Color Techniques For Retouching


Lesson Info

Color Adjustment: Curves

We're gonna use the same gal because I kind of think it's helpful to see similar corrections or different kinda corrections done with the same gal because, again, she is not retouched. And as I said, I often do color on non-retouched images first. Now, this one's a little trickier. And what the idea is is we're gonna use curves to match color. We're gonna use curves to match color. So the last one was hue saturation, this one's gonna be curves. So I'm gonna draw that square that I usually draw and I'm gonna go to Curves. And this is where, my friends, we have to be very, very careful. I'm on the mask. Do you see that mask is highlighted? You got to be on the curve. So this particular technique, stop, take your pen off the computer, where am I? All right. Make sure you click on your actual color and you wanna double click on the black eyedropper. I say that because I use this all the time and I always screw it up, even now. I'm like, aw, damn it! I'm clicking on the black eyedropper and...

it's not working and it's 'cause I'm on the mask. All right, 'cause Photoshop defaults on the mask. So here's the other danger, Will Robinson, pay attention to where we are. You need to click on the color you want it to be first. The color you are desiring is your first selection. So in this case, what I'm doing is I am looking over here at the dark circle under her eye, and I want it to be closer, closer in tone to her cheek. So the first move is you open a curve, you make sure you're on the curve, you're not on the mask, but you're on the curve, you double click on the black eyedropper, and you click on a value that you like around a surrounding area, which happens to be her cheek. It's gonna pick that target color. I know you don't know if that's right, but I can tell you looking at it, that's pretty darn close. I clicked it. I'm gonna say OK. Once again, take your hands off the computer. Oh my God, what's happening? Not a big deal, this is very important, however. It's gonna say, hey, do you want this to be your new target color as your default? No, I do not want this to be my default. No, thank you. Move along, Cassidy. And now, here's the next step and this is very important. You take that black eyedropper and you click on the area you want to change. (sings in wonderment) Somewhere in the internet, someone is singing. I can feel it from here. I'm gonna repeat this, okay? I'm gonna repeat this, but let me just finish this section. So there is my color change. Obviously, you do not want it over your whole picture. Ain't no big deal. Put the black mask. I just filled the black mask by holding the command and the delete key. You can hit the Shift + Delete key, which will get you your fill menu, if you prefer. I'm not gonna take my airbrush, and with a lower opacity, like 20, subtle, subtle, subtle, I'm gonna start painting that in. I want to reiterate, this is for color. This is not retouching. I'm not retouching out her bags. I am changing the color of her bags. She's got some skin things going on that are causing some color, like a little highlight here. That's gonna wanna be retouched out, not color corrected out, okay? So let me do that again here for the mask. Just subtle. Have I talked about in this class that if you wanna be a decent retoucher, you need a pressure-sensitive tablet and you should not be retouching with a mouse? If I haven't, allow me to say, please, if you wanna be a retoucher, get a tablet. They're cheap now. All right, do you guys understand the premise of this? And this is automated, so that's cool. If you're good enough at curves, you could maybe do this on your own. But hey, let Photoshop help you out a little. I'm gonna repeat this, okay? Let's do it again. It's not that hard. There's just a couple steps, and I would like to tell you where you're gonna screw up or where I have screwed up. Make your mask. You don't have to make a mask. I just like a mask to start. So I make a selection. Go to Curves. (exhales sharply) Take a breath. Be on the curve code. Do not be on the mask, which Photoshop defaults. Be on the curve section. I call it the code 'cause that's where the math is. You're gonna have your Properties palette open. You're gonna double click on the black eyedropper, and hey, it's gonna say, yo sunshine, what color do you want? You're gonna pick the color you want. Wouldn't it be nice if it said, yo sunshine? That would be all right, yo sunshine. All right, I'm gonna pick a color near the cheek, a lighter color value. That's about right. Seems to me I'm gonna say OK. Whoa, another command. It's all good. No, I do not want this set as my new target color default, whatever. Here's where it gets a little cuckoo. I still need to use that black eyedropper and say, okay Photoshop, you've got an idea in your head, now go apply it to this area right here. Okay? And then you just go back and you think, damn, that was awesome. Put a black mask in it. Paint it in gently, nicely, whatnot. Cool? So that's color correcting using a curve to establish a target color.

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.