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  • Doug Nelson
    Generally in a picture of people, the only thing you care about is the skin tones. But, if you want to balance the bg as well, you can make a mask to protect the girls and balance the bg separately.

    However, you won't be able to drag the mask and everything to similar images.

    Leah was right about multiple light sources. They're a pain.

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  • Leah
    Hi mpskin,

    Part of your problem is that you have two different light sources with different colour values in this photograph.

    The girls seem to be lit by a flash. Flashes are generally balanced to be the same as daylight.

    However, in the background, where the flash is weaker, you have a lot of ambient light coming into the picture. In this case this appears to be artficial light. Generally (depending on the type of artificial lighting) this is much more orange/yellow/green than daylight.

    As there are two different colours of light on two parts of the scene, if you want to get really accurate colour correction of both areas you'll need to apply two different fixes.

    What I did as a quick attempt (note that this is a bit fiddly as I find it easier to correct skin tones in CMYK but easier to correct neutrals in RGB, hence I switch between the two modes on jobs like this):

    1. Duplicate background layer twice. Rename top layer to "Girls" and middle layer to "Walls"
    2. Image -> Mode -> CMYK Color (Don't Flatten)
    3. Select Girls layer. We are going to correct the skintones using the Eismann "Balancing Skin Tones with Curves" technique (pages 78-80 of my copy).
    4. I put colour samplers on the forehead of each girl and also on the bright white area of the girl on the left's dress (although I ended up ignoring that sampler as I got a better look concentrating on the skintones). This enabled me to judge the results of the Curves layer I was about to create. Overall, conclusion was that we need to reduce cyan by a lot and magenta and black by a bit.
    5. Layer -> New Adjustment Layer -> Curves. Name layer "Girls Curves".
    6. In Curves dialog box, select Cyan channel. Drag the top right hand corner point leftwards (I used Input 202 Output 255). Now select Magenta channel. Drag the top right hand corner point leftwards (I used Input 226 Output 255). Now select the Black channel. Drag the top right hand corner point leftwards (I used Input 241 Output 255). Click OK.
    7. I now had second thoughts and decided the skintones were too yellow, so did Layer -> New Adjustment Layer -> Color Balance. Named layer "Girls Colour" and set Blue midtones to +16 (preserve luminosity).
    8. Uncheck visibility on Background and Walls layers, select Girls layer and do Layer -> Merge visible.
    9. Image -> Mode -> RBG Color (Don't Merge)
    10. Uncheck visibility on Girls layer, turn on visibility of Walls layer and select Walls layer. We are going to correct the walls using the Eismann "Balancing Neutral Tones with Levels" technique (pages 76-77 of my copy) (I am assuming that the walls were a roughly neutral colour).
    11. I placed colour samplers on the white highlight of the dress of the girl with her back to us (highlight), the midtone of the wall (midtone), and the dark shape in the top right hand corner (shadow). Overall, there is too much red and not enough blue. So we'll be setting the highlight value of blue and green equal to that of red, the midtone value of red and blue equal to that of green, and the shadow value of red and green equal to that of blue. This makes much more sense if you read and digest Eismann's example.
    12. Layer -> New Adjustment Layer -> Levels. Name layer "Walls Levels".
    13. In Levels dialog box, select Blue channel and drag right-hand slider leftwards (I did it until right hand Levels Input box read 168). Select Green channel and also drag right-hand slider leftwards (I did it until right hand Levels Input box read 228). This evens out the highlights.
    14. Still in Levels dialog box, select Blue channel and drag middle slider leftwards (I did it until middle Levels Input box read 1.54). Select Red channel and drag middle slider rightwards (I did it until middle Levels Input box read 0.90). This evens out the midtones.
    15. Still in Levels dialog box, select Red channel and drag left-hand slider rightwards (I did it until left hand Levels Input box read 1). Select Green channel and also drag left-hand slider rightwards (I did it until left hand Levels Input box read 6). Blue was a bit out of step by now so selected Blue channel and also dragged that left-hand slider rightwards (until left hand Levels Input box read 7). This evens out the shadows.
    16. Click OK.
    17. Ensure that only Walls Levels and Walls layers are visible, and that Walls is the currently selected layer. Then do Layer -> Merge visible.
    18. Select Girls layer and make it visible. Do Layer -> Add Layer Mask -> Hide All.
    19. Now use a low-opacity brush to paint onto the Girls layer mask in white where the girls are so that you reveal the skintones-adjusted layer.
    20. When satisfied with result, Layer -> Flatten Image.

    Doing these two separate adjustments and using layer masks means that you can't do a simple fix across a range of shots. But you could do this process for one file, saving copies of the CMYK Curves adjustment layer and the RGB Levels adjustment layer and applying those layers to other shots rather than recreating them each time.

    Hope that this makes some sense (and that the result I've produced is the sort of thing you were after ... if not, then obviously ignore all the preceeding verbiage).
    Attached Files

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  • mpskin
    yellow cast

    Doug i must be doing something wrong ....i do have the eismann book but am not getting it....i went to image -adjust -levels-then straight to red green and blue but i am not coming out with the right colors...aaaghhhhh!! what am i doing wrong??? here is the version i came up with which looks better but the walls are still off and so is face color!
    Attached Files

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  • Doug Nelson
    If they're all suffering from the same problem (ie: all from the same photo shoot), you can correct one using an adjustment layer, then simply drag that layer over to the other images.

    Your posted example turns out pretty well with a simple levels adjustment layer with an adjustment of each color channel's levels.

    Leave a comment:

  • mpskin
    started a topic yellow cast

    yellow cast

    I have the dreaded yellow cast and i am looking for a real nice and easy clearcut method and values to clear these pics up using ps6...i also have a batch of these type of there anyway to open all pics and do it all at one time. Also i have one pic that i want to do a background and ideas would be appreciated..and will be submitted in the next thread. Thanks in advance
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