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Color Techniques For Retouching

Lesson 29 of 30

Image Adjust Color Match


Color Techniques For Retouching

Lesson 29 of 30

Image Adjust Color Match


Lesson Info

Image Adjust Color Match

I wanna talk a little bit about matching color to other files, 'cause I have to do this a lot. I don't know if you guys get requested this a lot. And there's an old way to do it in Photoshop, which I think is not so brilliant, and a better way, but I think it's a little bit complicated. All right. So, let's say I have this comp file on the right, and they want it to look like the file on the left. Well, I could, this is a way of doing it, I'm gonna make a new layer and I'm gonna say, hey, match color. And this is old Photoshop way. It does work on occasion. I have used this on jobs, so you don't need to completely throw this away. The only problem is it's a destructive method. So, under Image Adjust, I don't know if you saw this from before, they have something called Match Color. And Match Color will say, "Hey, what are you looking for?" And you can say, "Great!" On this palette here, down here, I've got a file called USE, and I will tell you, I literally call the file I need to match...

"USE THIS," "This is Color," "Hero," I call it whatever I need to, because I will occasionally have five files open at the same time, and I'm like, oh, God, is it untitled one, untitled two, untitled three, or untitled four? So, make your life easier and pick your color that you want. So, Use This, and it's gonna use that color, and you can start playing around in here and see if you can get it to get to your color. And I mean, I suppose theoretically it's using those colors, but that file in no way, shape, or form looks like that, does it? No, it really doesn't. So, this is kinda the old school way that I know people used to use this, and I have never gotten this to work on a complicated file that has different tonal values. And what I mean by that is, if you look at this original file here, oh by the way, do you see how it's destructive? Like, that's it. And you can't do it on a smart object, so it's permanent. Do you see how this has a lot of darks and this is more high key? So, I'm being asked to match something that doesn't match in terms of value, so the computer's kinda going, "Uh, but that's a high key photo "and that's a more contrasty photo "and these don't match, and the color values don't match." If you have two images that are in a similar area to each other value-wise, this is a lot more successful. Now, while we're here, just for giggles, I think I should mention, for mentioning's sake, that there are things like equalize here. Never, ever, ever use it. It's trying to match up the values, it's destructive, and you can't use it on smart objects, so I would suggest you stay away from it. It's a way of trying to get values in the image similar to each other. And then there's something called replace color, and replace color, you can say, "Hey, this color here, this color right here, "can you replace it with that color there?" And I can't get this to work in any kind of functional way for me. It's too haphazard. I think this kind of function might work for a job where you have a product, and you're really trying to match up the product to something, one product to another, this function could work if you're talking PMS color to PMS color. And I don't know if you guys can see this on the screen, but I basically said, "Hey, these browns, "make it the browns of the, excuse me, "the green of this other file over here," and it's actually done that, and it hasn't done a bad job on it, but there's a couple huge problems. So yeah, that's not bad. It's flat, right, so how are you gonna adjust this? But, in all honesty, if I had to mask out all those darks and try to match that color, I wouldn't be able to do that that quickly. So, I wanna say there may be a time and place for this, there actually might be. It's not in my workflow. It might be in yours. You might wanna consider this for catalog work, or wedding shooting. Let's say the whole bridal party, the bridesmaids' dresses were of a certain chartreuse color that just didn't translate, chartreuse, who uses chartreuse? Does anybody? Doesn't translate well, and they wanna shift it to another color, this might be a tool you could use and do it quickly where the clients aren't gonna pay a lot of money for that change. So money, time might be a reason to use this. And again, let me just repeat it one more time. Image, adjust, replace color. So, Margo Phillips asked, "I'm getting different numbers "from Adobe Color, from the Pantone site, "and from Illustrator for the same color. "I know you mentioned different algorithms at some point, "but any advice?" Okay, yeah, okay, just start crying now and know that she's not alone, and that this happens to all of us at all times. So, when you're in Illustrator, you can also change your color settings, and they can be different than what you are in Photoshop. When you are retouching in Photoshop and you are working in RGB, you're not making a CMYK file anyway. It's not CMYK until it is CMYK. And even, and I'm not trying to make this convoluted at all, but do you remember earlier, this is such a good question, when I was talking about the color settings and I said, "Hey, if you start in Adobe RGB "and then go to swap, the mathematical numbers "that Photoshop uses to convert that royal blue "or that super high chroma red are completely different." So, from the same exact Photoshop file, if you start from Adobe RGB to swap, it's gonna be different. So, you can imagine, if you're in Illustrator, and Photoshop, and then Pantone's got a color, and you're typing it all in, it might not necessarily match from one to the other. So, the nearest you can do is get as close as humanly possible. And then there's this other crazy thing that happens where, so let's say someone wants a Pantone color, I'm gonna do it this way, and I put that on color, and I'm like, "All right, here's your color." The client sees that color over the dark area and says, "Well, that's not my Pantone color." The only color that's gonna look like what the client wanted if they wanted that literal color is the one that's over 50% gray value. So, there's also the interpretation of color, and value, and highlight, and then when you put a solid color over an image like this, it looks like monochromatic. You have now white. Well, oftentimes, and image, clients will want a catalog image. For example, they will want a shirt to have that color of the product, but they want the highlights to still be white, and they want the shadows to have a different color. So, I'm not quite sure how to help that particular problem, other than to say the color is gonna change, and it is gonna be different, and you can, depending on what your Pantone chip says, you can type in these numbers. Like, I, for example, had a Pantone chip, I kid you not, I'm gonna show you this again. These are really good questions. Let me go here to the colors section and get out of this window. Pantone. All right. I have had Pantone colors where that color call-out that they put for RGB does not match the Pantone swatch that you can call up. 'Cause, you know, in Photoshop, you can call a Pantone swatch up. I have actually had jobs where the Pantone color, typed in here in RGB, did not match the swatch that came up here. How's that for a non-answer? Do you have any other questions? Well, there was a question that had come in similar, and Nina had asked, "How do you match a Pantone color "using the hue saturation technique?" First of all, you do that, you do that. Okay, how do I do it? This is how I do it. And I don't like doing it. I'm just gonna go ahead and say that out loud. So, I make a match to. I put it on top. And then I do my hue saturation underneath it. Also, please make sure, if you're gonna have a solid color, that's fine. If you're not gonna have a solid color, meaning that match to color needs to reflect what's underneath it, you have to put a mask on it. So what I mean by that is I've got the match two color on top. I just put a little mask on this hue saturation so that both of them will be reacting to the image underneath. Okay, so there's a match to color, right there, that gray, and then I go to my hue saturation. I go to my properties and I go okay. Maybe go to colorize. You see a seam? Oh, I see a little seam here. Do you see that seam right there? Do you see the problem? This is where you start squirming. The saturation on the higher values is different than the saturation on the lower values. Da-ah! And this is where you start twitching a little 'cause chance is they don't want to change the tone of the image. So you know what, maybe I could give people permission here to know that getting close is sometimes the best you can do and telling your client that, "look, I got it as close as I can" minus having a phantom plate where you actually hit the, do a fifth color on your ink. So, I mean that's kinda close. That's what I would do. I don't like doing it, but that's how I would do it. So the key, I'm sorry I didn't get her name, but the key to doing that is put the color on top, put the color on top into the color correction underneath it and make sure that you've massed out the area that you're gonna, to show. Make sure the color sample is not being affected by what you're doing or else you have color on color and you've lost control.

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.