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Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > Color Grading for fashion magazines..Top Secret? Search   Reply
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Photographer
Oscar Partida
Posts: 726
San Diego, California, US


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Oct 15 12 09:28 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
moving pictures
Posts: 639
Los Angeles, California, US


If any commonality to "fashion" color grading, exists, it's that:

1) It ends up CMYK for print.

2) When there is a choice, it's a strong choice.

3) Commercial photos recreate reality; fashion images create a mood.
Oct 15 12 05:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Smedley Whiplash
Posts: 17,146
Billings, Montana, US


Here's what i found by toying with this topic:

There is some very predictable control availible via photoshop, so much so, that you can conceivably create a set of actions that would have roughly the same effect on a variety of images.

Based on the topic, i thought first that some predictable parameters to start from should be established, and the reason i did that was because i put myself in Pascal's shoes (given the article that NothingIsRealButTheGirl linked).  The volume that his group works on just in a single issue of Vogue is staggering. The idea that each image is worked on without some sort of basic formula doesn't ring true to me, given the signature style of each photographer, and the consistency for various designers on multiple campaigns.

I fully admit i may be naive about what I'm about to suggest, but here goes. After thinking about it for awhile, it occurred to me that the most predictable parameters to start with were separations via selections, and the obvious choices to me were:  color, and luminosity

I first attempted to work with color using the separate rbg channels, but found it unsatisfactory, since there are only three colors, and the effects are entirely too global, and masking and then painting them in would negate any form of automated action.  However, using the select-color-range dialog, you have roughly 10 presets, and any number of custom colors to use-
R,G,B,Y,C,M.  Skintones. White, grey, black

In any image, any one of these selections can be turned into an adjustment mask, and even customized further using blending mode and/or opacity,  roughly having the same effect on any image if we assume an initial neutrality as a starting point (in fact this procedure can be used initially to obtain a neutral starting point), and again, i think an action can be created that has very predictable results.

Then it occurred to me that i could use a luminosity separating action that i got from this article:
http://goodlight.us/writing/luminositym … sks-1.html

Using it, i created an action that results in 12 luminosity masks in the channels palette:
4 masks of separations of "lights"
4 separations of "midtones"
And 4 separations of "darks"
The beauty of these masks is that they are "self-feathering".

You can also divide the mask by itself by pressing cntrl-alt-shift and then clicking on the channels mask again. (If the selection is too broad)

You can control-click on any one of them, and then apply any adjustment layer you want (gradient, curves, etc), and it only affects the luminosity band you've selected, and once again, you can apply a blending mode and an opacity change to taste.

My guess is that you could create an action labeled something like "1990s Prada" or "1980s Guess" and you'd get a fairly repeatable look each time, and with time and practice, create your own style of automated color-grading, that could then be tweaked on the resulting layers as you evolve.

I was pretty fascinated by the possibilities i found.
Oct 15 12 09:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gulag
Posts: 1,138
Duluth, Georgia, US


Smedley Whiplash wrote:
However, using the select-color-range dialog, you have roughly 10 presets, and any number of custom colors to use-
R,G,B,Y,C,M.  Skintones. White, grey, black

You don't need using the select-color-range dialog since each image you open in Photoshop comes with built-in R, G, B, C, Y, M, K, Lightness, and etc masks by default.

Oct 16 12 01:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cuervo79
Posts: 1,057
Guatemala, Guatemala, Guatemala


mshi wrote:

You don't need using the select-color-range dialog since each image you open in Photoshop comes with built-in R, G, B, C, Y, M, K, Lightness, and etc masks by default.

Can you please explain? From what I understud he talked about select color range for action purposes. How can you get those types of masks by default?

Oct 16 12 01:36 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Photo
Posts: 4,142
New York, New York, US


There's been no mention of color theory or the effect of different types of paper, which will be different from a monitor.


First off, there will be an art director/set decorator that will choose colors that define the look. Then there's lighting, and luminosity affects saturation, so the brightness of the exposure will affect color. Then there are the proper tools, like an accurate monitor and a proper white balance calibration.

From there you have contrast settings during raw conversion done by an experienced digital tech on an accurate, calibrated monitor. Then print it on paper in place of a monitor and even without any form of color adjustments that image will probably look way different from your average MM reference image.

The thing is if you made an action of what Pascal Dangin did from there, exposure alone could totally change the result. Take away all of the good fundamentals and you're even further away.

There's no way that what he does for a poor quality image is the same as a high quality image. He may follow the same workflow but it's his decisions based on his reaction to what he sees that are determining the final look.


If you really want to end up with his look, you don't ask him how he did what he did, you ask him why he did what he did. If there are any "secrets" that's where they will be.
Oct 16 12 02:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gulag
Posts: 1,138
Duluth, Georgia, US


Cuervo79 wrote:
Can you please explain? From what I understud he talked about select color range for action purposes. How can you get those types of masks by default?

RGB image has built-in luminosity alpha channels, and R, G, and B color channels. When it gets converted in CMYK space, it has C, M, Y, K channels. When it's LAB, it has A and B saturation channels in addition to lightness channel.

Oct 16 12 06:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cuervo79
Posts: 1,057
Guatemala, Guatemala, Guatemala


mshi wrote:

RGB image has built-in luminosity alpha channels, and R, G, and B color channels. When it gets converted in CMYK space, it has C, M, Y, K channels. When it's LAB, it has A and B saturation channels in addition to lightness channel.

Yeah but wouldn't it take a bit longer to do that than the color range?

Oct 16 12 06:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gulag
Posts: 1,138
Duluth, Georgia, US


Cuervo79 wrote:

Yeah but wouldn't it take a bit longer to do that than the color range?

there is a thing called automation inside photoshop.

Oct 16 12 07:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Avalos Photography
Posts: 1,001
Woodland, California, US


Ken Marcus Studios wrote:
Pre-Touch . . . . . rather than Re-touch


Know what you want to begin with and make it happen as much in the camera as you can. Save the retouching for those unwanted, unexpected surprises.

Here, this is the foundation to the dirty little secret you are looking for. If you are looking for an amazing photographic image start with the capture.  If you get it right in camera, you take away a huge percentage of calibration issues down the road.  Bad pictures will reveal post production, either in print or other form of display, no amount of post processing will prevent the ugly truth from being revealed.

Oct 16 12 11:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cuervo79
Posts: 1,057
Guatemala, Guatemala, Guatemala


mshi wrote:

there is a thing called automation inside photoshop.

Yes but when you have a slow ancient comp it takes more procesing time to transform an image than to use the select color range does it not? Anyway this is another way to see that there are many ways to do the same thing in photoshop...

Oct 17 12 12:34 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Smedley Whiplash
Posts: 17,146
Billings, Montana, US


mshi wrote:
RGB image has built-in luminosity alpha channels, and R, G, and B color channels. When it gets converted in CMYK space, it has C, M, Y, K channels. When it's LAB, it has A and B saturation channels in addition to lightness channel.

My aversion to that is that the selections using RGB are limited to those 3, and if converted to CYMK, are limited to those 4, and the adjustment layer appears to be more global doing it from alpha masks.

When you make a selection via the select-color-range dialog, it appears not to be as global, but... it's also not self-feathering (so you have to feather it).

I was trying to achieve a workflow that might lend itself to a repeatable signature, one that's a bit more complex, which is hard for newbs to decipher. (the OPs topic)  It's fairly easy to accidentally get an image to look great, but hard to create a palette that instantly identifies the work as yours, that's hard for others to re-create.

http://blink308.com/tmp/CG_Orig.jpg

http://blink308.com/tmp/CG-Alpha-Reds.jpg

http://blink308.com/tmp/CG-SCR-reds.jpg

Oct 17 12 10:36 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gulag
Posts: 1,138
Duluth, Georgia, US


Smedley Whiplash wrote:
My aversion to that is that the selections using RGB are limited to those 3, and if converted to CYMK, are limited to those 4, and the adjustment layer appears to be more global doing it from alpha masks.

No, you're not limited to any given numbers that you mentioned. Have you ever noticed there is a command called Calculations under Image menu in Photoshop?

Oct 17 12 01:42 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Deadlynightshade
Posts: 4,774
Los Angeles, California, US


I expect to get a lot of backlash for this but that "mood" or "special coloring" you are seeing I think is due to the printing and then scanning of the page. Sometimes the dark colors print darker and in some cases print lighter, but definitely look different scanned in vs onscreen.

If you're referring to the web version, that's all in post... you can attribute that to all the highly skilled photoshoppers.

I work in publishing so I'd like to think I know what I'm talking about, but if there is someone that can explain that more eloquently, go for it.
Oct 17 12 02:40 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Santiago Belizon
Posts: 59
London, England, United Kingdom


http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=838952

It's always the same...

I think there are no secrets... You can find some .psd on internet and it's all done with adjustment layers...

Look for a photo, take one like that and play...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOPlym1- … ure=fvwrel
Oct 19 12 03:56 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Rolando Garcia
Posts: 138
Asia, Lima Provincias, Peru


the definitive solution!!! learn to use COLOR ONE
Oct 20 12 12:53 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Neil Snape
Posts: 9,424
Paris, Île-de-France, France


Natalia_Taffarel wrote:
It's easier to think there's some secret technique that successful people know and you don't right?

That's not the case. There's no such thing.

There are no secrets.

Most advertising work is composite, selectively colored and perfectly exposed from the start. Every inch is controlled and touched.


This is specially untrue.

+1.

It's all a question of choices in developing images, and production.
I can achieve any look I want and doing so to a magazine *look is not a challenge.

Yet I do my own thing, hence you won't see a Kors look in my pix. In fact I prefer to post pictures with a color grading, a bit of D&B in LR or PS but not really finished.

The interpretation of production images is as you say, client driven. That is where retouchers that know how to align styles are successful in filling in the client's needs / requirements. There are people on MM that can do this without problem.

Oct 20 12 01:35 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Virtuoso Skins
Posts: 333
Asheville, North Carolina, US


Neil Snape wrote:
+1.

It's all a question of choices in developing images, and production.
I can achieve any look I want and doing so to a magazine *look is not a challenge.

Yet I do my own thing, hence you won't see a Kors look in my pix. In fact I prefer to post pictures with a color grading, a bit of D&B in LR or PS but not really finished.

The interpretation of production images is as you say, client driven. That is where retouchers that know how to align styles are successful in filling in the client's needs / requirements. There are people on MM that can do this without problem.

+1

I think the confusion is labeling the final look as a specific mystical technique. "Color Grading" as far as I know just means "enhancing  color". Tinting, split tone, cross process etc to achieve a look/style/mood - makes more sense to me.

Also as some people have said the base photography is extremely important. Most of the examples posted here can be achieved in a few seconds by tweaking the blue channel on a curve.

Oct 20 12 01:30 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
RawMediaLabs
Posts: 11
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, US


I know, I might be a noob on the forums here and my work definitely doesn't show, but I'm not one to sit there and alter my images in photoshop for hours on end( I wish I could) I shoot it do light color corrections and upload it. That being said;

I use to work for RR Donnelley Printing after I graduated school, some of you know about them some of you don't. They print just about every magazine you put your hands on now days. I use to retouch for them. Honestly the photographer does not play a huge part in the final process of the image, but what most people don't realize is that for that ONE image to make it to print there are about 6 different people that alter and work that image in some way.

1. The photographer shoots the RAW image.
2. It gets sent to the company and scanned in on a DRUM SCANNER, yes no matter what they still use drum scanners.
3. Clothing Samples get sent in with it to be calibrated and color matched by a color analyst. (this is a huge part) Color analysts will spend hours on a image sometimes just to get the tonal curves and lighting right.
4. It's dropped onto the server for the Retoucher to clone and clean up any imperfections and also to create different color ways using numerous layers, channels, masks, channel mixer, you name it.
5. It goes back onto the servers yet again for the color analysts
6. It goes to cataloging to be placed on the master file and have all the type set added
7. It gets sent to the offset presses and they do there ink mixing and color adjusting before printing the final product.

This is how the corporate industry works. I know many people who have been doing it for over 40 years, if you saw some of the images before and after it's mind blowing, just like some portfolios on here.

Take everything with a grain of salt. On average a team spends anywhere from 3-6 hours on one image before it goes to print, sometimes more.
Oct 23 12 12:30 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M K
Posts: 251
Athens, Attikí, Greece


Any luck with the colour grading tutorials? Did you find any close to the fashion look?
Dec 23 12 10:20 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Jaalpari
Posts: 14
Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom


seems like nobody wants to share their process for good color grading.
Jul 31 13 04:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cyclops
Posts: 510
Chicago, Illinois, US


I think what you call color grading is a personal vision and personal style.  It's an asthetic that isn't added by camera manufacturers and lighting in a technical aspect but a feel for the work where you produce a vision that coincides with your interpretation of completeness
Jul 31 13 04:58 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Peano
Posts: 4,106
Lynchburg, Virginia, US


Paul Ferradas wrote:
Here you go Natalia, this is one example

http://www.ibarraphoto.com/

You can ask most retouchers to take an image and make it look like his, I'd like to see how many come close. There's a certain methodology, trait, technique, call it what you will to get this sort of look.

It's just plain old garden-variety cross-processing in curves.

Jul 31 13 06:05 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Tulack
Posts: 367
Albuquerque, New Mexico, US


Cyclops wrote:
I think what you call color grading is a personal vision and personal style.

It is not personal. There is color harmony rules applied to majority of people. If you shot film there is already build in certain color theme. In this case film is easier. You know, what you shoot, and you buy film for it. In digital you shoot raw data, so you need to do yourself what thousands of professionals did while producing film types.

Jul 31 13 07:27 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
fiona Quinn photographe
Posts: 287
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand


I shoot a lot for fashion magazines and I do my own grading in my processing software - I use Capture One and send my retoucher a  rough jpg of how I want the shot to look with a bit of a blurb along with the processed tifs which will have the contrast and saturation adjusted to how I like it and either a warm or cold bias - there is no big mystery just good lighting and exposure then the colour is adjusted to suit the mood of the shot. This is always considered at the production meeting before we even shoot as the colours used can change the look and feel considerably.
Jul 31 13 07:46 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Brian T Rickey
Posts: 4,001
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


I've walked though an edit with Jamie Ibarra, and I can tell you it's not curves.  I am not saying you can't achieve that with curves, but the process HE showed me did not rely on curves for the coloring.  Period.
Jul 31 13 08:45 pm  Link  Quote 
Digital Artist
Koray
Posts: 6,672
Ankara, Ankara, Turkey


zombie thread big_smile
Aug 01 13 01:48 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kevin Connery
Posts: 16,475
Fullerton, California, US


Koray wrote:
zombie thread big_smile

Is it causing a problem? Have the answers changed?

If the topic is still valid, the responses are still valid, and nobody is using it to foment unnecessary drama, there's neither validity nor benefit to calling it a 'zombie thread'.

Aug 01 13 02:15 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Peano
Posts: 4,106
Lynchburg, Virginia, US


Brian T Rickey wrote:
I've walked though an edit with Jamie Ibarra, and I can tell you it's not curves.  I am not saying you can't achieve that with curves, but the process HE showed me did not rely on curves for the coloring.  Period.

When I said it was curves, I was responding to Paul Farradas' statement that "there's a certain methodology, trait, technique, call it what you will to get this sort of look."

I'm sure there are several routes to the sorts of results he linked to, and curves is one of them. I wasn't claiming to know what route Ibarra took (nor would I pay his $99 fee to find out).

Aug 01 13 06:20 am  Link  Quote 
Digital Artist
Koray
Posts: 6,672
Ankara, Ankara, Turkey


Kevin Connery wrote:
Is it causing a problem? Have the answers changed?

If the topic is still valid, the responses are still valid, and nobody is using it to foment unnecessary drama, there's validity nor benefit to calling it a 'zombie thread'.

sir yes sir!
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_q … Pu2hEQ6KwY

evilgrin

Aug 01 13 06:23 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kevin Connery
Posts: 16,475
Fullerton, California, US


smile


There's some nice videos there, thanks!

Aug 01 13 08:43 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Fotografica Gregor
Posts: 3,973
Alexandria, Virginia, US


Peano wrote:

It's just plain old garden-variety cross-processing in curves.

that's been my approach FWIW - can't go wrong with the cliche - cool shadows, warm highlights....

Aug 01 13 08:53 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 4,758
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


This is the best tutorial on color grading that I've seen.

http://phlearn.com/how-to-apply-cinemat … our-photos

It's not just warm highlights and cool shadows. Using complimentary colors helps as well.
Aug 01 13 08:42 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Brian T Rickey
Posts: 4,001
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


Peano wrote:

When I said it was curves, I was responding to Paul Farradas' statement that "there's a certain methodology, trait, technique, call it what you will to get this sort of look."

I'm sure there are several routes to the sorts of results he linked to, and curves is one of them. I wasn't claiming to know what route Ibarra took (nor would I pay his $99 fee to find out).

That's awesome, thanks for sharing,

Aug 02 13 03:10 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Retouch007
Posts: 403
East Newark, New Jersey, US


Your best teacher will be high fashion magazines not in any forum really, when it comes to color and retouching (meaning how far to go). Look at images your curious about and try it out. Try out everything you might learn here, experimentation is key.

This is a nice story (no I didn't work on it)
http://www.vmagazine.com/site/content/1 … mirror#!/7

I might have soften the hand and the wrinkles on the clothes a tiny bit more and moved the shirt down by left side (on the first image). What do you guys think?

I like the color on this one, pretty cool. http://www.fashiongonerogue.com/catheri … summerton/
Aug 03 13 08:08 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
btdsgn
Posts: 2,210
Wahiawa, Hawaii, US


Natalia_Taffarel wrote:

This is specially untrue.

This is typically what I do...

Aug 03 13 10:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
FKW
Posts: 189
Jakarta, Jakarta, Indonesia


there is someone who really mastered of making high fashion look here (MM site)
Unfortunately he did not want to share his experience
(it is extremely reasonable why the experts always keep it secret, otherwise high fashion look will no longer can be sold expensive)
Aug 04 13 08:06 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
FLEXmanta
Posts: 1,001
Madrid, Madrid, Spain


FKW wrote:
there is someone who really mastered of making high fashion look here (MM site)
Unfortunately he did not want to share his experience
(it is extremely reasonable why the experts always keep it secret, otherwise high fashion look will no longer can be sold expensive)

There really is no secret... It's only about adding some blue here, some green there and then some contrast and all of that. 99% is done with curves.

Begginers usually have the problem of not being able to tell what's the photo and what's the retouching. Us who are established do have a little dirty secret though: We only retouch good images. Without a real model, a good background and good clothes, it's impossible to create the "mood" of what you are calling a secret fashion look.

That is why if you give me an average image so I can show you how I did one particular image of my portfolio, it just won't look the same. Even if I took the same decisions in terms of color and contrast.

At one poing during one's learning process, there's this effect that one achieves one day by accident when playing with curves and goes like "wow, that looks like fasssshiooon". One then realizes there's no secret, goes on working and works towards turning that accident into something repeatable.

Aug 05 13 03:49 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
name changed by admin
Posts: 43
Saint Petersburg, Saint Petersburg, Russia


There isn't such thing,color grading     secrecy,etc.All is good lightning and retouching to add that " mood " of the magazines images.
Aug 05 13 10:55 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Beth Furumasu
Posts: 32
Portland, Oregon, US


also The beetles had the same notes as Soulja Boy does. Why is one better than the other? Thoughts?
Aug 15 13 09:40 pm  Link  Quote 
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