Photoshop Demonstration: Colour Techniques (Part 1)

In previous live shows, we’ve looked at the fundamentals of post-production and retouching, but in this live show (the first of two-parts) Karl focusses on one particular, and very powerful element: colour.

Colour is an important part of photography, so knowing how to control and manipulate it in the post-production stages is a useful skill to have.

This live session, which builds on our Fundamentals of Post-Production and Live Photoshop Demonstration shows, goes into great detail about colour, how we can adjust, but also why and when we may want to adjust colour.

Throughout the show, Karl discusses four distinct points: Reasons to change colour; the importance of selections and masks when changing colour; colour reality; and ways to change colour.

To start, Karl goes into detail about some of the main reasons why we may want to change colour. These include:

  • Colour correction
  • Achieving a desired colour range (this could be client-driven)
  • Minor colour corrections (often for skin retouching)
  • Colour reduction
  • Reduction in colour intensity
  • Increase colour intensity
  • Changes to the colours of a product

He then goes on to discuss the importance of selections and masks when changing colour, and why these skills are fundamental for accurate and realistic changes. Three particularly useful classes relating to this are our Master the Pen tool; Masking and using Masks; and The Selection tools tutorials.

Karl also discusses the concept of colour reality, namely colour temperature; visible light; colour interactions; mixed lighting sources; and measuring colour.

Finally, Karl also runs through the available Photoshop tools for adjusting colour, including:

  • Camera RAW filter
  • Adjustment layers: Levels, Curves, Vibrance, Hue/Saturation, Colour Balance, Photo Filter, Channel Mixer, Colour Lookup, Selective Colour; and Gradient Map
  • Brushes

Of these different methods, Karl explains which of these he prefers to use and why and in part two of this show, you can see exactly how he uses his preferred tools to change and manipulate colour.

Watch Photoshop Demonstration – Colour Techniques (Part 2)

If you are unfamiliar with any of the techniques or concepts discussed in this show, please refer to the additional classes linked on this page. You’ll also find more information in many of the Photoshop classes in our post-production section.


    1. Not yet, would you like us to see if it’s available and what the demand is? The problem is that each new language translation costs a lot of money and time to create.

  1. great show love these type of show , i use Photoshop all the time don”t use light room at all i enjoy using Photoshop do you think i am losing anything in using just Photoshop all the time ??
    thanks again for the show looking forward to part 2

    1. Hi Frank, no not at all you are better with photoshop, especially if the version you have has the ‘Camera Raw’ filter option.

  2. Learning a lot from you and I thank you for it. Having a on going problem with my colors. I have color corrected my monitor, I edit in rgb and export in srgb. I work with 16bit. When I compare my edit from my computer to my export version it’s not the same…. I compare it to several different phone screens as I believe most people use their phones (Instagram). How do give clients the finish product with the correct colors as you intended it to be.

    1. Hi Starkid, the bottom line is you need a good monitor. Eizo are the best and most expensive but there are other options such as Asus, BenQ, NEC but you need to use a proper colour accurate monitor that can be calibrated.

      1. Received my Asus ProArt screen today…. Problem solved, thanks again for the recommendations and the help.

  3. Karl, great educational content as usual.

    I heard an interview you did where you were discussing perception and how we react to images – describing composition rules as ‘bollocks’ if I recall correctly 😱🤣🤣. You mentioned diagonals (esp. lower left leading diagonals) and keeping the viewers attention without leading them out of the image.

    Would you consider a live show or tutorial where you discus these topics – the biology, psychology and science of human image perception, what holds human attention, how we perceive images, how to use this information in composition, content and colour…?

    It’s a fascinating part of photography and I’d love to hear your insight…

    Thank you to all at KTE

  4. Hi Karl

    Wonder what are you thoughts regarding the RGB/RYB color wheel for creating Color schemes.
    All the modern color theory was based on the RYB color wheel but know there seems to be a shift to using RGB as a base for choosing complementary/analogue/spilt/triad color schemes.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Martins, the RYB model isn’t that different, it was created by artists using pigments long before the science of colour and light were really understood. Green is not that far from Yellow and the human eye is very responsive to Yellow however if you look at it scientifically when you mix the colours of light RGB you get CMY but if you mix the RYB model it doesn’t work ‘factually’ from a scientific model perspective. Part of the RYB model is based on pigments that when mixed result in certain looking colours but that is because pigments are not pure, they are contaminated and result in unpure results (wavelengths of light are pure). If you look at the study of visual cellullar responses to colour and ‘after images’ such as the illusion ‘lilac chaser’ it’s clear to see the green afterglow from a magenta image, indicating that our eyes and cone cells actually are more aligned with an RGB model. However many things in colour science are still unknown and new discoveries are being made all the time, such as animals with 12 cone cell vision and polarisation vision or skin cells that sense colour and light. It is an evolving science. Colour is also only part of our visual system that separates wavelengths of light from about 380nm to 750nm but there is a whole another part of our vision that deals with just the luminosity values of the accumulative colour and this is extremely important in visual perception because it deals with contrast and edges which is actually more important than colour.

  5. Thank you for a very informative tutorial. Even a novice like myself can follow. Look forward to following.

  6. Great session. I had one client that was apparently part Mantis Shrimp… never again!

    Look forward to next week.

  7. Hi Tommy, thank you for getting in touch. I believe that possibly you tried to view the live show replay during the short period when our video host converts the video from a live stream to a 1080p video ready for replay. This process may take up to 24 hours after the live show, but in this case the 1080 version is now available for replay 🙂

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