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Understanding color correction

From: Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth

Video: Understanding color correction

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.

Understanding color correction

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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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth
Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth

48 video lessons · 16031 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 5m 39s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. Using the exercise files
      59s
    3. Setting up a workspace
      3m 22s
  2. 21m 2s
    1. Creating and editing adjustment layers
      6m 38s
    2. Adjustment layers vs. direct adjustments
      6m 9s
    3. Using the new Adjustments panel
      5m 38s
    4. Reusing adjustment layers
      2m 37s
  3. 39m 57s
    1. Clipping adjustment layers
      4m 36s
    2. Including adjustment layers in a layer group
      3m 13s
    3. Including adjustment layers in a Smart Object
      7m 29s
    4. Using the adjustment layer mask
      5m 43s
    5. Using selections with adjustment layers
      4m 19s
    6. Using the Masks panel with adjustment layers
      8m 30s
    7. Using the Blend If sliders with adjustment layers
      6m 7s
  4. 49m 43s
    1. Reading the Histogram panel
      5m 23s
    2. Using the Levels adjustment for tonal corrections
      7m 42s
    3. Using the Curves adjustment for exposure
      8m 12s
    4. Using the Curves adjustment for contrast
      4m 14s
    5. Making On-Click Curves adjustments
      4m 0s
    6. Applying Shadow/Highlight nondestructively
      7m 59s
    7. Reviewing Brightness/Contrast
      3m 18s
    8. Dealing with exposure
      2m 22s
    9. Using adjustment layers with blend modes
      6m 33s
  5. 54m 36s
    1. Making Vibrance adjustments
      2m 22s
    2. Using Hue/Saturation adjustments
      7m 4s
    3. Understanding color correction
      3m 21s
    4. Using color samplers and the Info panel
      4m 25s
    5. Using Levels eyedroppers for color correction
      5m 54s
    6. Using Levels channels for color correction
      5m 7s
    7. Understanding Curves adjustments for color correction
      7m 21s
    8. Making Color Balance adjustments
      3m 49s
    9. Making Photo Filter adjustments
      3m 6s
    10. Making Variations adjustments
      6m 48s
    11. Using the auto-correction features
      5m 19s
  6. 13m 5s
    1. Using the Dodge and Burn tools
      4m 56s
    2. Dodging and burning nondestructively
      6m 38s
    3. Working with the Red-Eye tool
      1m 31s
  7. 16m 9s
    1. Applying Black & White adjustments
      7m 30s
    2. Making Channel Mixer adjustments
      6m 31s
    3. Understanding the Threshold adjustment
      2m 8s
  8. 25m 23s
    1. Colorizing with Hue/Saturation adjustments
      3m 9s
    2. Tinting with Black & White adjustments
      2m 8s
    3. Making a Gradient Map adjustment
      4m 18s
    4. Applying a Selective Color adjustment
      1m 49s
    5. Using the Replace Color adjustment
      4m 39s
    6. Making Match Color adjustments
      4m 24s
    7. Applying the Equalize adjustment
      4m 56s
  9. 42s
    1. Goodbye
      42s

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