Photoshop Lab Color: how to retouch images for a professional finish

    | Photoshop Tutorials | Tutorials | 04/08/2013 00:01am
    0 Comments

    In our latest Photoshop tutorial we take an in-depth look at the Photoshop Lab Color mode and how you can use it to retouch scenes with incredible precision, giving your photos a professional quality.

    Photoshop Lab Color: how to retouch images for a professional finish

    Lab Color mode is one of those digital terms that can be misunderstood, or deemed too advanced for the average Photoshop user. However, it’s actually a very simple mode that lets you target and adjust color and light separately from one another.

    Before we get into Lab, first a little background on color modes. Most images (on your monitor, TV, phone and so on) are in the RGB color mode, standing for Red, Green and Blue.

    Why these colors? Because they’re the colors of light, and millions of other colors can be made using different combinations of these three.

    Assuming that your image is in RGB (it says so next to the image name at the top) Photoshop displays these three colors as separate Channels within the Channels panel. Switch to CMYK mode (used mainly for printing) and the channels change to show Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK).

    By contrast, if you convert your image to Lab Color mode (pronounced as L-A-B) the Channels change to show ‘Lightness’, ‘a’ and ‘b’. Lightness is like a black-and-white version of the image, while ‘a’ and ‘b’ represent all the color.

    Crucially, this means that you can enhance color and detail independently of one another, producing a vibrancy of color that wouldn’t be possible in RGB mode.

    Here we’ll show you how to use Lab Color mode to enhance colors and reveal detail. We’ll start by removing a few distracting areas, then make a Lab Color adjustment that remains completely non-destructive.

    So read on to discover how to give your images a polished, professional finish and make those colors sing!

    How to use the Photoshop Lab Color mode: steps 1-2

    How to use the Photoshop Lab Color mode: step 1

    Make basic tweaks
    Download our start file. Navigate to the lab_before.dng start file in Bridge then right-click it and choose Open in Camera Raw. Go to the Basics panel and set Highlights to -60, Shadows to +10, Whites to -22, Blacks to -2 and Vibrance to +10. Grab the Crop tool from the toolbar then drag a box to crop a bit tighter. Click Open image.

     

    How to use the Photoshop Lab Color mode: step 2

    Make a rough selection
    Before we work on the tones in Lab Color mode, we’ll improve the composition by replacing the distracting background on the left with a portion of the right side of the frame. Grab the Lasso tool and use it to draw a rough selection along the right side that’s the same size as the area you need to fix.

    How to use the Photoshop Lab Color mode: steps 1-2
    How to use the Photoshop Lab Color mode: steps 3-4
    How to use the Photoshop Lab Color mode: steps 5-6
    How to use the Photoshop Lab Color mode: steps 7-8
    How to use the Photoshop Lab Color mode: steps 9-10
    How to use the Photoshop Lab Color mode: steps 11-12
    How to use the Photoshop Lab Color mode: steps 13-14
    How to use the Photoshop Lab Color mode: steps 15-16
    How to use the Photoshop Lab Color mode: steps 17-18

    READ MORE

    10 reasons your photos aren’t sharp (and how to fix them)
    34 Photoshop effects every photographer must try once
    Crop photos the right way: classic mistakes and how to avoid them
    Adobe Lightroom: what every photographer needs to know about the ‘alternative Photoshop’


    Posted on Sunday, August 4th, 2013 at 12:01 am under Photoshop Tutorials, Tutorials.

    Tags: ,

    Share This Page

    sssss