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How to Colour Grade a Photo in Pixelmator Pro

In addition to all of the functionality you'd expect from a professional level photo editing software, Pixelmator Pro also offers numerous advanced controls, allowing you to easily apply your custom photo grades.

Pixelmator Pro is a Mac-based application. A free trial that gives you the entire functionality of Pixelmator Pro, with no restrictions, for 15 days, so you can really try it out before buying.

Let's take a look at how we can use Pixelmator Pro to colour grade a photo.

How to Colour Grade a Photo in Pixelmator Pro

Start off by importing a RAW photo into Pixelmator Pro. Here's one of a cloudy, dramatic sunset.

Basic Photo Adjustments

I'll make some of the basic adjustments to this photo, such as white balance, exposure, contrast, highlights, etc. I'll slide the very easy to use sliders on the various adjustments to achieve my vision of a moodier and richer photo edit.

This is definitely closer to what I had in mind for my edit, but there's a way to dig in even deeper to sculpt out the colour grade.

Colour Grading in Pixelmator Pro

A little bit further down the Color Adjustments menu in Pixelmator Pro you'll find the Selective Color and Color Balance adjustments. These areas are where we can really hone in on a certain colour treatment. We'll be able to add custom colour grades and/or minimizing certain colours while boosting others.

Selective Color

In Selective Color, we can affect an individual colour of our choosing. Pixelmator Pro conveniently provides a histogram in this sub-menu to show you exactly what colours are currently present in your photo. Just click on the colour box that you wish to affect, and then use the Hue, Saturation, and Brightness sliders to make the change.

I've focused in on the yellows of my photo, which were mostly displaying in the less cloudy portion of the sky. I decreased the Saturation by -26% and decreased the Brightness by -11%.

Color Balance

Let's move our attention to the Color Balance sub-menu. The adjustments in this section appear as colour wheels, corresponding to the highlights, midtones and shadows. These colour wheels allow you to add specific colour tints to the related tonal ranges.

I went for a classic 'Teal & Orange' colour grade here. That means I dragged my Highlights towards Blue, and my Shadows towards Orange.

Let me bring your attention to the sliders on the outside of the colour wheels. The slider on the left adjusts the intensity of the colour shift, while the slider on the right adjusts the brightness of the colour shift. Try shifting them around to see what happens.

Final Edits

Now that we've gone through and applied our colour grade to the image, it's good practice to go back through all of your basic adjustments to make sure they're all still serving your photo edit. Make any last minute adjustments here, and consider your colour grade complete!

I hope this tutorial has helped you to see just how easy using Pixelmator Pro to colour grade a photo is! This software offers a full range of adjustments that apply specifically to us photographers, allowing our custom colour grades to be easily applied and adjusted.

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