Color Matching in Photoshop Tutorial (Lab Color Mode) – Pantone Color of The Year

August 24, 2019 0 By Peter Engel

Welcome back to another very exciting tutorial
here at the My name is Jesus Ramirez, and you can find
me on Instagram @JRfromPTC. In this tutorial, we’re going to learn how
to color match in Photoshop. This is going to be a 3-part tutorial. We will learn how to use Adobe Stock’s visual
search to find the right images for our projects, then we will learn two color matching techniques. The first method is a quick fast way the beginners
can use to start color matching in no time, while the second method will give you an advanced
technique, which will give you precise results. The color that we’re going to match onto the
objects in our images is Greenery, the Pantone Color of the Year 2017. Every year, since 2000, the Pantone Color
Institute has chosen the color that reflects the current cultural climate. The Pantone Color of the Year has historically
influenced trends in all facets of design, including architecture, interior decor, fashion,
food, travel and many other fields. We’re going to start this tutorial by first
finding the right image for this project using Adobe Stock. Instead of a regular keyword search, we will
use Adobe Stock’s new visual search. This enhanced way of searching allows us to
use the visual contents of an image to find another. In this project, I would like to create a
holiday themed design. I would like to use green and red disposable
coffee cups isolated on a white background. Using a coffee cup on white paper, I mocked
up the type of image that I’m looking for and took a photo with my cell phone. If you’re following along with this tutorial,
you can head over to my website or use the short URL and download
this image. There’s a link for it right below this video. But, anyway, here we are at,
and in the search bar, you can click on this camera icon to bring up the visual search
window. You can drag an image onto there, or you can
click on the Browse button, which will open up a window where you can find any file in
your computer and upload it to Adobe Stock to perform the search. I have the coffee cup here. I can select it, click on Open and this is
going to run a visual search. You will notice that the resulting images
will be similar to what I uploaded–cups isolated by a white background. I can also refine the search by coming into
the search box and typing in a keyword, so I can type in “holiday” then click on the
search icon, and you will notice that all the resulting images now have a holiday theme,
but the one I like and the one that we will use for this tutorial is this one here. It has everything that I’m looking for, well,
except for one thing. It’s not the right color. We’ll, of course, use Photoshop to apply the
greenery Pantone color of the year to this cup. But, first, we must save this to the creative
cloud. Hover over the “Save Preview” icon and save
it to any of your libraries. If you have an older version of Photoshop
without CC libraries, then you can save the preview to your desktop. I’ll save this image to my library called
Tutorial Ideas. Back in Photoshop, in the Libraries panel,
you will see that the image that we saved from Adobe Stock is there. If you don’t see the Libraries panel, go to
Window and click on Library. From the Libraries panel, you can double click
on the image to open it up in a new tab, or you can click and drag it into any open document,
which is what I will do. I’m going to adjust the size of the image
by clicking and dragging on the corner handles while holding shift, then hit Enter or Return
on the keyboard to place the image. First, we’re going to select the greenery
color, which is the Pantone 376C. Double click on the foreground color and bring
up the Color Picker window. Then click on Color Libraries, select Pantone
Solid Coated from the dropdown and find the Pantone 376C color. You can click on the general green area, then
use the arrow keys on the keyboard to scroll up or down. Keep in mind that if the focus, the blue highlight
is on the dropdown, the arrow keys will change the book, not the color, so press the Tab
key to remove the focus off the dropdown, then click on anyone of the swatches and tap
the Down Arrow key. Once you find and select Pantone 376C, press
OK. Create a new layer by clicking on the New
Layer icon and we name it “Greenery.” Then, press B on the keyboard to enable the
Bush Tool and paint directly over the coffee cup. You don’t have to be precise at all. Simply go into the Blending Mode dropdown
in the Layers panel and choose Hue. This will apply the green color to the cup,
and it will not affect the white on the design of the cup. You do see a little bit of the green spilling
on to the background and into the surface where the cup is sitting on. This is because there is red in the ambient
color hitting those surfaces, so you need to paint on those areas as well to hide the
red. I’m not going to take the time to do that
now in this tutorial, but you do have that option. It will not affect anything that does not
have color. So neutral grays, white and black will be
unaffected. In images without white backgrounds, you can
use a layer mask to contain the colors to specified areas, which is what we’re going
to do in the next example. Something I want to point out is that this
blending mode, Hue, does not adjust luminosity or saturation, so the color may not be exactly
as the greenery we selected. If I create a new layer, rename it “greenery
sample color” and create one large circle by using a large hard edge brush. By the way, you can increase the size of the
brush by using the left and right bracket keys on your keyboard. Press V to select the Move Tool and move the
circle over the coffee cup. You will see that the greens are not the same,
but this image still works for my purposes, so I’m going to license the image by right-clicking
on it from the Libraries Window and select “License Image.” Photoshop will ask me if I’m sure that I want
to purchase this image. I am, so I’m going to press OK. The full-resolution version of the image without
the watermark will be downloaded on to my creative cloud account, and it will automatically
be updated in my working document. That’s a big advantage over other stock image
providers. I get to try out all the images before I buy
them and I only license what works. I don’t have to redo any work. All unflattened versions of the unlicensed
image will be updated once I license it. It will keep all the distortions, masks, filters
and adjustments that I’ve applied to it. Now, if you want a more accurate color match,
then you will have to use a more advanced method. I’m going to disable the coffee cup layer,
the greenery layer, and this white BG layer. Now we’re looking at another Adobe Stock image
and the green circle. If you want to follow along with this image,
type this number and hit Adobe Stock search and download it to your library or through
desktop. For the advanced color matching technique,
we’re going to work with the Lab Color Mode. My guess is that you’re currently working
with the RGB color mode or the CMYK color mode. You can go into the Image Menu. Under Mode, you can see which color mode has
a check mark next to it. That is your current color mode. In my case, I’m using RGB. Change the color mode to Lab. Click on “Don’t Merge” and “Don’t Rasterize.” This is the easiest color conversion to do,
and it’s non-destructive. No matter what color mode you start with,
it will always fit within the Lab color mode. Keep in mind that not all adjustment layers,
filters, and tools will be available in this color mode, so you must convert it back to
RGB or CMYK once you have completed the color match. One of the biggest differences between Lab
and RGB is that Lab separates grayscale information completely from color information. This allows us to work with color separate
from luminance. In other words, we can alter the color of
an object without affecting detail. This graphic shows you how each of the three
channels work. The L channel or Lightness is the easiest
to understand. It controls the luminance values of the image. It has no color values at all. The Lightness values range from zero to 100. The “a” channel is a color balance between
green and magenta. The center is neither one. Notice that these are the same colors as the
tint slider in Camera Raw and Lightroom. The “b” channel is the color balance between
blue and yellow. The center is neither one. These are the same colors as the temperature
slider in Camera Raw and Lightroom. The warm colors are positive numbers–magenta
and yellow, while negative numbers are cool–green and blue. A numerical value of zero is in-between both
colors. It’s 50% gray, neither green nor magenta,
or neither blue nor yellow. Now that you have a basic understanding of
what the Lab Color Mode is and how it works, we will apply the greenery color to this couch. You shall already have greenery as your foreground
color and the greenery sample color layer. If not, you can follow the steps in the previous
example to get both. Start by selecting the Color Sample Tool which
is nested under the Eyedropper Tool in the Tools Bar or what I prefer to do is select
the Eyedropper Tool then hold Shift on the keyboard to switch to the Color Sample Tool. Notice how the cursor icon changes as I hold
the Shift key. The Color Sample Tool will create point samples
that display the numerical values of the colors that we have selected. Before selecting any colors, make sure that
you have 11 by 11 Average under Sample Size in the Options Bar. This will help us get a more accurate representation
of the colors we have selected. By default, the Eyedropper Tool samples only
one single pixel, which may not give us the best representation of the colors we’re selecting,
especially on noisy or grainy images where you could quite easily click on a noise pixel
or any other unwanted artifacts. Hold Shift and click on the greenery color. Notice that Photoshop place the point sample
labeled number 1 and it also open up the Info panel which shows us the sampled color’s numerical
values for each channel. Click on the color that you want to change,
in this case, the red couch. Make sure that you don’t select the shadow
or highlight. Try to get the best representation of the
precise color that you want to change or at least the best representation that you can
get. The center of the couch will do. This will place a point sample labeled number
2 and, of course, the Info panel remains open and it displays the numerical values of the
two colors that I have selected so far. The values under Label 1 represents the green
color, and the values under Label 2 represent the red color. To apply the color match, we simply have to
change the values from the red couch to match the values of the green Pantone color. The best way to do this is by using a Curves
Adjustment Layer. But before we create a Curves Adjustment Layer,
let’s first make a selection around the couch so that we contain the adjustment to only
the couch and not the rest of the room. Click on the Quick Selection Tool and click
and drag on the couch to select it. If you accidentally select an area that you
were not supposed to, hold Alt, Option on the Mac, and click and drag to deselect. In most cases, you will need to refine the
selection, but in this example, this rough selection should work. With the selection active, click on the New
Adjustment Layer icon and select Curves. This will create a Curves Adjustment Layer
with a mask targeting only the couch. In the Properties panel, click on the Targeted
Adjustment Tool icon to enable it. This tool allows you to select a precise point
in the image to adjust. As you hover over the image, you will see
a circle moving up and down the curve. This circle represents the precise point in
the curve of the color that I’m hovering over. In this case, the point of the curve that
we’re interested in is where the red color is under sample number 2. Click in once or place a point in the curve
where this red color falls. Unfortunately, this does not add a point to
the “a” or “b” channel. To add a point to all three channels, we need
to hold two modifier keys as we click. First, we set the curve by clicking on the
Reset icon, then hover over point sample number 2 and hold Shift Ctrl, that’s Shift Command
on the Mac, and click. This creates a point on the Lightness channel
as well as the “a” and “b” channels. Now we can target the specific red color and
change it to the exact green that we want. This process is very simple. Simply click on the point and change the Output
number into the appropriate value of the color we selected. One thing to note, however, is that, currently,
label number 1 is giving the values of the gray background, not the green and that is
because we have this layer selected–the Curves Adjustment Layer. If I click on the greenery layer, notice that
the values changed. What we need to do is we need to click and
drag the Curves Adjustment Layer to the very top of the stack. Now that we have the Curves Adjustment Layer
on top of the stack, we can see the right numbers displayed here in the Lab label number
1. Also, note that there are two values being
shown on each of the labels. The value on the left represents the original
value. The value on the right represents the adjusted
value after we make the adjustments. So you only need to focus on the values here
on the left for label number 1 and the values on the right here on label number 2. So we need to make 50 into 70. To do that, make sure that you’re on the L
channel–on Lightness. Click on the point. You’ll know that it’s selected because not
only you clicked on it, but you can see that the point is now filled in. It’s no longer an outline of a square. So, with the point selected, under Output,
type in the number 70–this number here. Then press Enter on the keyboard to accept
the change. Now we need to work on the “a” channel, so
change the Lightness channel into the “a” channel. The point is selected; under Output, we’re
going to type in -37, hit Enter. Now we need to go into the “b” channel. The point is selected; under Output, we’re
going to type in the number 73. So now, we have 70, -37 and 73. The adjustment layer changed the values of
the red couch to match those of the green channel. Notice that the -38 doesn’t quite match the
“a” channel. It doesn’t have to be precise. If you want to be precise, you can select
the point and notice that the value to your output is -37, but that’s not what’s displaying
here under the value number 2. If you want those two to match and be 100%
precise, just use the Up and Down arrow keys on the keyboard, so I’m just going to press
the Up arrow key a few times, and now I’m at -37. It really didn’t make that much of a difference
in the way the color looks on screen, but this is how you would get those numbers to
be precise. Sometimes just typing the output value here
won’t give you the exact same results under the adjustment layer and the sample points. So I’m going to press Enter to accept the
change, and now, they match. You can see on screen that these colors are
pretty much the same. There is one problem. The highlights have a yellow tint to them. So we can fix that by going into the “a” channel;
we’re already there. Click in on the top point you see here on
the white point and dragging that down. If you recall from the earlier example, the
“a” channel controls green and magenta. The negative values are green, which is why
I’m dragging this point down. And as you can see in the output, we are in
the negative values. So now we’re removing that yellow highlight
by adding green. Also, one thing to note is when you’re working
with a Curves Adjustment Layer in the RGB Color Mode; you do not want to have points
that are side by side because they’ll flatten out the image. You’ll lose a lot of detail, and the image
won’t look right. In the Lab Color Mode, this is not a problem. You can have two points side by side. I’m going to, now, click and drag the Curves
Adjustment Layer below the greenery example, so it doesn’t affect it. Then I’m going to click on the greenery sample
color layer and click and drag that layer on top of the couch so that you could see
that the colors match exactly. Obviously, the shadows are going to be darker,
and the highlights are going to be brighter, but the color that we sample matches precisely. I’m going to disable the layer. Now that I made the adjustment, I’m going
to need to switch back into the RGB Color Mode, and one thing to note is that adjustment
layers will not convert from one color mode to another, so what we need to do in this
case is merge the document so we have it on one single layer. Obviously, this is a destructive effect, and
we lost all the other layers. One thing you can do to work around this problem
is to do a merge yourself before actually converting the document, so I’m going to show
you how to do that. I’m going to press Ctrl Alt Z, Command Option
Z on the Mac to undo. So what I’m going to do is I want to, first,
select a visible layer so we can select the Curves Adjustment Layer or the background
layer. Then I’m going to press Ctrl Alt Shift E,
that’s Command Option Shift E on the Mac, and that merges everything on to a single
layer. So, now, I don’t really need the Curves Adjustment
Layer anymore. I just have this layer that contains the color
change, and I can delete the Curves Adjustment Layer, and I can make the Color Mode change
to RGB. Photoshop is going to ask me if I want to
flatten the file. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to merge, so click on “Don’t
Merge,” and I don’t want to rasterize it, so click on “Don’t Rasterize,” and there it
is. I don’t have the Curves Adjustment Layer anymore,
but I do have all the other layers in case I need them. And, of course, the couches are now the Pantone
color of the year 2017–greenery. And that’s it for this tutorial. I hope that you enjoyed it and that you learned
something new. Make sure that you leave all your comments
or questions down below. If you create an image using this tutorial
or any other of my tutorials, feel free to share it on Instagram with the hashtag #ptcvids. I often do a search for this hashtag to see
what you’re all up to. If I find your image, I will leave you a comment. Also, don’t forget to subscribe and click
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this tutorial, please share this link with them now. Thank you for watching, and I’ll talk to you
again soon.