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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 this exercise, I'm going to show you a more selective approach to the task of matching the colors from one layer, namely the road layer, to those of another, namely the Background layer. That actually involves the selection, nothing complicated, it's just a matter of wrapping your mind around what's going on. I've saved my progress as The big red moon. psd found inside the 08_selections folder. I'm going to go ahead and click on the road layer to make it active. Now, you can approach this layer, just like you did the moon, by going up to Image, choosing Adjustments and choosing Match Color.
Then of course, you're going to have to set your Source to The big red moon.psd. You're going to have to set the Layer to Background. You're going to get this dreadfully drab result right here, that still contains a little blue from the sky. So, as opposed to working that way, I'll go ahead and move this dialog box back on screen and cancel out. As opposed to trying to match all the colors from the road layer to all the colors in the Background layer, we're going to draw a selection outline that identifies both the colors we want to start with and the colors that we want to match.
So, for example, I'm going to draw this tiny selection using the Rectangular Marquee tool to surround this slim area of sky, because that area is the area that I want to match. In other words, I want to take these sky colors here and match them to that same region of the background, this area of reds and vibrant bright oranges. So, it really is a trick to draw a single selection outline that both represents the From colors and the To colors, essentially. Believe me, at first, it takes a fair amount of trial and error, but once you get the hang of it, it's really great.
I'll go ahead and turn road back on, make sure it's active, I'll go up to the Image menu, choose Adjustments, and choose Match Color, to bring up the Match Color dialog box. Now, of course, again, nothing is set the way we want it. So, I'll go to Source, change it to The big red moon.psd. I'll go to Layer and I'll switch it to Background. Initially, I'm only going to change the colors inside of the selected region, which is the way things work inside Photoshop. When you have a selection active, you just change the selected pixels inside the active layer.
That's the way it is for 99% of the commands out there anyway, except for Match Color, which has this unusual checkbox: Ignore Selection when Applying Adjustment. Go ahead and turn it on. All of a sudden, you're affecting the entire layer, like so. Now, let's go ahead and move this dialog box off to the left, so that we can see a larger region of our Image window. Now we have these other two checkboxes to contend with, both of which are dimmed, except when we have a selection outline active. So, basically, what Photoshop is saying is: do you want to use the selection to figure out the Source, which is the background layer, and do you want to use the selection to figure out the Target, which is the active layer, the road? So, in other words, do you want to take into account the To colors and the From colors inside of the selected region? Our answer is, yes. We spent some time trying to figure that out in advance.
But if you're not sure, then just go ahead and try turning the checkboxes on and off. So if I turn off Target, then that looks terrible. If I turn off Source, that looks quite possibly more terrible. Then the only combination we haven't tried is having Source off and Target on. That produces this effect, which is interesting, but way too dark. So both checkboxes on, ends up producing the results we're looking for. We can also try Neutralize, but that's going to neutralize the road, turn it gray; we don't want that. Turn that back off.
I'm going to take the Color Intensity value down, considerably, by the way to 25, like so. Then I'm going to raise the Luminance to 110, just by clicking in that value and pressing Shift+Up Arrow. We get this effect right there, which is good enough for my purposes in order to accept that result. That, my friends, is our selective application of the Match Color command.
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