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How to imitate particular color grading?

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  #1  
Old 06-10-2012, 10:30 AM
santoro80 santoro80 is offline
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How to imitate particular color grading?

A lots of photographs have simplified color palette with different color in shadows, midtones and highlights. Is there some quick way how to imitate particular look?
Lets take for example this image as example:
http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/132/f0000a0870.jpg

Now with 50% grey layer and color blending mode I can see the color palette of the image:
http://img836.imageshack.us/img836/4229/f0000a0870b.jpg

So what would be the next step? If I use this information for creating a gradient map (color blending mode) for anoter image the result is very different. I now I can use color balance and try to imitate the particular look by the eye, but I want more precise way to do this.

Maybe this person (who has great tutorials on color adjustment) would know (I think he is also RetouchPro user):
http://www.youtube.com/user/jonaswtuts

Last edited by santoro80; 06-10-2012 at 10:51 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-10-2012, 12:18 PM
capice capice is offline
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Re: How to imitate particular color grading?

Jonas is a member here, just send him a pm
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  #3  
Old 06-10-2012, 12:38 PM
redcrown redcrown is offline
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Re: How to imitate particular color grading?

I'm not Jonas. I"d like to be that good someday. But here is one simple method to try:

1. Take your sample "toned" image and white balance it using the gray eyedropper in a Curves Adjustment layer.

2. Look at the individual RGB channels in that Curves adjustment and build another Curves adjustment layer by "inverting" the adjustment in each channel. Notice that using the gray eyedropper in Curves to set white balance always moves the center point on the curve left or right. The "Output" values stay at 127, only the input values move. To build your inverted curve, just set the Input values to be opposite.

3. Now toggle these two Curves adjustment layers on and off and notice how close the results are to the original. Should be pretty close, but won't be if some original colors were already blown, too highly saturated, or out of gamut.

4. Now save that second "inverted" Curves adjustment layer as a preset and use it on any other image.

In your sample image there are several places to chose for white balance. The car was probably black, the dress may be white, some structures in the background look like they may have been white. The stop sign painted on the road in front of the car was probably white on black.

Unfortunately, each of these points in the sample generates significantly different white balance results. That's a good indication that the sample was toned differently for highlights and shadows. Or there was mixed lighting. The girl looks like she was hit with some flash.

You can still use this "inverted white balanced curve" method to generate multiple inverted curves, one for the blacks, one for the whites, etc., and apply each separately to a new image using luminosity masks.

Of course, this method only works if the sample image has areas that were very likely neutral in the original scene. If no such areas exist, you're SOL.
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Old 06-10-2012, 03:37 PM
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Der_W Der_W is offline
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Re: How to imitate particular color grading?

First of all, thank you all for your nice compliments !
I tried a little analysis of your image as well and wanted to share my results, maybe some of it will help you.

The first thing I tend to do when doing this sort of analysis is separate the image into luminosity, saturation and hue, so I can see and analyze each of these separately.
I've attached an action for you that will do this on a shrunk version of whatever image you want.

First let's take a look at the luminosity. The main part of the image is relatively dark with the lightest part being the model in her dress and the flames on the car leading to her.
The highlights are overall pretty muted and with little detail, most of the tonal values are in the darker parts of the image.
Now the saturation also interesting. You'll notice that the main saturation is - again - in the are of the model. Not only that, the flames on the car and the flames on her dress are also pretty similar in saturation, so they fit just fine. The car itself as well as the surroundings are of muted saturation, but they all still have a little saturation in them, so they're not completely neutral either.
This also leads us to the last part, the hue. In this image we have basically two hues: one is a cyan-blue and the other one is an orange-red. There's almost no shade in between. This adds to the effect and creates for more vivid colors. Now a lot of room is taken by the car in the foreground. This is of blueish hue. The other part of the image that takes up a lot of room is the model, she's with a reddish/orange hue, which again is also present in the flames of the car. The background and street are again mainly red, so that there's a huge hue contrast between the car and its surroundings.
What's also interesting is overlapping the hue with the luminosity and switching the visibility of the layer on and off. There you'll see that the shadows are mainly in a blueish hue, whereas all the other parts are red and orange tones. This and the fact that there are no real neutrals suggests that some sort of split toning was applied to the image.
Since the flames on the car are the most saturated part of it and they lead to the model, she's emphasized even more.
So what I'm basically saying is that while the image's look may come from cross processing in post, there's also a great lot of composition work and color harmonies put to work here to work and I'm guessing that some parts of the image were also separately treated (e.g. the background looks like it might have been warmed up separately, but I'm not completely sure of this as I don't know, how much of this can be achieved in camera).

I hope that helps a little, if you have any more questions or need more help, just let me know !
Attached Files
File Type: zip Image Analyze.zip (1.1 KB, 140 views)
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:28 PM
santoro80 santoro80 is offline
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Re: How to imitate particular color grading?

Thanks for the answer and for the great action!

BTW, I noticed on many (other) images that the shadows are often less saturated then highlights. Is this a comon technique or is it just a natural thing (more saturated color appears to be more brighter, less saturated are more darker)?

Oh, and one more question - its possible to find what colors are more/less saturated then others? Is this the function of the upper "saturation" layer in your action?

Last edited by santoro80; 06-10-2012 at 07:58 PM.
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  #6  
Old 06-10-2012, 10:19 PM
fasttrax fasttrax is offline
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Re: How to imitate particular color grading?

While this image has undergone some rather serious analysis, I suspect the original photographer simply grabbed a few sliders (saturation/hue/luminosity) in LightRoom.
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:56 AM
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Der_W Der_W is offline
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Re: How to imitate particular color grading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by santoro80 View Post
BTW, I noticed on many (other) images that the shadows are often less saturated then highlights. Is this a comon technique or is it just a natural thing (more saturated color appears to be more brighter, less saturated are more darker)?

Oh, and one more question - its possible to find what colors are more/less saturated then others? Is this the function of the upper "saturation" layer in your action?
To answer your first question I've uploaded a little PSD file, that helped me a lot trying to figure out whether lighter colors are more saturated or darker colors are more saturated.
You can download it here: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/7124285/For...tMax%20HsY.psd
The short answer is: It depends.
What you can see on the PSD file in the attachment is a range of all the hues going from left to right with the luminosity decreasing from top to bottom. On top of that I multiplied a chroma mask, that will have white were the chroma has its maximum and black where it has its minimum.
As you can see, yellow has its maximum saturation in the very bright region, whereas blue has a maximum saturation in the darker tones.

To answer your second question, yes, the saturation layer is a black and white interpretation of the image's chroma, which is
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
the colorfulness relative to the brightness of another color that appears white under similar viewing conditions
(source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorfulness). Less saturated parts will be darker, more saturated parts will be lighter on this layer.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:39 PM
adtechniques adtechniques is offline
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Re: How to imitate particular color grading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by redcrown View Post
I'm not Jonas. I"d like to be that good someday. But here is one simple method to try:

2. Look at the individual RGB channels in that Curves adjustment and build another Curves adjustment layer by "inverting" the adjustment in each channel. Notice that using the gray eyedropper in Curves to set white balance always moves the center point on the curve left or right. The "Output" values stay at 127, only the input values move. To build your inverted curve, just set the Input values to be opposite.
sorry but I don't understand this. Can you explain for me? when I try this method, the curve look like my attached:
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File Type: jpg Untitled-1.jpg (23.7 KB, 63 views)
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  #9  
Old 06-11-2012, 11:26 PM
redcrown redcrown is offline
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Re: How to imitate particular color grading?

That curve looks like a reasonable "inverse" of the curve that would restore normal white balance to the image. When I did it the green and blue curves were almost identical, but depends on what spot you use for setting WB. I used the whitewalls on the tires because I thought that gave me the most normal looking image.

Now just apply that inverted curve to a different "normal" image, one with reasonably accurate white balance where blacks are black and whites are white. See if you like the result.

Again, a disclaimer. This method is a quick and rough analysis of a toned image. Not as detailed as what Jonas described, with separate steps for luminosity and saturation. And it's a global approach, where in many cases the target image had numerous local adjustments made to it.
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  #10  
Old 06-12-2012, 12:22 AM
adtechniques adtechniques is offline
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Re: How to imitate particular color grading?

thks so much, Redcow. But what do you mean when you say: "The "Output" values stay at 127, only the input values move". Where "127"?
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