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How to achieve these colour wash/tones

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  • How to achieve these colour wash/tones

    I have been trying to achieve these colour wash (is this the right description?) with curves and different blend modes but struggling with it.

    http://1.purplecdn.com/i/p/91/9159-1...jpg?1367180845

    http://1.purplecdn.com/i/p/20/2017-5...jpg?1370246453


    This one has nudity (NSAW)

    http://1.purplecdn.com/i/p/20/2017-1...jpg?1369261838

    Thank you for your help.

  • #2
    Re: How to achieve these colour wash/tones

    Throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks when trying to match something is typically what I tell people not to do. It rarely gets you anywhere. These have some specific colors added to highlights and shadows. Note how the blown out white portion has a cast. You won't get that tweaking curves unless you move the end points to match certain heavy casts in the highlights like in the window shot. I'll mention a couple things. They have corner vignettes. Some of the shadow casts look a bit different than those used in highlights.

    If I was asked to match these, I would start with things that are clear to me, so as to lock in progress. That would mean matching the eye retouching from whichever reference and matching the vignette. The vignettes are definitely color adjusted somewhat on at least one, and I suspect at least 2. If it was me, I would use channel mixer to establish much of the overall palette. It's one of my favorite tools, as I find its results to be intuitive and predictable. I use curves for different things, mainly when I want to adjust values based on range. Even then I'm very conscious of what I adjust. Sometimes I don't adjust all channels equally, and as I said I don't use curves unless I want to hit a specific part of the range or just add a very slight s-curve to boost overall contrast. I emphasize slight because it's easy to overdo that.

    As for blending modes, there are a lot of archaic ones in photoshop, like the ugly hack that is screen. You really don't need any of them to achieve these shots. I think the variety of compiled adjustments has thrown you off. Consider this. If you were the person originally creating this, you might go through the editing process until you come up with a look you like over however many steps applying each based on the culmination of prior adjustments. When someone tries to interpret them as the solution to a puzzle box, they aren't going through that process.

    You don't even have to follow the way I said I would approach it. There are always different ways. I just know when I approach something, for the sweeping adjustments I'm looking for control and predictable behavior. If I can visualize the look of the next step before I ever employ the tool, I consider that to be effective. I don't like feeling like I'm being guided by the technology when developing a look for something.

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    • #3
      Re: How to achieve these colour wash/tones

      Thank you so much for a detailed answer. You have suggested number of things which I haven't thought of before so I will try and practice. Only thing I don't follow is "The vignettes are definitely color adjusted somewhat on at least one, and I suspect at least 2".

      How do you colour adjust vignettes? I usually use them just to highlight the subject and darken the corners.

      Thank you once again.

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      • #4
        Re: How to achieve these colour wash/tones

        That is easy to answer. What I meant was that rather than just darkening the corners, they also added some color adjustment simultaneously using whatever adjustment layers produced the vignette or via additional layer(s) clipped to that one. They look very slightly off palette with the rest of the shots. It could be something as simple as lowered saturation on those corner portions. The key thing with all of these adjustments is not to overdo them. They're very small parts of the overall visual effect. The last thing is that blending modes applied to adjustment layers can often have a very harsh effect due to the silly way photoshop calculates them.

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        • #5
          Re: How to achieve these colour wash/tones

          I always enjoy kav's extensive and philosophical replies about the nature of retouching.

          However, to actually answer your question: make a new layer, fill it with dark blue #000033 and set the blending mode to Exclusion. Vary opacity to taste. Done.

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          • #6
            Re: How to achieve these colour wash/tones

            Thank you Kav. Kav has certainly opened my eyes about some of the process and methodology I use for my retouching.

            Thank you "oneredpanther" and I tried your method and got me very close to the desired result. I will try to apply selectively next time to target more specific areas.

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            • #7
              Re: How to achieve these colour wash/tones

              Saturated orange color fill layer set to multiply opacity 5-10%. A pretty desaturated blue-cyan color fill layer set to lighten around 4-7% opacity. This to get the shadows "dirty". A selective color adj layer and pick neutrals and tweak them. If you have an image i could give it a try.

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              • #8
                Re: How to achieve these colour wash/tones

                Originally posted by oneredpanther View Post
                I always enjoy kav's extensive and philosophical replies about the nature of retouching.

                However, to actually answer your question: make a new layer, fill it with dark blue #000033 and set the blending mode to Exclusion. Vary opacity to taste. Done.
                Ahh that made me laugh, as I don't think of myself as philosophical. Usually I just imagine everything. I picture someone emailing me the reference and whatever raw files, trying to determine what is really grabbing them about the reference, the obvious steps I might have to add, what kinds of things might come up when discussing revisions, and what each thing might imply visually to someone that views these things in a passive manner. Bleh I guess that does sound philosophical. It's just fun to use my imagination when these threads come up, and in many cases I can discern roughly what I would do up to the 70% mark or so.

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