There are at least 5 different (and probably a lot more) color correction techniques built into Photoshop, including ...
This can be a really big deal when the lighting conditions did not match the white balance of the camera and you have a really nasty looking image or you've scanned a really old image that has an awful color cast.
Some of the color correction techniques are really easy and work well under some conditions while others seem to defy any logic and may cause a tad of frustration.
This tutorial will highlight one of the five (Average) plus a variation of another one (The Gray Point Eyedropper).
With Auto Color correction you simply click a couple of buttons on a curves or levels adjustment layer.
Color Balance is a whole other thing and very fiddly. This is an adjustment layer and most of the time when I have tried to use it I have ended up muttering unkind things about the dialogue and hitting the Cancel button.
Variations is the easiest. Simply go to Image > Adjustments > Variations and fiddle around with a few adjustments and hopefully you will get what you want.
OK - let's look at the Average method of color correction first - you are going to love this one ...
Using the Average Filter is surprisingly easy!
It is a very effective method for sure. Here are a couple of samples with commentary ...
Now isn't that easy?
This method of color correction will also work with Photoshop Elements!
You know something - I have no idea what this technique is called so I'm calling it the white - black - middle gray method of color correction.
This is the image I am using for this tutorial. It is some children's artwork on the wall of an elementary school gym. The overall color cast is kind of yellow because of an incorrect white balance setting.
This image needs some maintenance right away - it is hard to look at the dark line at the top and the benches at the bottom with their silly angles - let's use the Perspective Crop to fix it ...
Ah - that's better - now let's get going with this technique ...This technique will use the totally mysterious Threshold Adjustment Layer plus you will learn some neat little Photoshop tricks that can be used in lots of places.
Open your image and duplicate it if you wish - although you may not want a duplicate of that nasty color cast.
Create a Threshold Adjustment Layer. This is what it will look like ...
Drag the little slider in the center all the way to the left until the image turns pure white.
If there are still some black dots on the screen then go to the next step.
If not then use the Up arrow key or drag the slider back to the right until you see the very first black dot - and then stop.
This is the blackest part of your image and you are going to put a marker on one of the dots to be used later.
Remember I said you were going to learn some neat little Photoshop tricks - here they are! The little dots are far too small to accurately mark so you need to zoom in without leaving the Threshold Adjustment dialogue - and the Zoom tool won't work with a dialogue open.
Move the cursor onto the image and it changes to an Eyedropper. Now press ...
To Zoom In ...
The cursor changes to the Zoom tool - isn't that neat?
Now all you have to do is draw a selection over one of the little black dots to zoom in. Keep zooming until the little black dot becomes a big black dot - like this ...
The next step is to mark one of the little black dots. When you move the cursor off of the Threshold dialogue it changes to the Eye Dropper.
Press and hold the Shift Key and Tap (with a pen) or left click one of the little black dots. A marker will be placed on the black dot - the darkest part of the image has been selected.
Now drag that little slider all the way to the right, turning the image totally black. Press the down arrow key of move the slider to the left and when you see the first white dot appear - stop.
Zoom in on one of the little white dots using your new trick, press and hold the shift key and place the second mark on the white dot .... Now you have the whitest part of the image selected.
Cancel the Threshold dialogue because you don't need it now - it has done it's work!
The two little markers may not be visible but don't worry - they will show up when they are needed.
The final step is to find Middle Gray on the image which is a bit more complicated.
Here's how to find the elusive Middle Gray ...
Create a Levels Adjustment Layer ...
The Eyedroppers in the Levels Dialogue are outlined in red.
Find the marker you placed on your image for the black point - it has the number 1 right next to it. Click on the Black Eyedropper (the left one) and then click exactly in the middle of the Black Point Marker.
Find the marker you placed on the image for the white point - it has the number 2 right next to it. Click on the White Eyedropper (the right one) and then click exactly in the middle of the White Point Marker.
Find the marker you placed on the image for the middle gray point - it has the number 3 right next to it. Click on the Middle Gray Eyedropper (the middle one) and then click exactly in the middle of the Middle Gray Point Marker (this one may make an enormous difference in the image).
Click OK and that's it - you are done (other than getting rid of the little markers).
Select the Eyedropper tool and locate the markers. One by one place the Eyedropper over the points, press and hold the Shift key and drag the points off of the image.
Here is the final color correction image ...
That yellow cast is gone and the image is much brighter now.
There you go - two really neat and useful methods to do a color correction on those images that need it.
On Page LinksAverage Filter Color Correction
Gray Point Eyedropper
following image has an overall blue cast.
Enjoy This Site?
Then why not use the button below, to add us to your favorite bookmarking service?
Return to top
| Homepage | Bamboo | Blog | Digital Darkroom | Intuos3 | Intuos4 | Cintiq | Links| Photoshop Brush Settings |Contact Form to ask questions, provide feedback or comments. Questions are good - so are comments - or requests!
| Photoshop Tutorials | Photoshop Elements | Paint Shop Pro | Painter Essentials
| Tablet Videos | Photoshop Videos| Elements Videos| Paint Shop Pro |
Return to Photoshop Tutorials from Color Correction