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Correcting Color

Lesson 9 from: Practical Adobe Photoshop Basics

Khara Plicanic

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Lesson Info

9. Correcting Color


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Tips for Success


How To Undo Mistakes


Adobe Workspace


Using The Brush Tool


Using The Zoom Tool


Adobe Preferences


Correcting Exposure


Lesson Info

Correcting Color

Let's talk about correcting color so this file's got Cem color caste happening. So what creates a color cast any time, Basically, that you are shooting with your camera set to interpret color in a way that's different than the lighting environment that you're in. You get a little bit of, ah, clash, so your image may have a yellow cast and green cast. It can have a blue castor magenta are who knows what. It's a lot of variables, several different ways to deal with this, just like exposure. So we'll come up to image adjustments. First of all, I guess, before we even go to adjustments, there is an option for auto color, and I should point that out. Sometimes we shy away from auto commands cause we think auto I can do better than auto. Um, and you probably can, although I will tell you there been times were like I've obsessively tweet and like, fiddled the color and I just was It wasn't working and out of pure desperation, I was like, OK, auto color, and then it just nailed it. And I'm lik...

e, what? So I've learned to respect the auto commands At least a little bit. So let's see what happens here. So I'm gonna click auto color and photo sob, interprets the image, takes the measurements and then makes adjustment. I think it actually did pretty good. What we're going to dio so we can compare all these results is I'm gonna open my history panel And the history panel includes run cool feature called the Snapshot feature, which means that you can sort of freeze and set aside a moment in time so that no matter what else you dio, whatever changes you make, however you rewrite your history, you can always return to that moment of time. It's a pretty cool thing. So you do that by clicking this little camera button at the bottom of the history panel. So I'm gonna click that and you'll notice that it creates what's called Snapshot One. And this snapshot will never go away. Totally close the file. But as long as my files open, I could do 3000 subsequent adjustments and it will not right over this little snapshot. So I'm going to rename the snapshot by double clicking, and I'm going to call it auto color so we can just compare what photo shops doing. So now we'll undo that. I'll return back to the open state here and now. Let's try image adjustments, and this time we'll choose color balance. Okay? And we'll talk more about color and like a little bit of a theory of how it works. Leader. But here we're presented with three sliders and six colors, and the way that Photoshopped works and the color works in a digital world is if we look at this image and we think, well, that's got a bit of a purple cast to it. Magenta, we would say. There's no like subtract magenta. You can reduce magenta by adding green, so these things are opposites. If a images to agreeing, you don't just reduce the green, you actually add magenta and same with yellow and blue. So magenta green, scion red they are paired for a reason like that. What's cool about this color balance slider is that you get that visual like you can look at this and sort of visually assess it, and then you make an adjustment. But you can also target certain tonal ranges. It doesn't mean it isolates them. It just means that prioritizes them. So sometimes you make an adjustment and you're like, Well, this looks good, but the shadow still look purple or whatever. You can target the shadows, the mid tones or the highlights. Generally speaking, your safest bet is to just start with mid tones, cause most images unless they're high key or Loki like those ones we saw that were really brighter, really dark. Most images air somewhere more in the middle, so most of the meat, so to speak of the information is in the mid tones. So you'll see the set by default. And then we could just take the slider and say, Ari, it's got too much magenta So we'll add some green and maybe that looks pretty good. Maybe it's got a little red. Maybe we'll add some scion. Maybe we'll target the highlights and do them a little differently. Target the shadows. I mean, you can really fine tune this, and when you're happy with it, you click. OK, now, when I look at this, I think, Okay, auto color. I swear. They must have done a little levels adjustment to because they really brighten this up when the auto color ran so personally after I did a color balance like that, I'd probably do a quick little levels adjustment as well. So I would use my keyboard commander control L and maybe just dragged these highlights drug it in a little bit. So something, something like that. Click OK, now let's take another snapshot and we'll rename this, like color balance was what we did there So we can compare. That's what photo shops auto adjustment did. And that's what my own color balance was, so they don't look pretty good. I think I prefer the auto color personally, So, yea, Photoshopped photo shop won that round. Nicely done. Um, okay, so those both of those adjustments are still being evaluated by our eyes, Right? Like we looked at that we looked at our monitor or this monitor or whatever and we divided That's to magenta or to whatever, and that's how most people do this kind of stuff. But technically speaking, there is another way, which is to use numbers, and I like to teach this because I think it's mind blowing. But I also don't want to freak people out like, oh, numbers. You don't have to do it this way I don't do it this way. But I'm going to show it to you because it's interesting and you can learn something from it. Okay? But I don't know. This is how, like the science see people do it. But I've never personally done it this way. But I will say if you have a real trouble image that you just can't figure it out. This might be a good trick to have up your sleep. So what we are going to Dio is go back to where we started. So I'm returning back to our our opening state, and we're going to use the color sampler tool to take three measurements. We're gonna sample the shadows, we're going to sample the mid tones, and we're going to sample the highlights. Okay? And then we're gonna open the levels command, and we're gonna adjust those three things based on the samples that we took. That's simple, right? It's simple. Okay, First thing we need to dio is open the information panel so we can read. The measurements were going to take, So we go to the window menu and we choose info. Alright, Don't get freaked out. Like if I could do this. Anybody can do this. Okay, so we're gonna use a tool that looks very much like the eyedropper, but it's not. So I'm gonna come over here to the toolbar and when it click and hold on the eyedropper tool and what I actually want is this one called the Color Sampler Tool. They're really like the same thing. But the color sampler tool, like leave the little mark and then actually gives you a readout. So we'll click on that. Now, I'm going to click three times in three different areas. I'm going to click in here to sample a shadow was the dark area shadow. And I'm going to click over here to sample a mid tone and ah, highlight will try and get something off the cloth back here in an area that looks like maybe that's supposed to be white. Okay, so let's talk about in the info panel. What we have now. So we have three samples. We have number one right here. Number two and number three and they all have three numbers. They have a number for value for the Red Channel, The Green Channel in the Blue Channel. We'll talk about channels later, but they are what make up Color and photo shop came and RGB images which will talk about later. They have three channels red, green and blue. So those three channels come together to form a color. So it's important that we get all three colors. All right, so we're gonna start with our shadows now. The value for all of those channels is four. So I can't really do anything with that yet. We'll come back to this. That's unusual that they would all be the same. But when you're teaching, that's what happened. So we'll move. Teoh Sample number two. Okay, so we have three values here. The lowest number out of the three is 95. The middle number, obviously is the 1 15 and the higher numbers the 1 22 So because sample to was the mid tones, we are going to try to bring the higher love number and the lower number to the middle. Okay, so I'm gonna open levels command l or control l. And I'll just drag this out of the rain, and, uh, we have here where it says channel, we can actually adjust the different channels separately. So in this case, um, I'm gonna grab the We're trying to do what we say the mid tone. So we want them to be 95. So that that's the Green Channel were aiming for in this sample Number two over here. Right. So we'll leave the Green Channel alone. We're gonna just the Red Channel first, so I'll choose Red. And my goal now is to get the red number the 1 15 to get that to 95. So I'm gonna grab the mid tones here and dragged us to the right. Tell it says 95 to die. Now, down here, the blue channel says 1 22 So we'll switch to the Blue Channel, grab the mid tones, cause this a sample number two that was mid tones. Grabbed the mid tones, and I'm going to drag that also to 95 or close. I mean, like, I get a little bit shaky on my tablet sometimes. So 96. Okay, let's now move to sample three. This was the highlights. So we look here, we've got three numbers. Low number is the 1 56 1 61 is in the middle and 1 66 is the high one. So in this case, we want to bring the other two numbers up to meet the high number, because those are the highlights. So I'll select. So the Red Channel is the one we want hit. So I'm going to select the Green Channel and I'm gonna take that highlight here and bring that up to 1 66 and we'll go to the Blue Channel now. And it's currently 1 56 and I want to bring it to 1 So blue Tina, there were. That's close enough. All right, now let's look back at our sample. One, we have a to a four and a one. So these are shadows, so we want the lower number. So we want to bring the two and the four down to the one, or ideally like zero. Eso will come up to the Red Channel on grab our shadows. There we go and are Green Channel. And bring that close. There we are. So we are now we're pretty close. So what we've done is we've taken those three measurements shadows, mid tones, highlights. Then we looked at the numbers within each one and we tried to get him to match the shadows, to match the lower number, the mid tones to match the middle number on the highlights to match the higher number. And we just adjusted the other two channels. So whether the number was the goal number was red, green or blue. We figure that out and then adjust the other two channels to match and it's not going to be exactly and that's OK. And as we adjust each one, the others in turn adjust further and it's it's a little bit of ah shifting sand. What's that called, like a Zen garden sand? I don't know. Um that's okay. But overall, I think we cleaned up the color. So let's click OK and take a peek. We still have to do, I think, a levels adjustment because I think the whole thing is a little under exposed on top of all of that. So I would pull up levels Commander control L and working in my composite channel. So the whole thing altogether rgb I'm gonna boost set up a little bit. So maybe there is. I knew that was a little too much, but let's compare, So we'll take another snapshot. And this was called what we call that by the numbers and let's oh, look, And it was pretty close. It was pretty. That's probably closest to the auto color that Photoshopped did. So hot dog. Nicely done. But the reality is those of you freaking out like Oh my God, that was complicated. Yeah, it kind of waas um, so that's like not how you do it most of time. Personally, I love the color bam color balance adjustment. So that was under image. Adjustments color balance because it just makes sense to me again. Really, It's about how do you get the results you want? It doesn't really matter how you get there as long as you get there. So I should do a variety of tools for adjusting exposure and contrasts or exposure and color. Um, and you'll just have to kind of decide what works for you. I will also say that every image is different, and what works on one image will frustratingly not work on another. So you do need to have a little extra tricks up your sleeve and you'll have your favorites, but it's always nice to have something else to go to going back to when we were talking about between light room and Photoshopped being able, I just want to clarify for Catherine. Who said if I start in light room and open an image in a photo shop and then, uh, while in photo shop, I want to open another image from light room? Um, is there a way to do that so that they end up in the same file? Or do you have to, like, open them in two different files combined them, the others, probably away to, like, merge them. But I would just open both of them. And then I mean, I guess it depends how you want to merge them. But for the total control, you'd want to just open them both in photo shop and then put them together. She specifically wanted to have them is two different layers. So then Oh, yeah. Then you could just which we're going to dio when we get to layers. But you would just select all of one and just paste it into the other. And the old land and its own layer. Perfect. Thank you. And then another light room two Photoshopped Question if I export a photo from light room into photo shop or edit in photo shop and then bring it back to light room. Do I still have access to that original photo? Yes. And I quit like room already, so you don't have to see Oh, yeah, yes. So I showed how they they get grouped and they get, like, stacked in what is called so you can expand that the original photo have no changes. So in my example, the original photo was the one that I made into a black and white in light room. So that original file is still a color photo. The black and white that we see is only happening in existing in Lang room. Uh, and that sees that way until you export that file out to a new file completely. So if you were to open the image and browse the image and just your like file browser, you would see the original color one

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts
Photoshop Resource Guide
Practical Photoshop Basics (PS action file)
Word Art
Course Files

Ratings and Reviews

Kim Williams

I tuned into this class hoping to glean what I cold since it was free. I ended up purchasing the class because it is FILLED with so much great information in a fun and easy to understand format. Khara is an amazing instructor - I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Worth EVERY penny. Thank you Creative Live for offering such great material, at even more amazing prices.


What an unbelievable teacher Khara is. I have wanted to learn photoshop forever but was intimidated, overwhelmed, then I watched this course. OMG I learnt so much, more then I imagined. I am so excited now to start using Photoshop, I can't wait to try out everything she taught us. With the skills we learnt over these two days I think this course provides everything I need to know to feel and more. She was outstanding, the absolute perfect teacher for someone who has never ever used Photoshop. Also great moderation by Kenna. Thank you for this awesome, amazing, wonderful course. I am sure anyone who watches this course will agree it is incredible. I couldn't recommend it more. This course was just Smurfy!

Roz Fruchtman

I would highly recommend Khara Plicanic's Practical Adobe Photoshop Basics. The name of the class, implies that the class is for beginners, but that's not exactly true. Most of us learn Photoshop by the features we need to know at any given time. As many will agree, there are a number of ways to get to the same end. I can only speak for myself, but... I would bet that many of us don't know all the strategies that are taught in this class! Check it out, I doubt you'd be disappointed! Khara brings a fun and relatable approach to everything she does. She is very entertaining, while being a superb instructor. Last, but not least... This class brings with it a ton of useful bonuses. Warm Regards, Roz Fruchtman aka @RozSpirations

Student Work