The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 3, Pt. 1 | 5 | WebReference

The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 3, Pt. 1 | 5

The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 3, Pt. 1.

Turning Black-and-White to Color Again

While separations can be useful for creating black-and-white images, the components are useful for color only if you can recombine them to display color again. Prokudin-Gorskii had a similar problem after capturing his separations on the glass plates. He had to put his glass plates in a projector and simultaneously project them in near-perfect alignment with appropriate filtering (in the form of color cells) to re-create the color result on a screen.

In Photoshop Elements, you can use layer color and modes to "combine" the separated RGB components to re-create the image color. The result can be achieved without actually combining the separated components. Leaving the components as separate layers is a great benefit during color correction because you can then adjust each component and view how those changes affect the color as the changes are made. Layered components can be affected by other changes simultaneously, including selection, masking and adjustment layers.

Compositing Separated Components into a Color Image

The following procedure should be used on an image that has been separated into red, green, and blue layer components by following the steps in the previous section, "Separating Color Components (Creating Channels)." The steps in the procedure that follows will partially reverse the process of creating the separations by enabling the components to display the color result. These steps are essential in letting you see the image as it should appear on-screen.

This procedure consists of two phases, preparing the RGB layers and then changing components to projected light.

Prepare the RGB Layers

You should be starting with an image that has Red, Green, Blue, and Background layers as pictured in this graphic. You can either follow the earlier separation procedure to create the layers, or open any RGB image and click the Split RGB tool in the PowerSeparations category of Effects. To prepare the layers, follow these steps:

2. Make a new layer (Layer > New > Layer). Name the layer Composite. Click OK. This layer will serve as a canvas for the composite.performing almost the same function as a projection screen.

3. Fill the layer with black by choosing Edit > Fill> Select Black from the Contents dropdown list and click OK to complete the fill.

4. Reorder the layers if necessary by clicking and dragging them up or down in the layers palette. The layers should be in the following order from top to bottom: Red, Green, Blue, Composite, and Background.

5. Hide the Red and Green layers by turning off their visibility toggles (click the eyeball icons) on the Layers palette. Your layers should look like the corresponding graphic shown here.

Changing Tones to Projected Light

Now you need to convert each tonal representation of the image back to a colored light component so they can recombine for a full-color result:

6. Activate the Blue layer and set the color mode to Screen. Applying the layer as a screen will lighten the tone of the black composite layer.

7. Make a fill layer (Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color). Set the mode for the fill layer to Multiply. Click the Group With Previous check box (so it is checked) to group the fill layer with the Blue layer. Click OK.

8. The Color Picker dialog box appears. Set the color to blue (R = 0, G = 0, B = 255). Click OK. Steps 6 through 8 convert the appearance of the blue component layer from grayscale back to blue. The resulting effect is that the blue tone projects on the Composite layer as the blue light component would. The layers should look like the graphic shown here. In the following steps, you will do the same for the Green and Red layers.

9. Activate the Green layer and set the layer mode to Screen. This further lightens the composite because you have added information from the green light source.

10. Make a fill layer (Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color). Set the Mode for the fill layer to Multiply. Click the Group With Previous check box so that it is checked. Click OK.

11. The Color Picker dialog box appears. Set the color to green (R = 0, G = 255, B = 0). Click OK. Steps 9 through 11 convert the appearance of the green component layer from grayscale back to green, and apply the green to the Composite layer as green light.

12. Activate the Red layer and set the layer mode to Screen.

13. Make a fill layer (Layer . New Fill Layer . Solid Color). Set the Mode for the fill layer to Multiply. Click the Group with Previous check box so that it is checked. Click OK.

14. The Color Picker dialog box appears. Set the color to red (R = 255, G = 0, B = 0). Steps 12 through 14 convert the appearance of the red component layer from grayscale back to red, and apply the red tone to the Composite layer as red light.

At this point, the image will appear to be in RGB color in the image window, but the color components will still be available separately in the Layers palette (see Figure 2.4). To adjust an individual color component, you can create a new adjustment layer (as many as necessary) between the color layer and the fill layer. You can make any type of adjustment to the component, as long as it adjusts the individual component layers (Red, Green, and Blue) and not the fill layers. The result can be converted back to an RGB image, without components, by flattening.

Figure 2.4 The separated colors in the image are successfully combined to re-create the color in layers while being kept separate. This enables you to work with layers as if they were Photoshop channels.

Steps to change the separated RGB components to color layers, adding color fill to separations you created, can be accomplished by using a single click with Hidden Power tools. Clicking Preview RGB in the PowerSeparations category of Effects will perform steps 1 to 14 in this procedure. To perform both the separation and the preview of an image in one easy step, click Split RGB w-Preview in the same category of Effects. Split RGB w-Preview should be performed on a flattened RGB image. These Hidden Power tools will be invaluable to you in working through the book and making future image corrections by providing a useful, quick means of creating RGB separations.

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Created: March 27 2003
Revised: November 30, 2004

URL: http://webreference.com/graphics/elements/1