July 22, 2009

Color Correction Education...

my own, that is. Someday, I'm gonna conquer this whole color correction thing. In the meantime, want to see some of my journey?

Here's a recent picture of Littlest Dude at the pool on the "island." :-) SOOC:

IMG_2739


Here's what the same picture looks like after I used the white balance dropper in Lightroom to pick a "neutral" spot. In this instance I clicked on that little gray section at the bottom of the scoreboard. My target neutral doesn't HAVE to be gray; any neutral (where all three RGB numbers are closely the same) will do. Pros: This is a super simple, fast fix. Cons: It's not always an accurate fix. This time it was pretty good, albeit not perfect - I think the clouds are too pink, but the skin is better.

IMG_2739-2


I've been immersing myself in this book, trying to wrap my brain around correct color and how to achieve it. This book is a huge proponent of Curves. So here is my meager attempt to fix the above photo using just Curves in Photoshop. Instead of using mere seconds (like the LR fix), I whittled away hours ... a little longer in Photoshop to achieve this fix:

IMG_2739-Edit


And then I went right back to Lightroom, slapped the quickie preset that I had always pictured for this image on the original and declared it my favorite.

IMG_2739-3


Moral of the story? There isn't one. I just hope all this time I'm wasting investing will some day pay off. ;-)

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22 comments:

llaxton said...

boy do I feel your pain! Sometimes it seems the more we read and study and learn..the less sure we are about what is the best way to go! I guess ignorance is bliss after all! lol

Deidra said...

As always, a great Master Class! What do you do about the fact that everyone views the image on a different monitor? Is there a standard color default of sorts that you shoot for? Or am I overthinking? In any event, I love what you've done! I wanna go to the "island."

fxmixer said...

Color correction is so difficult for me as well. You did a nice job on this one. I gotta spend some more time working on it.

Melinda said...

I was actually very encouraged by this post. It is nice to know that the professional's have just as many issues with color correction as us measly amateurs do : )

Of course, after hours and hours and hours of me working on a photo, I still would not come up with the same beautiful results you do.

The Animator's Wife said...

I was impressed with your Curves version and blown away by the final. Lately I HATE opening PS and avoid it unless necessary, but I can see what a difference it makes. *sigh*

Off to check out that book...

Elaine at Matters of the Heart) said...

There is so much for me to learn. Thank you for sharing, it certainly can be rewarding knowing you have helped someone out along the way. By the way, I LOVED the final one.

Rosina said...

Wow--definitely love the last one! Thank you for this.

Heidi said...

I'm having a total love/hate thing with editing right now. Half the time I get so frustrated with my lack of technical skills (especially with color correction and skin tones), half the time I think I just want to do things my own way (creatively but untechnically), and half the time I want to ditch photo projects all together. (I hate math, too.) This is my favorite tutorial on color correct that I've read lately. :)

minnesotamom said...

Skin tones make me want to find a barf bag. I get very frustrated with them...I may have to check out that book and dig in myself. Perhaps that will be my winter project?

Lisawa said...

Y aknow.. we bought Christian photoshop elements 7 for Christmas.... she used it 2 times... I used it once, but got frustrated... w have been using an online source called picknic and its pretty cool.... easier to use...

I wish I had more time to spend w/ photoshop... but then again I wish we would have gone w/ lightroom (or wha ever its called.. theother one)*Ü* instead... I hear thats a bit more user friendly...

Lizzie said...

i like the last one best too :) hey and you taught me something! i never knew the neutral picker worked best with grey!!! i've always done browns and it looked horrible. thanks dear :)

Rhonda said...

Aahhh the tedious work of color correction. You did a GREAT job, regardless of how long it took.
I look forward to the day that there is an easier way to do this. I have PS4, and it has, by far, the quickest fixes I have used in the past 7 years that I have had Photoshop, but it's still a tedious job.
I believe the more you do it, the more instictual it gets though.
&I've got to say that the results are worth it.
BTW, Here are a couple of tutorials that have helped me make the process a little quicker...
http://www.macworld.com/article/132982/2008/04/digitalphoto2505.html AND
http://digital-photography-school.com/precise-color-cast-correction-with-gray-fill-layers

Rhonda said...

Oh and this one by Scott Kelby too...
http://www.peachpit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1187964&seqNum=5

SKELLER said...

Ah! I can see that I'm in good company.

Deidra - other people's screens are out of my control. BUT what's really important is whether my screen is calibrated correctly to the shop that prints my photos. This is a problem I'm still attempting to correct. sigh.

Minnesota - *I* never could have attempted this book with Prego-brain. You're a brave woman!

Rhonda - thanks for the links! I look forward to checking them out :-).

Kelly said...

What a great edited image! It looks fabulous! I'm finding that I have been neglecting to watch for color casts in my photos, so I'm trying to catch it now.

Jill Franklin said...

OMG! I can sit and work on an image for hours...then go and pull it up on my computer at work and it looks completely different. ugh! Glad to know I'm not alone in my journey, lol. Your picture turned out Wonderful! The color is Fantastic! The "Island" ~ Love It!!! *jill checking out links now* (kudos!)

~ shi ~ said...

you know every time I come to your blog you are responsible for making me sin! hahaha

I want to have your camera and talen...oh, I guess I better add covet to the list...sigh...

Heather Grilliot said...

Fabulious, I just got lightroom...what Preset did you actually use, if You don't mind sharing with us amatures?? Thanks!

SKELLER said...

Heather-
It's a preset called dramatic_sky

You can download it (along with a boatload of other free presets) here:

http://www.torrentz.com/13d04b40945b21baba75a5af5be2bd614f6a3b7c

theArthurClan said...

I'm just happy to know that one of my photography heroines has issues with color correction from time-to-time too. You give me hope!! ;)

Gorgeous photo BTW.

Beth@Pages of Our Life said...

I cracked it open and I like how he explains the science behind what he is doing. Your attempts look great! That whole curves things is scary to me. With one twitch I can totally mess it up more than before. lol

I was pleasantly surprised to find all of the author's suggestions for corrections on Smug Mug. They use his spread sheet to explain how to correct color casts in PS before sending to print. It was a little easier to understand smug mugs interpretation of his techniques. lol but, I've only cracked the book....

Life with Kaishon said...

Wow. I would echo what all the others have written. This looks awesome. I am pretty impressed that he is standing on the board. Your boys are talented : )