Creating a Custom LUT
All these things are is they're not special at all. The only thing that's special about these is that they could be applied 30 frames per second on a video device. These are all made using normal adjustment layers in Photoshop, and then you can save them out as these, in fact, look, I have a couple of 'em right here and look, how do I save my own here? Hmm? I wonder how we could make our own. Let's find out. Well, we could make up a certain look in here using any kind of adjustment layer you want. You just can't use any masks. So let's actually start with one of those color lookup ones and see if we can improve on it. I'm gonna come in here and choose maybe either night from day, or maybe moonlight, one of those two. Let's say moonlight. What I don't like about this is how colorful things are afterwards. My eye is really drawn to this yellow car and the red that's here and to me that makes it not feel like nighttime. So I'm going to reduce the saturation in the image. So I'm gonna do a...
hue and saturation adjustment layer but I'm not gonna put it on top of the stack because if I reduce the saturation, it's also gonna reduce this bluish purple color that it's added to the image. So instead, I'm gonna drag this newly created adjustment layer below the color lookup, because anything that's at the bottom is considered to be applied first and then whatever's above it is applied after. So if this layer is adding the bluish purple and it's on top, it should be done after we adjust the saturation with this one that's below. All I'm gonna do is go over here and adjust my saturation and I'm gonna bring it down as I look at that yellow car and the reddish one, and I'm gonna bring it down until it feels like nighttime where it's not easy to see exactly what color things are. You just get a hint of it. But at this point, I wish I could see a little bit more shadow detail. So I'm gonna then do another adjustment layer. I'm gonna come down here, and this time I'm gonna use curves, but it could be anything that could add contrast to the image. And I'm gonna see if I can pull out a little bit of detail in this image. If I want it shatter detail, then it would be in this section. If I wanted more highlight brightness, it'd be over here. So I'm just gonna go over here and say, let's add a dot down here to keep really dark stuff from changing. I'm not gonna move that dot at all, and therefore I'm just locking in the brightness of things that are this bright. Do you see the shade that's directly underneath that dot? But then it's stuff about this bright that I want to be brighter. So I'm gonna click right here and drag up slightly to get that a little bit brighter. But anytime you drag up like that, the rest of the curve up here also goes higher and it sometimes is more dramatic. Look at how far away this dot is from the original diagonal line. It's up just a little bit, but look at how far it's been moved up here a lot further. So I might just add another dot and pull that rest back down. It's really up to you as far as what kind of change you'd like to make to the image but I'm gonna turn off this eyeball to show you before and after. It's just slightly brighter. In fact, I'm probably gonna make it more obvious by grabbing both of these dots and just moving 'em up a bit. Let's say that's what I wanted. So all we needed to do is somehow build a look using adjustment layers. I can't use any masks though. I can though use other features. I can go in and do things like use a opacity. I can use a blending mode. I could come down here to the letters FX and go all the way up here because maybe that human saturation, maybe what I'd like to do is make it to the underlying image that's there. So the colors come through in the bright areas but not the dark or the other way around, whatever it is you could play with these to do that and this technique would still work. So now let's see how we can create one of those LUTs, a color lookup table so that we could apply it the same way I did before where it's a single adjustment layer and it gives me this end result. Well, all I need to do is make sure that my original image is on a layer that's called Background. I mean a real background layer where it's got to lock to the right and so on. If yours wasn't already, you go up to the layer menu. You can choose New, and there'd be a choice in here, Background From Layer, and it doesn't show up right now because we already have one. Then above that you want to have just adjustment layers with empty masks. Then you can do this. If you go to the file menu, there's a choice called Export and I can go in here and say Color Lookup Tables and I'm gonna just come in here and choose 3DL and you could use Cube and some of these others. But the top is a 3D lookup table, and that's the menu we were choosing from earlier. This choice of 32, the default is usually fine and it doesn't matter what this description is set to or your copyright, you're not gonna see it anywhere. I'm just gonna click Okay, and then it's gonna ask me if I'd like to save this, and I'm just gonna call this "Ben's Night Look" and I'll save it. Now we can apply that to any image. If I were to take these layers and turn them off and I would add a brand new color lookup, then in this little menu at the top where it says 3D LUT file, I would not find my choice in here. But do you notice there are a few that I've made? Well, if you choose the topmost option, it's gonna ask you for a file, and I saved mine on my desktop. It's right here. I could choose Open, and now I have it. It's a single layer instead of being made outta three. And this could be applied to live video in a video display monitor or other video device. But how can I get it to actually appear in this menu? Well, there's just a special place we gotta move it to. If I go to my operating system and I find where my Photoshop application is stored on my computer. On a Mac, it's under Applications and then Photoshop. And then here's where we want to go. Presets. Inside the presets folder, you're gonna find this one, 3D LUTs. Whatever you put inside that folder shows up in that menu when you make a color lookup adjustment and that's just where I put my two. Now I can just go to my desktop and grab that file I just made and drag it to here. Now on mine, my operating system asks for permission and I'll give it permission there. I just used my fingerprint identification on my keyboard in order to put it in there. And so this is not gonna show up right now when I use Photoshop because it only looks at this folder at the time you launch Photoshop. So I'd have to quit Photoshop and start it back up again. But I had these two in here before I launched Photoshop and therefore when I come up here to my menu, you see that they show up. But I'll get an extra one in here if I ever quit Photoshop and relaunch it. So doing it through a LUT is convenient because you don't have to remember what combination of adjustments you originally created things from and you can just apply it as a single adjustment layer, which can be nice.