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Based on the device-independent CIE specification from 1976, Lab color is frequently misrepresented as a techy, labor-intensive color space. In fact, Lab color performs certain types of color modifications more quickly and with better results than RGB. In Photoshop CS3 Mastering Lab Color, Deke McClelland explores how to use Lab color "to make bad photographs great and great photographs even better." He demonstrates image manipulations that are best suited to Lab, and walks through a typical, non-destructive Lab correction. Deke also shows how to correct lighting, apply selective color modifications, and reverse the effects of color cast. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise our job is to the address the reddish shadows inside of this image, and perhaps you are familiar with this phenomenon from your own images. It's not always necessarily an art effect of manipulating the colors. Sometimes its inherent in the image when you shoot it in the first place, or when you scan it as well as some scanners have this tendency to give you for example bluish shadows, or purplish shadows. Well this is something that you can address in Lab using the following technique.
So it just happens that we are seeing this apply to an image that has some heavily modified in the first place but that's not always that case. All right, so here's what you do. First you make sure you are working in the same image, I'm working in. I have gone ahead and saved off my progress as Reddish shadows.psd found inside the 05_selective folder. And the next thing I'm going to do is I'm going to basically isolate these shadowed areas using the Color Range command, just the easiest thing to do because sometimes that your deep shadow that have colors in them, sometimes that your mid shadows, your quarter tones and that kind of thing.
So regardless of where they are at, Color Range can find them. I'm going to go up to the Select menu, choose Color Range and once the command appears on screen, I'm going to click inside of this area, these reddish shadows right here. And I'm going to just Shift+Click in a few other areas of the image. And maybe move down there and Shift+Click right there, or Shift+Drag across it perhaps. And lets make sure that we are getting some of these red shadows as well. Now that's going to add a lot to the selection but that's OK.
Notice we get a little bit green in these dark, dark shadows back here. So those are already that way, I just want to show you before we apply our adjustment layer, that we're about to apply. These guys were already a little bit greenish. But that's okay, better to go this route than the overly red route. Because the rest is assured actually this brown that we have is a little bit more in the green side, than it is on the red side. Alright, having done that we have now got a decent selection, set the Fuzziness to about 50 that works well, and click OK in order to create that selection outline, that's interfering with our ability to tell what's going on right now.
That'll go away in just a moment. Press and hold the Alt key or the Option key in the Mac, click the black and white icon and choose the Levels command. And then I'm going to go ahead and call this one Desat A+ and the reason I'm calling it that is that when it desaturates the reds, the reds are going to be located on the right side of the A channel. So bright colors in the A channel translate to Crimsons or Lavenders, or Red or whatever you want to call it. So that's where we are going to desaturate the + side of the A channel and actually I should do with a lower case A because that's the way Photoshop does it.
And then I'll click OK, in order to create this new layer. We are going to go ahead and switch over to the A channel and now if I were to move this white slider triangle, right here over to the left, you may recall that colorized version of the version, when in that document called Color Moves back in the 04 Cast_lighting folder that moving any of these slider triangles over to the left side of the A channel gives us crimson and actually creates more crimsons inside the image.
So we don't want that, what we want to do is move down to Output Levels instead and take those Crimson Colors, take those colors that are too red, and just drag the life out of them a little. Notice that I'm leeching that crimson out which leaves green in its wake if you go too far of course. Instead what I want to do is just take it down a little bit. Alt+Shift+Down arrow to take the value from 255 down to 245 and I'm thinking that's not quite enough so I'll take it down a few more clicks to 240 or something like 242.
And let's see if that works for us. So let's go and zoom out a little bit so that we can take in the resulting image, at the zoom ratio, so we don't get those weird water patterns. And that looks pretty darn good to me, so I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification. So this is before the red shadows. Notice how much red is being contributed by the shadow detail inside the shirt and this is after those red shadows are neutralized. Remember this technique for any of your images that have bizarre, colorized shadows.
Just go ahead and select those shadows with the Color Range command inside the Lab Mode of course, and then follow it up by desaturating whatever portion of the A or B channel, like if I had bluish or purplish shadows I would go to the B channel. I would take the black value, which represents Blue/Cobalt, and I would raise it in order to make those blues more yellow. In order to take the wind out of the blues a little bit. So that's how you work. Anyway, it does a beautiful job.
I'm going to click Cancel because I don't really want to change that Layer. Go ahead and zoom-in, just so we see it even closer. This is before; this is after nice, now we have a consistent, brownish shirt here to work with. In the next exercise we are going to tan up the skin tones a little bit. I just want to touch on a little more skin tone information and to tan them up and darken him down a little bit, make him look like just normal, standard, everyday average human being while retaining the bright whites of the eyes and the teeth and you will find that how as soon as you click that next link button.
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