Create a Beautiful COLOR GRADE in Photoshop Using Selective Color

Create a Beautiful COLOR GRADE in Photoshop Using Selective Color

August 14, 2019 89 By Peter Engel


Hi. Welcome back to the photoshoptrainingchannel.com. I’m Jesus Ramirez. In this video, I’m going to show you a great
way to create beautiful color grades in Photoshop. We will work on two projects where we will
apply a color grade to a photo using the selective color adjustment layer. We will start by applying a blue cold color
grade to this photo, and we will then move on to a second example where you will learn
to apply a warm tone color grade. You will also learn a ton of helpful tips
and tricks along the way, such as creating a solar flare with a gradient fill. The goal of this tutorial is to show you how
you can apply any color grade that you want with the selective color adjustment layer. We will not discuss color theory or how color
affects the story that your image conveys in this tutorial, but if you would like to
find out more about those topics then check out my video on cinematic color grading where
I talk about those topics in depth and I even discuss several movie stills and the color
grades that they use and how it affects their story. You can check out that video after this one. I’ll place a link right below in the description
for you. And before we get started, I just want to
ask you to please click on that like button if at some point during this tutorial you
see a technique that is useful to you and your workflow. Also, if this is your first time at the Photoshop
Training Channel, then don’t forget to click on that subscribe and notification buttons. If you want to follow along with this image,
I’m going to place a link right below in the description where you can download a free
watermark version from Adobe Stock, which is where I got this image from. Okay, let’s get started. In this first example, I’m gonna show you
how to create a cooler version of the color grade, and I’m going to start by using the
selective color adjustment layer. The selective color adjustment layer allows
you to select a color or a tone and add and subtract colors. And I know that seems a little weird, but
I’ll explain how that works in a moment. One really important thing to keep in mind
when working with the selective color adjustment layer is what is the opposite color of each
color? With black, it’s really simple, the opposite
of black is white. But what about yellow, magenta, and cyan? If you don’t know, you can turn on the color
balance adjustment layer. And I think that Photoshop does a really good
job in this adjustment layer in displaying the relationship between each color. The opposite of cyan is red. The opposite of magenta is green. The opposite of yellow is blue. Unfortunately with the adjustment layer that
we’re working with, we don’t have that great visual representation in the sliders. But, the same is true. The opposite of cyan is red, the opposite
of magenta is green, and the opposite of yellow is blue. So, if you forget, just turn on the color
balance adjustment layer and look at this wonderful display that shows you the relationship
between each color. So, for the rest of the tutorial, I’m gonna
work with the selective color adjustment layer. What I’m gonna do first is click on the drop
down and select the color, or in this case the tone, that we’re going to adjust. I’m going to adjust the blacks. Those are the darkest colors in the image. And I can add or subtract colors. If I want to create a cold, cool image then
I’m gonna add cool colors, in this case cyan, so I can increase the cyan. Notice how I’m adding cyan to the darker colors
of the image. I could also do the same thing with the yellow. Remember, the opposite of yellow is blue so, instead of adding yellow, If I subtract yellow, I get blue. See that? See if I go all the way to the left I get
this really, really bright blue that really doesn’t look any good. But, if I fine tune it, I can get a nice balance
between the cyan and blue. And obviously it’s up to you as to how you
fine tune the image. This is all very subjective so go with whatever
looks good to your eye and your image. You don’t necessarily have to use the same
values or even the same sliders that I use. But, you probably will start with the blacks. So, at this point, the blacks, the darker
colors in the image are not necessarily black, which is why they’re looking so washed out. So, I can increase the blacks to just make
them darker, therefore bringing more contrast into the image. Watch what happens if I go all the way. See how the darker colors are now darker? That’s why the image looks so dark. But it I go all the way to the left, the darker
colors are now white, creating this effect you see here. And I don’t want that, of course, so I’m gonna
go to about 10% or so and that creates that effect you see there. That’s the before and the after. Notice how quickly we were able to apply this
color grade just by targeting the blacks in the image and applying cool colors. And I can continue. I can go into the neutrals and do the same
thing. I can reduce the yellows to add a little bit
of blue, maybe not so much, and increase the cyans as well. In this case, I really don’t want to fine
tune the neutrals too much. I think that we did a really good job with
the blacks that we’ll just keep working with that. And then in some cases, you may need to adjust
the whites. In this case, they probably won’t make much
of a difference. If I increase the cyans all the way to 100%,
you’ll notice that I’m targeting the highlights on his face and the highlights on the motorcycle. In this case, it is not necessary to adjust
the whites so I’ll leave all the sliders at their default setting. So, that’s before, and after. Again, everything is subjective so you might
be happy with the look you have now. In this case, I don’t necessarily like the
blue on the shadows of his face so I’m gonna press the Z key on the keyboard to zoom in. And you can see what I’m talking about. See the before. In the after, we added a lot of blue to his
face and I don’t necessarily like that so what I’ll do in this case is simply select
the brush tool and click on the selective color layer mask thumbnail. Make sure that your foreground color is set
to black. Then paint in the layer mask to reveal the
original skin tones. On a layer mask, white reveals and black conceals. So, I’m painting with black, therefore concealing
the effect. I’ll quickly mask these areas out, which will
allow me to adjust the skin tones independently from the selective color adjustment layer. I’m going fairly quickly here, but in your
image, do take your time. It’s not necessary for me to get a perfect
mask for this tutorial, but the mask will be good enough and you will get the idea. So, once you have the mask, you can double
click on the hand tool to fit it to screen. And actually, I’ll also paint over his hands,
since they’re also part of his skin, obviously. And I’ll quickly paint through those. I just don’t like those dark blues on the
shadows of his hands, but that’s just a personal preference. You might actually like that for your image,
and that’s okay. And I’ll double click on the hand tool to
fit the image to screen. And you can see that we masked out the effect
on his skin. You can duplicate the layer by clicking and
dragging it into the new layer icon. Then I’ll rename the bottom layer to Color
Tone, and the top layer, I’ll call Skin, because it’s controlling his skin. Currently, both layer masks are targeting
everything but the skin, but we want the layer on top to only target the skin and nothing
else. We can make this happen very easily by first
clicking on the layer mask thumbnail to activate it. Then in the properties panel, you will see
the invert button. This button allows us to invert the layer
mask to select the opposite of what it’s currently selecting. So, it will select the skin tones and nothing
else. I’ll click on the adjustment layer thumbnail
and then click on reset to reset the adjustment layer, and then I can continue working with
this layer. For example, I can go into the blacks and
adjust the brightness of his skin tones. If I make ’em darker, I give him more contrast,
which I think it needs. And I can go into the reds where most of the
skin tones are found, no matter what the ethnicity is, and maybe add just a tad bit of cyan. Reduce the yellow just a tiny bit, add a bit
of magenta to the skin, which gives it a nice effect. And this is before, and after. And I think that looks much, much better. What I’m going to do now is create a curves
adjustment layer, and I’m going to change the blending mode to luminosity. But before I do that I wanna show you one
thing. If you create a really extreme adjustment
like this one, you’ll see that with a curves adjustment layer, you not only affect luminosity,
but you also will affect the saturation of the image. See how the colors are very saturated on his
shirt. But if you change the blending mode to luminosity,
notice now that the colors are not as saturated. So, I’m going to use the curves adjustment
layer with the luminosity blending mode to not affect the saturation of the image. I’m going to click on the reset icon to reset
the curves adjustment, and I’m going to click on the curve to create a point and drag down
to darken the image. Then I’m going to paint directly on the layer
mask thumbnail with the brush tool, obviously, and with black to hide the effect. I’m going to increase the size of my brush
by tapping on the right bracket key on the keyboard. Another way in which you can reduce the size
of your brush is by holding Alt option on the Mac, and right clicking and dragging left
and right to increase the size of the brush, and up and down to adjust the smoothness of
that brush. So, in this case, I want a fairly smooth brush
and a brush about that big. And I’m just going to paint where I want to
conceal that effect. What I’m doing here is bringing more attention
into the subject by making the background darker. And then I can reduce the opacity accordingly,
just to get a much more interesting effect. And again, just like everything else, everything
is subjective, so you can decide how you want to mask out that darkening effect. So, that’s before, and after. And that still might be a little too dark
so I’ll bring down the opacity to 50%, before, and after. Then, I’m going to rename the curves adjustment
layer. And I’ll just call it Darkening. I like having all my layers named so that
I know what they control. With the top layer selected, I’m going to
hold shift, click on the bottom layer, the one labeled Color Tone, and press Ctrl G,
Command G on the Mac, to put that into a group And I’ll call this group Cooling Effect. So, we made a cooling effect just using those
adjustment layers. And actually, now that I’m looking at it,
there’s one other change that I want to do that I really didn’t think about until just
now, so we’ll see how that works. With a hue and saturation adjustment layer
selected, I want to change some of these reds because the image is really blue, and blue
contrasts better with orange. So if we make these reds orange, because blue
and orange are complementary colors, as you’ve seen in my cinematic color grading tutorial. There’s a link down below in the description
if you wanna know what I’m talking about. But, I think that it would look much better
if his shirt had orange instead of red. So, we’ll see if it works. I’m going to click on this icon here. And then click on one of the reds and drag. See that? See when I’m clicking and dragging, I’m changing
the saturation, see that? But, if I click and drag while holding Ctrl,
that’s Command on the Mac, I’m changing the hue, so I can push the hue to the oranges. And I know I’m affecting other parts of the
image like his skin, but that’s okay. I’m not worried about that right now. I just want to make sure I get the right orange
there, like that one there, and then click and drag without holding Ctrl, and click to
the left to reduce the saturation of that orange just a little bit. I think I went too far so I’ll go back up. Somewhere around there. So, that’s before, and after. Next I’ll select the hue and saturation layer
mask thumbnail, and I’ll call the layer Shirt so that I know it’s affecting the shirt. I’m going to press the invert button on the
properties panel with that layer thumbnail selected and it turns it black, of course. So, it hides the effect. White reveals, black conceals. So, the entire layer mask is black so everything
is hidden. Now with white as my foreground color, I can
paint directly over the shirt. And again, I’m not going to take the time
to do a perfect mask, but you’ll get the idea. And so now I’m painting directly over the
shirt, revealing the orange color that we applied with the hue and saturation adjustment
layer. So, that’s before, and after. It’s a subtle adjustment, but I think it works. I think it looks much better with orange. And we can always come back into the hue and
saturation adjustment layer, go back into the reds, because that’s what we adjusted
with the direct selection tool there. And maybe I can increase the saturation. I think it might actually look better with
more saturation. So, before, and after. I can also adjust the hue to maybe change
it to a different shade of orange, maybe more in the yellows, and you can keep fine tuning
it as much as you want. Also, one thing I’m noticing is that in these
areas, I’m not really targeting the reds, and that’s because the target is right here,
right on the red, not the darker shades of red. So, I’m gonna click and drag this to expand
it and select more reds, and I think I will be able to get some of the reds that I missed
right over here. And I think that actually selected those. And I’m also gonna come back and make sure
that I painted over every area that has red over the shirt. And you can, of course, keep fine tuning the
mask and the colors as much as you like. So, that’s before, and after. So, that was the cooling effect. Now let me show you a warming effect using
the same technique. I’m going to click on the eye icon to disable
the group. Then I’m gonna click on the background and
press Ctrl J, Command J on the Mac, to duplicate it, and I’m just gonna drag that into the
cooling group effect, and I’ll drag it all the way to the bottom of the group. And you know what, actually, th- that’s a
long way. There’s actually a faster way. Let me show you what that is. I’m just gonna delete this layer. And I want to press Ctrl J, Command J on the
Mac, to duplicate that layer. And as you just saw, if I simply click and
drag something into a group, it’s gonna place it on the very top of the group. But, if I duplicate the layer, Ctrl J, Command
J on the Mac, and hold Shift, and drag it into the group, it’s gonna place that layer
at the bottom of the layer stack. So, that’s the way I should’ve done it. Just a little faster. And that only works on Photoshop CC. In older versions of Photoshop, if I’m not
mistaken, by default, the layer goes to the bottom of the layer stack when you drag it
into a group. But anyway, the reason that I’m doing this
is so that we can compare with the second example, the warming example. So now, we’re going to do the same thing,
but we’re going to make this image look warmer. So, I’m going to create a selective color
adjustment layer. I’m going to go back into the blacks. And this time I’m going to add yellow to make
the image warmer, and reduce the cyan to bring in some red, like so. And I’ll drag the black to the right to bring
in some contrast. Then I’ll go into the neutrals and I’ll do
the same thing, add red, maybe add a little bit more yellow this time. And in the whites, I’ll do the same. I’ll reduce the cyan, and I’ll add yellow,
like so. So, the image, obviously, is looking much
warmer. I think that we need a bright highlight on
the right hand side just to make it seem like there’s maybe a window or a light source coming
in through the right. And one of the way in which you can create
that effect is by creating a gradient fill. Under style, make sure that you have radial
selected and the style that you’re gonna use is the second one here, the one that goes
from foreground color to transparent. To make sure that you have the right gradient,
double click on the gradient, and in the gradient editor, just make sure that this opacity stop
is set to 0% and location at 100%. Click on the color stop to the left and set
it to white. That will be the inner color. Then click on the color stop on the right
and set it to yellow. That will be the outer color. Press OK. Press OK once more. And then we can adjust the scale of that highlight. And you can click and drag it and place it
anywhere. I’m gonna place it on the right. And I’ll move the gradient fill window to
the left so that we can see what we’re doing. Then I can adjust the intensity of the glow
by adjustment the scale, maybe push it out of the canvas more, and then press okay. What I’m gonna do now is change the blending
mode to color dodge. And you can reduce the opacity if you like,
but I find that with color dodge, fill works better. Color dodge is one of those blending modes
where fill and opacity work differently. If you want to find out what blending modes
work differently when you adjust fill compared to opacity, then check out my video The 8
Special Blending Modes. I’ll place a link right below in the description. But anyway, I’m going to double click on a
gradient fill layer thumbnail to bring up the gradient fill window. And I’ll click and drag the glow in a bit
more. I’ll also increase the scale to make it larger. I should have change the blending mode first
and then adjusted the scale. And I’ll drag it to the outside of the canvas
again, and press okay. And I can adjust the fill and bring that down
accordingly. So, that’s before, and after. And this is creating this warming effect on
the right hand side, as if we had a bright window where a lot of light is coming through. And it’s affecting, obviously, our model. And just like with everything else, you can
keep fine tuning it until it looks good to your eye. One thing that I want to do in this case is
flatten the image more so that there’s less contrast. And one of the ways in which I can do that
is by creating a levels adjustment layer and moving the black point to the right so that
the darkest pixel is brighter, thus flatten the image. The problem is that if we go all the way to
the right, you’ll notice that the image is actually pretty white, and it’s not necessarily
that yellow color that we want. And that’s because we placed the levels adjustment
layer at the very top. So, I’m gonna drag it down below the selective
color adjustment layer, and watch what happens. See how now we have that yellow effect on
this flat image. So, remember: Layer stack order matters. What I’m gonna do now is drag the black point
to the left, and fine tune it to a position where I’m happy with the flattening effect. I’ll quickly rename my layers. I’ll name the gradient fill Flare, the second
selective color layer is the Color Grade, and this levels adjustment layer is the Wash
Out Effect. And I can put those into a group, so click
on the top layer, hold Shift, and click on the bottom layer and press Control G, Command
G on the Mac. I actually can’t make this into a group because
there’s a lock on it. The best way to remove the background lock
is simply by clicking on it. In older versions of Photoshop,
before Photoshop CC, you will have to click Alt and click on that lock. But, anyway, I’ll do that again. I’ll select all the layers, and press Control
G, Command G on the Mac, and I’ll call this one Warming Effect. And you can see the two color grades that
we came up with by using the same selective color adjustment layer. Let me know in the comments below which of
these two color grades you prefer and why, or what colors you would have used for the
color grade. Remember, if this is your first time at the
Photoshop Training Channel, then don’t forget to click on that subscribe and notification
buttons. Thank you so much for watching. I will see you again in the next tutorial.