Jul
20

Correct colour balance in Photoshop

by
Matt Bennett

Getting the colours right in your images is vital to creating images with impact.

Before
Before
After
After

Colour and tone are key to making a great photo. Too much colour and your photo will have an all-over colour cast, but conversely, too little colour and you’re left with an image lacking definition and contrast.

Within Photoshop sits a palette filled with wonderful Adjustment Layers that allow you to edit your photos in a nondestructive way. Adjustment Layers are added as a Layer in the Layers palette so you can easily go back and re-edit the settings at a later date.

If you have changed your mind and want to tweak any settings, simply double-click onto the layer. Read on to discover all of the professionals’ key colour-editing secrets.

Layers Palette

You can add as many Adjustment layers as you want, great if you have a troublesome image that needs different effects applied to several areas. Experiment with the Layer Blends too, some great effects can be achieved!

Masks

If you want to edit a specific part within a photo, use the Mask feature that appears on every Adjustment layer. Apply the all- over effect, and then simply paint away the unwanted areas.

Colour  Correct by Channel

Use a Curves or Levels Adjustment Layer to get rid of a colour cast. With either of these two features you can tweak colour levels by individual colour channels, allowing you to edit precisely.

Adjustment Layer Palette

These are nondestructive Photoshop tools that allow you to edit your images professionally. As long as you save as a PSD file (layered) you can go back and re-edit the Adjustments made at a later time.

Step 1 - Select your Adjustment Layer

Step 1
Step 1

Our example image is a little tricky and will require us to work in two halves. We need to remove the blue from the sand, however we also want to retain the colour in the sky. To begin with select a Levels Adjustment Layer from the Adjustment palette.

Step 2 - Tweak individual channels

Step 2
Step 2

To view the image’s individual channels, click the CMYK drop-down menu in the Layers palette, select Cyan. To reduce the levels of cyan, move the middle midtone slider and right white slider left. Switch to the Yellow Channel and move the middle slider right.

Step 3 - Reveal with a Mask

Step 3
Step 3

Click the Magenta Channel and reduce the levels for more neutral tones. Click the Levels Layer Mask thumbnail, select the Brush tool at soft edge, 70% Opacity, foreground/ background set black/white. Paint over the sea and sky area to reveal cyan shades.

Step 4 - Reveal and tweak

Step 4
Step 4

If you want to Mask an area again, press X on the keyboard to switch the foreground/background colours, painting in white reveals and black masks. Click onto the main Levels Layer, go back to the Levels palette and tweak the channel layers until satisfied.

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