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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.
Alright, the final step, the step we are going to perform in this last exercise here is to tan up the skin a little bit, darken the environment, give them more of a healthy glow. We are also going to add a little bit of yellow to the skin which gives him a tan feel as long as you don't go too far with yellow which sort of gives people a jaundiced feel. But you can use this yellow to take out that pink which sometimes shows up in pale people's skin. Alright, so the first thing to do, make sure you've got the right document open or if you have been following along with me, great, if not, I have saved the progress file that's called In need of tan.psd, found inside the 05 Selective folder.
I'm going to click on the background layer. I'd like you too as well. We are going to add another Adjustment layer, Alt+Click or Option+Click in the black/white icon and choose Curves. So now of course this means we are heaping Adjustment layer on top of the Adjustment layer, that's really generally speaking for what we are trying to pull off here, okay, because after all so far we have been only affecting the a and b channels. And this is going to be a subtle a, b adjustment here. We haven't been affecting the Lightness channel at all and that's where most of our work is going to get done. All right, so let's name this guy tan and then click OK.
And I'm going to start here in the b channel, and I'm going to click on the black point right there which represents of course, it represents the cobalt, the blues inside the image, and I'm going to press Shift+Up Arrow in order to raise that Output value to 118 which adds a little bit of yellow to the guy in space here. As I say that little bit of yellow can tan up the skin without making him appear jaundiced, and just to make sure that we are not going too yellow, let's put back some red, let's give him a little bit of ruddy feel as well.
I'm going to go the a channel, make sure that black point is selected, and this direction up or to the left is crimson, so I'm going to press the Up Arrow key three times in a row in order to raise that Output value to -125. So that just gives him a little bit more ruddiness, just reestablishes the ruddy feel of his face. Now, he is still very, very bright and we are going to calm down the brightness in the Lightness channel. So that's where we are going to apply our most significant modifications. And I want you to lift the color from right about here on the other side of shadow, so in the mid tone area right there Ctrl+Click, and that's going to set a point some place close to the middle.
I want that Input value to be exactly 50 and I want the Output value to be more like 40. So we are mapping the Input of 50 to an Output of 40, that's darkening up those mid tones quite nicely. We need to darken the highlights as well. So I'm going to go ahead and scroll up to the forehead. We've got a lot of the sort of sweaty highlights going on up here, I mean, just glow, it's not really sweating, it's just got a little bit of a glow there. I'm going to Ctrl+Click or Cmd+Click on a point right about there in order to lift this point inside of the curve and I've got an Input of 85, that's exactly what I want.
Let's press Shift+Down Arrow in order to reduce the Output value to 77. So that's what we want, Input 85, Output 77, however, you get there, that's goodness, that's a real tanning goodness there. Now, bear in mind, we are not trying to make him George Hamilton tan, we are just trying to make him look like he gets out every once in a while. Now click OK in order to accept that modification; let's zoom back out. Actually, the image looks a heck of a lot better so this is before, he is too bright and this is after. Very, very nice.
So let's go ahead and compare our images, compare the changes that we have made. This is the original image right there and this is the modified version with a nice brown shirt and some tanned skin, a darker environment in general, and the last thing that we need to do. Did I say this was the last exercise? It's not. This was the second last exercise in this series. In the final exercise we need to bring back the white to the eyes, notice how the eyes have gotten a little darker, this is before and this is after, so we are darkening up the whites of the eyes, we are darkening up the teeth every since slightly as well.
We want to bring back those good highlights, eyes and teeth, my god, it shows a good highlight, and we are going to do that as I say in the last exercise.
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