Jun 212011

Let me tell you a secret that I learned from Dan Margulis book “Photoshop LAB Color: The Canyon Conundrum and Other Adventures in the Most Powerful Colorspace“:

Grass is not green, grass is yellow!

At least, from a spectral point of view it’s more yellow than green. On the other hand, green grass is a cliché and that’s the reason why the manufacturers of compact cameras over-emphasize green. Unfortunately the Panasonic DMC-LX5 is no exception. Dan Margulis has his own tricks to cope with that, and in fact there are many ways you can choose.

For me, a simple “Selective Color” layer in Photoshop normally does the trick: I select “yellow” and in that range I shift the green/magenta balance towards magenta. When the layer is set to “relative” (instead of “absolute”), a value of 10, sometimes even up to 20 suffices. You can do the same to the “green” range, but for the sake of color depth it is often better to keep the greens, uhhh, green.

In this image the case is more complicated though. It’s a combination of two variants from the same RAW, developed with different color temperatures, global saturation and selective desaturation of certain colors, an exposure layer on the bottom and a number of things that I forgot to mention. Oh yes, and a polarizer and a split-ND filter to begin with 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Tell You A Secret” from the 2000 album “Groovin” by Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings. That Bill Wyman, yes. See a live performance on YouTube.

  12 Responses to “1706 – Tell You A Secret”

  1. Thanks for the tip, I think I’ll get that book! I’ve seen Bill Wyman’s Rythym Kings live a couple of times and they were both an extremely entertaining occasions.

  2. I’ve understood this for quite some time. That’s why the yellow printer cartridge is the first to go. See what happens to photos if you de-saturate only the yellow. There are some nice tips here for correction. Some correction can also be done in ACR.

  3. Andreas, did you use LAB color with this image? I usually don’t remember to convert to LAB color when working on my images – but when I do, I usually like the results.

    • No. I don’t use LAB any more. Usually I can do all those things using alternative (or should I say conventional) techniques, plugins are not compatible with LAB, and the there is the issue with dark areas. It’s so easy to overdo them in LAB, causing unnaturally blue shadows or phenomena like that. Still, I don’t regret having read the LAB book and having spent so much time using LAB. I’ve learned a lot from it.

  4. I enjoy looking at your well-composed and well-crafted images, Are you planning on writing a book on image editing?

    • No. I may one day write a book about certain ideas in programming, because I feel that those ideas are both important and under-represented in mainstream literature. There is certainly no lack of good material about image processing.

      • Fair enough! Can I ask which books / sources you recommend?

        • Hmm … I haven’t read many books. Most of what I know comes from Margulis’ LAB book and watching countless tutorials on the old Radiant Vista. I suppose Mark Johnson still publishes excellent material, though he tends to be sloppy at times 🙂

          • Yes, there is a ton of stuff on the ‘net + people promoting DVDs etc. Craig Tanner’s TME site seems good as well (I’ve only looked at a few of his video tutorials).

          • Yeah, of course, I forgot Craig, but that is only because he is such an excellent teacher of seeing images, i.e. of photographing, that it shadows everything else.

  5. Now I’ll always be checking those greens, and remember the sun is not yellow, it’s chicken.

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