The Art Of Color Adjustment

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The power of color offers you extraordinary creative capabilities and you’ve never had more control than today.

 

1. Infinite Variations

The possibilities seem limitless. Explore your options before you commit to a solution.

2. How To Evaluate Color Adjustment Tools

Identify the go to, exotic, and redundant tools.

3. Blend Modes 

Make all of Photoshop’s color adjustment tools more precise.

4. Curves 

It’s the most precise tool for adjusting luminosity and hue.

5. 6 Ways To Get Better Shadow & Highlight Detail

Increase separation in the darkest and lightest values.

6. High Pass 

Choose between planar contrast or edge sharpening.

7. Curves, Clarity, Dehaze, High Pass, Texture and Sharpening Compared

How do you choose between so many ways to control luminosity contrast?

8. Curing Dehaze Color Artifacts 

Try this quick fix to eliminate Dehaze color artifacts.

9. Hue/Saturation & Vibrance & HSL Compared

They’re the most powerful tools for adjusting saturation.

10. White Balance, Photo Filter, Color Overlays, and Curves Compared 

How do you choose between so many ways to control color temperature?

11. Why Achieving Neutrality In Your Images Is So Important

Make your color more believable, saturated, and three-dimensional.

12. 4 Ways To Achieve Neutrality 

How you achieve neutrality sets the foundation for future color moves.

13. Selective Color

It makes very precise changes like no other tool.

14. Use LAB Color Mode To Increase Hue Contrast 

Use LAB mode for greater hue separation.

15. Blending Channels  

Use the information in one channel to improve another.

16. Adobe Camera Raw Filter 

Using ACR on layers lets you use Photoshop’s precise masking with it.

17. Color Lookup

Color grading can give many images a similar look or individuals a unique one.

18. Color Grading

Make the color in your images more expressive with this easy split toning solution.

19. Gradient Maps 

Add new color into specific ranges of luminosity.

20. Match Color

Transfer color from one image to another.

21. Synthetic Profiles 

Make big changes non-destructively by redefining color values.

22. Before You Mask Use The Tool’s Selectivity | Coming Soon

The results are faster and sometimes better.

23. What You Can Do With Raw That You Can’t With Phoshop Unless … | Coming Soon

Adjust Raw files and individual layers with the most robust color adjustment feature.

 

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Color Theory

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Understanding color theory will help you appreciate and make more effective color choices.

 

1. The Best Books On Color Theory
Deepen your appreciation and understanding of color with these books.

2. What Is Color Theory ? | Download
Here are the essentials on which you can base your conceptual foundation of color.

3. An Artist’s Palette | Download
One of the most distinctive things about an artist’s work is his or her use of color.

4. One Strategy For Creating Many Successful Color Palettes

Most successful palettes do this one thing.

5. How To Find The Infinite Color Possibilities One Image Contains

The possibilities seem limitless. Explore your options before you commit to a solution.

6. Why B&W And Color Don’t Mix
They’re two different realities; unless you use them as a code for that, present them separately.

7. B&W Palettes | Download
Here are a few examples of black and white palettes drawn from the history of photographic practice.

8. B&W Expanding the Definition | Download
What is a black and white image? Your definition may be very narrow or very broad.

9. 3 Types of Color

10. 3 Elements of Color

11. Color Analysis

12. Graphing Color

13. Saturation

14. Color Temperature 

15. Gradation

16. Simultaneous Contrast

17. Transparency & Translucency

18. The Weight Of Color

19. Proportion | Coming Soon

20. A Brief History Of The Color Wheel

21. Why Photographers’ And Painters’ Color Wheels Differ

22. How To Use Color Wheels | Coming

23. The Colors Of The Seasons | Coming

24. The Colors Of A Place | Coming

25. All The Words Of The Rainbow

Find the words to describe that color or figure out what that word means.

26. Color is an Event

It happens when a source, a surface, and a viewer come together.

 

Take The X-Rite ColorIQ Challenge


1. Exercise File – Memory
| Coming

2. Exercise File – After Image | Coming

3. Exercise File – Transparency | Coming

4. Exercise File – Intervals | Coming

5. Exercise File – Simultaneous Contrast 3=4  | Coming

6. Exercise File – Simultaneous Contrast 4=2 | Coming

7. Exercise File – Optically Neutral  | Coming

8. Exercise File – Analysis  | Coming

4 Ways To Enhance Color Temperature In Your Images

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What Is Color Temperature ?

Of the three elements of color (luminosity, hue, and saturation), hue is the one most closely associated with temperature.  This is a psychological temperature not a physical temperature. Most people associate red with fire or blood (warm things) and blue with sky, water, and ice (cool things), where physically a blue flame is hotter than a red flame. You can identify which hues are warmer and which are cooler by their proximity to the absolute poles of red (warm) and cyan (cool) on the color wheel. When comparing any two hues you can always ask, “Which one is warmer and which one is cooler?”. Even when comparing two variations of the same hue, very often one will be slightly warmer or cooler. Color temperature is part of what creates color variety, which is one spice of life, a very important one, especially when it comes to visual communication.

The Things You Can You Do With Temperature

Many photographers think of color temperature as something to "get right" during exposure but you can also use color temperature creatively in post-processing. You can produce many compelling color effects with color temperature. You can make distant close layers feel closer by warming them and distant layers more distant by cooling them. You can make object feel more three dimensional by warming highlights and cooling shadows. You can add a warm glow that simulates early morning or late evening light. You can  You can even make day look like night, by dramatically cooling it. And every one of these moves will change the emotional tone of an image. Temperature is a critical element for communicating with color.

Lightroom & Photoshop

There are many color adjustment tools in Lightroom and Photoshop that adjust hue. Having used them all since the day they were released (or before) I regularly use four and consider them go to tools worth mastering.


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Why Neutrality In Your Images Is So Important

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Achieving neutrality in your images is so important. Few things are as important. Why?
Here are 4 reasons.
1 – The color in your images will appear more believable.
Casts make colors seem false. This is true for memory colors like fire engine red, sky blue, and grass green, particularly true for flesh tones (Are you feeling a little bit green today?), but nowhere more true than with neutrals. There can be some debate about which blue is sky blue. On which day? At what time? But there’s very little debate about what gray is truly neutral. Sure those neutral grays can vary in brightness but not hue or saturation. Make the neutrals in your images truly neutral and you’ll make the other colors in your images more believable.
2 – The colors in your images will look more saturated.
When you remove color casts you can see the colors beneath them more clearly. The color beneath appears purer. This effect won’t be as strong as if you had increased their saturation. It will be subtler but more convincing. Oversaturated colors often appear false and you’ll have to work the saturation of your colors twice as hard if they contain color casts. Clean color is a great foundation to add saturation to. You can get the best of both worlds.
3 – Your images will appear more three-dimensional.
Without casts, the colors in your images will have more contrast.
They’ll have more luminosity contrast. When they’re not unified by a color cast, luminosity or brightness values will become more distinct.
They’ll have more hue contrast. Often shadows will appear cooler while highlights appear warmer, making them appear even more different than they already are.
They’ll have more saturation contrast. When neutrals are neutral you’ll get maximum contrast between them and the more saturated colors in your image.
Add these three kinds of color contrast together and you’ll see a dramatic difference in your images. The illusions of three-dimensional depth and volume in our two-dimensional images will be significantly amplified.
Once again, these effects will be powerfully felt but not obvious. Clean colors won’t call attention to themselves because they seem natural, unlike imbalanced images that you’ll need to over-process to get similar effects.
4 – You’ll have the best color foundations to make black and white conversions from.
It sounds strange when you first hear it but color matters even when you’re going to remove it. The maximum hue and saturation separation created by achieving neutrality gives you more control about how dark or light to make hues during conversions to black and white.
5 – You’ll know color management is working.
Neutrals are one of the first things to look for when you’re checking your color management for printing, whether it’s evaluating a viewing light, examining a profile, a rendering intent, or a media setting. You not only look for neutral midtones but also neutrals throughout the entire tonal scale (gray balance). If you’ve achieved both your color management is working correctly. If not, check your system.
I’m sure you’ll find a few more reasons why neutrality in your images is so important.
Achieving neutrality in your images isn’t something you do for all of your images. There are many exceptions. Nevertheless, being able to achieve neutrality in your images a critically important skill. When you know how and why to achieve neutrality all of your color choices become more sensitive, deliberate, and meaningful.
Read more on Color Adjustment here.
Learn more in my digital printing and digital photography workshops.
 

4 Ways To Achieve Neutrality In Your Images

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There are many ways to achieve neutrality in your images. The results they offer are not same. You need to know the differences so you can make better choices and get solutions that are right for you and your images. Explore them and you’ll be more likely to make better choices for your images in the future. Keep exploring them and you’ll open up a world of possibilities within your images.
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Lightroom & Camera Raw White Balance Dropper and Sliders
The simplest way to achieve neutrality is to correctly set white balance during Raw conversion, with Lightroom or Camera Raw. Click on the eyedropper tool and click on a target area within the image. It’s that simple.
What’s not so simple is identifying a good target. This will be easy if you photographed a color checker within the image or in a separate exposure at the same time, but few do. If you’re like most photographers you’ll have to identify a good target visually, introducing a margin of error equal to your discernment. Usually the best choices are midtones. This tool also works well with highlights; but they’re more likely to carry color casts that you won’t see at first glance.
After you click on a target, the results can be refined further with the Temperature (blue to yellow) and Tint (green to magenta) sliders.
Remember, you can use Camera Raw as a filter in Photoshop too.
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Normal blend mode

Color blend mode

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Match Color
Match Color is Photoshop’s often unfound and overlooked feature that offers such sophisticated results when neutralizing colors that it’s often surprising. Not all colors will be affected equally – and that can be a good thing. Using Match Color is even easier than using Lightroom / Camera Raw’s white balance eye-dropper because you don’t need to click on a target. Simply check the box Neutralize – and leave all the other sliders and drop down menus alone.


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How To Master Saturation In Your Images

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Saturation Is An Essential Key To The Success Of Your Images
One of the most distinctive features of a visual artist’s use of color is their use of saturation. When you think of Ansel Adams’ photographs you think of neutral images rather than highly saturated ones. When you think of Matisse’s paintings you think of supersaturated images rather than neutral ones. Think of your use of saturation as an essential element that will help you define your own signature style.
One of three elements of color (luminosity, hue, and saturation), saturation can give your images specific qualities of energy and light. Here are five things you can do with saturation: one, increase energy and impact; two, add complexity by revealing hidden hues; three, restore life to listless hues; four, calm colors that are distracting; or five, produce softer semi-neutral and pastel palettes.
Read more about Saturation here.
Together, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop offer an impressive, almost overwhelming, array of possibilities for controlling saturation. Do three things before you choose a tool to adjust saturation with. First, understand and develop your eye for saturation. Second, adopt a consistent strategy for exploring the possibilities it offers your images. Third, understand the differences between the tools, both how they function and the effects they produce.
Know What To Look For
Knowing what to look for will help you choose a direction, a tool, and how far to go with it. It will also help you evaluate the results you produce – and quite possibly improve them further.


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What In The World Is Color Psychology ?

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Color psychology is the study of how color affects human behavior. It’s a long-standing, field used in art, design, marketing, sports, medicine, and much more.

Despite its long history and widespread use, there’s a lot more to discover about how color affects people scientifically. Here’s are a few facts that have been scientifically proven.

We see certain colors more quickly than others.

Warm colors are stimulating and cool colors are calming.

A red room feels 10 degrees warmer, while a blue room feels 10 degrees cooler.

Colors can enhance the effectiveness of placebos.

The presence of green speeds healing.

Athletes perform better in certain colors and get penalized more in others.

Clearly, the responses to color are at once physical, psychological, and social, so identifying the strongest contributor(s) to a response(s) is no easy matter. The more social the response, the more likely it is to vary between individuals. Socially, color psychology has many layers – universal, cultural, regional, communal, individual. And then there’s time. Age (as well as gender) can also influence how a person perceives and interacts with color. An era or a moment can become important factors too. It’s complicated but it’s fascinating!
Color affects body, mind, and emotions. Color can be used by physicians to promote physical and psychological health, by businesses to brand identities and influence purchasing decisions, by political movements to propagate values and ideas, and by artists to communicate aesthetics and emotions. Color is a powerful communication tool that can be used to influence perception, mood, and action.

Considering the psychological dimensions of color consciously will give you a greater awareness of the phenomenon of color and improve your ability to communicate with it. Remember, there are shared responses to color and you have your own individual responses to color. Being able to tell the difference can be insightful. This mindfulness is something every visual artist will benefit from.
How will you use color?

Read more on Color Psychology here.
Learn more in my digital printing and digital photography workshops.

All The Symbols The Rainbow Contains

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What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see color? Chances are you’re not alone. Color associations come from many sources universal, cultural, regional, communal, and individual. These all change over time, with changes happening faster at the individual level than the global level.

 

It’s useful to understand what associations accompany colors for a majority of people. This understanding can be used to influence perception, clarify statements, reinforce messages, produce physical responses, and elicit emotional reactions.

It’s also useful to understand what associations accompany colors for yourself. This understanding can become the basis for a personal palette that gives your images a unique style. It will clarify and deepen your personal journey.

 

You’ll find classic associations with the colors of the rainbow and more here. You’ll discover classic images connected with color, verbal expressions related to the color, and synonyms or the many words used to describe colors in the same family.

 

Red

Blue

Yellow

Orange

Green

Indigo

Violet

Brown

White

Gray

Black

 

Read more on Color Psychology here.

Learn more in my digital printing and digital photography workshops.