The Photoshop Elements 9 Book for Digital Photographers: Jonas Sees in Color: Color Correction Secrets
- Before You Color Correct Anything, Do This First!
- The Advantages of Adjustment Layers
- Photo Quick Fix
- Getting a Visual Readout (Histogram) of Your Corrections
- Color Correcting Digital Camera Images
- Daves Amazing Trick for Finding a Neutral Gray
- Studio Photo Correction Made Simple
- Drag-and-Drop Instant Color Correction
- Adjusting Flesh Tones
- Warming Up (or Cooling Down) a Photo
- Color Correcting One Problem Area Fast!
- Getting a Better Conversion from Color to Black and White
- Correcting Color and Contrast Using Color Curves
As soon as I saw this album title, I knew I had to use it, because my four-year-old daughter is a big fan of the Jonas Brothers (which on some level should make the Jonas Brothers sad, not only because I doubt that their goal was a fan base that still rides a trike, but because by the time she’s seven, they will already be “old news” to her, and when I bring up their name, she’ll look at me like I’m “forty-a-hundred,” which is how old she thinks I am anyway). Anyway, I knew this was a lock for the title, but then I clicked on the album cover, fully expecting to see Kevin, Joe, and Nick Jonas (familiar faces in our home), but instead it was a totally different band. In fact, the name of the band was also Jonas Sees in Color. You see, I “assumed” that because the word Jonas was in there, that it would be the title of a Jonas Brothers album, but that’s what happens when you assume (what’s that old saying, “When you assume, that makes a sum of a and e”?). Anyway, I wondered on some level if, with that name, the band was trying to do the same thing with their name that some companies do with their product names, so someone not paying close attention might, for example, buy a Buckstar bag of coffee off the grocer’s shelf, when they thought they were buying Starbucks, because of the sound-alike name and the package’s similar look and feel. If that were the case, then someone looking to buy a Jonas Brothers song might actually buy one from Jonas Sees in Color, but in this case, it’s entirely possible they might like the Jonas Sees in Color songs better (hey, don’t bank your career on the attention span of a four-year-old). This got me to thinking, and long story short—that’s precisely why I changed my pen name to J. Kelby Rowling, and my next book is titled Harry Porter and the Odor of the Pen Tool.
Before You Color Correct Anything, Do This First!
Okay, before you start along your merry color correcting way, there are a couple of settings that you should consider changing. These settings can definitely affect the results you get, so make sure you read this first. Also, keep in mind that these changes will remain as your defaults until you change them again, so you don’t have to do this each time you open Elements.
- Step One: From the Edit menu, choose Color Settings (or press Ctrl-Shift-K [Mac: Command-Shift-K]).
- Step Two: In the Color Settings dialog, choose from the four options: No Color Management, Always Optimize Colors for Computer Screens, Always Optimize for Printing, or Allow Me to Choose. To a large degree, your choice will depend on your final output; but for photographers, I recommend using Always Optimize for Printing because it reproduces such a wide range (a.k.a. gamut) of colors using the Adobe RGB profile (if your photos don’t already have a profile assigned), and it’s ideal if your photos will wind up in print. Note: For more on color management, see Chapter 11.
- Step Three: Now we’re moving to a completely different area. Press the letter I to switch to the Eyedropper tool. In the Options Bar, the default Sample Size setting for this tool (Point Sample) is fine for using the Eyedropper to steal a color from within a photo and make it your Foreground color. However, Point Sample doesn’t work well when you’re trying to read values in a particular area (such as flesh tones), because it gives you the reading from just one individual pixel, rather than an average reading of the surrounding area under your cursor.
- Step Four: For example, flesh tones are actually composed of dozens of different colored pixels (just zoom way in and you’ll see what I mean); and if you’re color correcting, you want a reading that’s representative of the area under your Eyedropper, not just a single pixel within that area, which could hurt your correction decision-making. That’s why you need to go to the Options Bar, under the Sample Size pop-up menu, and choose 3 by 3 Average. This changes the Eyedropper to give you a reading that’s the average of 3 pixels across and 3 pixels down in the area that you’re sampling. Once you’ve completed the changes on these two pages, it’s safe to go ahead with the rest of the chapter and start correcting your photos.