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3.3 Visual Adjustments

In this lesson you'll learn how to make some very slight visual adjustments to your image in order to prepare it for printing. This is sometimes done to keep the image from printing too dark, and also to restore any color that may have faded or changed during the color conversion process.

3.3 Visual Adjustments

In this lesson, we're going to make some visual adjustments to our image in order to prepare it for printing. This is sometimes done to keep the image from printing too dark. And also to help restore any color that may have faded or changed during the color conversion process. We're also going to make some slight changes to our image's white and black points, as well as any colors that fall out of the color gamut. So looking at this particular image, I'd say we could brighten it up just a bit, just to make sure it doesn't print too dark. To do this, we're going to use a curves adjustment layer. So let's go ahead and create that adjustment layer. And then once you've done that, you can pull up the midpoint of the curve ever so slightly to lighten our image. And that about does it, that's the quick and easy way. Now it's worth noting here that you could also add other adjustment layers as necessary. It really depends on the tones and shadows in the particular photo that you're working with, and what color space you're working in. So for example, if your image lost a noticeable amount of saturation when you adjusted your color profile, you could add a quick hue saturation layer to bring that up a bit. And the same is true for any of the other adjustment layers, as well. And speaking of the saturation adjustment layer, you can also use that to fix any gamut warnings in your image. Gamut warnings are useful because they warn us of any colors that fall outside of our color profile's color range. And so that's exactly what we're going to do next. I'm going to head on over to full-screen mode, and that's also shortcut F on my keyboard. We're going to check our image and see if we have any gamut warnings. And so to do that, we're gonna head on up to View and then Select Gamut Warning. And so that simply puts a check mark next to it. And it actually very subtly changes our image, so that if there are any warning areas, they appear in gray. And so at first glance, it looks like there has been no change, however, we're going to zoom into our image, shortcut Z on our keyboard, and actually look closer. And while our image looks pretty good, I highly encourage you to head back up to View, deselect Gamut Warning, and see if there was any change. And indeed there was in this area. And so, back up to View, select Gamut Warning, and you'll see that it actually added some very subtle areas of gray where colors fall outside of our color profile range. And so these are areas that will look muddy when they're printed. And so once again, just to demonstrate I'm gonna deselect Gamut Warning, and you see those areas disappear. And then I'm going to select it again, and so with whatever image you're working with, I encourage you to really take a careful moment, zoom in, and look over your image to see if you have any of these warnings. So let's create a saturation adjustment layer and target these specific areas, so that we can correct them. So we'll head over to our layers palette, and create a hue saturation layer that's going to sit on top of everything. Okay, now we're going to head down to our Properties panel and find which colors are causing the gamut warning. So, within the panel, we're going to change the master setting to green. We'll try green first. And mainly because of these green leaves that are having the warning. And so what you'll do is slowly take down the saturation and see if that gets rid of the gray areas. And by the way, it's important that you have this Gamut Warning on while you're doing this. And so I took down the saturation slider ever so slightly, and I see, even as I take it down more and more, that those warnings are still there. So I'm going to leave it on 0, and this time, we're gonna target the yellows. We'll see if that helps get rid of the gray areas. And so we're going to take our saturation slider, and we'll bring it down ever so slightly, and as we do, you'll see those gray areas disappearing. And I'm looking specifically at this leaf, as well as this one underneath it, and this one over in the corner. And so putting it back at 0, you'll see that the gray reappears. And also a little bit in her glasses, as well. And so taking that slider, I'm going to bring it down just enough so that all of that gray, from the leaves specifically, disappears. And I'm going to look at the green areas on her dress, the other green areas, and they're looking pretty good right now. And so next I'm gonna focus on her glasses. And so I'm gonna head over to the reds. I'm going to take that saturation slider down, ever so slightly, and really, you want this to be just enough so that those areas disappear. And keep in mind, we are desaturating the image, and so you don't want to overdo that. At this point, I'm going to zoom back out of the image. And holding down my option key while clicking on the image, takes me back out. This is what we're left with. And over on the Layers palette, I'm going to select the eye icon to look at our before and our after. And so our image is washed out, although there are also no more gamut warning areas. Next, I'm going to click the white mask thumbnail icon within the layer. And we're going to mask out the areas that we don't want to be desaturated. So make sure you click on this white rectangle. And we're going to use our brush tool, shortcut B on your keyboard. Make sure the color black is selected for your foreground, because remember when working with the mask, black removes the effect. Also, we're going to have our hardness set at 0. And the size of our brush we're going to make fairly large. Mine is at 900 right now, but I'm going to use my right bracket key to make it larger, and my left to make it smaller as I'm working. And finally, make sure your opacity and flow are set at 100%. And so now I'm going to go in and remove, or mask out, the hue saturation adjustment layer, so that she looks resaturated again. And the only part that I'm going to leave this adjustment layer applied to is her sunglasses, as well as those areas of her dress that had the gamut warning. And so I am now going over the image and masking it back in selectively. And as you're working, you'll find that you do have a preview within your Layers palette, so you can see where you're working. And so after you've masked back in the areas that you want, I recommend going in with your zoom tool and making sure that you left in those areas that had the gamut warning. I still have my gamut warning on, and looking here, it looks pretty good. And if you head over to your layers palette and select the eye icon again, this shows us where we have those warnings. Select it again, and our warnings are taken care of. At this point, I'm going to head back over to my brush tool and mask out some areas of red, so that it appears a bit more vibrant. But I'm being careful to avoid those areas that have the gamut warning. And as you're working, if you happen to take out an area that has a warning, such as this corner of her dress, you can simply use the white brush to mask those areas back in, or you can undo the brush stroke by using Ctrl+Z to go back one step. And going back to the black brush, I'm going to make some final touch-ups to our image, just so that her dress does not appear washed out. And so here is our image so far. Next, we're going to make some adjustments to our image's white and black points. As you'll recall, earlier in the course I mentioned that the DMax refers to the maximum density of colors or darker tones in an image, and the DMin refers to the minimum color density, or lighter tones in an image. Now both the DMin and the DMax represent the dynamic scale, or tonal range, of an image. Some print processes can't use the full 255 range of colors. So we're going to bring in the DMin and DMax levels to compensate for this and to keep everything inside of the print gamut. In Photoshop, one way to control the DMax and DMin is to adjust the output values within the level adjustment layer. And so we're going to effectively change the black and white points of our image. We are going to essentially pad, or give some leeway room, to the black points and white points within our image. So to do this, we're first going to create a new adjustment layer for levels. And so here we have a new levels adjustment layer sitting on top of everything. And we're gonna look down in the Properties panel. And down at the very bottom, we have the Output Levels. Now, 0 refers to black, and the value 255 controls the white. And so, for the first value of 0, we're going to change that to 10. And as we do this, you'll notice this slider above it moved in ever so slightly. And actually, if you click it and drag it, you'll see how it affects the image, and also the output level. And so the higher the output level, the less black in the image. And so when we bring it in to 10, we're removing some of the black in the image, which can help compensate if your printer's not able to use the full range of 255 colors. And then, for the 255 white value, we're going to take that down to 245. And now heading up to the Layers panel and clicking on the eye icon, you'll see there's an ever so slight difference in our image now. And it's using less than 255 colors, but this will help prevent any muddy colors from coming out when the image is printed, which is what happens when your printer can't use the full range. And the nice thing about having this on an adjustment layer is that you can tweak this if you want. And it really depends on your printer and what it can handle. And so in some cases, you may need an output level of 15 for the black value, or maybe in some cases 7. And this is also where doing test prints really comes in handy. And so now we have our DMax value at 10, and we'll leave our DMin value at 245. So that brings us to the end of the lesson. In this lesson, we added a curves adjustment layer, and manually brightened our image ever so slightly in preparation for printing. We also adjusted the image's black and white points, and used the saturation adjustment level to take care of our color gamut warnings. In our next lesson, we're going to go ahead and flatten our image.

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