Friday, May 16, 2008

Color Corrections Part I

OK Class...

Well the best laid plans of mice and men right? My Camtasia studio has decided it doesn't want to play today, so who's up for a typed tutorial?!?

Before we do any color correction we need to change a few default Photoshop settings.

1) Go to the eyedropper tool and look at the options at the top of the screen. Where it says Sample Size:, I'm betting yours still says Point Sample. If it does we need to change that to 3x3 (or higher for really hi-res images). Why? At Point Sample, it only gives you a reading of one teeny tiny individual pixel. What we want is an average of the area we're clicking as this is a much more accurate setting for color correction.

2) While having cool desktops and colorful wallpapers and background are cool - you won't find any pros doing color correction with colorful surroundings. Heck, the real pros even paint their rooms a neutral gray so as not to be influenced by color. You CAN NOT trust your eyes while doing color correction - they will lie to you every single time no matter what your vision is. There is a really cool video that shows this here. Go watch it and come back, I'll wait......................

OK, you're back. To resolve this in Photoshop, just press the F key once. This centers your image full screen on a neutral gray background. BTW, pressing F three more times will return you back to the default view (and cycles through some other cool views too).

3) And finally, we need to re-set some colors in Photoshop to be more realistic. Photoshop ships with white being pure white and black being pure black, which is fine in most cases, but in print photography that is bad. If something were to print pure white, it would in effect put NO ink on the paper in that spot. So, here's how we fix it. Go to Image - Adjustments - Curves. Curves is hands down the choice of the pros for color correction. But we're not ready for that yet. We're still setting preferences. OK, in the curves dialog box, under the histogram, there are three eyedroppers - Black, Gray, and White for Shadows, Mid-tones, and Highlights. We want to double-click the left one (Black) which brings up a color picker. We want to replace the R,G,B values which are probably sitting at 0. So For R, enter a value of 10. Same for G and same for B. So now we have RGB all equaling 10, so we can click OK to save these values and return to the Curves dialog box. Now, we're going to do the same thing for the Middle/Gray eyedropper and the Right/White eyedropper using the values listed below. Each time after setting the RGB values in the color picker - clicking OK to return to the Curves dialog box, but not clicking OK to exit the Curves box until all three have been done.

Black: 10,10,10 Gray: 133,133,133 White: 245,245,245

Now, after setting all three eyedroppers, we can finally click OK on the Curves dialog box and it will ask if you want to Save the New Target Colors as defaults? Click YES - and from now on, these will be the values used to color correct your photos. You will not have to go through this process anymore! Yea!

Now, you're ready to color correct your photo, See Color Corrections Part II coming up!

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