Correcting colour when there isn't any :o)

Discussion in 'Photoshop Tutorials' started by Derek Fountain, Sep 6, 2005.

  1. Have a look at this photograph, taken by a friend of mine at an airshow
    on a particularly grey day:

    I figured I could improve that a bit, but it's not as easy as it looks.
    I found a number of ways to lift the colour in the smoke trails, and to
    boost the contrast a bit, but the sky has me stumped. It's almost purely
    even grey, so there's no colour to manipulate.

    My clumsy attempts to colourize, or in some way insert some more
    pleasing colour (blue sky, for example!) just screws the smoke colours.
    Making a selection of the sky, without the smoke trails, has proved
    somewhat tricky.

    How would the assembled experts improve this photo?
    Derek Fountain, Sep 6, 2005
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  2. Derek Fountain

    Jeff G Guest

    On that shot, just a simple AutoLevels makes the smoke (and
    planes) pop rather nicely.

    Then go into Color Balance, move the top slider to cyan and
    the bottom to blue. That gives more definition to the sky and
    hides the overcast.
    Jeff G, Sep 6, 2005
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  3. Or try going into Channel Mixer after doing your levels and playing with
    the red and blue sliders for the blue channel.
    Roger Whitehead, Sep 6, 2005
  4. Derek Fountain

    Kingdom Guest


    Make a nice smooth gentel S curve. klick ok

    bring curves up again SELECT THE BLUE CHANNEL

    Make a nice gentle curve bowing UP the way klick ok

    bring curves up again SELECT THE RED CHANNEL

    Make a nice gentle curve bowing DOWN the way klick ok

    Perfect blue skies!

    pull the curve very slightly down and the sky will go blue, howeve the
    white smoke fades, to reduce this effect peg thr curve
    Kingdom, Sep 7, 2005
  5. Derek Fountain

    Tom Nelson Guest

    How's this?
    I made another layer under the airplane layer and filled it with a
    blue-to-blue gradient, then ran Filter>Render>Clouds on it. I changed
    the blend mode of the airplane layer to Hard Light and voilá!

    Tom Nelson
    Tom Nelson Photography
    Tom Nelson, Sep 8, 2005
  6. I got Dan Margulis' canyon conundrum book last friday and after
    reading the first chapters found your photo serves well as an example
    of what can be done in LAB, or cannot, if Timo is right ;)

    At you will find my - a little bit
    exaggerated - version as a jpeg. If you like the result, you can
    download the psd file to which it links and pull the curves adjustment
    layer to your original, which you will have to convert to LAB first.


    The page will disappear within a week or so!
    Peter Wollenberg, Sep 12, 2005
  7. Much better than anything I got close to. I'll experiment with your
    technique tonight. Thanks for the input.
    Derek Fountain, Sep 14, 2005
  8. I got Dan Margulis' canyon conundrum book last friday and after
    That's remarkable. I guess to most people it just looks like a colour
    correction, but to me, the guy who spent an hour fiddling about in RGB
    space trying to get what I wanted, and thus who understands exactly how
    hard it was, it's astonishing.

    Perhaps I ought to buy that book!
    Derek Fountain, Sep 14, 2005
  9. Derek Fountain

    RSD99 Guest

    ALL of Dan Margulis' books are worthwhile investments (IMHO).
    RSD99, Sep 14, 2005
  10. Derek Fountain

    Mike Russell Guest

    Here's another version using Lab and the Curvemeister plugin, which has a
    number of features to help correct an RGB image directly in Lab.
    This is a hot book It's turned out to be a best-seller, and after less than
    a month it is already in its second printing. I'm happy to say that
    Curvemeister is mentioned in it.
    Mike Russell, Sep 16, 2005
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