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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
I went ahead and saved the result of the previous exercise as Faded variation.jpg. Now, I'm going to switch back yet again to our original Tough boys.jpg image. For the last time, I want to revisit the Variations command, just so that you can be reminded of those thumbnails toward the center of the dialog box. So, here is Variations, up comes the dialog box. I'm going to click on Original in order to reset this image. I'm going to move this slider triangle toward Coarse, so that we can really see the colors here: More Red, More Yellow, More Green, More Cyan, More Blue and More Magenta.
Now, you may wonder where are a lot of colors that you would think would be primary colors in this mix. For example, Cyan, where is Cyan coming from? What is Magenta doing here? Where is Orange and where is Violet and where is Indigo and the other rainbow colors? Well, what we're seeing here is equal increments in the world of digital color. Let me go ahead and diagram how that works, so you have a clear idea, conceptually, of color inside of Photoshop. I'm going to cancel out of this dialog box and switch to my final image here, Big color wheel.psd.
I'll press Shift+F in order to switch to the Full Screen mode. Notice what we have here is a color wheel that fades from intensely saturated colors around the perimeter to Gray at its center. So, there's many ways to represent color inside of Photoshop. One way is as a combination of Hue and Saturation. Saturation would be the spokes in the wheel, i.e., going from no saturation whatsoever, absolute gray, to the most vivid color possible at the outside of the wheel.
So, each one of these spokes represents a key color going from no saturation to absolute saturation. Then the perimeter of the wheel represents the various Hue values, starting at Red, then going to Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, Magenta, and finally, wrapping back to Red again. So, the visible color spectrum actually wraps right back onto itself. These are the Hue values and these are the exact same values that we saw represented by the thumbnails inside the Variations dialog box.
Because a circle comprises 360 degree, each one of these key colors is 60 degrees from another. That's going to become important when we discuss the Hue/Saturation function in a later exercise. Now, notice that some of these colors are represented by monitors and some by printers. So, we have Red, Green, and Blue represented by monitors. We have Cyan, Magenta and Yellow represented by printers. In a perfect world, Cyan ink absorbs Red light and reflects back Green and Blue.
Meanwhile, Magenta ink absorbs Green light and reflects back Red and Blue. Then Yellow ink absorbs Blue light and reflects back Red and Green. That's probably the most difficult thing to come to terms with when you are mixing color inside of Photoshop is that red and green combine to form yellow. But that's the way it is when you project lights on to each other. Now, then notice in between at each of the 30 degree increments, we have an intermediate color, such as Orange between Red and Yellow, Lime between Yellow and Green, Turquoise between Green and Cyan, Cobalt between Cyan and Blue, and Violet between Blue and Magenta, then, finally, Crimson between Magenta and Red.
Now, whereas Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue and Magenta have very specific meanings in the worlds of computer graphics and digital imaging, these other colors don't have specific names. So, I have given them names based on a variety of different industry naming conventions from paint manufacturers and crayon manufacturers and traditional art media of all varieties. So, that's where I came up with these. Then I also gave names to the 15-degree colors: Scarlet, Amber, Chartreuse, Emerald and so on. Now, you can see that this color wheel ends up favoring the Green to Blue spectrum like crazy, much more than we do as human beings.
We tend to favor this Red to Yellow area quite a bit, because that's where all the flesh tones are located. But this is the way it works where RGB color is concerned, CMYK color, basically, everything with the exception of lab inside of Photoshop. Now that you have a sense for how color is organized and rendered inside of Photoshop, let's take a look at how you can rotate the hues of an image inside Photoshop.
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