Give Awesome Creative Color Effects to Your Photos Easily in Photoshop

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Photoshop Fractals

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to match the colors of different images using the Match Color command, but first there are a few things you should now about this command.

The Match Color command is useful for matching color between multiple images, multiple layers or multiple selections. It works only in RGB mode.

This command matches colors in one image, which is called the source image, with colors in another image, called the target image.

It’s a very useful command but bear in mind it won’t always give the results you expected, as this depends on the colors of both images. That said, let’s begin!

About the Author

Carolina Creciente is a graphic designer based in Rosario, Argentina. Now runs her own Design Company OnOff! Solutions. Carolina is an Adobe Certified Expert and instructor of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Self-taught and extremely passionate about graphics and photo manipulation. You can see more of her work in Coroflot

Matching the color of a high-contrast HDR image

Let’s start working with our first image. We are going to use an HDR image as the source of the color effect we want to achieve. Then we are going to apply that color scheme to our target image. Download and open both source and target images.

Once you have the files opened, select the 2-Up view from the Arrange Documents icon on the Application bar (if you’re using PC this will be on the right of the menus and if you’re using Mac it’ll below the menus) so we can see both images at the same time.

Go to HDR_car.jpg and press Ctrl+0 or go to View > Fit on screen. Then go to car.jpg and do the same. Then go to Image > Adjustments > Match Color.

The Match Color window is poorly organized, you actually have to start from the bottom and work your way up. First go to Source and select HDR_car.jpg. Don’t click OK yet.

Go to Color Intensity and move the slider to the right until you reach 160 (or you can type the value) and then go to Luminosity and move the slider to the left until you reach a value of 70.

Click on the image below to see it in full size

With this image, even if you match the colors, it’ll lack the HDR effect, but that’s not something the Match Color command can take care of, you’ll have to use the HDR Toning command to solve that problem. Learn how to Easily Enhance Your Photos With HDR Toning in Photoshop CS5

Matching the colors of a cross-processed image

For this image we’ll try a different technique. Download and open both source and target images. Select the 2-Up view and fit both images on screen.

Go to girl.jpg, select the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and select and area between the shoulders, the hair and the wrist (look at the image for reference).

Now go to portrait.jpg and go to Image > Adjustments > Match Color. Go to Source and select girl.jpg then select Use Selection in Source to Calculate Colors, this will calculate the color adjustment taking the information inside the selection you just made on the source image (girl.jpg). Results will vary depending on the selection. Type 130 for Color Intensity and 80 for Luminance. Click OK.

Click on the image below to see it in full size

Matching the colors of a highly saturated image

In this example we’ll take advantage of the possibility of making a selection on the source image. But in this case, both source and target images have no similarities between them. The selection will focus on a sample of colors we want to add to our image, no matter how unrelated to the target image they are.

Download and open both source and target images. Select the 2-Up view and fit both images on screen.

Let’s say we want to match the color of these images because we want to compose an image that will be hanged as a poster on a wall, and we want it to really stand out.

Go to poster.jpg, select the Rectangular Marquee Tool and then select the body of the blue guitar (look at the image for reference).

Go to room.jpg and then go to Image > Adjustments > Match Color. Go to Source and select poster.jpg. At this point, the target image has matched the all the colors from the source image.

Now select Use Selection in Source to Calculate Colors and look how different the effect is. This happens because Photoshop is using the colors inside the selection for calculating the match.

Now type 110 for Color Intensity and 40 for Luminance. Click OK and that’s it.

Click on the image below to see it in full size

Want More Color Control?

While having the chance to copy the colors of an image and apply them to another is awesome, sometimes you may want more options to adapt your image with a lot more precision.

The amazing Topaz Adjust 4 Photoshop Plugin by Topaz Labs does exactly that. It provides you with an array of color enhancement tools that can help you tuning your image in ways you never imagined.

Take a look at the image comparison below:

Amazing, isn’t it? But don’t take my word for it. Just go to Topaz Adjust Photoshop Plugin page to check some other examples and download a free, fully functional, 30 days trial.

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