intensity of colors in the photo and so I'll add one more Adjustment layer, in this case a Vibrance Adjustment layer.

And in almost all cases, I start off with the Vibrant slider, increasing the value if I want to increase the intensity colors in the photo. Or decreasing the value if I want to tone down the colors. But in this case, I would like to increase the intensity of colors at least a little bit. And so I'll increase vibrance to bring up the colors that are not all that saturated to begin with. And then I think I'll also boost the overall saturation, so that all colors get a little bit of a boost as well. I want to be careful not to take things too far. But I think with this photo, I can get away with a little bit of a relatively strong boost for those colors.

We have bright sunlight and relatively vibrant colors in the scene. And so I think it's okay to take these colors up just a little bit, not too much, but enough that those colors really stand out in the photo.

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