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LAB Book

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  #1  
Old 08-13-2005, 03:03 PM
mdavis mdavis is offline
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Exclamation LAB Book

There are hundreds (literally) of books published on using Photoshop. Some of the very best are listed in this forum, but one new one promises to be another classic. Up until now, no one has published a book on the topic of the LAB color space. The book is titled "Photoshop LAB Color: The Canyon Conundrum and other adventures in the most powerful colorspace" by Dan Margulis. (ISBN 0-321-35678-0). It's 384 pages in an 8x10 format. Price is $54.95. The book is listed on Amazon and published by Peachpit Press.

Margulis is a maverick of sorts. He has some issues with Adobe about their stubborness in handling color within Photoshop from his perspective of a pressman. But his "Professional Photoshop" is one of the most profound and detailed treatments of handling color correction, and his book on LAB is likely to be an excellent read.

Dan does some unorthodox things, but his ideas are always full of meat. My copy is on order. I'll let you know what I think when it arrives and I have a chance to plow through it.
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Old 08-13-2005, 06:58 PM
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Duv Duv is offline
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I'm looking forward to your comments, especially in regards to effectively using the color channels and correcting areas such as skin tones.

Dave
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Old 08-14-2005, 08:13 AM
mdavis mdavis is offline
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I would expect skin tone corrections would be a bit subtle for LAB. Some common complexions I can correct by looking at the CMYK values. Another easy way to nail skin tones is to create a color chart (swatches) of skin tones that I know to be in the ballpark and then compare swatch values to the image on which I'm working.

I also like Mike Russell's Curvemeister for "pinning" skin tones.
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Old 08-19-2005, 09:12 AM
john_opitz john_opitz is offline
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Mr. Margulis' L*A*B book

If you want some information on it, just click on the link. Chapters 2,9 from the book.Mr. Margulis articles

Their are other articles on using L*A*B (same URL)....... Their dated......but still in the times.

John
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Old 08-28-2005, 01:37 PM
mdavis mdavis is offline
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I am just working my way through the new LAB book by Margulis.

First a couple of overall impressions and characteristics. Margulis does not advocate the use of LAB color space for all images. It's strengths for "normal" editing, according to the author, are in its ability to increase contrast and color separation in "flat" images, hence the subtitle reference to canyons which can be loads of flat color areas. He also shows some neat ways to increase contrast on portraits (skin tones are mostly "flat"). He is also careful to point out when LAB is inappropriate for editing.

Second, Margulis is a pro's pro. His writing can be quite sophisticated for even professional color chefs, and no one can read the book without learning a great deal from an acknowledged master of the craft. Just take a look at the names and quotations in the book's forward from Scott Kelby and Bert Monroy, both highly respected pros. He has broken up the book into areas that separate basic LAB features and more advanced concepts, so it can appeal to a broad range of readers. I would rate the book Intermediate to Very Advanced.

Margulis continues to hang his hat on a couple of commonly arguable topics. One is that, in common, everyday image color work, there is no practical need to convert to 16-bit images. So his examples are in 8-bit (a CD of images is provided for follow along). He has repeatedly challenged nay-sayers to provide images in which 16-bits have an advantage and none so far seem to have been found. The other is that, most of the time, selections are not necessary for color correction moves if you choose the right color space and channel masking techniques.

So much for the first half of the book. Some of the material is similar to the couple of LAB chapters in his classic book "Professional Photoshop", but the book is all new. It also touches on some new CS2 features which I have not seen anaylzed such as Surface Blur, and it covers the advantage of using Shadow/Highlight in LAB mode for certain types of images.

More as I wade through the more difficult 2nd half.....
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Old 09-06-2005, 08:00 PM
mdavis mdavis is offline
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Finished reading the new "LAB" book over the long Labor Day weekend. Whew. Now I'm going to go back and READ the book and work through the examples at the same time. Heavy going in places.

The second half of the book sails off into some interesting and quite effective channel blending work. Dan is a master of coming up with things that no one else has thought of or used. The second half does not have the dual format of the early chapters (easy demos first half, more theory second half). It is mostly theory with examples.

What can I say? Borrow one from a friend if they'll let go of it if you're afraid to spend the money sight-unseen. But if you're serious about the technical aspects of channel blending and color correction, you sure ought to read this book. It is NOT Photoshop version-specific, so it will be around for a long time and works in earlier versions of PS that have LAB mode.
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Old 09-12-2005, 12:16 PM
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Richard_Lynch Richard_Lynch is offline
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I think the idea of a LAB book is interesting and Dan is probably a great person to do it. I deeply respect his understanding, and I am one who pretty much agrees with him on most things (also coming from a pre-press background, which I think has a lot to do with it). Personally i would have trouble writing a 380 page book on LAB eventhough I was able to eek out about 900 pages on Photoshop in a general book. However, I could probably write more than 1000 on color correction. I think my difficulty with a big book on LAB is exactly because of the limitations you cite: LAB is not good for every image. On the other hand, it is underutilized. About Dan and 8-bit...he is looking at that practically. I think shooting in high-bit (one can say 16, but it often really isn't) is a good idea for flexibility in adjustment, but I mostly agree that good technique in correction and output possibilities being limited to 8-bit dashes a lot of the strength from 16-bit arguements.

I can count the unique books on Photoshop out there on about one hand. Most of them are repeats and rehashes of the manual, and slight deviations from there. Most of the more unique ones (http://aps8.com/hppscs.html) regretfully don't do very well. Dan will likely have written a good book with a lot of substance. I hope it does well for him in the marketplace.
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Old 09-12-2005, 07:20 PM
mdavis mdavis is offline
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The Photoshop book market

Looking at a typical bookstore Photoshop lineup will show you an overwhelming array of "How To" books on Photoshop. I'm almost embarrassed at my own bookshelf at home because of all the Photoshop books I've "consumed" over my few years of digital editing. But the books that get bookmarked and re-used are those that are unique in their content. I haven't read your Photoshop CS book, but your Elements 2 book was the best E2 book I read because it gave users some "essential" tools missing from E2 that brought it up to a near PS level.

If I were forced to limit my book selection to only a few for a "desert island" list, "Professional Photoshop - 4th Ed." by Margulis would be #1. Next would be the 2 books by Katrin Eismann, "Restoration & Retouching" and "Masking and Compositing". "Photoshop LAB Color" might make 4.

That's not to say there aren't other excellent books on Photoshop, but so many of them waste time introducing the Tools pallet and working through the menus before you get to any real "meat". The best of the intro books might be Martin Evening or Deke McClelland, and I'm sure your "Hidden Power of Photoshop CS" would fit right in there as well, although I don't own it yet.

Point being, that once you pass the intro stage, you begin looking for intermediate to advanced books that skip the kid stuff and begin to push you to think about using commands like blending modes, calculations, apply image and such; about masking, cutouts, advanced color correction and things that don't appear in every other book on the shelf. The market is way overcrowded with very good books on PS that start too simply and end too soon. Obviously, that's where the sales and money is. That in turn begs the question of how many people really paid $700 for a real copy of Photoshop that don't know the basics of using it?

A book of 900 pages on color correction would be welcome, at least to a few of us. Dan took a gamble on the "LAB" book and seems to have won. Maybe that's a sign ......
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Old 10-12-2005, 10:30 AM
dragon3085 dragon3085 is offline
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I'm about half way through the book and its is a very good book. So far as 16-bit goes, that's the author's problem, just because he don't believe in them doesn't mean I'm gonna be a little fanboy and try to be "just like Dan"- That aside though the book not only has a bunch of powerful techniques its also very educational. I was especially impressed so far by the fact the Fade/Luminosity or blend Luminosity does not give you the exact same effect as if you converted to Lab and then back. He gives example pictures where sharpening the L in L A B was clearly cleaner then doing the same thing to a layer and then blending Luminosity. Also there are some great textbook style questions and reviews that just help you over grasp some of the advanced concepts covered here and for photoshop in general. I will say this, even though I'm not finished with the book yet, I know this will have 2-3x reread factor to get a handle on everything it make available knowledge wise.

Patrick
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Old 10-12-2005, 12:01 PM
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Richard_Lynch Richard_Lynch is offline
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He gives example pictures where sharpening the L in L A B was clearly cleaner then doing the same thing to a layer and then blending Luminosity.
In the context that you use here, has the content of the layer been converted to tone before applying the sharpening? If not, of course there is a clear difference. If you sharpen color, sharpening will be applied to all the components, and the result will be much different than applying sharpening to a tone layer; namely the color noise will be sharpened and can affect the tone result. To convert the layer to tone, you also have to use the right method, rather than simply desaturating.

If that is the proper context, I am sure the rest of the book isn't so marginal. Lab IS useful...but there may be other means of correction in RGB that are not generally discussed that can be just as surprising. I still think, as an author, that it is a lot of pages for the subject.
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