Using Adobe Camera Raw For the Ultimate Color Combinations

JGaulard

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Staff member
Pro Member
This is one of those tricks that makes you say, "Man, why didn't I think of that?" It's such a simple idea and it's so easy to execute. I've got a tip for you today that will help you open up the colors of your photos. I'm ashamed that I haven't shared it sooner.

Oh, by the way, I just wrote the "long version" of this quick wrap up on the blog. You can view that post here.

So basically, here' s the trick to get the full color out of your final photos. Launch your image into Adobe Camera Raw. Then, edit its color with an eye towards colorizing (warming, cooling, etc...) a certain part of it. If the sunset needs to be warmer, for instance, then make it so. Don't concern yourself with any other parts of the photo becoming too warm and looking strange. Then, once that particular area looks good to you, send the image into Photoshop.

Next, open the same, edited, image into Camera Raw again. This time, change the color emphasis to something else. Look at another area of the photo and correct and enhance that area with color. Again, don't concern yourself with those parts of the photo that don't look good with this color cast. Just focus on the part that's looking good. When you're finished, move this version into Photoshop as well. For an example of what these colorized images might look like, please visit the post here:

Combining Camera Raw Edited Photos in Adobe Photoshop For Awesome Color

Once both versions of the photo are in Photoshop, move one version over into the other's workspace. Make sure there are both layers in the one file and that both layers are aligned exactly. Then, add a layer mask to the top layer. In the example I gave in the post I wrote, I kept the warmer image on the bottom and the cooler one on top. I added the mask to the cooler version. Now here's the trick. If the ocean and sky should look cool and blue and the sand and the grass should look warm and orange, I would need to use the mask to remove the coolness of the top version of the photo from the bottom. Simply use the Brush Tool in the left vertical toolbar and the color black to paint away the cool image from the beach and grass areas. What's left should be both the warm and cool parts of the image, all in one photo. It's easier to get a clear idea of what I'm talking about when you see the example images for something like this and that's why I keep referring you to the original post.

Please let me know what your thoughts are on this type of a workflow. You can actually edit as many versions of the image as you want. You can then move all those colored versions into Photoshop and mask until the cows come home. There's nothing stopping you from doing that.
 

Herb

Member
This is one of those tricks that makes you say, "Man, why didn't I think of that?" It's such a simple idea and it's so easy to execute. I've got a tip for you today that will help you open up the colors of your photos. I'm ashamed that I haven't shared it sooner.

Oh, by the way, I just wrote the "long version" of this quick wrap up on the blog. You can view that post here.

So basically, here' s the trick to get the full color out of your final photos. Launch your image into Adobe Camera Raw. Then, edit its color with an eye towards colorizing (warming, cooling, etc...) a certain part of it. If the sunset needs to be warmer, for instance, then make it so. Don't concern yourself with any other parts of the photo becoming too warm and looking strange. Then, once that particular area looks good to you, send the image into Photoshop.

Next, open the same, edited, image into Camera Raw again. This time, change the color emphasis to something else. Look at another area of the photo and correct and enhance that area with color. Again, don't concern yourself with those parts of the photo that don't look good with this color cast. Just focus on the part that's looking good. When you're finished, move this version into Photoshop as well. For an example of what these colorized images might look like, please visit the post here:

Combining Camera Raw Edited Photos in Adobe Photoshop For Awesome Color

Once both versions of the photo are in Photoshop, move one version over into the other's workspace. Make sure there are both layers in the one file and that both layers are aligned exactly. Then, add a layer mask to the top layer. In the example I gave in the post I wrote, I kept the warmer image on the bottom and the cooler one on top. I added the mask to the cooler version. Now here's the trick. If the ocean and sky should look cool and blue and the sand and the grass should look warm and orange, I would need to use the mask to remove the coolness of the top version of the photo from the bottom. Simply use the Brush Tool in the left vertical toolbar and the color black to paint away the cool image from the beach and grass areas. What's left should be both the warm and cool parts of the image, all in one photo. It's easier to get a clear idea of what I'm talking about when you see the example images for something like this and that's why I keep referring you to the original post.

Please let me know what your thoughts are on this type of a workflow. You can actually edit as many versions of the image as you want. You can then move all those colored versions into Photoshop and mask until the cows come home. There's nothing stopping you from doing that.
I assume this is the article you were referring to in your last reply.I'll have to give this a try.
It looks very interesting.I confess. I must learn a bit more about masking. I know the basics, but I can see there is a ton of stuff out there to learn.Thanks for opening my eyes.
 

JGaulard

Member
Staff member
Pro Member
I assume this is the article you were referring to in your last reply.I'll have to give this a try.
It looks very interesting.I confess. I must learn a bit more about masking. I know the basics, but I can see there is a ton of stuff out there to learn.Thanks for opening my eyes.
Hi Herb,

Masking is pretty incredible and it's really what all the top photographers do to their images. It's how they get those vibrant colors and varied tones. The post above is a good start as a guide for experimentation. The technique I shared above is great for warm/cool combinations within landscape photography. Take a look at the images by Ross Barclay. His edits aren't obvious, but they're definitely there.

 
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