Sign & Digital Graphics

April '20

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4 8 • A P R I L 2 0 2 0 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S Photoshop's under-used color adjustments produce remarkable results Special Color Adjustments Stephen Romaniello is and artist and educator teaching digital art at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona, for over 29 years. He is a certified instructor in Adobe Photoshop and the author of numerous books and articles on the creative use of digital graphics software. Steve is the founder of GlobalEye Systems, a company that offers training and consulting in digital graphics software and creative imaging. N o doubt you are aware of the most basic color correc- tion features that are available in image editing software. Brightness and Contrast, Levels, Curves and Hue/Saturation are the nuts and bolts of color correction and contrast adjust- ment. These features are critical to the color correction work- flow and are essential tools for enhancing color and contrast. In Photoshop, LightRoom and Photoshop Elements, adjustments can be applied either from the Adjustments menu or better still, from the Adjustments panel (See Figure 1). The icons in the Adjustments menu represent specific color alteration meth- ods. When they're activated, the controls are displayed in the Properties panel. Applied individually, they can extend the range of color and improve contrast. Combining these features with some of the more exotic lesser used filters and adjustments they have the potential of producing extraordinary images with color that leaps off the page The Digital Eye B Y S T E P H E N R O M A N I E L L O Calibrate Although I've said it before in other articles, it's worth say- ing again; color management is essential for predictable results at the printer. Before making color adjustments, calibrate your hardware to determine what the colors on your monitor actu- ally represent. Manage the color on your monitor to display the gamut of your printer using at the very least, calibration software or better still, a colorimeter and a spectrophotometer to create an accurate custom ICC profile. Measure With a reliable image displayed on screen, view the image's histogram (Window > Histogram). A histogram is a graph that displays the image's range of brightness. (Figure 2). Then, to achieve optimal color and contrast, adjust the color with one of the basic color adjustment tools like Levels, Curves, Brightness and Contrast or Hue and Saturation. Exposure One of the most common miscalculations when an image is captured with a digital camera is the exposure. Usually Photographers guard against under or over exposure by brack- eting. Bracketing consists of shooting a series of pictures with a variation of exposure of one half to one full stop. This works well when a picture is planned but isn't possible for one-of-a-kind candid shots. Indeed it can be quite frustrating if the picture is taken exactly at the right moment with perfect composition and the exposure is too light or too dark. The Exposure adjustment in the Adjustment panel can read- ily repair a bad exposure within certain limitations. However, buried a little deeper in the program is the Exposure control in the Camera Raw filter which, in my opinion, provides a little more control. To Apply a filter, it's best to convert the image to a smart object so that it can later be modified if necessary. In the Layer Options menu choose Convert to Smart Object. Then choose Filter > Camera Raw Filter and drag the Exposure slider until the right balance of light and dark is achieved. Then drag the additional sliders to achieve perfect results. The advantage of adjusting Exposure with the Camera Raw filter is that other aspects of the image can be balanced such as contrast, highlights, and shadows. There are even sliders that precisely control white balance, temperature, tint, whites, blacks and clarity (sharpening). The Adjustments panel displays icons that represent a variety of color correction and enhancement features. 1

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