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Photoshop Mastery: Ultimate Mastery

Lesson 2 of 26

Lab Mode: Color Separation

Ben Willmore

Photoshop Mastery: Ultimate Mastery

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

2. Lab Mode: Color Separation

Lesson Info

Lab Mode: Color Separation

I pretty much use lab anytime I want to make color separate better so in this particular image which was taken in monument valley, I think we have separation between the blue sky and the dirt that's here, but I noticed there are some there's, some shrubbery in here and the any greenery that's in here you can't really tell that it's all that green so I would like to get a more pronounced difference between the green elements that are in the image and their surroundings. I might also want to adjust the sky a little bit so let's see what we can do in lab mode the techniques always the same convert a lab after converting the lab curves adjustment layer after getting the curves adjustment layer, click on the icon to the left so that your color panel can show you and remind you that what those various colors are and just in general when you're working in lab mod think that if you're in the a channel and you move things up, you're moving them towards this color. If you work on the b channel a...

nd you move the curve up, you're going to be pushing things towards this if you do the opposite and move the curve down, you're going to shift colors towards that or that depending on the channel you're working on and that's why I find that to be overly useful tohave sitting there so if you think about green things, because that's, what I really want to get the pronounced difference in, and I look in my, uh, and be here, I was kind of a greenish over here, but really green things in a photograph, like trees and shrubs, and all that kind of stuff are actually usually more of a dark yellow, so one of those two ends, or where I'm going to need to go, let me show you a little trick, I wantto have it. So when I click my picture photoshopped measures where it would need to adjust in area, but it doesn't not just a one of the curves a or b, it doesn't toe all over the curves in the way I do that is to make sure that little hand tools on I moved my mouse on top of the image, the area want to change, and I hold on to keys on my keyboard. The keys are shift in command that would be shifting control on windows, and I have been held down right now. Now I'm gonna click on my picture click in photo shop just added a dot on the lightness curve, the represents how bright that object is, it also added a dot on the a curve to represent how far between the two colors that are represented on the a curve meaning magenta and kind of a a greenish it is, and it added a dot on the b to indicate how far it is between the two colors you see on the beak curve and so therefore those of the three dots that will allow me to change that particular area I'm going to do the exact same thing for the surrounding dirt. I'm going to just go a little bit outside of that green object I was trying to change find the surrounding dirt that's here and hold on the same two keys they're shifting command on mac shifted control and windows and I'll click. So now we should have two dots on each one of the curves, and if I make it more pronounced, the the difference in height between the two, I'm going to have a more pronounced difference in color between the two, so let's see what we can do. Ah, here, I just happen to be on the beaker if I'm going to make it steeper between these two, so I'm going to take a lower one and move it down. I'm ignoring the sky for now. In fact, I'm gonna zoom in over here and just look at the area was thinking about in later on, we'll try to get the rest of the image to look att, so I'm gonna move this down to see what happens I noticed were going towards blue when I move it down to see the shadows turning blue when I do that and I'm not surprised by that because if I come over into the uh get the centered out where it was before into the color panel and I look at the channel we're working on which is the b channel it goes between blue and yellow so if I move it down it's going to push everything towards the left on here if I move it towards the right it would push it towards whatever color appears on the right so I might want to even move that up see what happens I'm going to grab the other dot, which represents the other portion of the picture I'll see what happens if I move it up just up a rookie or if I move it down see if I get a better separation I think moving it up makes it a little more yellowish in there because we have a little bit better separation but not much I'll switch over to the a curve instead we should have two dots there as well if I want to see which one represents the green stuff I just moved my mouse on top of the green stuff in my picture you see the circle telling me which one if the circles really close to that dot I could just click to make it active and now I'm going to move that down. Would you see that? Become a lot more green when I did here, I'll move back up here is before move it down there. We're getting our greens, I can continue to move it, and I can make it look nucular green if we want, but I'm going to narrow it back up. What happens with the arrow keys is if you hold down the shift key when you do it, it's like turbo it's like this big changes and if you don't hold shift, you're doing fine changes. So when I'm first changing this just to see what would happen, I have shift tell down I go down arrow down arrow to see what would happen or up arrow up era what would happen? And so I want to bring that down get that to be a bit more green think that's looking pretty good there, then I'll work on the other color. Just click on the other dot and if I move it up, I'm going to make that warmer move it down will make it cooler so let's, move it up, see what happens looks like mars now blew it down, and so I might find tune that just see what do I think will give me nice separation that looks semi natural. We're in here if you want to see before and after there's an eyeball I come down here just turn it off there's before do you see how the greens kind of were hard to see and then I'll turn it back on and you see other greens really pop out from their surroundings before after now if I didn't want the surroundings to change, I notice that the surroundings are shifting. All I would have done is I would have never moved the second dot remember how he added a dot for the green stuff and adopt for the surroundings just don't move the dot for the surroundings all right let's look at the images a hole I'll zoom out on the image just typing command minus and let's turn off the eyeball to sea before where the greens really didn't stick out turn it back on to see after and I see the green sticking out a bit more but I noticed my sky is shifting around it looks kind of weird so let's adjust the sky all I'm gonna do is with that little hand icon pushed in I'll click on my sky and as long as when I moved my mouse on top of the sky that little circle this is far away from the dots have already messed with I could just click and add a new don and now if I move this up I'm gonna warm it up my home it down minute, cool it down so I can come in here and say, well, what do I want that sky to look like? Then that was the a because I just happen to be what I was working on let's work on the other one, the b move my mouse out there in his longest that circles far away from the other dots that air there, I can adjust it separate click and now if I move it up, I can make it get warmer if I move it down, I could make it cooler and so I confined tune that what I'd really like though, is I might want this guy to be darker. Well, if you're working in the and the b channels, you can't change brightness, all they do is color so you'd have to go over here the lightness in order to effect just the sky I can click on it here and I could try to make it darker but it's not gonna isolate the blues this lightness, it's just like adjusting an image when you're in rgb mode, it just affects the entire picture not gonna isolate colors so might need to get more sophisticated with that later on so other things with this image if I turn off this eyeball before after we're getting that separation and the greens I got the blues in my sky tio tio kind of fine tuned where I'd like them to be and then I just might find you in the image maybe it's this dirt that I don't quite like if so go to one of your two color channels the air the b find out which dot affects the dirt by moving your mouse on top of the dirt and I could see the circle telling me which dot it is and fine tune it just try moving it up a little make it warmer or move it down a little bit to cool it off then go to the b and do the same thing move your mouse on top of the dirt to try to figure out which dot would affect it make that dot active moving up if you need it warmer move it down if you need a cooler so I might kind of like it around there if there's any other part of your image that you'd like to change just move your mouse on top of it and if it's in an area that doesn't already have a dot you can adjust it separately but if it's already sitting there right on top of one of the other dots it means he can't adjust it separately so just go into each area and see if it's a separate thing and if so mess with it and unlike in a normal curve, usually when I apply curve teo image in rgb mode I want the curve toe look perfectly smooth in lab motive from working on the a and the beep things it's okay to have what I call a kinky curve it doesn't have to look completely smooth so here's before here's after the greens should separate better there are all sorts of things we can do with this uh sometimes there's a particular color in my picture that I don't want to change but I want everything else to become more pronounced let's look at how that's done just going through the same procedure here lab mode curves make it to the mask is not active and then what I'm gonna do is with that little hand tool active gonna move my mouse on top of the image and remember how you could hope down to keys and if you did when you clicked it would add a dot on all three curves lightness a and b well, I'm going to hold down those two keys what they were were shifting command on a mac that shift in control and windows and I'll move my mouse onto the color I do not want to change, so I'm moving my mouse over here to the color the general base color of this building this kind of warmish yellowish tone and I'm holding those two keys and I'm clicking now is long as when I go to a and b if I do not move the dot that's sitting there then I will not change the color of that particular area or things that are that general color but I could make everything else more pronounced so I'll go over here to annoy area that's, maybe more orange I can see a little orange brick here ah click oh now drag up and it's going to become more warm should stick out a little bit better I'll go to uh an area over here I can see some kind of turquoise ish color near the doorway click moved up or down and I confined tune what's going on with it and maybe I'll go over here to the b and do the same thing over here and find something that looks more pronounced li different like here a darker brick that's more reddish moving up or down and just see in general let's see what this is doing if I turn off the eyeball here's before if you look at the building itself, ignore the rest of the image look at the difference in the bricks when I turn this layer back on can you tell it the reddish like the darker reddish things are becoming more pronoun mostly read if you can tell it might be more subtle who that looks quite different over there but they're becoming more pronounced li different because thie curves at two different levels. I confined to anything I'd like if I don't like what's going on with the sky, for instance, it's changing, although I like it actually becoming that blue if I didn't want to, though I go over here, just click on the sky and as long as the circle shows up away from the dots that are already there that I can adjust it separate, pull it up to make it less uh uh, cool or bring it down to make it more cool. Now with this, you can use the little history gram that's in there the bar chart to help you out. If I do the exact same process to this one, it will tell you what you currently have in your picture and can help you target what you have. So if you look here, we're in just any picture we've gone to a lab mode, we have a curve and I'm working on the a if you look at the little bar chart that's in here, it tells you the range of this curve that's currently being used. What that means is if I want to exaggerate, get a bigger difference between the colors that are in this image as a whole, what I would do is look at the width of this bar chart and I'm not going to look just right where it crosses this diagonal line. I'm gonna look in general, and I'm just going to say what's the general width if I ignore the tiny little specks that aren't tall, it all what's the general width of this bar chart? Well, if I go straight up from each end of the bar chart and added dot to my curve but here's the wide spot that's the general range of colors that is used in the ai, I'll do the same thing in the b u c the bar charts wider in the b that just means we have ah, wider distribution between yellow and kind of sayin ish in this image. So I'll go over here and at a dot on both ends of where that bar chart seems to go, and then I'm just going to make it steeper between the dots. I'll move the lower dot down, see if I like it, move the upper dot up, see if I like it and whatever it is it's just going to give me a more pronounced difference in the colors. So the blues, the greens, the magenta is everything will become mohr distinctly different from each other let's see what happens so in this case, see what happened to the blue sky. Then let's grab the other dot by the way if you want to switch dots and curves it's actually you don't have to click on him because clicking on him could make it see accidentally move them if you want to switch between without clicking on your keyboard, go to the plus and minus keys on your keyboard and just hit the plus key it'll bring you to the dock to the right of the one you're on if you had the minus key, it'll bring you to the one to the left just plus and minus you don't have to hold down any other keys uh just plus remind us keys then I can move the other dot up and if I move that up I noticed that the greens in the image and the yellowish stuff becomes warmer just more pronounced ah of a difference do the same thing on the other curve falco over to the curve moved the upper dot even higher see what we get we get more of a magenta e look in the image makes the difference in the rocks really stand out, grab the other dot move it down and I'm getting more of a green screen okay let's see what we're getting I'll turn my eyeball off here's before the image look kind of dull in general and here's after and I noticed just a much more pronounced difference in everything blue sky separates from the green trees a lot mohr, which separates from the warmer areas of the bottom. You might think that this is similar to just increasing saturation of vibrance, but it's not if there was very little difference between the green trees and their surroundings, they're still going to be very little difference between the green trees and the surroundings it's just going to be more colorful if you saturation with lab mode as you make it steeper and each one of the curves there becomes a more distinct difference in color between two areas, and it really could make things stand out. After doing this, I might decide I need to find two in a few areas, maybe the sky overall I wantto control, so just move your mouse over to where the sky is, and if there's a dot already on your curve, adjust that one or if you're a little ways away from any dot, just add your own, and if you click and it won't add a dot, it simply means you're too close to one already. So move your mouse in there and see if you can get it so it doesn't show you the little arrows remember that if you get really close to see arrows move far enough away, but then snug it down to where you were thinking there I think that's about where that circle was showing up and then adjust that I'll move it up, move it down and I can see if I can adjust it separately but right now I'm working on the a and the a goes between wet magenta is stuff pushing towards magenta or push it towards green in the sky. I don't think that's what I need, I think I really need over here so that would be on the b move my mouse over to where the sky issue see it's sitting right on top of a dot click on that to make it active but would down remove it up to fine tune that area if there's any area that should look neutral unit should look like a shade of gray remember that's in the middle vertically so if this let's just say started looking magenta or some other color, you could click here and if you look in the curve it just added this dot right here do you see this a little bit lower than the centre? I just move it right up to the centre, then I go to the other curve click on that area that should be neutral and see if I can't if it can't have a dot and if you saw it or not but when I was on a cloud it's really close to adopt that's already there I'll see if I can manually add one sometimes you can't though because they're too darn close together and if so it moved the dot that's already there just get closer to being back in the middle again and if you deal you're going to get that area to become more neutral so I know it's a different way of thinking it's not what everybody is used to but I find it to be overly useful how about some questions sure are you up for that certainly there's about seventy is that all you know some topics you know people were going don't get any but you know you are just a few and some like caleb they're just knocking him out of the park cool all right I'm going to you know but I'm going to start from the bottom and work our way I go for it that's cool so you showed us a handful of images today so far that you manipulated in l a bee would you give any advice to what are the best types of images to move overto leb portrait ce landscapes product do you any kind of image where two colors are looking too similar to each other? It can be a portrait it can be a landscape I just happened a not shoot that many people so I don't have people shots but if you do this with people what can happen is sometimes pictures of people there skin will look rather monotone where it's it's one particular tone it doesn't very all that much. The highlights in the skin versus the shadows and skin just aren't all that different, but going into lab mode in making the curve steeper, there will give you more pronounced difference so that your highlights maiko the tiniest bit cool, like a little bluish, not blatantly blue, just a little bit and the other areas so that you get more variation in the color eso instead of having it looked kind of generic, almost like a old colorized black and white moving. Remember how the started colorizing all the old ones and people look generic instead, you're going to get more of a pronounced difference in the color and skin in you might not be able to visualize that all that much, but it can really make it pop a little bit more and just look a little less dull. You just have to make sure you don't push it too far. What you can sometimes do with lab is push it too far just you can see what's happening and then go into your layers panel and just lower the opacity of the adjustment layer to say don't apply it at that full strength I was just using it an exaggerated fashion to see it shifting around. And then you lower the opacity to dial in exactly what you want, but the main thing main time I use lab mode is when I see two colors in there looking too similar to each other, I want them to look more pronounced different. Also, lab mode works better on pictures that are not all that colorful to begin with. If you have an image where it's overly colorful I mean it's neon colors in it in lab mode you're only going to be able to move the dots closer to the middle. You're not going to be able to move them way up or way down because things will become too colorful. Eso images that air have somewhat muted colors are usually a little more appropriate for lab mode, but the main thing that really tells me to go to lab is when I see multiple colors in my image and I wish they were more pronounced in their difference. Okay, thank you. Um we're getting a couple of questions one from wheels in motion and also from peter asked s asking about is l a baby related to the h s l sliders and light room? Are you familiar with those that is that giving they're not related to it? I mean h s l stands for accuse saturation and lightness and that's the same as using a human saturation adjustment in photo shop up where there's little menu where you can choose between individual colors and it can have a similar effect but you're going to find that the sl sliders and light room or in camera will not be able to separate a lot of colors for instance in this particular image, if I look at the difference between this tree right here which has a slightly greenish tone and the tree that is just above it which has more of a yellowish tone, those are so similar in color that using the hs l slaughters in light room were using human saturation and photo shop is going to be so difficult to be able to separate those two that it's not going to be all that effective in order to get them to separate but in lab mode if I could go into the age handle and click on one and then moved to the other and see that there different in height in that curve a cz long as they're different enough in height that I could get two separate dots form then I can move one dot up and move the other dot possibly down in really get a separation between those two things whereas in other modes those would be too similar they would both be treated at the exact same color when using light room or cameron that hs l part so I know visually it sounds similar as far as if I want to make things separate mohr you're used to heading there but you're usedto also running in the limitations where it's really difficult to be ableto get it to isolate certain colors and and here you'll be able to do that so it's much more powerful fantastic cool on dh just clarify for a couple of students kevin wanted to know when you're when you're done with the lab can you then move back into our g b yes when you're done with it you go to lab mode to do what you need and when you're done you go back to whatever mode he needed to be in in the first place so lab mode you go teo do a particular utility function and then had back into whatever mode you're in before that great and ginger and w v would like to know is this a smart object change no it's not a smart object change I mean you can turn something into a smart object head to lab mona stuff but it's not going to allow you to continuously change it not usually smart object change okay um I think we're good to roll okay so if you look at this particular image all I did was I went to the a and I made it steeper you know I clicked on two different colors and made it steeper here's before here's after what I was trying to do was to get this general area up in here, which is more of a greenish to separate from the yellowish that was right next to it, and they were really similar before. Can you tell me you can barely see the visual difference between the two, whereas after I can see more pronounced difference right before after, try doing that with you in saturation, or try doing with light room it's not gonna happen so it's, when you really needed to find two things now, you gotta be careful when you're in lab mode lab mode can create colors that are ridiculously vivid. And so usually when you move these dots, I almost never make one of the dots go higher than here see that horizontal line almost never push it higher than that we're one of the actual dots are were lower than this line. If you go above or below those kind of limits, you're going to end up with colors where they're artificial colors, they're just don't look right, and if you're ever going to print on her pretty impressed, they will be nowhere near printable because they'll be like neon colors and all that. So you do need a limit how far you move them and be careful with it.

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.