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MIND BLOWING photo editing with LAB in PHOTOSHOP | Photoshop on steroids!

August 9, 2019

Mind-blowing Photo Editing with LAB in Photoshop
– Photoshop on Steroids Hey Cafe Crew, it’s Colin Smith here from
PhotoshopCAFE and today I’m going to show you how to turn up your photo editing to 11. What I’m going to do right now is I’m going
to show you how to take control over the detail, texture and color of your photo in a way that
you’ve never done before and we’re going to be doing that using LAB or LAB Mode and a
couple of little tricks that I kind of figured out. So here we go, we got a photograph right now
and I’m going to choose Image, Mode, and I’m going to change this to LAB Color or Lab Color. So, I’m just going to hit Ctrl J to copy it
and that just enabled me to do a before and after. All right, so what we’re going to do is we’re
going to go into Curves, so we’re just going to create a Curves Adjustment Layer just like
you normally would. There’s going to be a difference here, though. If we look at this, notice instead of RGB,
we’ve now got Lightness A and B. Let me show you, first of all, how to boost
the color. What we’re going to do is we’re going to start
in the A channel and we’re just going to boost this up a little bit. Take it to about there. And we’re going to take that to the same on
that side and we’re going to go to the B channel. Let’s take it up to about the same amount. So what we’re doing is we’re just bringing
out a lot of detail of color here inside these rocks and these trees. Now, this is not the same as turning up the
saturation and I’ll show you that later on. I’ll give you a comparison so you can see. All right, so we’ve done that, now I’m just
going to apply it like that. All right, so if we’ll look at this before
and after, we can see we’ve really given it a boost of color. Now, let’s go and play around with the texture
in the rock and in the trees. So, I’m going to create a second curves adjustment
and with the second curves adjustment, what we’re going to do is we’re going to target
this rock in the Lightness channel. So, by doing this, it’s going to just give
us a crazy amount of detail without affecting the color at all. So we’re just going to kind of play around
and let’s just get some crazy detail. Look at that. And then, what I want to do is I just want
to select that independently, so we’re going to go under the Color here and we’re going
to choose to select Color Range. And now with the Color Range, I’m just going
to click in there inside the rock, hit that little + (plus) wand and just kind of drag
it through there and it’s going to select those reds, and just kind of play around for
fuzziness a little bit to kind of make sure we’ve selected most of the rock and nothing
else, and then we’re going to click OK. And then what we’ve done there is we’ve just
punched all that in the rock. All right, so let’s move on and now we’re
going to do something for these trees. So what we’re going to do now is we’re going
to go back and we’re going to create the curves again. And this time, we want to bring out the detail
in those trees. So, let’s just brighten that up about there. It’s looking pretty good and let’s just kind
of play around. And once again, we’re able to play around
with this lightness and bring out the detail without affecting the color. All right, so now we’ve done that, we just
want to isolate it to just the trees. So, what we’re going to do is we are going
to go under the Select and we’re going to choose the Color Range again. Let me just tap there to select the green,
hit the + (plus) and then just click and drag a little bit to select the greens; see that? Now, we’ve got the green area and just click
OK. And now, what we’ve done is we’ve separated
that. See, just the green areas and we’ve separated
just the rocks, and then, of course, we got the color. So if we didn’t want to affect the color,
this is where we would be just working with the luminosity right there. But, of course, we do want to affect them
all. So you can see that we’ve been able to bring
out a ton of detail–before and after. Now we’ve got a lot more color and a lot more
detail. I’m going to show you how to kind of tame
that in a second and what I’m going to do first of all, though, is I’m just going to
go here, because remember I said, turning up the saturation is not the same thing. So, here we are, we’re just going to prove
that. So I’m going to go here and I’m going to hit
Hue/Saturation and I’m going to turn up the saturation. And so, let’s just crank up that saturation. All right, so let’s look at that. See what’s happened? We do the saturation, see it just kind of
flattens everything out versus doing it with the A/B channels. Let’s have a look. Here’s the A/B channel right there. See the difference versus that? See how it just flattens it out? All right, so the thing I was going to show
you now is how to kind of tame this, so what we can do is just go in and adjust the opacity. So, if the color’s a little much and you want
it a little more natural, just bring it back. The great thing about working with this method
is it’s going to give you more texture and more color than you’re ever going to need. So, now, we can just come back into reality. So you want to kind of give our rocks that
much texture and we’d go in here, and once again, we can take this all the way down and
just give it a little bit more detail, a little bit more texture into those trees. So, now, we’ve got a much more realistic result,
so if we look at it before and after. And at any time we can convert this back to
Image Mode. We can just go back here, the RGB color, and
let it flatten. So make sure you do all your adjustments,
your luminosity, masking and everything in there. And then at this point here, you could just
bring it into the Camera Raw Filter now and you could just kind of finish it off because
now you’ve got a ton of details. So, maybe you want to bring a little recovery
into some of the highlights. You might want to give it a little contrast,
play around with the exposure a little bit, see that? We can hit our blacks and whites, and we can
kind of just finish off our image here. All right, guys, there we have it. Now you can see the before and the after. And if you want to see how truly remarkable
this is, let me zoom in because I don’t think you’re realizing all the detail. Look at this detail. This is what the image look like before and
after. So I think you can kind of really see that. In fact, let me do a little split on this
and let’s bring this up to 100% and I think you guys can see. Look at the texture there in the rocks versus
there. So, this is a really powerful technique. So, if you like this kind of tutorials, make
sure you subscribe right now. Become part of the Cafe Crew because I release
a new tutorial at least once a week. If you like this video, smash that Like button
into dust. Add a comment. Let’s get a discussion going. I like to know what you guys think about this. And until next time, I’ll see you at the Cafe.


  • Reply Live for today Tv September 7, 2017 at 1:54 am

    Nice i love your content keep it up!!!

  • Reply Jim Rodriguez September 7, 2017 at 2:17 am

    Great video, is that software in every photoshop versions

  • Reply Luis Matos September 7, 2017 at 2:36 am

    Amazing videos! Thanksssss

  • Reply David Glatz September 7, 2017 at 2:44 am

    Excellent. As usual. Colin I've learned a ton from you! The LR2 course was my first PSC video.

  • Reply Rod Shelley September 7, 2017 at 3:34 am

    WOW! OK, I'm gonna be up past midnight playing with this….. Thanks for that, Colin! 😁 seriously awesome stuff! The like button is now dust…

  • Reply kedishi September 7, 2017 at 6:21 am

    Great tutorial. I Noticed the LAB colour mode years ago, but I didn't know what it did or what it was used for. I'll be playing around with this for a while.Awesome 😃

  • Reply salem.fotografy September 7, 2017 at 8:21 am

    this is massive! i'm surprised i haven't heard of this before, thank you so much 😊

  • Reply Jurek Siminski September 7, 2017 at 8:26 am

    I wonder whats is Your advice about how kind of pictures or which pictures can be affected by this method ? Landscapes ? Portraits ?

  • Reply Michelle McCartney September 7, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Excellent. We used to use the LAB color mode in college back in the days before PS had layers! I never understood why we did that after scanning on a drum scanner. Now I see what LAB has to offer. Will be going back to this right away. Thank you so much!

  • Reply Chris Carroll September 7, 2017 at 8:53 am


  • Reply OORVOKKI September 7, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Brilliant! Very helpfull ! Thank you!

  • Reply Zendail September 7, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Oh i forgot how great LAB is….thanks for the refresher.

  • Reply Edward Vinas-Ciurana September 7, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Looks like a great technique….trying this right away. Great vid as always.

  • Reply Steve Reilly September 7, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Woah this was great! Such a simple technique but the results are amazing! Great video 🙂

  • Reply Rodolfo Benigno September 7, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Amazing technique!! Thanks.

  • Reply Larry Travis September 7, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    LAB is a great tool and this video sure demonstrates it's power. I saw it used fro noise reduction some time ago. Do you have a workflow for that? Thank you for photoshopCafe

  • Reply BikeVisionScotland September 7, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Never new it existed, I'll use it from now on though… Cheers!

  • Reply Maximiliano Buono September 7, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks!!! It is very useful to me.

  • Reply T Dilley September 7, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Super awesome. Can't wait to try this.

  • Reply Ted Waitt September 7, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Nice one, Colin!

  • Reply Gurjote Sansoa September 7, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    Brilliant video, thanks for sharing this. I seriously need to start watching more of your videos!

  • Reply steve martin September 7, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    Wow that was amazin

  • Reply Straight September 8, 2017 at 4:35 am

    I bow to your superior knowledge master.

  • Reply martintroy September 8, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Fantastic Tutorial. Thank you!

  • Reply Bèr Schellekens September 8, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Crushed the like button! 😉

  • Reply Uncle Skull September 9, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    I've used LAB before for color adjustment, but this kicks it up about 6 more notches! Thank you!

  • Reply Fraz Hassan September 9, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Subscribed and liked. I am on this journey with you. Awesome.

  • Reply Alan Kushnir September 9, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    I was familiar with this technique from a book by Dan Margulis called "Photoshop Lab Color" I have had for 10 years. Its very powerful. For anyone who works mainly in Lightroom, this process brings out texture in a way that is similar to the Lightroom clarity tool.

  • Reply Tricia Williamson September 10, 2017 at 2:03 am

    This is super useful Colin. Thanks so much.

  • Reply Juraj Čička September 10, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Great video. I am subscriber now 😉 But have few Q. ACR and LR working natively in LAB color space. There is HSL tab. And what is difference between using HSL in LR (ACR)? I know, in PS I can set blending opacity and can I can focuse my changes for more colors (color ranges). But are there any other differences? Thank you.

  • Reply Chris Carson September 11, 2017 at 3:00 am

    Cool1 Thanks dude.

  • Reply Dale Steadman September 13, 2017 at 2:40 am

    Great tutorial, is that Garden of the Gods?

  • Reply Keith McCarron September 13, 2017 at 7:23 am

    It was excellent, but I must be slow –  I have watched this five times with Photoshop open.  I have to stop the vid every couple of seconds to apply your actions to my photo, then return to the vid for further instructions.  I might just have to watch it another few times before  get similar results to your demo.  I find your actions sometimes to be very quick – I often have to play each portion several times just to see what you have done (clicked on).  I will keep trying.  Cheers.

  • Reply Tina Giles September 13, 2017 at 12:04 pm


  • Reply yogaFLIGHT September 18, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Am I correct in thinking that this is only with camera raw files?

  • Reply Jack Cotlar M.D. September 26, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Good subject. Overall explained well. Might go a tad bit slower when showing the steps. Thank you for your contributions.

  • Reply Tom Captures September 27, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Really nice !

  • Reply erfut October 2, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Great man, thank you

  • Reply Stephen Greg October 7, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    Brilliant! Just back from Zion NP looking forward to trying this.

  • Reply An Vo October 15, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Excellent tutorial. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Tony Bourke November 7, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Hi Colin, That's great. I always knew about LAB but I'd forgotten just how useful it is. It would be really good if you could do a series on the other advantages of using LAB?

  • Reply Eric Gillett November 9, 2017 at 1:24 am

    Great video, Colin. I was curious how you did the split view mask creation at the end of the video. Is this an automatic process, or something you did manually? This step wasn't included in the video that I could tell, which was fine, since the point of the video was to compare the two layers. Thanks!

  • Reply Frank Hernandez December 27, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    I like how you used the color range to limit the contrast to the rocks and then to the trees. Very helpful. Thanks!

  • Reply Bes March 30, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Really mind blowing technique!!! I just tried this n i'm loving it. You made my work so much easier. Thank you very much.

  • Reply MrEe1010 August 4, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    How did you create the before / after slider?

  • Reply Anidi Huet October 16, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    Awesome! Thanks!!

  • Reply Jacob Thomson October 28, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Great stuff,

  • Reply Alice Turner March 2, 2019 at 9:04 pm


  • Reply Kirk Chapman May 5, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    Ok, yep it is mind blowing!Thanks!

  • Reply eyedownloader May 10, 2019 at 5:12 am

    Wow! Such a clear presentation of a powerful tool! Thank you!

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