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Matching Colors of Objects

Lesson 5 from: Advanced Adjustment Tips & Tricks in Adobe Photoshop

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

5. Matching Colors of Objects

Explore two methods for matching the color of multiple objects. You’ll see why the easiest method will often fail you and learn when you need to harness the most powerful adjustment in all of Photoshop-Curves!
Next Lesson: Saturation Maps

Lesson Info

Matching Colors of Objects

you can match colors using human saturation, let's take this surfboard and make it look the same color as this one? All you need to do is a human saturation adjustment layer, you get the hand tool active and you click on the object, but when you do it's just going to generically target the closest color, which in this case is reds. Then you switch to the eyedropper below and you click on it again and that is much more precise, but I actually don't think we need to be all that precise, but in this case, what we need to worry about is the yellow surfboard, that's right next door, because if you look over here in curves and this is where I got it to swing around the ends. I'll hold down my command key and drag that to get this to the middle. But if you look at where yellow is, this would fade out into the yellows, so I might just nudge that a little closer to make sure we don't really affect yellow objects that might be enough to isolate this board, let's find out. I'll just bring the sat...

uration all the way down and see if the board turns black and white and the yellow surfboard does not. And yeah, we have that. So I'll bring that back up because I didn't really want to make a black and white surfboard then to make the change, I start with the bottom, I worked my way to the top and I say, does that board need to be brighter or darker to match? I'd say, a little bit darker, then I go for saturation, does it need to be more colorful or less a little bit more. And finally I end up changing the hue and if I want to, I could start with the color of the current board and then look at where the color is I desire and think about what direction is that and how far, because that's what I need to do with this slider to get it there. But in the end I'll be doing it by look and once I get it over there I can fine tune the other settings. I think we need this to be a little bit darker in a little bit less colorful. The reason why I started the bottom and work my way up is that changing lightness also changes saturation and so I try to get the brightness and the general vicinity that I need. Now there are these look like they are pretty close to visibly matching. There is something that can help out though to make sure that we're really close and that is if I go to the window menu and I choose info. The info panel gives me a colour readout with numbers that describe the color that's underneath my mouse. When you have an adjustment active, there'll be two sets for each number. The number on the left is what you started with before the adjustment, the number on the right is what you're getting as the result of the adjustment. Since this yellow board is not changing the right and left numbers are identical. But if I go on top of the board that is changing. You'll see the left side indicates what we started with, the right side, what we're ending up with. And so I could compare the numbers that are on this board to the numbers that are on that board and if they're exactly the same, then the color is exactly match the problem is the kind of readout we're getting his RGB but the kind of adjustment we're using does not offer red, green and blue sliders. I would much prefer to have the readouts in the info panel be huge saturation and lightness in the acronym for that would be a church S. L. Well, we can change the kind of readouts that are in here by clicking on this little eyedropper and there is not the choice of H S. L, but there is the choice of H S B and the B stands for brightness, brightness is very similar to lightness so that will be helpful. So then the other thing I want to think about is up here. If I'm looking at these settings point sample means it's going to look at a single pixel within my picture that could be a speck of dust or noise. I usually want to work on about a 5x5 average. It really depends on the resolution of the picture and therefore it averages an area when it comes up with those numbers. So I'll put it on the board I want to match. And let's just look at you in this case. Do you see a hue of 107? Well that's describing the basic color of this board. So I remember 107 and I'll move over here and I'll see we're at 1 13. That means we're not really the same color were off a little bit. So I'm going to select the number for Hugh over here in my adjustment. Therefore I can use the up and down arrow keys to change it and I'll remind myself this board is at 107 and then I'll put it on the board, I'm changing and I'm just going to use the up and down arrow keys while I stare at the info panel and I'm going to get it to be one oh seven. There we go. Now I know the base color of both boards are identical. I could also compare the saturation. This is at 55, go to the other one. This is at so we're a little bit more colorful, but you don't need to get them to precisely match numerically. As long as they're within two or three, they're gonna look the same. But the main thing is the info panel can be very helpful, especially the hue read out. All I needed to do is click on this little eyedropper to change how it calculates those colors, then this is affecting everything that's orange in the image, including my wife's skin, cats, Karen here in the middle of the photo. So I'm just going to type command I control iron windows to invert the layer mask we have attached to our layer, I'll grab my paintbrush tool and make sure I'm painting with white in my opacity is at 100 and I'll just paint like that to get only the one board to change. Or maybe here there's two orange boards right next to each other. So maybe I'll paint across one of them. So now they look different and so now we know how to match two colours using human saturation, but sometimes hue and saturation will fail you. You can't always make two areas match with it. That's fine. If those two areas you're attempting to match are already pretty darn colorful, like a red car, making it blue. But if instead there's a radical difference in brightness as well, you're probably going to run into problems. So let's look at one more approach. In this case, I have an image where we have skin tones and this person was wearing a different outfit when they were out in the sun. So they got nice and tan on their shoulders, but not evenly because when they change clothing, I can see a tan line, I want to eliminate that tan line to make this area look just like the surrounding skin. So if I attempt to use human saturation to do. So I come in here to hue and saturation. I grab that little hand tool and I click on this area and even if I were to take these sliders and smash them together to work on the narrowest range of colors and then grab this eyedropper. That's what we did. Before click there, let's see how much of the image would change. Well, if I bring my saturation all the way down to make it black and white, which is what we did before. It's changing a lot of the face, it's changing our shoulders, it's changing all sorts of places. If I go to the plus eyedropper to expand the range we're working on. By the time I get that whole area isolated, we've got most of the skin isolated. Human saturation simply is not good at that because it's ignoring brightness and the main difference between this area and its surroundings is brightness. So we're going to use a different approach first, let's make a crude selection of this area and we'll do something a little bit special. I'm going to make a selection based on the brightness of the picture because I can see there's a big difference in brightness between those two areas anytime I see a big difference in brightness or color. I can go to the channels panel in Photoshop and I click on the top most channel first, which won't do anything, but it will make the next steps work. I'll then click on the red channel and I'm just looking at the area I want to select and I'm looking for which of these channels gives me the greater visual difference between the area I'm attempting to select and whatever surrounds it. So here's red, there's green and there's blue. When I compare those that two areas look too similar with red, they're a little bit more different with green, but with blue seems to be the biggest difference. So I think I'm going to work with blue. Then I take the blue channel, I don't want to change it because it would change the appearance of the image. So I'm gonna drag it down to the new layer icon of let go that makes a copy of it. Then I'm going to adjust this, I'm going to adjust it using levels in levels. There are eye droppers. These are the same eye droppers you find in curves. So you could be in curves right now uh as well, I'm gonna take the white eye dropper and I'm going to click in general on the darker area of what I want to select. So maybe over here, then I'm gonna grab the black eye dropper and I'm going to click on the brighter part of the area, I don't want to select. So maybe over here and then I'll click OK I usually need to fine tune the end results. So my cancel, grab the lasso tool and I know I don't need these areas here. So I'll make a selection and I'll fill that area with black. And I might need to also grab my paintbrush, make sure I'm painting with black and I think this is part of our shoulder. I'll get rid of that. So, when you're working with a channel, like we are right now, white indicates selected. Black indicates not selected. So, this is what I wanted to get back to normal. I'm going to click on the name of the top most channel that always gets me back to the full color image and then I can take that channel we made and just drag it down to this which looks like a selection and it'll turn it into a selection. All right, we got that area selected. I doubt it's going to be a perfect selection, but at least we're not going to affect the whole image. Now, I'm going to do an adjustment. I'm going to use curves and I have the hand icon turned on. I want curves to measure the exact amount of red, green and blue. That's right here in the area. I want to change. We've done that in the previous lesson. What we needed to do is hold down, shift in command. That would be shifting control of windows and then click Now that only works if you have a hand tool active. Uh then if I go over here and switch to read, there's a dot there in that measured the exact amount of red that was in that area. I'm not going to touch anything in here. I just make sure that the red dot that's new is solid. That means it's active. If it's not solid, you can switch between these dots without moving them by pressing the plus sign in your keyboard or the minus sign. It cycles through all the dots that are there. Then I'm going to hover over the color I would rather have in here and so I'm going to use as a reference. Let's just say this color. Right in here. I think it should be this color. All right. So I'm gonna put my mouse right on top of that color. I'm not clicking, I'm just hovering and I look in curves And I see numbers for input and output and I see the number to await that indicates the amount of red that's in the area where my mouse is. If I move my mouse, you see those numbers changing. But when I'm in this area I see the number, it will change the opinion where I am. I'm going to use 206 because that's what I see right now. Well then I move over here to curves, I click on this number for output and I type in 206. What does that do? Well, input really means before that's the amount of red we had before we made the adjustment that number was typed in at the moment. I clicked on my picture with those two keys held down output means what are we going to end up with? And I'm taking that number from an area I'm trying to match and now I just need to go over here and switch to green and switch to blue and do the same. So let's go to green. Let's make sure that dot is active meaning it's solid. Let's hover over the area where attempting to match which is right here. And let's look at curves. I see the number 1 77. So I come over here and I select that output number and I type in 1 77. Then I go to blue, do the exact same thing, go to the area, I wanna match looking curves. I see the number 1 58. So I select output in a type in 158 and it's too much of a change and we'll need to fine tune it. But it's the general technique we need now there are some issues you can run into the most common one is not clicking only on the number for output. The only things I've clicked on here at all is the menu at the top of curves that says RGB and the number for output. I have not clicked my mouse anywhere else on the screen. If you do it's very easy to get the dot that's on your curved do not be selected. Watch if I just click out here the dots no longer selected and I have to hit that little plus sign a couple times to get it selected again or if I click in all their weird spots it's going to become de selected and it's only when the dots selected that I can type in these numbers. So now we have the precise color I asked for in the precise area where I asked it to go but I think my selection needs to be refined a bit. So let's refine it. I'll just go to the select menu and I'm going to choose select and mask. That should work on the layer mask because a layer mask is active and here I need to go to this view setting and set it to on layers. That means just show me the end result of what I'm going to get. This is going to remember whatever used last and so who knows what would have been set to. Then right down here we have a setting called smooth that's going to soften the edge. So I'm going to bring it up when I look at the image and see how much softening. I need to get that to start to blend into the surroundings. Somewhere in there. I can also use the setting called shift edge and that will push it so it expands, goes covers a larger area where it limits it more and so I might get in there a little bit like that and the selection is not perfect. I'll click OK. And in the end we'll just grab our paintbrush. I'm gonna paint with black which it would remove the adjustment And with a big soft brush, I'm just going to lower my opacity if I type the number keys on my keyboard when I'm in my brush tool, in my case I'll type three for 30%. Now I can take away 30% of the adjustment when I paint across right there and maybe when I paint right here and you can refine that more and more. But in the end, if there is any distinct edges to this, what you're going to have to do is a little retouching. I'm gonna create a brand new empty layer on top. By clicking the new layer icon. I'm going to go over here to the healing brush tool and I'm gonna make sure that up here at the top of my screen, it's set to current and below. Then I can sample from an area which just means copy from an area and I want to copy from an area that looks smooth and doesn't vary that much in brightness in this part of the arm. It's not ideal because it's out of focus and this is in focus. I won't quite have the same texture but I think it'll work option click right there and then I'm just gonna paint wherever I can see a scene transition that's not smooth, option click again here and then I'll apply it right there, option click to get smooth, spot, option click And it's only right here. I gotta be careful cause if I hit her arm it won't quite look right. It's a little bit of retouch each time coming back to that smooth area of skin. All right. I think it's not looking too bad for the amount of time we put in if I want to see before and after I'm gonna committee here and just go to the eyeball for the bottom most layer. Hold down the option key. Alton Windows and click on it. There is what we started with, Here's what we're ending up with. I think that looks much better. We could even go back to that curves adjustment layer and we have sun tan on a brush here. So if I grab my brush and paint with white, I have a 30% opacity. We could say, Hey, make her tanner up here, 30% of that adjustment coming in. Um Whatever you'd like

Ratings and Reviews

Alicia Orth

I've been using Photoshop for years and still learned lots of great tips from this class. Would love to see more classes like this.

Eric Johnson

Terrific - lots of great information. Way to go Ben!

Marco Basile

Really enjoyed how succinct and sharp the presentation was. Great information I hadn't seen elsewhere. Thank you Ben.

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