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Fixing a Color Cast with Photoshop CS2

The Variations Palette 8. Adjust the intensity.
Move the Fine/Coarse slider triangle one tick mark to the left. (PC or Mac, doesn't matter.) This reduces the intensity of the next step.

9. Click the Lighter thumbnail.
At this point, the image strikes me as a wee bit dark. So click the Lighter thumbnail to make the image lighter. Because the Midtones radio button is active (Step 4), this adjustment affects only the midtone values. Therefore, clicking the Lighter thumbnail is like raising the gamma value in the Levels dialog box (see Step 9 of "Adjusting Brightness Levels," page 45 in the book). The shadows and highlights remain untouched, which helps to avoid clipping.

10. Click the More Magenta thumbnail.
After all these wonderful changes, the image remains a bit too yellow, particularly in the table, the background, and the skin tones. To remove yellow, click the complementary thumbnail, More Blue. Because you changed the intensity setting in Step 8, Photoshop's color adjustment is more subtle than in earlier steps.

11. Select the Saturation option.
So much for the hue and luminosity, now on to saturation. To display the Variations command's saturation controls, select the Saturation radio button near the top of the dialog box. Photoshop replaces the thumbnails in the center and right portions of the dialog box with three new ones, all visible in Figure 3-11.

Give it less saturation

12. Click the Less Saturation thumbnail.
Currently, the colors in the image are a bit too vivid. Click Less Saturation to leech away colors and make them slightly grayer. (The current Fine/Coarse setting, specified in Step 8, is fine for this step.)

13. Click the OK button.
It's hard to judge for sure from a bunch of dinky thumbnails, but the Current Pick image appears more or less on target. Click the OK button or press Enter or Return to exit the dialog box and apply your changes.

Well, as I said, it's hard to judge the accuracy of your color modifi cations from dinky thumbnails. And sure enough, after clicking OK, it becomes evident that I didn't quite hit the bull's eye. Although the harsh orange color cast has been effi ciently zapped, I think we've gone a little overboard. After all, little boys need some warmth in their faces. Fortunately, Photoshop lets you reduce the impact of the most recent command you applied using the Fade command.

Fade Variations 14. Fade the Variations adjustment.
Choose Edit -> Fade Variations or press Ctrl+Shift+F (Command-Shift-F on the Mac). This brings up the diminutive Fade dialog box. Reduce the Opacity value to 75 percent, as pictured in Figure 3-12. Then click OK or press Enter or Return.

PEARL OF WISDOM The Opacity value acts as an ingredient mixer. If you think of the modifi ed, post-Variations image as one ingredient and the original image as another, Opacity determines how much of each image goes into the fi nal blend. A value of 100 percent favors the modifi ed image entirely. So 75 percent gives the modifi ed image the edge, with 25 percent of the original image showing through. Do not construe this to mean that Opacity lessens any specifi c option applied in the Variations dialog box. Instead, it reduces the effect of the command as a whole. Doubtless, we could have achieved a similar outcome by adjusting the Fine/Coarse setting before each thumbnail adjustment. But one application of Fade provides better feedback, not to mention heaps more convenience.

Before and After
Corrected with Variations and Fade and Original ultra-orange photograph

Figure 3-13 compares a detail from the original photo to its counterpart in the corrected one.

Happily, my suddenly healthfully-hued boys appear determined to finish their creation and, without mercy, crush and eat it. And who can blame them? I can't remember the last time I saw a work of architecture that looked this delicious.

Deke McClelland


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This brief excerpt was taken from Chapter 3: Correcting Color Balance (which you can download in PDF Format) with O'Reilly Publishing permission


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