3-way color corrector for photoshop
I am trying to help a photographer correct an image. I used combustion myself (after effects also works), as I have RGB gain and gamma control in the midtone, highlight and shadow ranges. This is 3-way color correction which I'm used to having for video color correction.
Is there a plug-in or way to do 3-way color correction in photoshop? I find their tools to be hokey in that regard.
" I have RGB gain and gamma control in the midtone, highlight and shadow ranges" - Steve T.
Use the levels tool or curves tool to individually adjust the highlights, midtones and shadows of each individual channel. Use the histogram tool to view the levels of each channel as you make the adjustments.
Google: Photoshop color correction tutorials.
Join NAPP, National Association of Photoshop Professionals, for a wealth of tutorials and advice from industry pros.
I'm a lustre colourist and former telecine operator, trying to help a photographer to get the same level of control I have, out of photoshop.
Perhaps you can google "colorist, grading, DI" :)
Compared to the level of control I'm used to, the Photoshop curves and levels are, again, hokey. Unless there are hidden controls that I'm missing.
I'd like to have something that gives me gain, gamma and offset overall and per RGB channel control over midtones, highlights and shadows, at a minimum.
On the level control, what Photoshop is hokily calling "midtones" is actually "overall gamma control", the middle slider on the histogram. That changes the overall gamma curve, not just the gamma curve for the mid-tones.
Also, a decent colour corrector will let you change, for example, the offset in the midtones, while also allowing you to do an overall picture offset adjustment (at the same time).
I thought there might be a mini-lustre type plugin for photoshop - if anyone knows one, please let me know.
It's a poor craftsman who blames his tools.
No, a poor craftsman is someone who continues using a handsaw, when a sliding compound mitre saw will do a much better job.
I think you would be much better off looking for a more sophisticated image editing program. I certainly would not want to invest a lot of time in learning how to use a hokey program.
Sorry, let me see if I can boil down the essence of this so there are some discussion points. I apologise if my use of the word "hokey" offended anyone. Obviously, Photoshop is an extremely deep and sophisticated image editing tool, however:
1) My premise is that the colour correction tools available in photoshop are more primitive than those available in dedicated colour grading programs, or even compositing and/or editing programs such as Premiere Pro or Final Cut.
2) I base this premise on the fact that the above mentioned programs have 3-way colour correctors, and/or colour warpers, colour suppression or other tools that *seem* to give more fine-tuned controls over colour and luminance information in the picture.
3) Photoshop has control over levels and curves, but not to the same detail as the above mentioned programs. For example, there's no fine-tuned way to alter gamma on the highlights only of an image.
Now let me see if I have the other side of the discussion correct.
1) You don't know how to use Photoshop or you wouldn't be making such ridiculous statements.
2) You should take tutorials to learn the fine points of using colour correction in Photoshop, then you would be able to do the same things as those other programs.
3) We have a great understanding of how those colour correction tools work in those other programs you're talking about; that's how we can intelligently compare them to Photoshop's.
Let me know if I'm missing something.
I don't need to use PS for my image editing, I'm just trying to help someone who does use it, and probably won't use something else. So I'm just trying to find a way to get a higher level of control over the image than I can see in the PS controls; I'm not trying to start an argument.
I have used three way color correctors in at least two video editors including Sony Vegas and FCP. They are somewhat comparable to the "auto" correction features that are available in Photoshop. They do not require much knowledge to use, and limit the adjustment to three arbitrary definitions of color tone ranges including shadow, midtone, and highlight. They work well enough, but are not in any way comparable to the precision available in Photoshop.
When you look at the Level adjustment in Photoshop, and comment on its limited use for color correction, you simply reveal that you are not familiar with the program. I suspect that most people do not use Levels for color correction if they use them at all. I sometimes use Levels for color correction, but my thought process when doing so is far removed from what you can do in a three way color corrector "blunderbuss". I am looking at the histogram (which a 3 way does not show) to make specific adjustments. I know that you will not really grasp what that means. That is because I have a proprietary technique for using the level adjustment that I don't want to explain.
Curves, on the other hand, are quite precise. Three way color correctors cannot and do not match their precision. Curves allow one to adjust any or all of luminance, red, green, and blue. The specific color tones being adjusted can be specified and adjusted in a very precise manner. Any desired change in color can be made to any area of the image. It helps a lot to have an excellent grasp of color theory to properly use curves. For example, what must be adjusted to correct a slightly yellow image?
I could go on, but most of what I would say would probably go right over your head. You think a simple, blunderbuss technique is superior. It isn't, but it takes a lot of training and experience to understand why. Unless you are willing to spend the time and money, I don't think anyone can give you a simple explanation of what you do not understand.
Bob Peterson wrote: "I don't think anyone can give you a simple explanation of what you do not understand."
But at least, I will give it a try....
Steve Timothy wrote:'Is there a plug-in or way to do 3-way color correction in photoshop?'
Yes, similarly to the tools in your video-editing software, you can apply CURVES or LEVELS to only HIGHLIGHTS, MIDTONES or SHADOWS. In fact, it is very easy.
Open the photo with the shadows you want to adjust (fig 1)
Add the layer with CURVES. I adjusted the RED channel just for demonstration. You see that the whole picture from black to white is adjusted with red color (fig 2)
Go to the MASK tab in the CURVES layer (fig 3)
At the bottom of this window, choose KLEURBEREIK (or whatever it is called in your language (fig 4).
In the popup window that opens, choose SHADOWS . The example shows that the red color adjustment is just applied to the SHADOWS part of the picture). You can also select MIDTONES or HIGHLIGHTS and just see for yourself what happens.
And ofcourse, you can define yourself what is called SHADOWS, MIDTONES or HIGHLIGHTS. If needed, I can explain how to do that.
Thanks Lars :) I didn't know about the adjustment layers. My PS knowledge is out of date. Your information was helpful, and not condescending and insulting.
Having said that, it's still not quite as simple as I was hoping for the benefit of the person I'm trying to help, as I'm trying to make it easy. Transferring those adjustment layers to another image is only easy if it's the same pixel dimension. In Combustion, I can save a CC setting and apply it to a completely different image, size being irrelevent. Also, in PS I have to create multiple layers to do what I need, one for levels in shadow, midtone, saturation and contrast. All those controls are available in one cc in Combustion(the Discreet colour corrector), so I can tweak everything at once without multiple layers.
For everyone else, the personal attacks are a bit shocking. I was commenting on how I felt about features on a software program, which is a thing. I do it all the time if I'd like to see features added to a program. It doesn't mean I think there's something wrong with you if you use it.
I mentioned that I'm a colourist, to help you baseline my knowledge and ability, but that didn't stop people from making some of the following comments:
"my thought process when doing so is far removed from what you can do in a three way color corrector "blunderbuss". I am looking at the histogram (which a 3 way does not show) to make specific adjustments. I know that you will not really grasp what that means."
Yep, I sure wish I knew about those curves and hist-a-mo-gram thingys. They don't have any of those on Lustre...
"It's a poor craftsman who blames his tools."
That's a good all-purpose comeback to stop anyone who ever asks for a feature to be added to software...
"I could go on, but most of what I would say would probably go right over your head."
I'm... speechless at that comment. That's just kind of not nice.
As a leader of the COW Photoshop forum, I want to apologize for the unfriendly behavior of Gary and Bob. I can assure you that this way of talking is not common use at this forum. I hope that those guys just had a bad day and will make their apologize to you too....
Now about your question:
Steven wrote: "Also, in PS I have to create multiple layers to do what I need, one for levels in shadow, midtone, saturation and contrast."
Ofcourse you can do this also in photoshop in just one adjustment layer (in photoshop there are usually many ways to achieve the same thing).
Open your file that needs different adjustments in the Shadows, Midtones and Highlights and add a adjusrment layer for CURVES (fig 1)
The lower part of the curves adjusts the SHADOWS, THE MIDDLEPART ADJUSTS THE midtones AND THE UPPER PART ADJUSTS THE highlights. In this first exanple (fig 2) I adjusted the red channel only in the SHADOWS.
Now, I have used the same adjustment layer (and the same graph to adjust the blue channel only for the HIGHLIGHTS (see fig 3)
I will be clear that the midtones can be adjusted independently also in the same graph.
Thanks for taking the time to help.
The only challenge with using curves is that they're not numeric - By using levels I can do gamma changes numerically. Same with my Hue/Sat and B/C controls.
It just makes it easier to explain to another person, who wants a certain look for his pictures without noodling around too much.
His photos are always the same pixel size, just landscape and portrait, so it's no big deal to set up two templates and then just plug in each photo as needed.
Steven wrote:' Transferring those adjustment layers to another image is only easy if it's the same pixel dimension. In Combustion, I can save a CC setting and apply it to a completely different image, size being irrelevent.'
I don't know why you think it is not possible in photoshop. I can copy adjustment layers simply by dragging from one document to another independent of the resolution. It doesn't matter whether the resolution of the donor document is larger, equal or smaller than the resolution of the recipient document.
Ummm... it's not working for me. If I copy the adjustment layers from my portrait-shaped image onto my landscape image, I get a portrait looking rectangle with the adjustment on it. Outside the rectangle is unadjusted.
I assume it's because I'm using a "mask" in order to do shadows or midtones as you advised.
I tried resizing the portrait image to landscape shape, hoping that would resize the masks, and then I copied them over. However, that produced a a really random looking result, with ghosts and weird lines going on all over the place.
I must be missing a step.
Steven wrote: 'The only challenge with using curves is that they're not numeric - By using levels I can do gamma changes numerically. Same with my Hue/Sat and B/C controls.'
With the LEVELS tool, you can do the same trick as with the CURVES tool:
Open the document and add the LEVELS adjustment layer: (fig 1)
In this example I have selected the MIDTONES (fig 2)
And I adjusted the RED channel only for the MIDTONES.
Even the definition of SHADOWS, MIDTONES and HIGHLIGHTS can be done numerical. Its no problem to show your friend how it works...
Sorry I wasn't clear, yes, I was using levels instead of curves, and also realized that all the main cc tools could be done through adjustment layers using the "mask" function for tonal range.
I don't mind having multiple layers, as long as it doesn't degrade the image or anything. That makes it clear (to a non-tweaker), that we're "increasing overall contrast here", "increasing mid-tone blue gamma by 20% there", "pumping up the highlight gain", etc.
That gives me my numerical "gamma" like I wanted.
It's easier to explain than "match this curve shape". "Oh, and while you're at it, take this 10 hour course so you know what you just did." :)
By the way, how much feather, if any, do you use on those masks?
'By the way, how much feather, if any, do you use on those masks?'
I don't use the masks because I find it easier and faster to edit directly in the curve of CURVES.
But if you are using the masks, I would say that the amount of feather depends on the resolution of the image: a few pixels if any for low resolution images and a litle bit more (up to 30) for high resolution pictures. But this it quite arbitrary...
The biggest hurdle to learning any application that is different from another is accepting the differences. Oftentimes you'll find Avid editors frustrated when using FCP and of course the inverse is also true. The frustration stems from the user wanting the NLE to work in a way that's familiar. Once the editors get past the fact that the NLE's are different the learning process becomes much less of a battle.
Send Adobe a feature request and then decide whether to wait for them to change the software to your liking or to embrace the differences and move on.
It's been ages, I know, but did you ever find a 3-way corrector for Photoshop?
I'm doing some adjustments on a load of photos, and it would save a lot of time having the basics in one window.
Reading this thread, I was a little astounded at the hostility of what seemed a pretty useful query. After Effects and Premiere have this feature, can't see why Photoshop having it wouldn't be helpful, even if it was just to accommodate 'inexperienced, novice' users who just happen to be more used to grading software. Yes you can do a million things with amazing accuracy in Photoshop, but compared to grading you have to go through ten windows to adjust every value individually. If a simple screen allowing you to intuitively change the majority of key luma & chroma values is a blunderbus, then not stocking blunderbusses in the world's largest gun shop is just stupid and snooty.
Could do this in AE or Premiere to save time, just seems a bit foolish to be photo editing in a video package.
Did you find any plugins, or is there is similar tool in CS6?
Unfortunately, we are in a zone of professionals who don't understand the value and efficiency of three-way color correctors. Try to color video with Photoshop's curves and you'll be in for a headache. Of course, any professional colorist making a living wage will have a color suite with calibrated monitors and a three-way coloring console, but it's below these photo pros.
To answer your question, I'm confident Adobe will add the feature in the next year, much to the chagrin of these experts.
I'm reminded of a quote: "Everything is perfect and there is always room for improvement. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few."