Color Correction: Wong Family Picture

Go to pickup folder (pickupdropoff > machtayh > pickup) and select the file called wongfamilypic.psd. Drag this file to your desktop so you can work on it (do not work on it inside the pickup folder).

We are going to colorize this picture.

Mr. Machtay will demonstrate to the class how to select an area using the lasso tool (make sure to feather at 1, so you don’t have any sharp edges). Once you have selected an area, you can go to image > adjustments > color balance.


There are three sliders in Color Balance. Each slider is between two opposite colors. With color onscreen, Cyan is the opposite of Red; Magenta is the opposite of Green; and Blue is the opposite of Yellow. If a picture is too Red, you cannot remove Red, but you can add Cyan (the opposite of red).

After you add Red to an area, keep the area selected and choose Hue/Saturation.


Hue is another way of saying Color. It’s the way you classify of a family of colors. For instance, Green is a hue. There are a lot of different varieties of Green.

Saturation is a word that often refers to wetness. It can also refer to color. If you want to dye a white shirt red you could leave the shirt in the dye for 5 minutes and it will be only slightly red. Or you could leave the shirt in the dye for 5 hours and then the color will be saturated — it will be very red.

The top slider in Hue/Saturation is for the Hue. The slider goes from 0 to +180 and then down to -180. Notice that +180 and -180 are the same color — it is the opposite of the color at 0. (A circle has 360 degrees. Plus or minus-180 puts you on the opposite side of the circle.)

The second slider in Hue/Saturation is for Saturation. If you chose Red from Color Balance, it probably is not a rich, bright red. You may want to bring up the Saturation.

The third slider is for Lightness. The opposite of Lightness is Darkness. When you slide to the right, there will be more white in the color. When you slide to the left there will be more black in the color.


Contrast is how far apart two things are. Black contrasts with white. If you bring the slider down on Contrast all the colors in the picture will blend together and become less distinct (in a black and white picture, low contrast would make everything medium gray). If you bring the slider up on Contrast, there will be sharper difference in the colors.