Join Now Sign In
Get full access to articles, free contest entries and more!

Look Up!

Make Your Own Presets

You can also generate your own Color Lookup presets. To do this, create a color effect you like with any combination of adjustments layers, Opacity and Fill, Blend If sliders and Blend modes. Note that layer masking and transparency won’t be included because alpha channel information in alpha channels isn’t included in the recipe. Then go to File > Export > Color Lookup Table, name the file, and click OK. I recommend the titles you give your presets include the color space you created them in. These files are stored in Photoshop’s Presets folder, or if they’re saved as ICC profiles, in your operating system’s Profiles folder. You can now use your custom preset at anytime on almost any file by making a Color Lookup adjustment layer and choosing your preset. You can share your custom Color Lookups with others by giving them these exported files. Color LUTs created in Photoshop even can be used in other programs such as After Effects, Premiere, SpeedGrade and other applications that use color LUTs.

Using Color Lookup adjustment layers is one way of creating a condensed layer stack, but it comes with a price—you won’t be able to adjust or mask individual adjustment layers. If you’d like to do this, as an alternative solution, you can place all of the adjustment layers into a Group and drag and drop the Group from one file into another, when needed.

If you want to produce a Color Lookup preset and achieve the greatest consistency in appearance between multiple images, you’ll want to use a file that’s representative of a majority of the images it will be used on and include a professional color chart like X-Rite’s ColorChecker. This is especially important when processing video.

Using Photoshop’s Color Lookup, you can choose to create color effects as subtle or dramatic as you like. This game-changing color-adjustment tool may seem exotic at first because it offers a new way of thinking about and seeing in color. Once you become more familiar with this mind-set, you’ll truly begin to see with new eyes. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

John Paul Caponigro, author of Adobe Photoshop Master Class and the DVD series R/Evolution, is an internationally renowned fine artist, an authority on digital printing, and a respected lecturer and workshop leader. Get PDFs and his enews Insights free on his website at

Leave a Reply

Save Your Favorites

Save This Article