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Photoshop: Color Balance Adjustment

Version: Adobe Photoshop CC 2021. Be aware that different versions of Photoshop will vary in appearance and functionality. Full Guides: Photoshop: Images, Photoshop: Graphic Design

Adjustments in Photoshop are a group of editing tools that can be used to manipulate color and tone without permanently changing the image. Adjustment layers can be edited and discarded in order to restore the original image at any time. Common Adjustments include Levels, Brightness & Contrast, Vibrance, and Color Balance.

The Color Balance adjustment is used for general color correction. Color Balance works with complementary colors that have inverse relationships: cyan and red, magenta and green, yellow and blue. This means that if an image has too much cyan in it, the cyan will need to be decreased, which will cause the red value to increase. Be careful not to over-do Color Balance adjustments, or you may replace one incorrect color for another.

Expand each section below to see its content.

To color correct with the Color Balance Adjustment:
  1. Select the Color Balance adjustment from the Adjustments panel. A Color Balance layer will be added in the Layers panel, and a Properties panel will open.
  • If the Adjustments panel isn't open, navigate to Window > Adjustments.

  • Change the settings in the Properties panel. Determine visually which color needs to be added or subtracted. A good way to judge this is to find a part of the image that should appear white and determine if it has another color cast over it. Alternatively, play around with the sliders to see what changes can be made to get a better sense of the color scheme.
  • Use the Tone drop-down to select the tonal range to be changed: Midtones, Shadows, or Highlights. Midtones is a good place to start.
  • Click-and-drag the color sliders to change their value. Changes made will automatically apply to the image.
    • (Optional) Toggle the Preserve Luminosity option to see how that changes the image. This setting is optional.

    After adding an Adjustment to an image, a new layer is created for the adjustment in the Layers panel.

    • To re-open adjustments later, double-click on the adjustments icon in its layer. The adjustments Properties Panel, with any changes made, will appear.
    • To delete an adjustment layer, click-and-drag the layer to the trashcan within the Layers Panel.

    To apply an Adjustment to a specific area or layer:
    1. Select the desired layer with the image from the Layers panel.
    2. Highlight the object/area with a Selection tool, such as the Quick Selection tool (see Photoshop: Selection Tools for more details).
    3. Select the desired Adjustment from the Adjustments panel. A new mask for the Adjustment will be created. 
    4. Change the settings in the Properties panel. Only the masked area will be affected.

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    Keywordsediting, images, photos, graphics, adjustments, color, white balance   Doc ID91927
    OwnerJanelle B.GroupPacific Lutheran Univ
    Created2019-05-22 15:51:58Updated2023-08-04 16:28:58
    SitesPacific Lutheran University
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