I keep mentioning the use of the LAB Color mode. And rather than take away from posting in the critique gallery, I though it best to write something up here.
Now, I am NOT a PS expert and frankly have very little understanding of how most of this stuff works. I’m a user of the tool and have found some helpful things over the years (ie. Thank You Tony Kuyper!) I don’t remember where I picked this up, but you can find lots of videos if you google for “Using LAB Color mode to enhance your photos” or some similar search.
In summary, LAB mode allows you to alter the lightness of colors without affecting their color values - I think. Much like one can do using a b&w adj layer in Luminosity mode. By changing the Mode to LAB (Lightness, A, B channels) and using a Curves layer, you can adjust the colors, ie. concentrating the colors in to a smaller space, ie. 0-255 down to 0-126 or something like that. I think I’m pretending here so I’ll stop and get to the process.
First a couple things. In LAB Color mode on a Curves layer you can adjust:
- The L, or lightness channel - literally adjusting lightness
- The A channel. This is the Red - Green channel
- The B channel. This is the Blue - Yellow channel
- Duplicate your original, then flatten the duplicate. You can do this at any point during your processing. I don’t know pros/cons, experiment.
- In the new duplicated image, change the color mode to LAB. Image>Mode>LAB Color
- Open a Curves Adj Layer (you can use Levels, but Curves has more control (but don’t really use it, so Levels should work too.)
- I don’t typically play with the Lightness channel, but you can experiment
- select the A channel and adjust the dark and light end points (actually that would be the red and green end pts.} Drag them towards the center curve. Make sure you move an equal amount on both sides or you introduce a new color cast.
- repeat for the B Channel. Now, the farther you move the sliders, the more extreme the effect. This is ok because we will be changing blending mode later. Alternatively, you can actually use this in a more subtle way to effect color change without changing blending more or opacity later.
- Once done with adjustments, again the image will look hideous, flatten this duplicated layer.
- Windows>Arrange>2up vertical to get images side by side
- Use Move tool to move duplicated image on to the layer stack of your original. (shift-click, hold, drag to new location.)
- Once on the layer stack, change blending mode and opacity to suit your needs, taste.
Tip: I created an ACTION to duplicate, add the Curves layer and set the points.
Of course not every image needs this, nor should you blindly use on every image. I think it’s similar to the Orton effect in that it can be used effectively, but also easily over done.
Honestly, I don’t know if this falls in to the realm of “do no harm to your pixels…” or not. I do understand that if you go back and for between color modes too often there could be degradation. So here, there’s only one mode change, so I think ok.
Hope this helps. Feedback welcome