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Monday, March 3, 2008

Color Choice: Luminance, Chrominance And Hue

Among the tools at your disposal, the LCH Editor gives you a powerful weapon for finessing the color relationships in your images



Hue is typically described with common color words such as red, yellow, blue, etc. When making changes to hue, we generally think of lightening, darkening or otherwise changing an image's hue characteristics. Artists paint using different materials such as oils, pastels, etc. (Nik Color Processing, Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter and other software programs provide tools to create such artistic impressions; more on these software tools in a future article.) Such choices also can affect an image's hue. Since the spectrum of visible colors encompasses an enormous range of primary and composite colors, working to adjust hue generally becomes a job of visual preference—continuous comparison of the original and the altered image. Viewing side-by-side images on the monitor is my preferred method.

The pictures used to illustrate this article were chosen because I recognized that they would benefit from the capabilities of the LCH Editor; not all pictures will benefit from this tool. I suggest that you consider the LCH Editor's capabilities as you examine each photograph. As your skills with the LCH Editor grow, you'll develop an instinct about when and how to use it as well as other available tools.

Using Master Lightness, a traditional lightness curve, it's possible to apply an overall change of lightness together with changes in luminance, chrominance and hue for specific portions of the spectrum.

color choiceFigure 9: Comparison before and after images of this coral life illustrate the application of the Hue control. The objective was to reduce the visual dominance of the orange coral, reveal more detail in the fan and diminish the distracting background's appearance by darkening it.


color choiceFigure 10: Master Lightness is applied for an overall darkening.




color calibrationFigure 11:
Hue adjustment changes the color tone of the large orange coral to diminish its dominant appearance.



color choiceFigure 12: Color Lightness is applied in the blue range to affect the background's appearance.


The pictures used to illustrate this article were chosen because I recognized that they would benefit from the capabilities of the LCH Editor; not all pictures will benefit from this tool. I suggest that you consider the LCH Editor's capabilities as you examine each photograph. As your skills with the LCH Editor grow, you'll develop an instinct about when and how to use it as well as other available tools.

I've found the LCH Editor to be a useful and versatile tool for selectively changing an image's colors. Gain experience by using each of the tools and combinations of these tools. Doing this, you'll more fully experience the empowerment and versatility of digital photography. Good luck in your experimenting, and I look forward to bringing you more ideas and demonstrations about how to ensure that, for your photography, you'll say: “Color will be choice, not chance!”

 

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