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Photoshop CS4's adjustment features offer unparalleled opportunities to correct and manipulate images. In Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth, Jan Kabili explains how to use all the major Photoshop adjustment features. She shares the best techniques for adjusting image quality, and shows how to use the new Adjustments panel to streamline a photo correction workflow. Jan also demonstrates multiple ways to eliminate color casts, and explains how to use the new On-Image Curves control to adjust brightness and color. This course offers a detailed look at the techniques photographers and designers use to master image adjustments in Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.
Yet another adjustment that you can use in Photoshop to try to remove a color cast is the Color Balance adjustment. Like other adjustments, this can be applied as a direct adjustment or as an adjustment layer. I'm going to add a Color Balance adjustment layer to this image, which has a very obvious warm color cast. So I'll go to the Adjustments panel and open that panel and I'm going to click the Color Balance icon here, and in the Layers panel you can see that there's now a new Color Balance adjustment layer. And I'll go back to the Adjustments panel to show you the controls there.
At the top I have a Tone control, and that allows me to adjust the Shadows, the Mid-tones and the Highlights in the image separately. And then beneath that, are three pairs of sliders, representing the same pairs of colors that I've been working with in all of the other color correction methods that I've been showing you. As I explained in the earlier movie on Color Correction in the Color Wheel, these colors are opposites. The opposite of red is cyan, the opposite of green is magenta, and the opposite of blue is yellow. So if I want to reduce the yellow in the mid-tones, I would just take the yellow-blue slider and drag it from yellow toward blue.
And that's really all you need to do is keep an your eye on the image. Make your best guess by dragging these sliders. So I might do it that way, and then I might click on the Highlights and see if I could remove some of the yellow from the Highlights as well. It also looks to me like there's some red in the Highlights. So I might take the red slider, and with the Highlights button selected, move toward the opposite of red, which is cyan. And as I do that, I see that my image really does look more neutral in the highlight areas here, and up on the wall in the gray areas.
Now I have added color samplers in the mid-tone area here, and a dark area here, and in the highlight areas here. And if I wanted to, I could keep my eye on these color read-outs for each one of the samplers, as I drag the sliders in the Color Balance adjustments layer. And my goal would be to get the numbers on the right side of the slash for each of these color samplers to be even. But sometimes, I'll just some in and try to use my eye, and get a result that I like. And that's fine to do with the Colors Balance adjustment.
One of the reasons that I say that is that this adjustment tends not to be the professional adjustment. Professionals are more likely to use Curves, and the truth is that there's nothing you can do here that you can't do in Curves. And in Curves you get a lot more control over the results. But I think that Color Balance is fine to use when you just want to do something quick and easy. And for some people it's a lot more intuitive to use these sliders, than it is to use Curves. There's one more feature I want to mention here, and that's Preserve Luminosity. I usually leave this checked so that the changes that I make to color with these sliders have a minimal effect on the tones in the image.
Remember that adjusting colors isn't the only thing that you'll do as you're correcting an image. So in this case, I think that I also need to make the image lighter. To do that I'm going to go back to the Layers panel by Double-clicking its tab, and I'm going to try to lighten the image by changing the blend mode of this Color Balance layer. With the Color Balance adjustment layer selected, I'll go up to the blend mode menu in the Layers panel, and I'm going to go down to the blend modes that lighten, and I'm going to choose Screen. That makes the image much lighter, but I can lower that effect by going up to the Opacity slider here, moving my mask over the Opacity label and dragging to the left. I'll try it at about 50%, and I think that looks fine.
Now let's see how this image looked when I started before the Color Balance adjustment. I'm going to click the eye icon on the Color Balance layer to remind you of the way that I started with this image, and how it is now. So that's how you can use Color Balance to pretty intuitively remove a color cast from an image.
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