Summary of Color Correction Techniques by Nathan Cool

June 28th, 2018

Tim in Orange County, California asks:

What video tutorial do you recommend that shows you how to remove ugly color casts from white walls?

The tutorial I like the best is this one by Nathan Cool. Nathan shows how to do it if you remembered to use a gray card and also if you forgot to use your gray card.

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3 Responses to “Summary of Color Correction Techniques by Nathan Cool”

  • Interesting technique. Not foolproof though. Don’t assume that what threshold identifies as “grey” is supposed to be grey in the image. Instead, before you click on the grey dropper in your curves layer, identify an object in the photo that is a “known” neutral, like a white light switch cover for example, and one that isn’t being thrown off by another factor. There are generally three colors of light you may be working with – bounced flash, incoming daylight, and artificial light. Pick your white object that lies in some sort of mix of those, but in an area that you fully expect to be rendered neutral in your final image. If you just picked a random grey selected by threshold, and lets say it was up in the corner of the room where the wall meets the ceiling – that’s not an area where you’d expect a neutral cast in your final image, it’s a shadowed area that will naturally have a blue or incandescent hue because of it’s location.

    In any case, you can expect that this curves layer is more then likely going to cast your entire image on the blue/cyan side, which is easy to see on Nathan’s video, so be sure to toggle the opacity slider down a little so the adjustment layer doesn’t scream “i just made an adjustment layer!”. πŸ™‚

  • I find using a grey card with the speed at which I shoot and since I don’t use an assistant, it would end up getting into my shots. Instead I use a Minolta color temperature meter which I find is very accurate especially with mixed lighting. I may sometimes have to adjust warmer or cooler but it is seldom by much. Of course I don’t use a flash which helps. If I use additional lighting, it is always either quartz lights or LEDs so the meter works fine in those situations too.

  • Here is a video that covers more advanced colour correction.
    Using a colorchecker card will be more accurate as a gray card is not neutral. If you look at a few gray cards you will notice that they all have slightly different tones, thus you are not getting a true neutral. Gray cards are for exposure readings not colour balance, although in a pinch they will be better than nothing.

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