Color Techniques For Retouching


Lesson Info

Adjustment Layers Vs Image Adjustments

So we're going to start with adjustment layers and I want to talk about adjustments, layers versus adjustments in image adjust. They effectively do the same thing. So if you look in this area here, you'll see that many of these items that you can pick, they're exactly the same. Brightness contrast, brightness contrast. Levels, levels. Curves, curves. The difference is adjustment layers are adjustable. They're flexible. Image adjust, once you've done it, you've done it. You've committed to the process. What's the pros and cons of this? Well, if you're your sole client, you're the sayer, you are the king or queen of your world and you get to decide what the value, the color, the look, by all means you can head down this path. However, you can't undo it. Well, there's a little workaround we're gonna talk about that another time and doing it. But the file size will be smaller if you do image adjust versus adjustment layers, so that's another consideration. I have to tell you, for me though...

, no way Jose do I ever do image adjust, ever, because it's not flexible, okay. It's the only difference, its flexibility really. However, just because everything has to have a little contradiction, right here, this little area here, there are a few functions in image adjust that you cannot do in an adjustment layer. Ah, dang! So because of that, there are gonna be a few methods we'll discuss at the end of the day about how and why you might want to use these elements down here, okay? So a little dry, but hopefully effective. Important. Hopefully very important. Yes ma'am? So, I did have a question from Photo Maker. You talked about making sure that you need to know what your end destination is gonna be. Yes. And the question is, if you process an image or photograph in RGB and then, at a later, unanticipated date, need to go and print it in CMYK, will it matter what you initially had processed with? Yes. Alright, so, it's an excellent question. Will it matter how you initially processed it? Yes, however, I don't think you can control that cause you don't know it. So let's see, how would you solve that problem? There's a couple ways to solve the problem. First of all, you, what I do when I have to do CMYK conversions is I have the original RGB up, and then I make a separate document. In fact, let me do it this way. Let's see if we can figure out a way of doing that. Alright, oh my goodness, look at this. We have an embedded profile. (laughs) And this is perfect. So, my embedded profile is Adobe RGB on this file and my working is SRGB. Huh, what do I do? At this moment, I'm going to stick with the embedded. I almost always work with the embedded. I'm gonna pause here for one second. This is a really important thing. If you convert to the colors of the workspace where I'm working now, this is a better way, this is a better way than, I'm going to do it again, convert while opening. This is a better way than actually opening it in the color space that you are in and then converting while it's open. I'm gonna repeat that because this is really, really important. If you need to change your profile, so you're in RGB and you need to go from SRGB to color match or Adobe RGB, if you need to go that route, please do not convert it while it is open. See I'm open right now and converting? The color engine that does this is different than the color engine that opens it from the scratch, from the desktop. So here I'm gonna do it again. Do it again. If you do it this way, convert it from the opening, the algorithms that process it are different. Oh my God, I said algorithms! (laughs) I know this is so dry, but this is really important. So please put notes somewhere that you should do it that way. So for the question from the internet, from the internet gods who are asking the question, what you can do is, you can take your RGB file, it's a really good question, and I'm just going to duplicate it. And then I'm gonna do my conversion next to each other. So I'm gonna convert to profile, and I'm gonna covert to whatever I want to convert, let's say Swat for now. And I will convert it here. And then you can take a look and see, ooh, how well did that convert? Converted pretty well, so I don't need to worry about it. If it did not convert well, then I could go in and see if I lost some saturation, if I needed to gain saturation I need to take it down. I could adjust the image, pardon me, accordingly, okay? So you do it side-by-side. That's the best way I could say. Now there are some kind of esoteric issues. For example, if you convert from... Ooh, I hope I don't lose too many of you on this one, it's gonna get a little hairy but I want to talk about it. If I convert from Adobe RGB to CMYK versus going from SRGB, super high chroma colors convert better. And what I mean by that is that royal blue, that kind of red CNN red, that really red red red, if you start in Adobe RGB and then convert, the color engine does a better job. So think of it like a language. So Adobe is Italian, Pro Photo is Swahili, and SGRB is English, let's just say. Converting any of those to CMYK, and let's say CMYK is Japanese, some of those languages might convert a little better, and it's not the same for each color. It's really a fascinating study. I mean, if someone wanted to get a little geeky about it, you could take a SRGB file, an Adobe RGB, a Pro Photo, and then convert it over, and save it so you can see it later. Like a Macbeth color chart, or a color chart with a grayscale file, you could make one of those and then label them and then save them in a folder to reference at three in the morning when your client has asked you to do this and you can't remember which was the best method, you'll have it. So hopefully that answers that question. That's great, perfect, thank you. Awesome. Alright, let me see where I'm at here. Make sure we've talked about this. So we talked about adjustment layers and, what do you call it, image adjust. And I just want to make sure, I'm just going to open this random image. It does not matter what this image is, but I just want to pull this out. Bear with me one second, my friends. And remember, you're having fun. This is all fun! (chuckles) Photoshop is fun, it's good for you! Alright, so let's just make sure we're all on the same page about image adjustments. So here they live under the image adjust menu. They're all right here. And again, most of these you shall find in image adjustment layers, and these bottom ones you cannot find there and we're gonna talk about those at a later date, okay. And adjustment layers, I like the little yin yang sign on the bottom, and this is where I pick my adjustment layers, okay? So, hopefully there's no questions about that. We're gonna keep going. If you do have questions, please feel free to call out. So at this point, what I would like to do is I'd like to, one by one, go through these and start talking about the when, whys, hows, why you might want to use this, what it's good for, and I want to stress you're gonna see there's parallels, okay. So some of these are gonna be good for something else, some of these, well I could have done the same thing in hue saturation, oh except for this little tiny little quirk it has, okay. And feel free to ask any questions that you have. So we're gonna talk about color. Solid color, it's just this adjustment layer that pulls up solid color. You've got your color picker which allows you to pick colors at your whim. You can type in numbers. I get these all the time. I get CMYK call outs. So I'll get a call out (clicking) and I'll type too many numbers in there, just for this demo, and I will get, and we'll call that a CMY call out. More and more I'm getting these hex numbers. Hex numbers, what? What is she talking about? Let me talk to you about some numbers. So more and more, people are giving us really different ways of looking at numbers and calling out numbers and do you see on this panel here, this bottom number that's highlighted in blue? I get those numbers. I'm a little old school, I kind of like an RGB call out or a CMYK call out, but that's alright, I'm flexible, that's alright. So you can go on the web and look these colors up. Pantone Books used to be kind of a standard thing, but they are updating all the time and none of my books are accurate anymore and I am forever getting new color call outs and you can look on the website and they'll give you these numbers. They will give you the RGB number and a CMYK number. Oh, but wait a minute. Do you see that this value right here, there is no CMYK? This color, this particular color you see on the screen, is not printable in CMYK. Oh! This is very important. These are very, very important things if you're doing print retouching, okay. It doesn't mean your client's not gonna tell you to do it, but at least you'll understand that, where they're getting their information from. So let's go back here and let's go back to solid color. Color libraries. This is where you can find all these canned colors. And I often get a Pantone, you'll get a call out and you'll see a number. There'll be a number like 659C. They're not gonna tell you that's a Pantone call out. They're not gonna tell you that's Pantone coded. You gotta know that 659C is Pantone coded. Now you know, I've told you. So you should feel good about that. Anyway, and you can type in these numbers. So you can type in 359, sorry, 359, and then it'll show up. You do have to do 'em pretty quick in order. You can't go 3, and then go 5, and then go 9. That won't work, okay? I've tried that before, too. I want to let you know. Again, I know these are really dry issues to potentially talk about, but guess what, it means everything. It means everything in print world because clients have colors that they'd paid a lot of money and done a lot of branding for. Now, if you look at this solid color, your picture is gone. My fabulous bear picture is gone. So, what does that mean? That's means we need to start talking about blend modes.

There are countless options for manipulating, changing and correcting color your photographs. Clear up the confusion by joining professional finisher, Lisa Carney in her exclusive class focusing just on color. In this course, Lisa will identify and clarify different adjustment layers, walk through a professional’s workflow for color correction, and dive into working with curves.

You’ll learn:

  • How to work with gradient fills and gradient maps
  • Working with Hue and Saturation
  • Setting up a Color workflow system
  • Using Gradient Maps for Color Correction
  • How to use curves for matching color and tone

Handle color like a pro by learning from one of the best retouchers in Hollywood. Join Lisa for this extensive and in-depth look on working with color in Photoshop®.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017.1.0



  • This is an EXCELLENT class for Photoshop users! Lisa is very professional, knowledgeable and, also, a delight to watch and listen to! Not only that she explains the concepts but she also shares her own experience and her practical ways of using those concepts! Great, great class! Thank you, Lisa and CreativeLive!
  • I am really enjoying this class! Lisa makes complicated concepts easy to understand. She presents various ways of doing things so that you have options and can use the method that best works for your own situation. She moves quickly through the material, which I appreciate, and I since I own the class I know I can go back and review material when I need to. I love her style and approach to teaching, as well as her real world anecdotes and the way she shares her experience, both good and bad examples from her career. I'm so glad I purchased this class!
  • This course has an abundance of useful information along with professional tips based on actual field experience. This course is definitely one I will come back to from time to time to reiterate the information. For this reason the way it is organised is perfect to find information about a specific technique or adjustment layer. It is well composed with some humour and advanced information. Loved it and highly recommend it for people who want to deal with the little details and get things exactly the way they want. Not suitable for lazy or sloppy people who just want to get the job good enough for sharing but don't care about getting it perfect for print.