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Photoshop Mastery: Ultimate Mastery

Lesson 1 of 26

Introduction to Lab Mode

Ben Willmore

Photoshop Mastery: Ultimate Mastery

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

1. Introduction to Lab Mode

Lesson Info

Introduction to Lab Mode

So we have two days here and we're calling this ultimate mastery because we've already covered so much in so many of the previous classes this is all the stuff that I usually never get a chance to teach because they're not always headline inducing features instead they'll be a bunch of collections of smaller things but there are also some things that are more technical and you just aren't asked to teach that much but are overly useful so the way I've laid out the two days is today we're going to start off with working in lab mode lab mode is a special mode and photo shop you know you could go toe rgb scene why k in gray scale where there's another one in there called lab which isn't used is frequently but is overly powerful not easy to understand in your own so we'll spend some time getting used to it after we're done with that I'm going to have a session I call hacking photoshopped in hacking photo shoppers where I try to take photo shops features and get them to do things that they w...

eren't really designed to do s o you can extend photo shop I really kind of tricking it into doing things that the features you're using aren't you know really meant to do we'll do my laundry oh if I could only get that I can have it to breakfast and a couple other things ah few other things there will be a session called knowing your limits and knowing your limits is so that you could know technically what's going on to your image where if you do something if you adjust your image simple brightness adjustment maybe simple contrast adjustment or saturation is there any point at which the quality of my image will go down in a way that I might not notice until later and there might be something in photo shop you can glance out to tell if that's happening and if you know about those things you could get a higher quality image by not, you know, damaging your image unknowingly uh after that we're going to get into a session called hidden and hard to find features there are all sorts of features and photoshopped they're hiding away where you have to know special keyboard shortcut to hold down get them or just something that would not be necessarily discoverable on your own and still get into that now that's just today tomorrow we're going to look at the little things in photo shop which means little bitty features they don't usually get the headlines but if you know about him you can do a lot more we'll also get into what I call the geeky stuff which is like menu items like apply image and calculations and all the stuff that really only true photoshopped nerds get into and we'll get into it then we'll talk about color management and the new stuff and photoshopped creative cloud and that's pretty much our two days, so I want to jump in and get started sewing spend as much time as possible in photoshopped playing around, so I'm going to start off talking about lab mode so lab mode he is a different way of thinking about your picture and the way it works is usually you go up to the image menu choose mode you have all these choices most people work in rgb mode, I find, or if they end up pretty interpreting press a lot, they'll end up in scene. Why k mode and some people work in that mode, but in general are g b mode is talking about light if you were to look at like your computer screen and put a magnifying glass up to it, you'd find red, green and blue specks that make up your image and it's just anytime you create your image using light you're using red, green and blue light c m y k stands for science magenta, yellow and black and that's white print things inkjet printers all have those colors of ink in them printing presses used the same colors of ink and so that's usually for printing, but then we come down here to lab color mode and it usually gets ignored, but it is overly useful so we're going to take a look before we do we had talked about rgb mode quite a bit in the past we made our adjustments let me just review a couple things about it so you could really get a sense that I was different then what we're going to get into I'm going to end up using curves because its my favorite adjustment it's the most powerful one in photo shop but if you're not overly used to curves, don't worry about it because I'll be able to give you some pointers as to how to think about it but in general when working in rgb mode with most adjustments like levels and curves you're going to have a little pop up menu at the top of your adjustment where you can tell it what to work on if this is satya rgb, any change that you make will affect the brightness of your picture so if I did anything to this curve in this case if I move it up it'll brighten if I move it down it'll darken if on the other hand I changed this menu to red we're going to control how much red light is in the picture so if I move this up I'm gonna add red light to the image so the image will both get brighter because we're adding more light and since we're adding red light it's going to look more red when I move it down we're going to use less light their fertile get darker and it's gonna absorb red well to absorb red you actually use science inc that's what would absorb it and if I move this down is going to get darker and more science the main thing to remember what I'm doing this is that when I'm moving this it's changing both the brightness of the image and the color at the same time and because of that that limits what we can do with this because we're stuck adjusting both brightness and color if I go over here to green's the same thing if I move it up will brighten down will darken moving up we get more green down his less green if I want to adjust the brightness is a hole you go on rgb now let's take that same image and let's look at it from the channels panel because that's really what the image is made out of if I go over to channels and I click on the individual channels your image is really made out of three gray scale pictures this one represents how much red light is used so if you see any really bright areas there's a lot of red light any really dark areas little or no red light green and we got blue but notice when I looked through all of them they all looked like just black and white pictures well, now, it's got a lab mode and see how all of that changes and is actually radically different, just going to switch over the lab mode in first let's, look at the channels. Now, if you look at the names of the channels, you'll see that they're called lightness, and then a and b lightness means the lightness or brightness your picture, some people called luminosity, whatever word you want to use, and if I click on that to view it, it'll be a black and white version of my picture. But then the a and the b r the weird things that's where lab is quite different than any other mode you'll be in with any other mod looking at the other channels that look like just normal black and white pictures. But now, let's, look at what the a channel looks like. Weird it's just kind of almost next enough next to nothing there. And here's, the b channel. They look kind of like odd black and white pictures, and they rarely have much. Contrast. Well, what's going on here is a photo shop is taken all the brightness information, and thrown it in one piece, and then that a and the b is what defines color, so this is going to allow us to make adjustments where we can affect the color of her image completely independent of the brightness, so any kind of adjustment I make to the a and the b channels in lab mode will not affect the brightness at all. Remember when I was an rgb mode, I moved it up or down and always made it brighter and more red where darker and more of a particular color. But that's, not the case. We work here in lab mode, so let's, take a look at what we can do and how to really think about it. I find it too useful in order to visualize how lab mode works is to use the color panel this thing here. If you happen and not have it open on your screen because I don't use it all that often, you can go to the window menu and there you'll find the choice of color so it's not visible. You can get it to show up now with the color panel. There are many different ways of defining colors. Here you have your foreground in your background color, and you could move these sliders to change what color your painting with and it defaults to rgb. But if I go to the side menu in the upper right, I can switch it over to other choices. And I'm going to switch it over the lab sliders because I find it easier to visualize how lab works if I get this panel set up to show me lab sliders once I get it to a lab slider so I'll take the top slider, which is the lightness slider and I'll turn it up because otherwise all the colors it's presenting me with or near black and they're hard to see so I'm either going to bring it all the way up or just close toe all the way up and that's what I'm going to start seeing how the a in the b channels work so if you look here, the information that's in the a channel is going to control things that are between magenta and this kind of sayin ish green color, so that means if I adjust the a channel which will show you how to do in a few minutes, then I'm going to shift things towards magenta or towards this kind of ah greenish scient color if I work on the b we're going to go between yellow in the blue instead and so let's see how that could work and how it's overly useful I'm going to use curves before my adjustments, so I just go to the bottom of my layers panel, I'll create an adjustment layer by clicking on the half black and half white circle and I'll choose curves now, the one problem with applying an adjustment with an adjustment layer is the color panel will suddenly switch off and switch over to grey scale, and I would rather have it show me the same sliders we had a few minutes ago, which were lab sliders, so let's, figure out how to change that if I go to the side menu of the color panel, the other choices we grayed out, the reason why they're great out is because right now, when you have an adjustment layer active, if you look at what's actually active to paint on the only thing that's active that paint on is this mask right here, it has its little corners highlighted to indicate its active. So if you grab your paintbrush that's where your paint would go well in a mask, all you can have the shades of gray and sew up here where you can pick the color to paint with. It only led to pick shades of gray in order to get this back to show me lab values, all I need to do is make it so this mask is no longer active, and I do that by clicking right here. That means just don't make the mask active, make just the adjustment itself active, it actually makes it so if you paint it won't do anything. But the main thing is, since we don't have the mask active, this little panel up here for color can show me lab values. So that's, something I'm going to be doing over and over and over again, probably a dozen times, and you'll get used to it all right now we have a curves adjustment layer in curves. We have a little menu at the top where I can choose between adjusting the lightness, which means the overall brightness of the picture, or adjusting a and b, which is where we mess with color and so let's see how we can work on an image and find it useful to be able to work in an unusual way like lab mode does all right, so I'm gonna go over here in switch to the beach channel. The reason why I'm going to the beach channel is if you look in the color panel over here, look what the b channel goes between is kind of a yellow and kind of a scion ish blue, right? So that means I'm going to be able to separate these two colors if I end up working on that channel. What happens is if I move my mouse onto this little hand icon. Click on it now whenever I go on top of my image it's going to show me which part of the curve would need to be worked on in order to effect various areas and so what I'm going to do here switch over here to the b channel and I'm going to move my mouth's on top I am my image I'm going to click right here on something that's green in my image click then I'm gonna move my mouth's onto something that yellow in the image click do you see the two points on my curve? Well one of those points is going to affect what's yellow in my image the other is going to affect what's green and if I end up moving one up I'm going to make that particular area more colorful. So if I move that up in this case the things that are yellow in my image will become more colorful if I grab the other dot and move it down it's going to separate those two colors mohr let's see if you can see a difference I'm going to turn off the eyeball at the bottom of curves here's before and here's after can you see a greater difference if this is after and this is before between the yellows and the image and the greens in the image? What happens is if I'm not in lab mode and I moved one of the curves the entire image would become mohr green orm or yellow arm or whatever color the particular channel I'm working on wood effect but when I'm in lab mode what happens is each channel in my image controls the difference between two different colors and you can tell what those colors are over here in the color panel so if I'm working on the beach channel we're going toe work on the difference between this color in this one and if we make the curve steeper there's going to be a more pronounced visual difference between those two colors within my picture but this is sounded little more technical than it is let's just look at it as a whole what you're going to find it laid out a little different but in here in general the areas that are above the middle if you see there's a middle line and curves right here is a middle line the area's right in them on that middle line would be what's notice neutral in your image they'd be grazed in your image above that are things that are warmer reds, yellows, pinks that kind of stuff below that are things that are cool greens blues that kind of thing and so when I end up adding a dock here and push it up I'm gonna make something warmer if I add a dot they push it down I'm going to make it cooler and so I can separate two colors and get them to be more of a pronounced difference between the two and it could be really interesting. Well, he's, just so if I can find an image that doesn't have very much difference here's an image where if you look at this stone foreground can you see a little hint of areas that are warmer than the surroundings? Well, if I were to be an rgb mode and I working curves, I'm just going to make the entire image more red or entire image more yellow and it's going to be difficult for me to get good separation between these areas that are warmer and the surrounding areas that are more neutral. Let's see how in lab mode I could get those two to separate? All I do is I change the mode the lab then I go into curbs, and if I want to be able to see lab readouts up there in the color panel because I find it to be useful to remind me which color zahren which channels remember in my layers panel I have to make it so the mask not active, so I just click on the icon to the left of it. The it'll either look like a circle that's half black and half white like this one does or it will have an icon that represents the type of adjustment you're applying, but I click right here that's goingto make it so my color panel could read out lab values now it's not gonna default the lab values I had to change it because originally it had rgb so if yours doesn't have lab values in there go to the side menu over on the side that's where you can choose lab sliders all right so I look at this and I say what is the visual difference between the two areas that I want to exaggerate? Is it a difference that involves magenta or kind of greenish blue or is it a difference that involves yellow in this kind of scientist blue? And so when I look at this I mainly notice a kind of magenta e look to this and if you notice that in that dictates which one of these channels will work with going to work on the then what I can do is grab that little hand symbol and I'm gonna click on two areas within my picture the area that is kind of warm within the rocks and the area that is more neutral in the rocks and sometimes it's going to be hard to be able to get two dots because I'm going to be so close together when I move my mouth onto the image you'll see here in curbs you'll see a little overlay of a circle that says hey if you click right now I'm going to add a dot right where that circle is and the problem is if the two of the dot you've already added in the circle are so close together when you click sometimes it won't be ableto added dot but if it could, I'd click right here and if it can't I'll just visually look it where is it you know manually out of dot what happens is if you look watch my mouth if I get really close to this do you see that my cursor looks like across there with arrows on the end? That means I'm going to move the dot that's close to here we move far enough away you see other little arrows go away that means instead of moving a dot that's already here I'll add one so if ever need to get two dots really close, I just move far enough away where I don't have the arrows click and then snug it over. So that's what I really wanted with us those two dots now going to make it steeper in between the two if I move one of them down, I'll affect one area I'm just using the open out arrow keys by the way and then I could click on the other dot and move it up he's the up arrow keys and can you see the red nissen? They're becoming more pronounced, I can separate the two if I turn off the eyeball here's before turn it back on here's after you see the red becoming out more pronounced. So lab mode is overly useful when you want to separate two colors to make them more distinctively different than each other. And what you need to do is just determine if it's the a or the b channel that you need to work on, and you get a clue as to which one to do that with by looking over here and the the color panel, it gives you an idea that hey hey would push things towards thes two colors. Where's b would push it towards these too, so if I want a better separation between the these two colors, I want to work on the a if I want a better separation between these two. Instead, I want to work on the b so let's work on just a bunch of images and see what we can do with this bunch of information to think about on this image. I noticed that the left side of the picture doesn't feel as blue as the right side and if I come in here and do normal adjustments let's say I do human saturation and I just try to pump up the saturation sure, I can get it to him or colorful, but the right side becomes overdone before the left side really has a chance tto do its thing and even if I try to isolated color with one of these menus and push it separately, it just doesn't seem to separate it all that nicely, so let's see if we can do something in lab mode since lab mode is going to separate my image where I have brightness separate from color and then our different channels separated even mohr, I'm just going to come in here and do a curve and grab that little hand tools, so it knows that if I click on my image, it should do something and curves and remember, whenever you create a curve that if the mask is active, you won't see your lab sliders up here, so I just click on the icon to the left to get my sliders. All right, now I look up there, and I say, which one of these do I think I need in order to get the separation? Well, I'm noticing a lot of blue in the sky and on the opposite side of this somewhat yellowish someone oranges. So I'm gonna work on the b channel because in b we have a separation between yellow and kind of a bluish, so we'll go over here to be I'll click on the right side of the sky toe, add a point, and then I'll move to the left side of the sky and all at another point. And now I can control those two areas separately so the last point that I added was on the left side of the picture where we have the warmer tone and if I move that up any time you move the curve up when you're in lab mode you're going to make things warmer so I'll move that up and look what's happening to the left side of the picture now notice that the right side of the picture isn't really changing when I do that but I can dial in exactly how much I want to shift it then I could grab the other dot that's the one for the other side of the sky and if I want to make it more cool I move it down there move it down see what's happening to that side of the picture I don't want to get it overdone so I'm gonna back off on it a little bit switch back over to the other point and fine tune it just using the up and down iraqis but this is a kind of separation that is very difficult to get if I'm in any other mode and photo shop because all the other modes if I go it least with curves or levels it's going to shift the entire image towards blew our entire initial towards yellow it is difficult to get that separation so let's see what we've done I'll turn off this eyeball here's before here's after you see that big exaggeration between the two colors he'd been could you have done the opposite with that demo? In other words, could you have brought the left side up to match more than that of that blue so you've got a more consistent if I want to even out and get the color to beam or even yes if I goto lab mode into a curve, I need to work again on the beach out because that's the one that goes between kind of yellow and blue and what I could do is at a dot for the right side just a locket in so I don't change it and then I'm going to use that as a reference point to say this is where I need to end up in order to have a color similar to this and I'll go to the opposite side in click and now I have two dots the second dot that I added, all I'm going to do is move it to the same height as the first so I'll use the down arrow key and just kind of get it down to the exact same height those two sides air now more similar I get fans here I could grab both dots in order to get more than one dot you have to hold on shift so I'm holding shift right now grab the other dot and now I can move in together up if I want warmer down if I want cooler so down if I want cooler I'll make the whole sky little more colorful now just because I moved the two dots the exact same height does not guarantee the two sides will be absolutely identical and that's because there are two pieces that define the color it's not just the b it's also they eh? So if I wanted to to to be identical I'd also need to go to the a and make sure that the same height in that one so I just go to a click on the right side and then go to the left side and they're so close together can you see where the circle is right now it's so close to dot there's so darn close already if I try to click it won't let me because they have to be a certain distance away so I could manually do it just move far enough away from the doctor you don't get the arrows and then snug it close to where it was supposed to be, which I think was about there and now get him to the same height there. Now those two sides should be exactly the same color because they're the same brightness in both the and the b what's not exactly the same is the brightness because in lab mode what happens is you get three pieces you have lightness which is the overall brightness your picture and then we have a and b which is the color so we could adjust the third part, get that to be exactly right over here and go to the opposite side. Although in this case, it's probably gonna be a little more difficult for me to get that tow look good. It is when you're working in the lightness that it's much more sensitive and it's easier to mess up your image. Uh and b we can do radical things too. And it's it's uh, get interesting results so let's see what we've done before after it sounds much more even cool. Alright, let's do more. I'm just picking random images and trying to do stop so let's uh, here's a picture of the northern lights I shot when I was in iceland and I noticed we have the northern lights themselves, which are green and if you look at the sky, we have a hint of purple in a hint of blue. And so what I would like to be able to do is adjust the green kind of independent of the purple and blue and see if I could get better separation. So the difference between the green part and the purple parts are marked pronounced so it's always converting the lab mode, then adding a curves adjustment layer when you're done adding curves to get the little readouts in my color panel like click on the icon to the left and then click a little hand here. Now that little hand thing, I seem to need to click on every single time to make it active. If you go to the side menu, the curves panel, there is actually a choice here that's, his auto select, targeted adjustment tool, that means automatically turn on the hand thing, you know? So if I turned that on and I got to that by the side menu, then whenever I create my curves adjustment layer, that little hand will automatically be turned on. It'll save me some time because I do it every single time. Oh, all right, now I look at this and I'm not just going to look into my color panel here and say, what do I think would be most useful to work with? Well, if you think about the northern lights here, they're greenish, and the only place where I kind of see greenish in here is in the a on the opposite side of the a is kind of a magenta, which is going towards a purplish, so I'm thinking about working on the a, but I don't just work on one all the time I work on both sometimes but that just gives me a chance of where might I start so let's go to a I'm gonna click here on the green stuff and you could just click on your picture and drag straight up and down on your picture if you'd like to dragging up will always make things shift towards the cooler side I'm sorry to the warmer side dragging down is going to make it cooler down is always cooler so down always means green blue that kind of shift up always means yellow red kind of towards that so I'm going to drag this down one on top of the northern lights then I'm gonna move over here to the sky and I hope that the circle that shows up is far enough over it looks like it is that I can click and then I'll just drag up and you see I'm pulling the purple out of the sky and when I do notice that the green areas aren't really changing much so I can try to get that difference to be exaggerated then if I want teo I confined tenant by going to the other channel that controls color click on the green strike up or down if you drag up you're going to make it warmer more yellowish reddish kind of thing drag it down you're going to make it cooler and so it's a matter of getting the exact green you think would be best in there and then go to the sky clicked out another dot you drag up if you want it tio be warmer dragged down if you want it cooler if I drag down you see how I could get into the blues in other colors it's not like you know exactly what how far you going to need to move things or exactly which is going to work but the color panel gives you a general idea now let's see what this has done I'm going to turn off the eyeball here here's before and here's after do you see him or pronounced if this is the after greene and if I turn this off the sky is not changing all that much between these but it's becoming just a little bit more of a purple I can always go back and find tune just if you're not sure which dot toe work on move your mouse on top your picture off to the area you want teo change and the circle will tell you which dot you need to work on and if the circle that showing up is really close to that dot all you need to do is click it'll make it active if it was far enough away from the dot it would add a new one then either drag on your picture or used the up and down iraqis to make a more pronounced change although it helps if you have the eye bolts or not. If you're trying to figure out why it's not going if the eyeball is not on you not seeing the end result and that's what was going on a second ago for me just actually kind of amusing, so I confined to that now there's one other detail though, about this and that is if there are any areas within your picture that need to remain neutral, you know, the other shades of gray that if they shift two different color goingto look unnatural, then the very middle of the curve vertically is where if you lock it in your gonna leave neutral areas neutral, so down at the bottom there's some snow in this picture and I don't want that snow to look overly green or overly purple, so what I could do is with e a channel active move my mouse onto the image down to where the snow is click to add a dot if it'll allow me to, and I'm too close to the I thought that's already on on my curve right now almost far enough away see if I could get far enough away if it doesn't, let me just move your mouse manually on the curve to where the circle wass and then continue moving and tell you no longer get the little arrows and then you can nudge it back to where you want actually wanted it I think it was around there, but the very center of the curve vertically is where neutral things would be. So if you click on something within your picture, that should be neutral, it's a shade of grey, then you want to make sure it stays in in the middle vertically. So I'm going to move that dot down just a little bit and that's going to help to keep the snow nice and neutral. I'll do the same thing in the b. I'll move my mouth's onto the snow, clicked out of dot, and can you tell that that dot is the little of bit below the middle? I'm just gonna narrow it back up, get it right in the middle. If it's right in the middle, then that snow should stay nice and neutral.

Class Description

Part of the Complete Photoshop Mastery Bundle.

Throughout this series, we've covered many huge topics (retouching, adjustments, collage, etc.). In this final installment, we fill in the gaps between big thoughts with the more subtle concepts that are essential to taking full control of Photoshop. This is the stuff you rarely see taught, but true experts use on a daily basis. I'll start by revealing a bunch of hidden and hard to find features that you probably don't know exist because you have to type odd keyboard shortcuts or go through other loopholes to find them. I'll then show you how far you can push your adjustments before they start to lower the quality of the image. We'll do that by popping the hood in Photoshop to reveal how those adjustments may be harming the underlying integrity of your image.

I'll then show you how to manipulate Photoshop's features to get them to do things they were not designed to do. This way, you can extend Photoshop further than even the programmers envisioned. I'll also talk about many of the little features that never get covered in classes but are overly useful. Finally, we'll dive into a few geeky features that are not for the faint of heart like variables, apply image and calculations.

Whether you're still fairly new to Photoshop or you're an advanced user, there is sure to be techniques in this class you will want to add to your mental toolbox.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 14.0


RDM Photography

I have always enjoyed watching any of Mr Willmore's courses, engaging and entertaining with a gentle professionalism, with a good pace of delivery for the target audience. What I so enjoy is that the underlying theory is 'correct' with obvious care and understanding of the terms used and this speaks volumes as to the instructor's commitment. I have always learnt something from these courses and this was no exception.

Jose A De Leon

This is by far the best investment I've made. Ben is a qreat teacher. I watch repeatedly the videos over and over until the concepts become second nature. Since I bought the complete bundle, I can go back when ever I want and watch again. My Photoshop skills have improved exponentially. I'm extremely happy I made this purchase.

Lemmi Kann

I just started to get familiar with Photoshop and know the basic. After watching just first three lessons I am totaly blown away - I can see how much far I can go with editing my photos, what possibilities I have. I edited some of my photos and they look way better now! Ben Willmore is excellent lector and I encourage the beginners to buy this class too. It's easy to understand and follow if you already know what is layer and mask.