Don't Fear the Lab Mode

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Lab inside a smart object?

Hi Deke! I'd like to ask about using Lab but, first, some heart-felt praise; I've been using for about a year now and your tuition is the most easy-to-follow and entertaining by 'a country mile' as they say on your side of the pond.

Here it is: I noticed that when you use Lab to correct images you will switch back to RGB afterwards. Would it not be even better to change the layer into a smart object and alter Lab inside that smart object? Thereby having an RGB file wtih a Lab-mode smart object inside it? So you're essentially using non-destructive Lab corrections?

Please impart your wisdom, that I might save memory space etc that I'm probably wasting by working this way.

Many thanks and best wishes Deke - your teachings are absolutely first class
- Ben, UK

Merci pour les instructions

Merci pour les instructions détaillées! J'ai suivi vos conseils et maintenant commence enfin à gagner non seulement jouer aux casino en ligne! Merci!

Lab Mode

Hi Deke

So nice to find info on Lab Mode as it is a subject well hidden by other authors. or not mentioned.

I imagine that it is similar in CS5

Thank you for sharing



Deke.. thanks so much for showing me the light. I don't think I would have ever gotten around to using Lab if I hadn't found this article. This is almost as exciting as when I learned why RAW is so great!

Curves vs Levels

Deke, Anytime I see a blog post where I get to use levels instead of curves I'm there. "I don't use Curves or masking or anything terribly complicated. Just Levels." I can't figure out curves. It's a very cool adjustment. Everyone seems to use it. You get to makes those little points, bend the curve and make cool patterns in the graph. Only one problem for me: It makes the photo look worse. Levels is simple and just seems to work. I will definitely try it out with lab color. Thanks for the more detailed explanation. Robert

BIG color diagram

Just for larffs, and as a special thanks to those of you who are members, I've added a magnified version of the Lab color diagram. Just click on the embedded color diagram above and you'll get another one sized to 1200 by 1200 pixels. Feel free to print and share. Credit is always welcome. I should mention that, while the JPG provided here is RGB (JPEG doesn't support Lab), the diagram was created fully in Lab and the values listed are point accurate. Also, I engineered the diagram so that the shift from Lab to RGB was minimal. Enjoy!

Thank You

That is very considerate of you. Thank you Deke for your valuable time and brain energy to provide this. It's appreciated. Oh... you are always credited in my classes for providing the color wheels and so much more. My students hear me preach my "Photoshop trinity"... Deke, Bert and Russell at almost every session :-) Thomas Thomas Benner Austin, Texas

The wild and wacky world of Smart Objects

Ok, I don't know how many of you had the chance to view Deke's LAB session on, but he put out a call to action: "How many of you would like to see a course on the wild and wacky world of Smart Objects?" I for one would definitely like to see that. There's so much more to it than the obvious non-destructive scaling and proprietary updating. How 'bout it Deke. Any plans for a video/podcast on Smart Objects? steve_zimmer

Lab = HSB? = HSL?

So... in Lab, lightness conveys luminance and a controls tint and b controls temperature. Sounds an awful lot like the HSB (Hue, Saturation and Brightness) color mode used in Fireworks and Illustrator's Color Palette as well as the HSL (Hue, Saturation and Lightness) values in Photoshop's Hue/Saturation command. Lab:__________HSB, HSL: Lightness______Brightness, Lightness (luminance)___(same?) Tint __________Hue___________________________(same?) Temperature___Saturation (chroma, purity)__________(different?) Are these color modes the same or only have some similarities? Or am I missing something? p.s. That's a REALLY nice color wheel. Thanks! Per your advice, I already have your color wheel from Photoshop 1 on 1 on my wall in my classes and in my office. This will join it. Thanks! and Go Team USA! :-) Thomas Thomas Benner Austin, Texas

They're all different

One way to understand how it works is to click on a swatch at the bottom of Photoshop's toolbox to bring up the Color Picker dialog box. Notice you have HSB radio buttons on left and Lab on right. Select B. You'll see a rainbow of hues at the top of the square field on left declining into gray at the bottom. You also have a vertical gradient with slider triangles. Move the sliders all the way to the top to see the most vivid hues declining to white at bottom. (If this were HSL as opposed to HSB, setting L to white would turn the whole field white; the brightly saturated hues occur at L: 50%.) Move the slider down to black and the whole field turns black. (That's the way it is for HSL, too.) Now select the L in Lab. Move the gradient triangles to half mast -- 50% gray. There are all of your colors at full intensity around the perimeter, declining to gray in the center. (Radial projection this time.) Now move the triangles up and down. You never lose color. Amazingly, even at full Lightness and no Lightness, colors survive. That's where those imaginary colors come into play -- galactic falafel, sinister pine cone, and the rest. These are colors (with made-up names, of course) that have no chance in hell of reproducing in RGB or CMYK. (They won't disappear, they'll just clip.). It's fairly fascinating stuff. So, to answer your question, a and b are color axes that intersect at 90 degrees. The intersection is 0% saturation, the farther you move out from the intersection, the more intense the hues get. With Hue and Sat, all colors are functions of Hue, while Saturation controls their intensity. If this is something people are interested in, I can write it up with a few illustrations.

Thanks for the Lab, HSB, HSL Stuff

Thanks for your valuable time and assistance with the in-depth answer Deke. You clearly communicated the distinctions between all three in your reply with useful "behind the scenes" details as I so enjoy in your books and videos. You continue to teach this teacher about the art of teaching. The earlier "tint" and "temperature" Lab descriptions sort of threw me and I expected I was missing something somewhere. Sorry if it took up a lot of your time, Live long and prosper Senor! Thomas p.s. Let me check: In paragraph 1, sentence 1, I think you mean " on a grey swatch..." so that grey shows up at the bottom of the square field when B is selected. Right? Thomas Benner Austin, Texas

lab on

Deke Yah! Thanks so much for taking the time to write the info down. keith

Great tips

Great thanks