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In this Photoshop for Designers course, Nigel French focuses on the tools and features in Photoshop designed for choosing, applying, and editing color. The course looks at concepts such as the color wheel and color harmonies as well as the practicalities of using the Color Picker, leveraging the power of color channels, and the characteristics of different color modes in Photoshop. The course includes exercises on correcting color, enhancing color, shifting and replacing colors, working with spot color channels, hand coloring black and white images, and designing with a reduced color palette.
In this image, I am going to manually set the black point and the white point and this will, as we'll see, affect a dramatic change in the color of the whole image. I have laid down three color samples. I have one in the shadow area, one in a more midtone area and one over here on this white piece of paper, which is the representative of the highlights. Even though if we look at the histogram of this image, we see that currently we have very little highlight information, but that's about as bright as it gets that area right there.
So, I'm now going to add a Levels adjustment layer and then I want to get my black point dropper and click on the darkest pixel in the image to remap my dark pixels to my target black point. I can change the definition of my target black point, should I choose to do so, by double-clicking on the black point dropper, and likewise, with the white point dropper. Let's start out with the white point and I'll double click on that. At the moment, it's at pure white, 255, 255, 255 in RGB terms.
I am going to leave it like that, but you may wish to tweak this according to your output intent and my black point is currently pure black, 0, 0, 0, likewise, I am going to leave it, but you may wish to target this to a specific output intent, in which case you should speak to your commercial printer about what they recommend as their preferred black and white point targets. But I am now going to get my black point dropper and go and click on the darkest pixels. In order to evaluate where the darkest pixels are, I am going to hold down my Option or my Alt key, and then start dragging the black point slider towards the center.
Now as I do this, you'll see that the closer I get towards the center, the more pixels become black. The pixels that first turn black are currently the darkest areas in the image and I notice that I have some pixels that almost immediately turn black on the left-hand side of the image. So I am now going to move my black point slider back to where it began, get my black point dropper, and go and click on that area and you'll see that things now look more contrasty. I am going to do the equivalent for the white point. Click on my white point dropper, hold down my Option or Alt key, and then start dragging my white point slider towards the center.
Those pixels that first turn white are the brightest pixels. Now in the case of this image, I'm actually going to make a subjective decision to override those first or those brightest pixels, because if we go and look at them, we can see that this one down here, which is the brightest area in the image is actually a specular highlight from a piece of plastic, and this bit up here, which is the second brightest. That's okay, but what I'm aiming for is this highlight here on this basket and we can see that that's not actually the brightest, but comes in shortly after the bright areas in the top right.
So this is our subjective decision here and I am going to get my white point dropper and go and click on that area right there and look how much the affects the brightness and overall appearance of the color in the image. Now if we look on the Info panel, we can see how the color numbers have changed and almost without exception, the numbers are getting higher. So things are getting brighter. Let's just see how that's affected the color. If we switch these samplers to HSB, we can see there is some shift in the Hue, but it's mainly in the Brightness and the Saturation where the change is taking place.
In the case of sampler number two, which is this one down here and now we go from an angle of 2 to 356, but remember we are working on a scale of 0 to 360, so that's only a few degrees difference. So the big difference really is in the Saturation and Brightness and what's most important is the image looks a whole lot better this way, manually setting the black and the white points.
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