Matching Color

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The need for color matching is one of the most common situations you'll encounter. Perhaps you took pictures of your family outdoors on a cold winter day, and more photos in the spring in late afternoon. It's unlikely that the skin tones of the two sets of pictures will match at all. Or, you might have taken some product shots and want the colors to match more closely because you'll be printing them side by side in a brochure. Photoshop CS's Match Color facility lets you select one image as a source and then apply the color palette from that image to a second image or group of images.

Another situation you'll encounter crops up when you're making composites. You've cut an element from one image, pasted it down in another, and discovered that the colors, which should be similar, vary widely. Match Color lets you fix those, too, because you can apply palettes from one layer to another layer in the same image.

This is another one of those features that can be learned very quickly just by performing a quick exercise. If you like, you can follow along using the files Teryn Outdoors 1 and Teryn Outdoors 2 on the website. You can see the original images in Figure 6.32. The image at left was taken outdoors in open shade on a bright, sunny day. The image at right was taken in roughly the same spot, but on an overcast day. The second photo is much bluer than the first, and it would be nice to match the colors more closely without jumping through Photoshop's usual color-adjustment hoops. Follow these steps to see how easy it can be.

Figure 6.32. Match Color can be used to provide consistent color between these two very different images.

Figure 6.32. Match Color can be used to provide consistent color between these two very different images.

1. Select the girl's face in the sunny day picture using the Lasso tool. Match Color can work from the image's full palette, if you want, but often produces better results if you tell it exactly which colors you'd like to match.

2. Choose Image > Adjustments > Match Color to produce the dialog box shown in Figure 6.33.

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