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Author Topic: FINALLY, the color correction tutorial  (Read 69744 times)

Offline glennab

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FINALLY, the color correction tutorial
« on: February 16, 2008, 05:00:08 PM »
Hi volunteers.  I've been talking about this technique for months and decided to take a day off from restoring and try to get this information together for you.  I've found it invaluable.

Thanks much to Larry Becker, Executive Director of NAPP for giving me the okay to relay this information to you, and to Dave Cross, at whose seminar I learned this and many other awesome techniques.


THE MOST PRECISE  COLOR CORRECTION METHOD I'VE DISCOVERED!


1. In Photoshop go to Image/Adjustments/Curves.  On the top menu bar, set your Sample Size to 3px by 3px.  This prevents you from clicking on a "maverick" pixel that will throw off your correction, as is possible using the 1px by 1px.



2. Double click on each eyedropper and set the RGB values as follows:







These values will prevent your getting shadows with obliterated details and your highlights from being blown-out.

3. When you save the dialog box, Photoshop will ask whether you want to keep the values as defaults.  Say yes.

4. Duplicate the original image layer.

5. Create a threshold adjustment layer above the dupe.

6. Use the threshold slider to find your highlight and shadow points:  For highlights, move the slider to the far right.  Then slowly move it left until you begin to see white areas.  Use the preview toggle to ensure that you're setting your point on the actual image and not on damage.  You can use the up and down arrows to have finer control over the movement of the slider (Up= 1 number higher ; Down=1 number lower). Shift/click on the area that appears to be the "whitest", and a small cross-haired circle with the number 1 below it will appear.

7. Without leaving the threshold dialogue box, shift the slider to the far left and begin slowly moving it to the right until black areas appear. Follow the same guidelines as for setting the white point, shift-click, and you'll see a small cross-haired circle with the number 2 below it.

8. Close the threshold dialog box.  The markers will disappear, but they'll show up again later. Discard the threshold adjustment layer.

9. To set your mid-tone (gamma), create a new layer above the dupe layer and fill it with 50% gray.  Set the gray layer to the Difference blend mode.  The image will look VERY strange.  Above the gray layer, create another threshold adjustment layer.  Move the slider to the left until you see white areas.  Choose the smallest white area that is part of the image, rather than damage (shift-click). A small cross-haired circle with the number 3 below it will appear.  Often the gamma point will coincide with either the white or the black point.  If so, just remember which it is.

10. Close the threshold dialogue box and discard the threshold and gray layers.

11. Go back to your curves dialog box. The set points will reappear on your image.  Choose the white-point eyedropper and click it in the exact center of the cross hairs of your number 1 circle.  Choose the black-point dropper and click in the center of the number 2 circle.  For the mid-tones use either the number 3 circle or the 1 or 2 that coincided with the gamma point. By using your shift lock, you can see targets that are identical to those you set.  When one is on top of the other you won't see a target, so you'll know you're directly over it.

If you toggle between the original and adjusted duplicate layer, you'll be amazed.

Note: This won't always give you perfect color correction, but I've found that it's a great starting point, and usually any further adjustments you make will be minor.  The beauty of this method is that there's no guessing.  You set your numbers, set your points, and as long as you're on a part of the image that's relatively pristine you'll get phenomenal results.

I have screen shots that I can post if any of this tutorial needs refinement, and I'll be happy to provide more information to anyone who wants or needs it.  I'm also going to post a couple of samples.

ORIGINAL


COLOR ADJUSTED


COLOR ADJUSTED AND TWEAKED


SAMPLE 2 ORIGINAL


SAMPLE 2 ADJUSTED


SAMPLE 3 ORIGINAL


SAMPLE 3 ADJUSTED


My best to all of you,

Glenna
« Last Edit: February 16, 2008, 05:11:11 PM by glennab »
What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. ~Albert Pine

(Photoshop CS5 /Mac Pro)

cmpentecost

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Re: FINALLY, the color correction tutorial
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2008, 06:55:57 PM »
Thanks for sharing this Glenna.  Great information!

Chris

Offline Mhayes

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Re: FINALLY, the color correction tutorial
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2008, 09:07:21 PM »
Hi Glenna,

Great tutorial! Scott Kelby also showed this technique in his book: The Phototoshop CS2 Book For Digital Photographers. This will be a help to those haven't been to the seminar or have Kelby's book.

Margie
"carpe diem"

Margie Hayes
OPR President
mhayes@operationphotorescue.org

Offline Atlantis

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    • margabuitendijk.nl
Re: FINALLY, the color correction tutorial
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2008, 10:23:51 AM »
Thanks a million. Copy-pasted it. I like to have different approaches in my sleeves in case one of them fails to give me the desired results.
The only way to get better is to figure out what I did wrong.

mschonher

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Re: FINALLY, the color correction tutorial
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2008, 12:44:57 PM »
Glenna, thanks so much for sharing this great tut. I can't wait to try it out. I've done something similar but it did not include the grey eyedropper or the 3x3 pixel choice...good job Glenna!..........Mary

Offline John

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Re: FINALLY, the color correction tutorial
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2008, 10:42:56 AM »
Just came across this Glenna, nice work!  Keep 'em coming!

John

Offline Hannie

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Re: FINALLY, the color correction tutorial
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2008, 03:00:38 PM »
Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write all this down (after all we all know how much you hate writing  ;))!
I started with a photo that I had just corrected, color, tone etc.  Then I tried your method and I was very happy to see that the photo came out much better than when I did it. 
Great tut Glenna!

 :hug:

Hannie
Hannie Scheltema
Distribution Coordinator
hannie@operationphotorescue.org

Offline glennab

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Re: FINALLY, the color correction tutorial
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2008, 06:55:00 PM »
Hannie and all

I'm so glad this tutorial has been helpful for you.  It's the first technique I use on any image that I want to color correct, be it a restoration or a photo at work.  Most of the time it's amazing!  Sometimes a little more tweaking is in order, but it's a great start, especially with mid-tones.

One thing I forgot to mention is that when I was corresponding with Larry Becker, executive director of  NAPP, I asked him if any of the organization's gurus would be willing to help us with especially difficult issues in our restorations.  He told me that while they couldn't answer a large number of individual inquiries, if we had a specific problem we wanted addressed as a group, I could contact him and he'd put the question out to his experts.  So if we have a consensus on an issue that's especially troubling, I'll be glad to contact Larry and see if we get a response (my guess is we will, because he's a great guy and is very supportive of OPR).

Cheers!

Glenna
What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. ~Albert Pine

(Photoshop CS5 /Mac Pro)

cmpentecost

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Re: FINALLY, the color correction tutorial
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2008, 10:09:05 PM »
For any of us that are NAPP members, we could just post it in the NAPP forums, rather than bothering Larry with it.  The NAPP forums are great for helping to resolve Photoshop problems.

Chris

Offline jneil2

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Re: FINALLY, the color correction tutorial
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2008, 03:33:00 PM »
Thanks, Glenna.  I have bookmarked this one for easy access...

Jan

Offline Johnboy

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Re: FINALLY, the color correction tutorial
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2008, 07:43:14 PM »
Glenna,

I have used this technique with my last two restorations. It is amazing how well it works.

I have a comment on your step 9 to set the mid-tone. I am in Photoshop CS and recently discovered a need for an additional step. That is, I have to set the Mode to Difference under the Blending section in the Fill dialog box in CS along with doing it in the Layers palette. When I first used the tutorial instructions I did not get a strange looking result. I thought, 'Oh, well.' and went on. However in recent playing around I thought what will happen if I set Difference in the fill dialog too. Results as described. See below for the settings for the Fill dialog in CS:



This same tutorial appeared in the May, 2008 issue of Macworld. The author of the article is Scott Kelby. Here is the Macworld link for anyone interested: http://www.macworld.com/article/132982-2/2008/04/digitalphoto2505.html

The instructions to set the mid-point are basically the same in the article as you stated Glenna. So my situation must be unique to CS.

Johnboy

Offline glennab

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Re: FINALLY, the color correction tutorial
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2008, 09:21:33 PM »
Hi JB

I'm so glad the tutorial has been such a help to you.  I don't know what I'd do without it.  I guess CS must be a bit different from CS2 and CS3, because I've never had to use the blending mode in the fill dialog.  There's always the possibility that it could be a more accurate way to get results.  Whatever works!

I didn't see Scott's article I'm months behind in my trade magazine reading.  I'll have to check it out.  If I remember correctly, Dave Cross said that the technique was Scott's to begin with.  The gurus' guru!

Cheers,

GK
What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. ~Albert Pine

(Photoshop CS5 /Mac Pro)

Offline Mhayes

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Re: FINALLY, the color correction tutorial
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2008, 09:59:23 PM »
Johnboy, I have CS2 and do the same thing, but after I add a layer with Overlay for the blending mode and 50% gray check off; I then go to the layers section and the pull down blending section and then choose Difference. NAPP carried it one step further by the use of the threshold adjustment to pin point where the black on Difference first shows up. This tip works pretty good, but you will come across a photo that will not have a good gray to work with.

Margie
« Last Edit: August 15, 2008, 12:29:35 PM by MarCat »
"carpe diem"

Margie Hayes
OPR President
mhayes@operationphotorescue.org

Offline Johnboy

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Re: FINALLY, the color correction tutorial
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2008, 11:13:56 AM »
Marge,

I'll keep your tip in mind. I just wasn't sure if ran into was a CS thing, or carried over to the other Photoshop versions. (I also considered operator error which I think it was to begin with.) I really began to wonder when I read the Macworld article as they typically present information using the latest app and Mac OS on the market.

Thanks Marge.

Johnboy

Offline mitzs

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Re: FINALLY, the color correction tutorial
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2008, 01:22:07 AM »
So do you guys always do color correction first before you do anything else? And thanks for the tut glenna, I am always looking for good resources.