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Photoshop CS4's adjustment features offer unparalleled opportunities to correct and manipulate images. In Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth, Jan Kabili explains how to use all the major Photoshop adjustment features. She shares the best techniques for adjusting image quality, and shows how to use the new Adjustments panel to streamline a photo correction workflow. Jan also demonstrates multiple ways to eliminate color casts, and explains how to use the new On-Image Curves control to adjust brightness and color. This course offers a detailed look at the techniques photographers and designers use to master image adjustments in Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this chapter, I'll be covering a variety of ways to correct color cast in photographs. Before I walk you through the steps of various color correction methods, I'd like to give you a sense of what a color cast is and how color correction in Photoshop counteracts a color cast. I know you're eager to get going on to the actual methods, but please do stick with me for this brief movie, because if you don't listen to this movie, then the methods I'm about to show you, won't be as easy to understand or execute. So a color cast is a predominance of one color across a photograph.
For example, if you shoot under fluorescent lights, you may end up with a photograph that has a slight green color cast. If you shoot in snow or in fog, you might get a blue color cast. Of course, not all color casts are bad or need to be corrected. For example, a sunset shot could have an orange or pink or yellow color cast. It's really subjective. Feel free to go ahead and use whatever color conveys the mood and the look of the photo as you, the artist, want it to be. But there are color casts that are obviously wrong. Sometimes they can be a real mood killer, particularly with something like food. If you do have an undesirable color cast in a photo, there are several ways to try to reduce it in Photoshop.
All the methods that I'm going to be showing you in this chapter are based on one principle, and that is counteracting in excess of one color with the complementary or opposite color on the color wheel. This is one simple rendition of a color wheel. Of course, there are lots more colors in between those that you see here. But these are the primary colors that you'll deal within Photoshop when you're color-correcting. The three primary colors in a Red, Green and Blue color mode file, which are Red, Green and Blue, and the three colors from the CMYK color mode, Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. Notice that these colors are opposite one another on the color wheel.
So, for example, the opposite of Red is Cyan, the opposite of Green is Magenta, and the apposite of Blue is Yellow. If you remember those three color pairs, then everything that we're going to be going over in the rest of this chapter will make a lot more sense. You'll see this exact color relationship in various adjustments. So, for example, here I have the Adjustments panel for the Color Balance adjustment, which I'll be covering in another movie in this chapter. You can see those same color pairs here on these sliders, which you can use to add or subtract opposite colors from an image.
So again, Cyan and Red, Magenta and Green, and Yellow and Blue. You'll also see this in the Variations adjustment, and you'll see the same principle apply when I show you how to color- correct with Curves and Levels. One thing to keep in mind as I go through the various methods in this chapter is that there is no one perfect color correction technique for all images or for that matter for all users. You may be comfortable with one method over another and just want to use that, or sometimes one of the methods will work better with a particular photo than others. So the thing to remember is just use the method that's most appropriate at the time. Also, keep in mind that the color is subjective.
So even if you follow every single step that I show you, in every single one of these methods, you might end up with a photograph whose colors are pleasing to you, or they don't match your color memory of the scene where you took the photograph. In that case, do what you need to, to make the colors work for you.
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