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Color Techniques For Retouching

Lesson 24 of 30

Change Hair Color


Color Techniques For Retouching

Lesson 24 of 30

Change Hair Color


Lesson Info

Change Hair Color

All right, so let's talk about some more, more real-world problems, or actually addressing some challenges, let's call it. All right, so we'll close some files here. All right. So, one of the things, and I believe it was Bob that was talking about stacking adjustments, and I think folks should feel free and brave and perfectly happy to stack as many adjustments as you need to, to get the effect you want. However, if you are finding that you are stacking adjustments that are canceling out each other. So, let me see if I can illustrate that for a moment like, let's say you add some contrast to a piece and then you don't feel comfortable handling the saturation with that, and then you decide to do a minus saturation. Like let's say those reds are a little too red for you and you want to bring down the saturation on those and then you look at it and you go, oh, but those mid-tones are a little dark, so I'm gonna add another curve and find those mid-tones. Where's her mid-tones? Like let's ...

say this value is too dark, but I want to darken those values, and then what ends up happening, so let's say you want to head in this kind of direction don't look at her skin, I'm looking more on the outside. Well now you start to retouch and correct. I say colors if it's retouching. But you're starting to adjust your color on top of your color, and then canceling out your color, and it's a hot mess. And I get files like this all the time that have been comped up this way and I know it can be very challenging to have to start over but sometimes what you might want to consider doing is rather than stacking too many, is just start over from a new curve. Now, there's another point about this for color and color retouching, it's something I find is, sometimes you gotta stack like this to get your head around the problem. So maybe that's just to figure out the look you want. Okay, and if that were the case, might I suggest that you could do something like this. Go ahead and Shift, click on your three adjustment layers that we happen to have here. Call it cc look, and then just put a black mask on it or mask it in just in one section. So you know what you're going for, and then, and in fact, I'm gonna unlink the mask here for a second. You know you can unlink your masks and move them? I don't know if you guys know that. And then go, okay well that's the look I'm going for. And let's say, for example, this was for the hair. Please ignore the ones on the top here. I wanna correct the hair, and now I figured out the look I want, well now maybe I could go in and do another adjustment, put another square and, do you remember earlier I said I used to take 45 minutes to do a curve? Okay, so take a while. You've figured out the look you want, you maybe did it in a hashy kind of way, but now maybe you could go in and do a curve and go, okay, well what do I want to do now? All right, well I know that the reds are too hot, aren't they? Okay, 'cause I can see that. I've taken the reds down, the saturation down. So maybe I wanna go, where are those reds? Oh there they are. All right, so maybe I want to start pulling that down. Okay, that's getting there. Ooh, I lost a little density so maybe I wanna add a little density. Right here is where I want it to get a little darker. Do you see how I'm clicking on the image? It's giving me that anger point, or turn point, whatever you want to call it. So you can start changing the value. And what I would suggest is that maybe the thing to do is start finding the look you want, and then go into your curves, and very slowly, with patience and a cup of coffee, and a chill pill, and try to mimic the look that you're trying to go for, in one curve, or two curves, not four curves. Not five that are canceling out each other. And give yourself a minute. If you don't have a minute, and let's call a spade a spade here in terms of work, if you need to get it done and you need to get it fast, and that is just the way it is, then you know what? Hack and stack it together, and do three on top of each other, and try to do better the next time. 'Cause again, getting the job done is primary importance and how you get there is gonna be the way you get there. I'm hoping in this class you guys got some ideas at least on what to try, and what to, how to at least push towards the problem. But don't beat yourself up if this is hard, and if it takes you a while, and if it takes you five, or if you have to use that darn brightness, contrast adjustment layer to get your contrast, fine. And the next time, try it with levels and see if you could do it with levels instead of brightness and contrast, and then the next time maybe you will get it. So give yourself some permission to breathe and get there because there absolutely is no right answer. All right, so I want to talk a little bit on just a practical problem. Let's say for example, this happened for a job. This is an Adobe stock image that has not been retouched yet, so ignore the bags under her eyes. And let's say we had to change color and I get this a lot of times, I have to change the color of the hair. And on this one, I did that hue, saturation trick that we talked about, so I went to the reds and I started shifting the reds here. So in fact, maybe I should start from scratch here. Hue, saturation, and I went to reds. Do you remember how we did that trick in the last session where I just clicked on the reds to get to the red section? I happen to know her hair is red, so I can see it. So you can change the color of the red, but the hue of the red, here. And you can also change the density of the red. Now I have a mask that cuts right down the half so if you see what it's doing, it's doing that. And I've got a hue, saturation move and I'm starting to take the reds down. But it's also going a bit flat for me. So I wanted to change the value. So I'm going to throw that away for a second and show you the hue move. So this is the hue, I was basically making her hair brown and I'll show you the code we have here on this file. It's just changing the hue of the red to a more cool color. It's taking the saturation down and it's lightening it as well, because I didn't want to be so dark. And then I thought, well the contrast is a little flat so what I ended up doing is I went to that ubiquitous now, because you guys are gonna use this for everything, it's the greatest thing ever, is I went to the black and white filter. I'm sorry, I know I keep calling it filters since it's kind of old school for me to say that. Adjustment layer. And I took the yellows down. So let me start with the black and white at zero. My mouse is sticking a little. There we go. Black and white. We don't want black and white, do we? No, we want ♪ Luminosity ♪ our new favorite trick. And then you have to identify the color you want. Do you want to take, there see, yellows going down. If I take the reds down, it's gonna block up. You all see that? The reds are blocking up, so I don't want to take the reds down. In fact I might even want to lighten the reds up a little. But I wanted to take the yellow down. Now, I am doing this correction on top here and you can't see the color move. So chances are, you're going to want to do this under the color move. So there's the color as is, and here's a little more density added underneath. Okay, so this is layer stacking, it's really not that big of a deal. It's a black and white for luminosity and it's a hue, saturation for color. So even though I said please don't stack too much what I really mean to say is don't cancel out each other. And these are not canceling out each other. These are just kinda additive. And then, I kind of want to talk about masking and not getting haloing. So if you're doing a move that is for one area, like this mask would just be for the hair. I'm gonna actually go ahead and fill that mask, the original mask. Please take a note of the file architecture that we have going on here. I have a color layer set, a group of layers, color adjustments that are in one thing and they're masked off. I like to try to do one generic mask if that's what's called for because I don't wanna have two masks of the same breath. You'll get halo, you'll get fringing halo. So whenever possible, try to do one mask. So how I would do that on this particular job is, I would go ahead and delete the mask, not have the color adjustment on, and just see if I can get started with a channel pull. Okay, do not have the color on. Try to do it with the channel pull. And why I say that is that very red saturated hair is gonna kinda warrant, make a nice channel 'cause it's so saturated, and if I take out that saturation, the channels are gonna flatten down a bit. Do you see this? Now that they're kinda more similar? So with the color corrections off, you get more of a beefier selection. So what I'm going to do is, I'm gonna do a real quick channel pull. I know this is not, the class is not about channel pulling, but what the heck? And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna copy the green channel. Let me see, I just can't see the bottom of my thing here. All right, I'm gonna do it this way. I just can't see the bottom of my pallette because of the monitor ratio here. Let me see if I can cheat it. There we go. All right, I just cheated it by dragging it onto the layer pallette. I'm gonna grab the green channel. Make a copy of it. Grabbed it by its name, dragged it down here. I'm going to do a levels move 'cause Lisa loves her some levels. Yes, she does. And keep in mind when you're doing channel pulling for a mask, you just have to keep your eye on the prize. Like what are you trying to isolate out? And I want her hair. I'm trying to change her hair. Not her face. So that's what I'm looking to change. I'm gonna go to the dodge and burn tool. I am using the dodge and burn tool, and I am just dodging very quickly, the highlights on my mask. Don't panic, you can re-watch this. I know it's fast. I'm gonna use the paintbrush. I will tell you, with some of these color moves, you can be pretty imprecise, it's more of a generic (blowing) you're doing over the image, so you don't have to be super tight. And then I'm going to do the dodge tool and darken, and I just wanna darken down the rest of the hair. It's a pretty loose mask, it's nothing exciting. With masking and channels this whole day, I know your head just loves these channels. White on the channel means there's color. Dark on the channel means there's not, right? White on the red channel meant it went red, dark on the red channel made cyan, remember that? We talked about that earlier. Well like that, on a regular mask, which is a channel, white is available, black is not. So right now her hair is not available. Everything else is available. So I just want to invert. Command + I this selection. I'm gonna load that selection by simply taking my cursor, putting it over the icon for that channel, holding the Command key, see how I get that beautiful little hand with the marching ants? And I'm gonna click. That selection is now loaded. I can go back to my layers. Ah, I've got my folder, it's got a mask on it, I've got my adjustments on the inside and I'm gonna fill with white. Option + Delete, which will fill with foreground color. Option + Delete, or I can hold the Shift + Delete and get the fill menu. Your choice, doesn't matter. Now, we have a problem here and this often happens with color correcting, especially with changing hair color. I get asked this all the time, our ambient light color. You've got bounce light all over her. Her hair is reflecting onto her face. So this is one of those occasions and I think it's really important to discuss. I'm not gonna change my color correction. I'm gonna change my mask. Okay, so what I'm gonna do is take my airbrush and paint really lightly with like a 2% brush. I'm sorry, when I say two, I mean 20. I mean I hit the number two, to get 20. Okay, so a light brush and I'm basically, if you will, I'm kind of painting in, very loosely, bounce color. And, it's one of these things, I think in our industry or as retouchers or as imagers, whatever you wanna call us, we think our mask have to be stunning and perfect. And you'd be shocked, on these movie posters for example, how the mask look kinda messy. And it's like, oh, is that professional? And actually yeah, it is, because you wanna have your color correction bleed into the actual image. And you don't want it to be so obvious. And how you get it to not be obvious is by having a little bit of bleed. So I let you know that, so that when you deliver files to people, don't be embarrassed if that's what your mask looks like. If that's what's needed, then that's what's needed. Okay? I used to be one of those people that spent all this time tightening up, oh my mask has to be, what I called, perfect. But what ended up happening is I was getting haloing. Because it wasn't accounting for the splash color or the fringe color or just that little bit of gradient you kinda get in there. So this is a fairly decent way of starting to change her hair color. You will sometimes get asked like really hard questions like, how do you make her hair blonde? And there are some things that are just impossible to do in a realistic manner. But in general, you can shift colors back and forth this way. And on delivering files, and on file management and on how things look, I've got another work flow, or production conversation. What you might consider doing, when you deliver a job, not when you're working on it, you don't need to do it as you're working, but when you deliver a job, if there is no mask applied to any color correction, no adjustment layer, why don't you just go ahead and throw it away? Just throw it away. And here is why I say that. There will be many, many times when you are doing a color correction, for example, I'm gonna do a little color correction and we're gonna colorize her eyes. And you know this is done ♪ All the time ♪ I have to take it outside of this. Let me just hit OK first, 'cause I need to get my layer here. Where did my layer go? Oh, I did it on the same one. Excuse me, sorry. Nothing, let's go back. Here we go. All right, I'm gonna start a new color correction, and let's be really clear. I'm gonna do her eye. I'm gonna do it outside of that color correction folder because, I'm gonna state the obvious here, the folder is masked out just for her hair so I cannot color correct her eye. And let's go to hue, saturation, I'm gonna do a colorize. Not a huge fan of this, but it's done all the time. And then I'm gonna fill in her eye. It's a very standard hue, saturation colorize, I'm just painting with the mask. I'm not gonna worry about the halo I'm getting right now. I'm actually using this as an illustration for another point. You can lighten it if you need to, whatever the job requires. Again, I'm not a fan of this, but let's just say this is the job that's required. Now on this particular file, the eye is not overly tiny, you can actually see it. But imagine this for a second, I'm gonna see if I can illustrate this Panel Options. Let's say you were working in an environment where you had a gazillion channels and layers and you had a mask that was this tiny. You can imagine, in a movie poster you've got files where you've got, like eyelashes painted on. And you cannot see them. And you've got masks applied to them. But the icons are so tiny, 'cause you've got so many layers in your set. And most people I know work with icons this small that you're seeing on the screen right now. I'm gonna go ahead and make mine large again. So, what that means is if you have a mask on a color adjustment, and let's say, just for giggles, it was opposite, it was like this. Your client, your fellow retoucher might not see what that dot is, and they don't know if that actually has a mask on it. And then sometimes when a file's really small, and you're using your commands to try, is there something, is there, wait, is there an adjustment there? And you can't see it. It's really confusing, so how I like to communicate, remember how I said earlier I want to communicate the file at all times? If there is no mask on an adjustment layer, I throw it away. Do you see these have no adjustment layers? I throw it away. That way there is no confusion. Is that mask doing something? Should I keep that mask? Oh, wait a minute. So, I'd like to remind you to just keep your file talking to each other. To other people, other people you work with, yourself. You come back two weeks from now, you don't know. And what if you didn't label it? What if you forgot to do, option a, change eye color? You wouldn't know that it's only gonna be this tiny mask. Okay, so that was a small little demo on stacking adjustment layers to do a hair color change and to not have a mask on each one. So what you do not wanna do is have this. I'm gonna show you what not to do. Let me say that loud and proud. Do not do this. One moment, please. Do not turn in a file like that. You have a double mask, and when you have gray, this gray kind of value here, you will get this overspray, and color overspray and depending on your job, it'll look horrible and you won't realize that you've got this halo going on. It's not working on this one, you're not, you don't have to worry about it too much. You just might have to take my word on it. Try not to double stack masks. If you have two masks that have to be exactly the same, put them in a folder, put one mask on the top, and boot the other one. Okay? Coolio, excellent.

Class Description

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



Another awesome course by Lisa Carney, packed full of information This course is really a comprehensive look at colors ... I learned so much, and even stuff I thought I knew pretty well, I found some pretty eye opening new information. I find Lisa Carney to be a wonderful teacher. When she has an important point to make she'll say her point, pause and then repeat what she just said, just to lock it into your memory. Fantastic. Side note: I signed up for the CreativeLive creative pass as soon as I realized how great all of Lisa Carney's classes are. I'd started to buy them one by one and quickly realized they are all wonderful. You can watch this class from beginning to end and get great information ... but to get the most bang for the buck you'll want to pause, hit rewind, get a cup of coffee, open Photoshop and try out her tips while you watch. There are sections I rewound and watched about 5 times, to be sure I understood all the subtle points. Lisa Carney is pretty amazing - she works really hard to thoroughly explain the process she uses to solve problems, and she never glosses over anything important. To cover a particular point, she'll start with a finished file with all the layers - and instead of simply explaining each layer like a mortal would do, she'll literally delete all the adjustment layers and start from scratch to show the process. This is incredibly empowering since it gives you an understanding of just how easy the process can be once you get the hang of it


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!

a Creativelive Student

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.