Correct Common Color problems in Photoshop
Fixing Color is one of the major problems in editing an image. We can easily edit the brightness and contrast of an image but coming to the color fixing we face many problems with it in Photoshop. We might have studied hundreds of books about how different Colors affect emotion and how to color grade images and movies.
Whenever we want to edit images in Photoshop the first thing we need to do is fix overall tonal or color problems in the image.
Below we have shown you some images which are used for this tutorial:
And here’s how it will look after a quick overall tone and color correction with Levels:
Again, this is the step you always want to start with when editing your images, so having said that, let’s get started!
Step 1: Set Up the Levels Defaults
Open your image in Photoshop and first set the command levels. Go to the top of the image menu and choose Adjustments>LEVELS> or use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+L (win), Command+L (MAC). Any of those ways gets Dialog box. In the bottom right corner, you will find three eye dropper icons. Double click on white point eyedropper icon at the left.
This opens the Photoshop color picker. In that window you will find R, G and B which stands for RED, GREEN, and BLUE. Type the value 245 for each of three input boxes.
The white Point value is set to 255 by default for each of the color R, G, and B options, which in Photoshop’s world means pure white. By decreasing the value of 255 to 245, this may helps to maintain the lightest parts of the image by avoiding them from becoming 100% white and being printed as white paper. When you are done click OK and exit from the color picker, even though we will see it again in a moment.
Now, you will return to Levels dialog box, and then double-click on the eyedropper icon on the left, which is the black point eyedropper.
Once again the color picker window gets back. So enter the value 10 into R, G, and B for this time.
By setting this value to 10 rather than its default of 0, we’ll prevent the darkest parts of our image from becoming pure black, allowing us to maintain detail in the shadows and also save us a little black ink when we go to print the image. Click OK to exit out of the Color Picker.
We can avoid the darkest parts of our image from becoming pure black, by setting this value to 10 rather than its default value of 0, and also permits us to maintain detail in the shadows and even save us from little black ink while printing the image. Click OK to exit out of the levels dialog box. Photoshop will ask whether you want to save the changes you can made as the new defaults. Click on Yes, then you no need edit an image next time when you do as they have been saved as the default values:
We have finished the set up of our white and black point values to something which are useful to us. Now let’s fix the global tonal and color issues in the image.
Step 2: Add a “Threshold” Adjustment Layer and Use It to Find the Lightest Areas in the Image
We have to start our tonal and color correction in the lightest areas of the image. First of all we have to find them before correcting them. Luckily, we can find them easily so thanks to Photoshop’s Threshold adjustment. Tab the New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette and then select Threshold from the adjustment layers list.
This will open the Threshold dialog box.Then click on the slider at the bottom of the dialog box and drag it to the right all the way. You will see that your image completely changes into black. Then start dragging the slider to the back of the left until you find the white areas in the image. Once you find them you can stop dragging. These are the lightest areas in your image.
Step 3: Place a Target Marker inside a White Area
To place a Target Marker inside a white area, move the mouse into one of the white areas in the image, then you will find the cursor changes into the Eyedropper icon. Once you have found the cursor above the white area, hold down your shift key then the Eyedropper icon turns into the color sampler icon. Click inside the white area then target marker will be placed at that location. You will find a small number at the bottom left of the marker.
Now we can use the target marker to correct the lightest areas in the image in few minutes.
Step 4: Find the Darkest Part of the Image with the Same Threshold Adjustment Layer
Previously, we have found the lightest areas in the image and marked it. Now we have to find the darkest areas of the image and mark it. It is easy to find darkest areas when compared to lightest areas of the image. As mentioned for lightest areas in darkest areas also open the Threshold dialog box, click on the slider at the bottom and now drag the slider to the left side. Then you will find the image completely white in color. Slowly start dragging it back towards the right until you find black areas in the image. After finding the black areas stop dragging. These are darkest areas of the image.
Step 5: Place a Target Marker inside a Black Area
Same as you did in the white areas, move the mouse into one of the black areas in the image. Once the cursor is over the black area, hold down the shift key and click inside the area to fix the marker at that location. You will find a small number 2 in the bottom right of the marker.
Step 6: Remove the Threshold Adjustment Layer
Now we have two target markers one is lightest spot marker which is labelled at “1” in its bottom right corner and the next one is darkest spot which is labelled at “2”. We don’t need our Threshold adjustment layer anymore, so click on Cancel button. You will find that both the target markers disappear on top, but no need to worry they are just hiding. We can see them again when we add our levels adjustment layer, which we will do next.
Step 7: Add A “Levels” Adjustment Layer
Once again click on the New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette
and Choose Levels from the list. This will open the dialog box.
Even if we are using an adjustment layer this time before choosing Levels from the image menu, the dialog box is exactly the same:
If you observe your image you will find both the target markers on the screen:
Step 8: Click On The First Target Marker With The White Point Eyedropper
To fix the overall (global) tonal and color problems in the image first select the white point eyedropper from the bottom right levels dialog box. After selecting the eye dropper all we need to do is select the first target marker (labelled “1”).
If you have any problem lining up the eyedropper icon with the center of the target marker, press the Caps Lock key which changes the eyedropper icon into a target marker icon itself. When they both disappear from the screen you will find both the target markers lined up perfectly and you can click your mouse at that location to correct the highlights.
Step 9: Click On The Second Target Marker With The Black Point Eyedropper
Already we have corrected the highlights, now we have to correct the shadows that mean dark areas. From the Levels dialog box select black point eyedropper then with the selected black point eyedropper, click on the second target marker to correct any color and tonal problems in the shadows.
Within two clicks of the mouse, we handled the fixing problems in the highlights and shadow areas of the image. By using “before and after” comparison you can check how much the image has improved.
Step 10: Adjust The Center Slider To Brighten The Midtones If Needed
After the correction of highlights and shadows, you will see the image is a bit too dark. To brighten the image, click on the Midtone slider in the Levels dialog box and drag it a little to the left:
Once you have brightened the image by using Midtone slider (if your image needs it), click ok in the dialog box to come out from it and accept the corrections you have made.
To cycle between the corrected and uncorrected versions of your image to see how much of an improvement you’ve made, simply click on the Layer Visibility icon (also known as the “eyeball icon”) to the left of the Levels adjustment layer in the Layers palette to turn the layer on and off:
Step 11: Remove the Target Markers
We have done with target markers, so we can remove them. To remove them select the Color Sampler Tool from the Tools palette.
After selecting the Color Sampler Tool, if you look up in the Options Bar you will find a Clear button on the top of it. Click on that button to clear target markers.
It is not important that you remove the target markers, because they don’t print if you forget to remove them, but they get saved including the image. So it is better to remove them after usage.
And with target markers you can remove all the tonal and color correction on the image is done! Don’t worry if the first couple of times you go through these steps, you feel like you’re stumbling through them and it seems to be taking longer than it should. If you follow this process few times with several images, it starts to look like second nature to you and the whole process doesn’t take much time to complete.
Below image is the original image given for comparison.
Below image shows after completing the overall tonal and color correction using the Levels adjustment layer:
This is the final result after editing the common colors in Photoshop.
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