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Making tonal and color corrections

From: Digital Painting: Architecture

Video: Making tonal and color corrections

In the course of running our image through several filters in the past few videos, the color and tonality has probably drifted from the original. The next step is going to be replacing this image with brush strokes, so this is the point in the process in which we can tweak the image's color and tone prior to painting. We're not just going to try to return the image to its original appearance, rather, we are going to subjectively adjust color and tone to suit our vision. Now, I was thinking about this and one way to think of what we're doing here is since we're actually separating the two aspects of a painting that an artist traditionally would do simultaneously would be, they would be mixing paint and applying it to the canvas to construct the image.

Making tonal and color corrections

In the course of running our image through several filters in the past few videos, the color and tonality has probably drifted from the original. The next step is going to be replacing this image with brush strokes, so this is the point in the process in which we can tweak the image's color and tone prior to painting. We're not just going to try to return the image to its original appearance, rather, we are going to subjectively adjust color and tone to suit our vision. Now, I was thinking about this and one way to think of what we're doing here is since we're actually separating the two aspects of a painting that an artist traditionally would do simultaneously would be, they would be mixing paint and applying it to the canvas to construct the image.

We, on the other hand, are doing all of that color mixing prior to applying the brush strokes. So another way to think of what we're going to do here is we are essentially mixing our oil paints right now. And if you think of an artist, let's say he sat and he tried to make the same painting three different times. And each time he had to mix his paint to paint that image. He's not going to squeeze out and mix exactly the exact same colors every time. They are going to change somewhat. Some of that is based on emotion, how awake you are, what the lighting is you're in, what time of day it is, how much caffiene you had.

All of those things are going to affect your judgment, and how you are going to mix those colors. So, like the traditional painter, mixing colors on a palette, we are the digital equivalent, and we are mixing or adjusting our colors in situ, so to speak, so that the image is the palate. And anything we do now will affect what the brushstrokes are going to look like. I will give you a little preview of later on, and tell you that we still have, for each of the painting layers we're going to be working on, there is a non-destructive hue and saturation adjustment layer associated with each of those painting layers.

So, you'll still have the ability to further adjust it, but think of the initial, original painting technique. Once they painted it, it's there baby, there's no changing it. Whereas, we are in this world where it's completely changeable at any time, and that's really the beauty of the whole digital process is. We have many more opportunities to make decisions or rethink decisions that are just not possible in the traditional world. So what we are going to do now are just some subjective color adjustments to this.

And if I did this in an hour from now, I might adjust it little differently than the way I am going to do it right now. So, like I keep saying, there is no one way to do this, it's completely seasoned to taste, and like chefs, you are never going to put exactly the same amount of salt in a recipe, it might be different each time and that's the beauty of art, is it always comes out a little differently. Alright, let's get to work. So, I'm going to back this out so we can see this. And the first thing I'm going to play with is Vibrance.

OK, Vibrance filter adjusts colors without over-saturating. And we can do this non-destructively, although we are ultimately going to flatten this out, but it's one way to work so you can interplay with some of the different adjustments. So let's apply the Vibrance filter, and I'm, let's just, you know, what the heck, let's crank it all the way up, see what we get. Okay, very rich color, but probably a bit much, so I'm just going to back it off a ways, and in fact, just kind of take it down to zero, and I just like to kind of slide like this and see what's happening with the overall image.

You can see how there's kind of this overall yellow tint that's happening to all of the brickwork. And, but in other areas, like the autumn background and the sky, I like what's going on there, so I'm going to crank this up a ways. Let's go ahead and leave that there. Now, I can also use curves to adjust, so let's get a curves adjustment layer here, and it looks like I have more headroom if I wanted to lighten this up som e more, which I don't think I do. It's just, I like a little bit more of a darker tonality to this. So, I'm going to just drop the curve in the middle here a little bit just to darken things up, and then we can turn this on and off to see how much we're actually affecting the image.

That looks pretty good to me. But like I'm saying, I could look at this in an hour and decide, oh I want to change this. So this isn't necessarily the right answer. It's an answer based on my subjective judgement. The third one I'm going to show you here, and this one a lot of people kind of shy away from, but it's a really powerful tool, is Selective color. So let's take Selective color. And this is where I can work on just certain color ranges within the image without affecting other areas. And in this particular image, and let's maybe just move this off to the side just a little bit, I can play around with, in this case, all of those reds that are happening in this, I can adjust these.

And one way to work with, and I think this is why it confuses people, a lot of people are comfortable and are used to working in RGB--red, green, blue, the three components in the pixels that make up the color. The opposite of that, which you normally use in the print, is cyan, magenta, yellow. OK, so if you're used RGB, cyan, magenta, yellow is like another language. So, here's an easy way to think about this. RGB is the opposite of cyan, magenta, yellow. So the opposite of red is cyan.

The opposite of green is magenta. The opposite of blue is yellow. So, if I'm in my reds here, and I want to remove some red. That means red is-- the opposite of red is cyan. I want to add cyan. So if I crank cyan up, see how I'm losing a lot of that over-rich red tonality? Here, I'll move it back up so you can see it. See, now this is basically where it was. It looks really reddened, overall, to me, and so I can take some of that out.

But I'm only affecting the red areas in the image, not any other range of color. I can also, it's got some yellow in it, so I can play around with it. Do I want to take yellow out? It kind of gets a little funky looking. And If I add to it, it's just kind of going to get us back to where we were. So, I'm not going to change that. The other thing you can play with it just to see what black does. If you add black, it's going to add more density of that color. See how it's changing it? And if I take it the other way it kind of washes it out. But it's only in the reds, or what it considers to be a primarily red pixel. And so, you know, I don't really see much need to change this.

But I just wanted to show you how you can play with this. Now, let's go to the blues, for example, just to see what happens here. And this is another, this is one thing that is a little weird about this. We see all this color in here. I'd say for sure, oh, that's blue. And I would say, for sure, that's cyan. But sometimes the way it calculates what it thinks the difference, say, between a blue and a cyan is, isn't what your eye thinks it is. So let's just try it. Let's go to the blues. And what I want to see what it considers to be the color I have targeted, blue in this case.

I normally will just go down to the black slider and just push it up, and can you see it's only doing it really up there in the upper right corner, very little is changing, there's a little bit of blue in here, but not much. If I take it the other way, see how it washes it out. And of course if I had cyan to that, it's so saturated with it now, it hardly impacts it to add more. Now, also remember, the opposite of blue is yellow, so if I take yellow out of it, it's going to want to push it more towards blue.

So, and a lot of times I'm not even necessarily thinking in these, the terms I'm describing to you. I'm just, I'll just grab the slider and move it and see, you know, what does it do, do I like it or not? And so I don't necessarily have to think in terms of calculations of blue versus cyan versus red versus, you know, magenta or whatever. It's a visual process, that's the really nice thing about these sliders, you see the result as you change it, so it's not like you need to necessarily even understand what it does.

Just change it, and see what it does. And if you like it, keep it. Otherwise, return it to it's original value. And here's a little trick that a lot of people don't know. If you adjust this out, sometimes it's really hard to get it back right at zero. It's just, it can be a little clumsy. One thing you can do in the adjustment layers is, if you double click, it pops it back to zero. So that's a real easy way to test adjustments and see if you like them or not, and if it gets way out of whack, just double-click on the title of that slider and it will get you back to a zero state.

And let's also maybe look at a couple other ones. Neutrals, for example. Now, that's going to affect a lot of this image. And I'll show you what I mean. Let's turn it down. See, look at that. It just washed the image out to nothing. That could be an interesting image, and an interesting way to get that look. But that's not the look I'm after. And if I go the other way, it's going to over-darken it. But I wanted to show you how overarching the neutral slider set can be when you are set to neutrals. So, like right here. Here, I'll just do another.

See, it's just going to create a way, overall color cast. But if I want to, for example, add a little bit of, like, sunlight on there, if I pull cyan out, see how the whole image is now getting kind of that cyan look. The issue with this though, is that it's going to pretty much do an overall job, at least on this image. There are, can be images that only have specific areas that are going to respond to the neutral sliders, but I've found over time that almost all images tend to be affected pretty globally by the neutral slider.

We could also check out the whites, because we do have the highlights in all of the clouds. And again, I'll just slide the black up and down to see, yep, see how that's affecting. That's generally where the whites are. I'm seeing the white highlights on the tricycle are also getting affected. But this also gives you the opportunity then knowing what it's going to affect. I could, you know, add more cyan to it. Doesn't look good, I don't want that. Could take it the other way, which tends to add red to it, because we're removing cyan.

So, this is another one I really don't need to change. And let's just click on this, so you can see the main thing I've done here, was I just wanted to get rid of some of the, what I'm thinking of is, is a little bit too much red in the image, and so by just affecting the red sliders only we've gotten a pretty good effect here. So, don't be afraid of Selective color. It's actually very powerful, and if you just go at it thinking, well all I'm going to do is change through some of these colors that I'm interested in that are in the image, and then start sliding the sliders for that color, You'll see what it's doing, you don't have to know in advance that turning up cyan is going to remove red, or vice versa.

All you need to do is slide the slider and see visually what it does, and that tells you. So, we've made a few changes here and what I'm going to do is just group the three of these together, so I can just turn it off. And there, we can see, overall, what I've done to that image. And the other thing I could do, now that these are all grouped, you know, if nothing else, you could just play with the opacity, overall. You know? There's the image before we changed it. If I want to get it, you know, maybe not 100% of what I just did, maybe more like 50%, I could as well.

And then I could turn it off and on, just to see, you know, how much of an effect does that have. And I actually like that, because when I put these together and turned it on and off, I thought that's a bit extreme. So by dialing down the overall opacity of these three effects, I've now gotten it dialed in to exactly where I want it.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Digital Painting: Architecture
Digital Painting: Architecture

49 video lessons · 11566 viewers

John Derry
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 26m 4s
    1. Introduction
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      32s
    3. Installing custom content
      2m 46s
    4. Setting up Wacom express keys
      13m 32s
    5. Setting Wacom touch ring preferences
      2m 14s
    6. Setting Wacom stylus preferences
      3m 24s
    7. Division of labor: Image prep and painting
      2m 33s
  2. 19m 9s
    1. Visual vocabularies
      3m 49s
    2. The vocabulary of photography
      7m 38s
    3. The vocabulary of painting
      4m 59s
    4. Looking at reality through a mental painting filter
      2m 43s
  3. 38m 57s
    1. Removing lens distortion with the Adaptive Wide Angle filter
      6m 47s
    2. Removing distractions
      8m 7s
    3. Don't be a slave to the original photograph
      10m 51s
    4. Correcting image adjustments
      2m 58s
    5. Telling a story with added image elements
      10m 14s
  4. 25m 2s
    1. The eye has a better sensor than a camera
      3m 2s
    2. Adding natural shadows with Field Blur
      8m 47s
    3. Using the Shadow/Highlight adjustment filter
      7m 48s
    4. Using the HDR Toning filter
      5m 25s
  5. 39m 56s
    1. Resolution is in the brushstrokes
      3m 26s
    2. Using the Surface Blur filter
      6m 17s
    3. Using the Displacement filter to add imperfections
      6m 22s
    4. Using the Oil Paint filter
      11m 51s
    5. Making tonal and color corrections
      12m 0s
  6. 22m 40s
    1. Nondestructive layer painting (NDLP): Your creative safety net
      5m 54s
    2. Setting up the Mixer Brush cloning action
      7m 29s
    3. Using cloning layers
      2m 58s
    4. Working with adjustment layers
      6m 19s
  7. 20m 7s
    1. Using tool presets and not brushes
      3m 41s
    2. Categorizing and organizing brushes
      6m 14s
    3. Adding canvas texture
      4m 51s
    4. Using Sample All Layers
      5m 21s
  8. 14m 48s
    1. You must destroy detail
      2m 9s
    2. Establishing compositional structure
      3m 46s
    3. Determining a style and sticking to it
      7m 30s
    4. Painting in progress: Finishing the underpainting layer
      1m 23s
  9. 26m 40s
    1. Understanding simplified indication
      9m 9s
    2. Understanding color: Warm advances, cool retreats
      4m 9s
    3. Painting in progress: Introducing texture to the intermediate layer
      13m 22s
  10. 40m 19s
    1. The play's the thing
      5m 18s
    2. Focusing on the subject through detail
      4m 40s
    3. Using a traditional paint color swatch set
      4m 37s
    4. Painting in progress: Completing the detail layer
      16m 25s
    5. Adding surface texture effects
      9m 19s
  11. 12m 47s
    1. It pays to wait a day
      1m 55s
    2. Adjusting your importance hierarchy
      4m 49s
    3. You'll never paint the same thing twice
      2m 7s
    4. Helpful resources and inspiration
      3m 56s

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