Color & Contrast with LAB

November 09, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

In post production there are quite a few ways to enhance colors in your image in many editing programs. Within Lightroom or Photoshop there are automatic methods as well as manual methods to increase contrast, some of which I have covered in prior posts. In Photoshop adjustment layers is a common means of adjusting brightness contrast, vibrance, hue, saturation, color balance, gradients, and even photographic type filters. 

Each of the adjustments certainly has its place, and this indeed would be a very long post if I attempted to discuss each feature in detail here. There is however a color and contrast tool that is sometimes overlooked and can generate some very interesting results, the Lab tool.

The LAB tool is based on an individuals perception of color, rather than how much color component is needed for a particular piece of hardware and therefore is a device independent color system. It consist of a (L)ightness component, (A) green/red axis, as well as a (b) blue/yellow axis.

So how do you axis this module? 

  1. Open an image in photoshop
  2. Choose image--- Mode---Lab Color
  3. Duplicate the original image (Control or command J)
  4. Choose image--- apply image
    1. ​In the dialog box that open choose soft light as a blending mode.
    2. Experiment with channels to see which channel (L,A,B) has the most appeal.
    3. You can change the opacity of the channel if you wish
    4. Select OK
    5. Switch back to RGB and save your image.

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