Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Lab and the untreated JPEG image, part of Photoshop CS3 Mastering Lab Color.
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Now I'm providing you with the exercises in this introduction, just by way of full disclosure so that you know where Lab is really strong and it's not as necessary. It is always strong. It is the best color mode there is inside the Photoshop. I don't think anybody disputes that. It is better than RGB and CMYK as you will see. The one thing it can't really compete with is Adobe Camera RAW, at least where images that are captured in your digital camera's RAW file format are concerned. What we have got going here inside of this folder and by the way, the name of the folder is 00_introduction and it is found inside the exercise_files folder.
I'm looking at the content of this folder in the Bridge. And you have access to this folder if you are a premium member or you own the DVD. And notice I have got three pictures of the same model and here is what happened. I had the digital camera set up to capture a JPEG file and a RAW file at the exact same time and so that is basically what we are seeing here. We have three variations, two on the JPEG file and then one of the RAW files. So this very first one, it is called Woman-1 untreated.psd.
This is the JPEG file as it was captured by the image as it was basically digested and developed by the image and then I have taken it into Photoshop, converted into Lab and added a few layers. But right now we are not seeing the effects of any of those layers. This preview represents the unmodified version of the JPEG image. This next one, Woman-2 ACR JPG.psd, I forced the JPEG file to open inside of Camera RAW. What you can do from the Bridge, I can't do with this file because it is a PSD file, but if it were a JPEG file, I could go up to the File menu and I could choose this command right there, Open in Camera RAW in order to bring the JPEG file into Camera RAW.
Then I made a few modifications, which you can see right here, these are the modifications and then the reason it is a PSD file is because I have made some further modifications inside Photoshop that we'll be turning on shortly. And then finally we have got Woman-3 RAW.dng and this file has been modified in Camera RAW, inside the Adobe Camera RAW plug-in. However, it began life not as a JPEG file but as a RAW digital image and I had converted it into the DNG file but otherwise it is the image that was created by the camera.
And we will see once again how it will work with each one of these three in Lab. I'm going to go ahead and double-click on Woman-1 untreated. And you can see there she is, she is set up as a Smart Object, I will tell you more about those later in case you are not already familiar with them. But in this case, it just allows me to apply some non-destructive Smart Filters and the filter that I have gone ahead and apply to this, is this guy right here Gaussian Blur. So I'm going to click in front of the word Smart Filter there in order to turn on Gaussian Blur and this is a heaping helping of Gaussian Blur.
I want to head and set the Gaussian blur filter to 25 pixels and this is going to allow us to blur the surface detail. Of course right now I'm blurring everything, all of the detail throughout the image is blurred. So lets go ahead and change that by double- clicking on this little slider icon right there and inside the Blending Option dialog box, I'm going to change the mode from Normal to Overlay. And you can see what a terrific job that does of covering up some of the surface blemishes. I will go ahead and click OK.
It is basically what we are doing with Gaussian Blur combined with Overlay. We are creating a layer of digital makeup essentially. It is quite becoming in fact, but it is darkening up her hair as well as the details in her face. I really just want to hit the highlights so I'm going to turn on this Filter Mask right there, that I have created in advance, by Shift-clicking on it. That is what we call a Luminance Mask, I will tell you more about those later as well. And that allows us to just smooth over the surface detail inside the face without harming the hair at all.
So this gives you a sense, at this zoom level right here, this is before we apply Gaussian Blur. Notice the hair is pretty much the same but notice the details going on inside of this woman's face and this is after, definitely smooth over the contours quite nicely, it smoothes over the pores and some of those wrinkles and stuff like that as well. All right, so lets go and zoom back out. Next I'm going to go ahead and enhance the a & b Channels. Notice that I'm working in the Lab mode right here. So what I'm about to show you would be impossible inside of RGB and again I'll tell you more about that later.
But for know that this is a Levels adjustment layer that I'm about to turn on. I'm just going to click where its eyeball would be in order to turn on this layer. Notice it just brings out this enormous degree of saturation inside of the image. This does an amazing job too and we're bringing out this color saturation, you might argue well this is little bit over the top Deke, that's a lot of saturation you added. Yes. However, notice that was pretty much maximizing the Saturation values without clipping the colors.
So we're not flattening out any contours inside the image. If we have done this far with Hue/Saturation and pumped up the Saturation value this much, it'd be a mess. This image would look horrible but in Lab you can get away with this kind of stuff. Yes it is a little bit too much but you can go that far if you want to. And finally I'm going to punch up the brightness of this image a little bit by adding this Curves layer right there. I'm just going to go ahead and turn it on, so we are brightening the highlights of the image just a bit. But we still have this rounded volumetric detail; it is still looks really great.
So just to give you a sense of what we've done, this is the original image that I opened, this is the original JPEG file and this is the file as its been corrected inside of Lab. So this amazing difference accomplished inside of the Lab mode and that is where you really going to see the wonders of Lab is when you just open a JPEG image, open a TIF image and start at it. Let see how things change a little bit if we were to open the JPEG in Adobe Camera RAW first and then perform some modifications in Lab and I will show you how that works in the next exercise.