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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 we are going to take this nearly final version of the image and we are going to sharpen it and we are also going to crop it, so that we can take care of some of the compositional issues, like we have got this pole running almost right through the center of the image, that is terrible. This Power Zone logo over there, that can go. Anyway, I really want to focus on the people and the action and that kind of thing. So here is what we are going to do. First of all, I have saved my image in progress, as Near final correction.psd inside the 04 Cast_lighting folder and we are going to work through these corrections fairly quickly because we have seen many of them before.
I want you to go to the background layer and make sure it is active and then we will convert it to a Smart Object by going up to the Filter menu choosing Convert for Smart Filters then, you will go ahead and rename it something like, I don't know like Lab SO or something, just so we know it is a Lab Smart Object. Then go to the Filter menu, choose Sharpen and choose Smart Sharpen and the settings that I want you to enter are these right here, an Amount of 200% and a Radius of 3 pixels and remove set to Lens Blur, that is all fine and dandy, click OK.
Now this is going to bring out all kinds of noise as well as the detail inside the image and if you start zooming in you will see what I'm talking about. There is a fair amount of noise action, look at that pole, very noisy. We are not going to do too much about the Luminance noise unless we really go in there and try to massage the image. It is not really worth doing that. I like having the Luminance noise action. What I do want to get rid of is the color noise. So let us start by tiding things up, by getting rid off that Filter Mask, we don't need it and then double click on little Settings icon there for Smart Sharpen to bring up the Blend Options dialog box, change Mode to Luminosity, you always do that if you are working with Unsharp Mask or Smart Sharpen and then you click OK in order to accept that modification.
You can see, this is before, look closely right in this region right there you can see some color action going on, some color noise. This is after, it all goes away and we are just left with luminance noise, which is fine because that is helping impart this sense of sharpness inside the image. Now you would go ahead and save this final version of the image by going up to the File menu, choosing the Save As command because we have now performed all of our corrections inside Lab, so All Lab corrections I will call this document, you might want to call yours something else so you don't save over mine, totally up to you.
Hey, that is All ab corrections! Oh! That would be so awesome if you could solve all of your ab problems with Photoshop. If you could carve these just excellent abs. Unfortunately, these are All Lab corrections. Now click Save in order to save those modifications. Then I want to crop the image. Well, the crop I want to perform is a Radical Crop and so there is not really any point trying to pull it off nondestructively because I'm going to rotate the image and I'm going to potentially damage a bunch of masks and all this other stuff. So let us just go ahead at this point and convert the image to RGB.
Let us go back to RGB, which is typically what you want to do when you are finalizing the image, doing the final touches. Go to Image mode, RGB Color, you will be asked if you want to Rasterize, yes you do, the Smart Object because we are going flat now and then you want to Merge, not OK, you want to Merge all of your adjustment layers so that you are creating what is extensively a flat file. It is actually a one layer file so it is not entirely flat and then I'm going to grab my Crop tool, and I have already set up some modifications here, I have set up some width and height values that I want to work with, because I'm looking for a real panoramic shot essentially, and these values will give me the panoramic shot I'm looking for.
Again, these are just trial and error settings so that you and I can get the same thing if you are working along with me. So 4224 pixels for width and 1798 pixels for height and I'm going to drag from this little guy way back there below Power Zone because we are definitely getting rid of Power Zone, from his upper what would that be, his upper left shoulder, upper right for us and we are going to drag over to here basically, beyond these people. Let me just make sure I have got him in the right place. He looks good and I'm going to move this center point up in to the upper right of the crop like so and then I'm going to move my cursor outside the crop and I'm dragging down like this in order to position the crop boundary where I want it to be and that might be a little lower than what I'm looking for.
So I will drag this guy up just a little bit. Notice, I'm trying to make sure that we are offsetting the central column right there. So something along these lines should work out pretty well for me. Then once I have done that I will make sure that Cropped Area is set to hide, so because I do have a layer, so I might as well keep that extra layer information and then I will press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that crop. There is the cropped version of the image. I think it looks pretty nice. I will go ahead and Tab away my toolbox so that you can see we are just keeping the real good action inside of the shot.
We are throwing the pole over to the right a little bit, we still got the orange jacket dude, that is nice and his friend, a green jacket dude there, they are very nice. Also, got a double jersey dude right there. All those people are essential. I'm just going to skip a head here. Finally, I scaled the image a little bit, did bit a little bit of additional cropping action and threw in this text there and also, this exclamation point. You can check out how this is all put together if you take a look at this document called Cropped RGB crowd.psd that is found inside the 04 Cast lighting folder and The Crowds Roar For Frozen Four.
It's hard to say, a little bit of a tongue twister there and it is not actually all that accurate because they are really going home. There are not roaring. They were whooping it up every once a while because they are one team, hit one, couple of teams really. The only thing I want to tell you though, you can do whatever you want with this document, you can throw in the trash for all, I don't care, but here is the deal. If you are going to save it, make sure to go up to the File menu and do a Save As, so that you save it to a separate file. So you don't save over your Lab file with your RGB file. You want to save this as a separate one. So there you have it, a corrected image thanks to all kinds of different operations that we applied.
But here is the key, we identified what the exact Color Cast was and then we acted on it quite precisely in the Lab mode using Curves here inside Photoshop.
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