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How to Get Better Color in Photoshop with Hue Masks

An easy way to nail color during post-processing
Photo of Hue mask Photoshop

Getting the right color in your images is part of what using Photoshop or Lightroom is all about. Last week, we shared a tutorial on how to produce striking color in your photos by creating a cinematic color grade. And now here’s an easy way to process more accurate color by making a Hue mask in Photoshop.

In the below tutorial led by software guru Unmesh Dinda of PiXimperfect, he explains what Hue masks are in Photoshop and how you can use them to get more control of your images while color grading. In the video at the bottom of this post, Dinda starts by discussing how Hue and Saturation masks work and then jumps into a real-world demonstration of how to apply a Hue mask to your images. He then shows you how to combine the mask with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to create “wonderful effects with colors.”

#1 Physics, Photoshop, and Hue Masks

“Every light has a frequency,” Dinda explains. “The higher the frequency, the lower the wavelength. Now what happens when you create a Hue mask? The left side is brighter, and the right side is darker. That’s what the Hue mask is doing. The lower the wavelength of the light, the brighter it’s going to be. So, you can see that it’s selecting the cooler colors here and not selecting the warmer colors here.”

#2 Real-World Application of the Hue Mask

“I have found some good uses with Hue/Saturation, which we’re going to demonstrate right now. As you can see in this image, the background is cool, but it’s not cool enough, and the subject is warm but it’s not warm enough. So, we can select those areas and manipulate them separately.”


#3 Finishing Touches & Additional Tips

“Overall, the image looks a little darker. But we can brighten it a little bit, and no PiXimperfect tutorial is complete without Curves. Click on the adjustment layer and then choose Curves and you’ll see there’s a lot of gap here that you can use. Hold the Alt/Option key and the slider slowly and gradually to the left until you begin to see these artifacts stop. That means in those areas we are losing details. We don’t want to completely lose details so we can stop just about right there.”

Make sure you stick around to the end of the 13-minute video below where Dinda shows you a “light-headed trick” and a “quick fix for yellowish skin tones.” After you watch the tutorial, you should check out another great video of his where he explains how to sharpen images by blurring them.


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