Join Taz Tally for an in-depth discussion in this video Step-by-step adjustment: Maintaining the color cast, part of Photoshop Color Correction: Dark Color Cast.
Okay, so now we dive right in and we're going to do our first adjustment. Just to review, we've done an evaluation of our image, particularly through looking at our histograms. It tells us we don't have any data from the highlight to the midtone or not much at all. We also see that there's a color cast in this image. It's a blue color cast because of the offset of the blue histogram. But in this correction what we decided to do is maintain that color cast, kind of keep that color cast to do an overall brightness and contrast adjustment to it. Alright, so let's get started.
And it's a relatively easy adjustment to make. We're going to start by clicking on the highlights lighter here. In our curves adjustment layer, remember we use adjustment layers because they're nondestructive and completely editable and I'm going to move this over until we get it close and then release. And notice that the histograms will automatically reflect any adjustments that I've just made. Now, our key area of focus of course is the highlighting. We want to make sure we don't go too far. Now, what I typically do with adjustments like this where there's a long move on the slider, I'll move it over till I get close, and then I release, look at the histograms, and then notice when you click on a slider, like the highlight or the shadow, it automatically selects that control point.
And then I start hitting my left arrow key, and while I'm doing that, I'm going to watch my histogram. because my key here is I want to lighten this as much as I can, but not so much that it starts blowing out the highlights. And see if I move this too far see that peak that occurs right over here on that highlight end? Too far. And I like to use the Left and Right Arrow Keys because I can see this dynamically as I move my arrow left and right. So I'm going to get it all the way over to the side and then just kind of back it off one, to make sure that there's no peak there.
So, just for that, look at the tremendous improvement. Just by adjusting the highlight. If we just did that, we'd be good. And sometimes, when you get lots of work to do, that's all you have to time for. Alright, but let's talk about fine tuning just a little bit. Look on the shadow end here. See how the data kind of pecks right up against the shadow end? The darkest portions of this image, either right here in the trees or, probably in the front of these fur trees here. It means that that data, if you print it, is just going to be solid black. Now, the adjustment we're going to make is, we're going to go to the shadow point here.
We don't move it left or right, but we move it up. And watch what happens to this histogram on the shadow end as I down and then up. I'm just going to move it over a little bit. Now by doing this, I'm not getting anymore detail out of the image, what I'm doing is lightening the detail that's there so when we go to print it doesn't fill in and become solid black. Alright, so just a little fine tune there. So, that might be good just all by itself, but we can do even better if we want. Let's say that we've improved the overall sort of brightness and contrast, but we're thinking, you know, I'd like to make it even a little bit brighter.
I mean, that's okay. So, let's go the midtone. Click there to create a control point, and then just move that up. I'm going to use my up arrow, all the while, watching my histogram over here. Particularly in the highlight end. To make sure that I don't get any spikes occurring on the highlight end. And sometimes, when you make an adjustment like this, you overall brighten quite a bit Sometimes a little peak will start to grow on this end here. In which case you can just go to that right there, and you can just back if off a little bit. Go to the highlight control point. Alright.
And by the way, you can move from one point to the other on this curve by just hitting the plus key. See that? So, we'll go ahead and adjust that mid-tone point up and down by watching our histagram. To increase the overall brightness of the file. Now a little bit more contrast you want? Well let's click on the quarter tone and move that up a little bit, again, watching the histogram. And watch how the quarter tone data moves over to the right. And then click on the three quarter tone data And move it down. And notice how the three quarter tone data moves over to the left, creating more tonal separation between the two and giving us greater overall brightness and contrast.
By the way, if you were to reverse those, that is raise the three quarter tone And the lower the quarter tone, you notice it overall flattens the image, moving the data more towards the mid tone. See how great that histogram is? Boy, it lets you know exactly what's going on in this file, and you can just monitor it the whole time, and I'm going to move this three quarter tone down just a little bit, and here I'm going to watch the shadowing, make sure that doesn't fill an anymore. So there we go, we've made our brightness and contrast, made an overall adjustment, we've fine tuned the shadow a little bit. Then we added even more brightness and a little bit more contrast, all the while maintaining the blue color cast of the image.
The relative relationship between the three colors are still maintained as they were originally.
Want more information about color correction? Check out Photoshop Color Correction: Fundamentals.