Daily Archives April 3, 2019

Hidden Feature to Auto-Match Colors Like A Boss!


Apart from lights, shadows, and perspective, one of the most challenging tasks in making a great composite is matching colors of the subject with the new background. Although there are a bazillion ways of accomplishing that in Photoshop, today we are going to explore an underutilized feature, hidden inside a “double click,” that will allow you to automatically match colors absolutely non-destructively.

More often than not, this feature produces perfect results. However, sometimes, you might need to perform a little bit of manual adjustment, and even then, this acts as an incredible starting point. In today’s example, we have intentionally chosen a challenging set of images which would require an additional adjustment.

So without any further ado, let’s get started!

Here are the images we’re combining in this tutorial, before the processing begins. These images are from Adobe Stock, and here are links to download the woman and the background if you’d like to follow along.
And here is the final product of where we will end up at the end of this tutorial.

Before We Begin:

Use your favorite techniques to cut out the subject and place it on a new background. For this image, I have used the “Select and Mask” feature to create a primary mask. Since masking hair, in this case, was extremely difficult, manually painting some strands of hair on top made more sense.

Basic Mask
Painted Hair

I have also used “Perspective Warp” to lower the horizon line of the background to match with the position of the subject.

Original Background
Modified Background

Step 1: Create a Curves Adjustment Layer

Once you have the subject placed on a new background as separate layers (as shown in the image attached), select the topmost “Subject” layer and click on the Adjustment Layer icon in the layers panel, and choose Curves.

Step 2: Create a Clipping Mask

Whatever changes we make in the Curves properties, it will affect the entire image, including the background. We want to limit the effects of Curve only to the “Subject” layer. To do that, create a clipping mask by clicking on the “Clipping mask button” in the Curves properties.

Step 3: Match Colors with Eye-droppers!

We have always used eye droppers in Curves to set the black, white, and gray points, but did you know you could customize them too? Yes! And that’s what we are going to use today.