Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

What is color correction?

From: Photoshop for Designers: Color

Video: What is color correction?

Color correction is the act of adjusting the color temperature of your images, either to compensate for a colorcast or over predominance of a color or subjectively to give your images a certain feel. Color temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin with a temperature of 5500 K being considered the temperature of overhead light of midday. Adding more yellow to your images will give them a higher color temperature and make them warmer. Adding more blue to your images will give them a lower color temperature and make them cooler. To start with, I just want to point out that having an over predominance of color is not necessarily a bad thing.

What is color correction?

Color correction is the act of adjusting the color temperature of your images, either to compensate for a colorcast or over predominance of a color or subjectively to give your images a certain feel. Color temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin with a temperature of 5500 K being considered the temperature of overhead light of midday. Adding more yellow to your images will give them a higher color temperature and make them warmer. Adding more blue to your images will give them a lower color temperature and make them cooler. To start with, I just want to point out that having an over predominance of color is not necessarily a bad thing.

This image has an obvious colorcast. It's shot late afternoon, it's bound to be yellow. That's the whole point of the image. On the other hand, here I have a cool image that was shot somewhere around midday and the color temperature is a lot lower as a consequence, not necessarily a bad thing, although looking at it, I think it does look a little bit on the blue side. But, my point being that a colorcast is not always a bad thing. We're going to look at just fixing up this image and there are essentially two approaches we can take, and they are very much related to each other.

Most of what we need to know about Color Correction is constrained in this diagram. We see red, green and blue, additive primaries, and as cyan, magenta and yellow as subtractive primaries. Opposite to red is cyan, opposite green is magenta, opposite blue is yellow. So, if we have an image that has an over-predominance of yellow, if we are in a CMYK image that has a yellow channel, we can just reduce the amount of that yellow. But if we are in an RGB image, there is no yellow channel.

So what we can do is we can work on the blue channel, and by increasing the blue, we will be reducing the yellow. Likewise, if we have an image that has an over-predominance of red, let's say it's an RGB image, well, we can just reduce the amount of red by working on the red channel. But if we are in a CMYK image, maybe there is no red channel. Not maybe, there is no red channel. So instead, we can work on the cyan channel. By increasing the amount of cyan, we reduce the amount of red and the same is true with magenta and green; they are the complements of each other.

So increasing the magenta decreases the green and vice versa. Just keep this diagram handy and you can always figure out what you need to do to an image to adjust any sort of colorcast that it might have. Another approach is to target neutral midtones and that's where we'll start and we've already had a look at this working in the previous chapter, this involves using the great point eyedropper. What I am going to do first of all is if I go to my Eyedropper tool, I see that I've already put a sample point on this patterned carpet in the foreground and I have sampled that particular point, because as you can see, it is a gray segment of that carpet.

And my subjected decision here is that if this image had not had a colorcast and it has a colorcast because it's been shot indoors, so it has a yellowish feel to it. But if it didn't have that then that gray would be neutral. Neutral gray means RGB values the same or close to be the same. So that's what we are going to aim for and we are going to use this as our reference, as our target point. So I am gong to come to my Curves adjustment, I could do in Levels or Curves and then I am going to choose my gray point dropper and I am going to move over and I am going to click on that target point.

Now before I do so, I want to open my Info panel so I can see what the color values at that point are. And we see that I have Red a lot higher than green and then we have blue which is trailing some where behind. So by targeting that point as my neutral midtone, what it's going to do is it's going to set those colors all to be the same. And we can see what's happened with the curve. The red has been reduced, the blue has been increased and the green stays more or less the same ever so slightly increased.

The result at that point right there, we've got neutral values. That has an effect that goes throughout the image; it ripples up to the highlights and down to the shadows. Does it make it a better image? I don't know, I don't think so. I kind of like the warm feel that it had to it before. So, let's say that this is a step in the right direction, but we just want to moderate the whole effect and what we could do is reduce the Opacity somewhat and we have introduced some of the original yellow feel, the warmth of the original image back in, but the overall result is now, here was the starting point and here is the finishing point.

So we've targeted an area that's subjectively and I can't stress enough how much subjectivity is involved in this and we've said make that neutral gray and that affects the rest of the image. Now there is another approach we could take care. I am going to turn off that curve and this is basically suggested by this diagram that we looked at earlier. If we can say that this image has too much yellow in it, if we are in agreement that it has too much yellow, then to reduce the yellow what we can do is increase the blue.

And we can do this with a number of Photoshop's tools, one of which is the Color Balance adjustment layer. So I am going to choose Color Balance and now if I move towards blue, I am moving away from yellow and we also saw that we need to reduce the red. So if I move towards cyan, I am moving away from red. And that's going to give us a result very similar to the result we saw before. This is the result with Color Balance and now I've turned that off, we are back to the original, and this is the result with the curves.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop for Designers: Color
Photoshop for Designers: Color

75 video lessons · 17442 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 0s
    2. Using the exercise files
      41s
  2. 25m 26s
    1. Defining color terms
      2m 38s
    2. Understanding the color wheel
      4m 3s
    3. Understanding color relationships
      1m 7s
    4. Using Kuler to understand color harmony rules and create color palettes
      4m 2s
    5. Using the Kuler web site
      3m 10s
    6. Colors on screen and on paper
      1m 42s
    7. Color as a signifier
      3m 14s
    8. Color inspirations
      2m 39s
    9. Color and accessibility
      2m 51s
  3. 38m 22s
    1. Demystifying the Color Picker
      2m 57s
    2. Understanding the role of foreground and background colors
      5m 39s
    3. Choosing colors
      6m 41s
    4. Managing swatches
      7m 40s
    5. Transparency
      9m 42s
    6. Color channels
      5m 43s
  4. 41m 4s
    1. Understanding additive and subtractive color
      2m 57s
    2. RGB mode
      1m 56s
    3. CMYK mode
      2m 41s
    4. Lab mode
      3m 49s
    5. Indexed mode
      2m 16s
    6. Grayscale mode
      5m 0s
    7. Color management
      14m 15s
    8. Color depth (8-, 16-, 24-, and 32-bit)
      4m 19s
    9. Monitor calibration
      3m 51s
  5. 26m 43s
    1. Evaluating color with the Histogram panel
      3m 18s
    2. Evaluating color with the Info panel
      1m 48s
    3. Boosting color with levels
      3m 48s
    4. Auto Tone and Auto Contrast
      7m 38s
    5. Manually setting the black and white point
      3m 50s
    6. Curves
      6m 21s
  6. 18m 30s
    1. What is color correction?
      5m 45s
    2. White balancing in Camera Raw
      1m 46s
    3. Color correction with color balance
      1m 34s
    4. Color balancing using photo filters
      1m 26s
    5. Color correction with variations
      4m 27s
    6. Color correction by the numbers
      3m 32s
  7. 33m 14s
    1. Selecting color with the Magic Wand
      4m 43s
    2. Selecting color with the Quick Selection tool
      2m 26s
    3. Selecting color with Color Range
      4m 0s
    4. Neutralizing whites with the Multiply blend mode
      2m 55s
    5. Neutralizing blacks with the Screen blend mode
      57s
    6. Masking colors with the Blend If sliders
      2m 54s
    7. Masking hair with a channel mask and removing contaminant colors
      2m 58s
    8. Shifting targeted colors using Hue/Saturation
      5m 4s
    9. Matching colors using Hue/Saturation
      3m 16s
    10. Matching colors using the Match Color command
      1m 36s
    11. Matching colors using the Color blend modes
      2m 25s
  8. 21m 8s
    1. Saturating colors
      4m 9s
    2. Desaturating colors
      1m 57s
    3. Desaturating in Camera Raw
      3m 1s
    4. Creating a color accent with selective saturation
      2m 38s
    5. Enhancing a sunrise with a gradient map
      5m 49s
    6. Increasing vibrance
      1m 19s
    7. Using selective color
      2m 15s
  9. 32m 42s
    1. Designing with spot colors
      12m 15s
    2. Adding a fifth color to a CMYK image
      5m 0s
    3. Adding spot colors to a grayscale image
      5m 24s
    4. Create a metallic print effect
      3m 8s
    5. Creating duotones, tritones, and quadtones
      6m 55s
  10. 30m 45s
    1. Creating a silkscreen print look with a limited color palette
      7m 59s
    2. Combining color with black and white
      2m 22s
    3. Creating a nostalgic travel poster using the Cut Out filter
      6m 27s
    4. Mapping an image to a color look up table (CLUT)
      7m 56s
    5. Converting to black and white
      6m 1s
  11. 48m 34s
    1. Creating a hand-tinted portrait (the easy way)
      3m 29s
    2. Creating a hand-tinted portrait (the harder way)
      11m 23s
    3. Creating an Andy Warhol look
      4m 44s
    4. Applying a gradient map
      4m 4s
    5. Sepia toning an image
      8m 41s
    6. Color tinting an image
      5m 15s
    7. Split toning an image
      2m 9s
    8. Working with line art
      8m 49s
  12. 23s
    1. Goodbye
      23s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Photoshop for Designers: Color.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.