8. Color Adjustment



As the last step, I’ll adjust the overall colors using the tone curve.

I make a new layer folder called “Corrections” and set the blending mode to [Through].

I’ll put all of my final adjustment layers in here. It’s easy to organize the layers by storing them in a folder. For correction layers, I can easily hide or show the folder to compare the adjusted colors to the original.

First, I make a new layer and use the [Gradient] tool and brush tools to make the bottom darker and the top brighter. I also add some blue tones at the bottom. I set the blending mode to [Soft Light] and lower the opacity to 35%. This layer creates an effect of natural light and adds depth.

Next, I make a layer to add yellow in the top right and blue in the lower left. I set the blending mode to [Overlay] and lower the opacity to 20%. This layer gives the palette a sense of unity.

Lastly, I apply a tone curve to adjust the overall color.

I select it from [Layer] menu > [New Correction Layer] > [Tone Curve]. On the RGB and blue curves, I slightly lower the center point and raise the top left and bottom right. I make the green and red curves slightly stronger.

You can use tone curves to adjust the overall coloring of an image. Every color has a numerical value between 0 and 255, and these are set out in the graph. You adjust this line to make slight adjustments to the colors.

The x-axis represents the current color values, while the y-axis represents the colors after adjusting the tone curve. The RGB channel adjusts all data values for red, green, and blue.

You can switch between channels with the drop-down box at the top left. The Red, Green and Blue channels will let you adjust the colors individually.


・ Inverted colors

You can create a negative image by flipping the tone curve like this. The darkest parts become lightest and the lightest parts become darkest.

You can also flip between each color and its contrasting color in the individual red, green, and blue channels.

・ Adjust saturation

You can adjust the saturation by making the curve into an S-shaped wave. This increases the contrast, making the dark colors darker and the light colors lighter.

A backward S-shape will lower the contrast, bringing the dark and light colors closer to the mid-tones.

・ Use channels to adjust colors individually

Pulling the tone curve up will make the selected color appear stronger. On the other hand, if you pull it downwards, the complementary color will become stronger.

Complementary colors are opposites on the color circle. Because this image is RGB (overlapping color system), weakening a color will make the opposite color appear stronger.

This is incredibly useful when you want to bring out warm or cold colors in an image.

If you pull the curve up or down on the RGB channel, you can adjust the darkness of the image.

I make a few more tiny adjustments, then I’m done!


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