Use Photoshop's LAB color space to take editing to the next level

What is the LAB color space?
When it comes to digital editing, there are several different types of color spaces (or color modes). A color space is, in its most basic sense, like a recipe: a computer's way of combining a small number of colors into a very, very wide range of colo

For example, RGB (red, green, blue) creates all the colors we see on our computer monitors and televisions using various combinations of red, blue, and green.

Another example is CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) , which is the color space used for printing that combines these four colors in ink. to create colors on the print.

There is also the LAB color space, which stands for luminance, channel A, channel B (hence "LAB").

In much the same way, the RAW file is not an entity and needs to be converted to a file that we can see (like .TIFF or .DNG), LAB color is also more of a theory because the LAB color space represents such a wide range of colors. many of which are not visible to the human eye either on the monitor or when printed with ink.

In short, LAB color provides more precision and control in certain areas than RGB editing. There are many ways you can work with LABs to improve your workflow, so let's take a look at something we all love for extra help: COLOR!

 

Convert your image to LAB color space

In Photoshop, you can easily switch from RGB to LAB Color. Just click Edit Convert to Profile:

Under Target Space, choose a color for the lab:

Create Curve Adjustment Layer

We're going to look at the LAB color space through the Curves channels, so you'll need to create a new Photoshop Curves layer:

When you open the dropdown menu in the Curves panel, where you usually see RGB channels, you now see Lightness, A and B as I mentioned above. Here's what each channel represents:

 

Lightness - affects the overall brightness of the image, light or dark, with no relation to color.

A-channel - Shows information about green and magenta.

B-channel - shows information about yellow and blue.

Adjusting Photoshop LAB color

As with any other fine-tuning in Photoshop, there is no formula for how much you should tweak each channel, as the amounts will vary not only from image to image, but will also depend on your personal taste.

I like to be careful and accumulate as I go, so I made a slight shift here. As you can see below, I've moved both of my triangular sliders inward to the distant points on the histogram. I found that entering -90 to -100 on the left slider and 90 to 100 on the right is a good starting point.

You can see on the model's face, where her skin is already acquiring a pleasant warm tone. I have the image split in half so you can see the before / after difference:

Move the sliders of channel B in the same way. The goal is to get a good balance between green, magenta, blue and yellow:

For the Lightness channel, I moved the sliders back to my histogram again, and then I moved up from the center of the histogram to the highlights (top left). This made the image brighter in the same way as adjusting the curves in RGB, but the effect is much more subtle and less contrasting:

As you can see above, the adjustments made in the LAB are very subtle but give the image a sharper image.

After making changes to the LAB, you will need to switch back to Adobe RGB (1998) * for normal editing. In the LAB, you won't be able to adjust settings such as Exposure, Brightness, and Selective Color.

* Note: Convert to Adobe RGB (1998) after editing in LAB. sRGB is the default standard color space and does not offer the same range as Adobe RGB.

 

Why edit in LAB color space?

Consider using LAB editing as part of your workflow in much the same way as shooting RAW and JPEG - it gives you the ability clipping path service to make more precise edits so that not only will the image look better on your monitor, it will look better when printed. exponentially better!

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