Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Correcting color contamination, part of Photoshop CS6: Image Cleanup.
Sometimes, the blemish that you need to clean up is really just a color contamination. In other words, you need to change the color in an area without altering the overall finality. This happens very often when an out-of-focus area overlaps with another portion of the image for example. Or when an object is very close to your lens and therefore is rendered completely out of focus. Here we can see that something was perhaps hanging in front of the lens very close to the camera. And so it created an out of focus color wash in that background, and I'd like to fix that color. I find it a little bit distracting, so I want to replace the green color with something that fits a little bit more naturally with the surroundings. And that calls for a technique that I call Color Contamination correction. I'll start off by creating a new layer.
I'll click on the Create New Layer button, the blank sheet of paper icon at the bottoms of the Layers panel. I'll go ahead and rename the layer by double-clicking on the name and typing a new name. We'll just call this Color Fix and then press Enter or Return on the keyboard to apply that change. And I am also going to change the Blend mode for this layer. I only want the pixels that I paint on this layer to change the color of the underlying background image there. And so I'll change the Blend mode using the popup at the top left of the Layers panel to Color rather than Normal. That means that any pixels I paint on my Color Fix layer will only alter the color of the underlying image.
I'll go ahead and choose the Brush tool, I'll make sure that I'm working with a soft edge brush, I'm just using a normal round brush. I'll leave the Blend mode for the brush itself set to normal. The Blend mode for the layer is what's going to create the magic here. The brush itself will behave in the normal manner. I want to make sure the Opacity is at 100%, and then I'm ready to get started. I'll adjust the brush size using the left square bracket key to reduce the size of the brush. Or the right square bracket key to increase the size of the brush. Setting that brush size just big enough to clean up the area that needs the correction.
I then need to choose a source color. I need to paint with a particular color in order to change the color of green in this case. And I think just a shade of this yellow in the background will work well. So I'm going to hold the Alt key on Windows or the Option key on Macintosh. And click that Alt or Option key when I'm using the Brush tool, gives me access to the Eyedropper tool temporarily. And clicking with that Eyedropper tool esseentially Alt or Option clicking with the Brush tool will allow me to sample a color from the image. So that becomes the color that I'm painting with. I'll go ahead and click then drag within the image in order to change the color in that area, and you can see that I have a very good result. Now, keep in mind that the color is a combination of Hue and Saturation. And so, for example, in this darker portion of the image, the saturation of the color I selected was a little bit too high.
But I can choose a new source. I'll Alt or Option-click on another source, and then I can click and drag in that area that was a little too saturated. In other words, using multiple colors in multiple areas of the image. There are also a couple of additional green spots back here. I'll sample another color and then click to clean up those green spots way off in the background. But as you can see, by simply using that color Blend mode on a new layer I"m able to paint a color correction directly into my photo.
- The ethics of cleanup
- Reviewing the image
- Nondestructive cleanup
- Cleanup tools and techniques
- Removing strong color casts
- Gradient adjustments
- Extending the frame
- Using multiple exposures to remove subjects from an image