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Color Techniques For Retouching

Lesson 18 of 30

Gradient Map

Lisa Carney

Color Techniques For Retouching

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

18. Gradient Map


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Introduction Duration:02:35
2 Describing Color Duration:04:21
3 Color Settings Duration:05:53
5 Blend Modes Duration:06:46
6 Gradient & Layer Style Duration:10:34
8 Levels Adjustment Layers Duration:29:58
9 Auto Color Correction Duration:04:13
10 Curves Adjustment Layers Duration:10:56
11 When to Use Solar Curves Duration:13:45
15 Photo Filter Adjustment Layers Duration:08:43
17 Color Look Up Duration:07:30
18 Gradient Map Duration:09:07
19 Selective Color Duration:07:09
20 Review of Adjustment Layers Duration:06:28
21 Using Smart Objects Duration:10:52
22 Color Techniques Workflow Duration:20:11
23 Match Color Image Adjustments Duration:06:36
24 Change Hair Color Duration:19:04
25 Color Gradient: Libraries Duration:04:45
26 Adobe Capture: Color Duration:09:04
27 Even Skin Tone: Hue Duration:06:10
28 Color Adjustment: Curves Duration:05:27
29 Image Adjust Color Match Duration:11:31
30 Color Match: Curves Duration:15:04

Lesson Info

Gradient Map

Alright, so my next uber favorite adjustment layer is gradient map. I use it all the time. I love it, love it, love it. And let me see if I can explain in a concise way what this lovely lovely adjustment layer is doing. What the gradient map function does, unlike the gradient fill, which we talked about very first part of the section, this section, is the gradient map will map the tone to the color underneath. So if you considered, you don't have to put it on a gray scale file, I just happen to have done this on a gray scale file. Where the file is black, you'll get the color dark orange or black, you can pick whatever color you want. Let's say I'll put a dark orange in here. Just so you can see the difference. Dark orange, where it's middle gray, you'll get this color orange as I have selected. Where it's quarter tones, you'll get this yellow, and where it's white, you'll get white. With gradient map, I often like to have solid black on the black end and solid white on the white end. ...

In addition to that, you can say hey, I don't want this orange-y color in the three quarter tones or mid tones, I want it in the darker area. And what will happen is, it will now make that value lighter because I'm saying, instead of saying hey, middle value, I'm saying, no let's go ahead and lighten this up. Same with the hot yellow. I can say, take it to the quarter tones or slide that to the mid tones. And so you have a lot of flexibility on what it's affecting. As I showed you earlier, this is a very popular adjustment layer to use for black and white. Okay, makes a beautiful black and white. And again, you do have the ability of changing at what point which tone. You can darken and lighten the tone here as well. So I'm increasing the contrast by pushing up where the black start. I hope that's a clear way of saying it. I love this function. I think it's beautiful. I think it does great effects. I love it so much that you will see look at all these gradients. I have all these gradients cuz I use this all the time. I absolutely love it. I think it's awesome. You can have 18 colors in here, you can have three colors in here, you can have five colors in here, you can have as many colors as you want. And how you add them, just like with the gradient tool, it's a little house, a little color house. And you can hold the option key and slide it over and change or add a color. You can change the hue this way. And you can get some really fun, really cool, or not so cool, some horrible looking stuff great for horror films. So do you see, I'm just changing the color and the value. This one's the value of that color. This is where you change the color. Again, might be too hot for that section but that's alright, you can bring it back. Whatever you wanna do. And again, it's just these little houses. And you can click and drag them off. And so what else I wanna talk about gradients, modes. Alright, so let's talk about that. I wanna close this guy up, my old man and the sea. I find people often call this a color grading. To color grade an image. The language, I feel a little mixed about the feeling about what I call these images. I call it, you can call it color grading and it just seems to be a term de jour. It's colorizing, it's quad tones. You can call it whatever you want. It's kind of a similar thing, it's just different industries have different terminologies. So for example, I'm a composite artist. And I'm a finisher. But if you don't work in entertainment industry, you wouldn't call me a finisher, might call me a retoucher. So similar issues, just different names. As I have these files open, I want to go back to the same theme we've had the whole day which is adjustment layer and then once again, layer modes. So if you change this to saturation, it does make a change, it's very hard to see. But it would change the amount of color underneath. Now this is a black and white image so there is no color underneath. You can change it to luminosity which changes tone. Now why you'd put color on top of something and use it to change your contrast, I don't know. I don't think I would use it for that. But all roads lead to Rome and if that makes you happy and that works for you, awesome. I would just do a levels move myself. But I have gotten files where someone has a color gradient on something and they put it to luminosity to do contrast. Whatever floats your boat, that's cool with me. You could simply put it on hue, you can go back to normal. You could put it on soft light. And you can put it on whatever you want. And you pick, you choose. Doesn't even matter. (Audience member) Would you use this kind of a gradient map in conjunction with another adjustment layer, perhaps the black and white filter to get your black and white? Yes, absolutely- Would you stack, would that be an acceptable stack? Excellent question, so would you, so let's say I have this gradient map, thank you Bob, that's an excellent question. (speaking Italian) Should we do it in Italian? So we can get to Rome? (laughter) Wouldn't that be, no, alright, sorry, I know. There's someone in Italy who just said yes, we could speak Italian. That's what they're gonna do. Alright, so let's talk about stacking of adjustment layers. And let's talk about this one. So this is one of the gradient maps that's in my bag of tricks cuz I really really like it. This is what it looks like, lots of color house. And if I liked it but I didn't like the value underneath, I could put the black and white filter underneath and I'm gonna put it on luminosity just for giggles so I don't affect any kind of color. I don't really need to worry about that because gradient map is overriding the color right now. But if I put that gradient map on soft light it would matter. And I can say, hey I'd like to change the tone of the reds, can you guys see that? The yellows are popping up. So the answer is yes, it's absolutely stackable and the black and white filter on luminosity is awesome for this if it fits the image you have underneath. If the image underneath has enough color. So why I say that, Bob, is if the image underneath was a black and white image, might as well just do levels because you don't need the flexibility of these colors. But it depends, depends on the base image. And I don't mean to be flippant about my answers, the answer's very depending on the image you have that you're using. Alright, so once again, I'm gonna take that gradient map and I'm gonna switch it to color. Minimal change. Soft light, huge change. I use it on soft light a lot. And why I use gradient maps on soft light is I like the patina it gives. It just gives a patina of color. But then you notice, I've got that issue of density. Now I might like that density. And imagine, if you're turning in comps for a job, I can turn in this job and say hey, do you like that version? And then I can turn in another one, all separate files as we've discussed, I can turn it in and say hey, do you like that file? And then I can turn in this file. And for this one, perhaps what I wanna do is do a levels move. And maybe brighten up those mid tones. So I just have a levels, I'm now stacking adjustment layers, right? It's not a big deal, I'm just lightening up the mid tones. And I might want to clip the shadows if that's applicable. Might be, kind of looks like that. For this case. And then I would suggest for your work flow and for your job organization, grab your two color corrections. Put them in a folder and label them. Do you have to do that? Absolutely not. It just keeps everything in a nice clean picture. So picture this for a moment for this job. I can't even begin to tell you how many photos went into this. A zillion. So you've got a composite of a background. That wall alone was probably four or five images to make that wall. And then you've got the other side, then you've got a window, then you've got rocks added, you've got bits, you've got laundry, these are all different, the clouds from a whole different shot. The guy I think is a combination of three images, just to make the guy. So you can imagine, you've got these files with layers and layers and layers. I like to put things in layer sets. Nice little folders, keep everything clean and neat. Call the dude the dude, call the wall the wall. And then put your color corrections on top. Okay?

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.