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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.
In is exercise, I am going to show you how to approach that very same image using an entirely different command, Variations, which provides the advantage of a highly visual approach. One that I think helps to illuminate our discussion that much better. I saved the results from the previous exercises Better balance.psd. And now, I am going to return to Tough guys.jpg, the original image with the pronounced orange colorcast. And I'll go to the Image menu, choose Adjustments and choose Variations. Now Variations is not available to us as an Adjustment layer.
So we have to apply it as a standard command. Still I like it so much that if you loaded dekeKeys, you'll find that I've given it a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Alt+V, or Command+Option+V on the Mac, which I stole from the Vanishing Point Filter which is a cool Filter, but I don't use nearly as much as Variations. So I'll choose the command to bring up the Variations dialog box. Notice that it provides you with a series of thumbnails each of which previews the thumbnail's effect. However there is no overarching preview. You cannot see the changes in real time here in the background image which is something of a disadvantage, I have to say.
I wish it weren't that case. I wish we could preview our changes, but we can't. So we might as well go ahead and move the dialog box on top of the original image so we can keep an eye on our intended changes over here on the right-hand side. So we need to shift the image toward Yellow. Notice here in the Histogram panel that our Highlights are predominately Red. So we need to shift the image more toward its color complement, which is Cyan. The Midtones are predominately Green, so we don't really need to do too much to them. And the Shadows are predominately Blue, which means we need to elevate the Blues by adding more Blue to the image.
Meanwhile over here inside of the central portion of the Variations dialog box, you can see a series of six thumbnails surrounding a central thumbnail that's Current Pick. Here in the center of the colors as well as over here on the right-hand side of the dialog box and up at the top. Current Pick is showing you a thumbnail preview of any changes that you've made so far. So it may seem a little odd that everyone of these thumbnails is saying more to us, more Red, more Yellow, more Green, more Cyan, more Blue and more Magenta.
But the idea is these are our six core colors when we are thinking of the primary Hues on the big color wheel, which I will show you in an upcoming exercise. Each one of these guys is located 60 degrees apart on the large 360 Degrees Circle. In other words, they divide the colors into equal sixth. So we have more Red, notice opposite of more Cyan. So more Cyan not only adds Cyan to the image. It subtracts Red. Just as more Red not only adds Red, it also subtracts Cyan.
And in fact, for purposes of correcting a colorcast, we are more interested in what color we are subtracting as opposed to what color we are adding. Similarly more Green is actually less Magenta, whereas its opposite down here more Magenta is actually less Green. And then, we have more Blue which is less Yellow, opposite of more Yellow which is less Blue. So in our case we need to subtract Red, because we have such Red Highlights. And we are going to do that, assuming by the way that Midtones is selected, and Fine Course is at its default setting in the center there, we are going to do that by clicking on the equivalent of less Red, which is more Cyan.
And that will help correct the reds inside the image. We are not going to see any sort of shift inside the Histogram panel, because we are not previewing our changes inside of the larger background image. Now next, we need to elevate the blues. And so in this case we do want to think about more Blues inside the image. So go ahead and click on More Blue in order to add it. That might possibly take our changes a little bit too far. So what I recommend you do at this point is go ahead and back off of the intensity of your modifications.
Notice you can switch his guy all the way over to Course. And then you are really going to see more Red, more Yellow, more Green and so on. And if you take the slider down toward Fine, then I have just one tick mark over from Fine. You almost have to rely on faith, because it's very difficult if not outright impossible to see the difference between these thumbnails. In my case I already know that I want back off the amount of Blue I just added by clicking on more Yellow, which of course is less Blue. And that's all the change that I want to make. Now we are done. Now if at any point, you feel like the stuff you've done is disastrous, you can click on Original.
I don't recommend that in this case. But that will restore the original version of the image. Anyway, we are done for now. Click OK in order to accept the modification. And there you have it, a nearly equivalent modification. That was achieved just by clicking on three thumbnails inside the Variations dialog box.
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