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Matching Color Schemes Across Images in Adobe Photoshop CS4

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Learn how to combine images and harmonize the color schemes in multiple images by matching the target image to the dominant colors in a source.

You’ll be combining four images into a panorama for the poster. To provide continuity in the panorama, you’ll harmonize the color schemes in the images by matching the target image to the dominant colors in a source. First, you’ll open the document that you’ll use as the source for the color matching.

  1. In Photoshop, choose File > Open. Navigate to the Lesson10 folder, and double-click the IMG_1441.psd file to open it.
  2. There are four sequentially numbered images in the same folder. You’ll match the colors for these files.

  3. Choose File > Open, navigate to the Lesson10 folder, and double-click the IMG_1442.psd file to open it.
  4. The IMG_1442.psd file is overexposed in some areas, and a little washed out. You’ll use the Match Color feature to match its colors to those in the source file.

  5. With IMG_1442.psd active, choose Image > Adjustments > Match Color. In the Match Color dialog box, do the following:
    • Select the Preview option, if it is not already selected.
    • Choose IMG_1441.psd from the Source menu.
    • Choose the Background layer from the Layer menu. You can select any layer in the source image, but this image has only one layer.
    • Experiment with the Luminance, Color Intensity, and Fade settings.
    • When the color scheme unifies the colors in the images, click OK.
  6. Choose File > Save to save the IMG_1442.psd file with the new colors.

You can use Match Color with any source file to create interesting and unusual effects. The Match Color feature is also useful for certain color corrections (such as skin tones) in some photographs. The feature can also match the color between different layers in the same image. See Photoshop Help for more information.

Automating a multistep task

An action is a set of one or more commands that you record and then play back to apply to a single file or a batch of files. In this exercise, you’ll use actions to color match, sharpen, and save the images you’ll combine in a panorama.

Using actions is one of several ways that you can automate tasks in Adobe Photoshop. To learn more about recording actions, see Photoshop Help.

You’ve already matched the color for one of the images. Now, you’ll sharpen one image using the Unsharp Mask filter and save it to a new Ready For Panorama folder.

  1. With the IMG_1442.psd file active, choose Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask.
  2. In the Unsharp Mask dialog box, change the Radius to 1.2, and leave the other settings unchanged, and click OK.
  3. Choose File > Save As. Choose TIFF for the Format, use the same name (IMG_1442), and save it to a new folder called Ready For Panorama. Then, click Save.
  4. In the Image Compression area of the TIFF Options dialog box, select LZW, and click OK.
  5. Close the IMG_1442.psd file.
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