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Dodging produces blue cast - Adobe Photoshop Elements

I'm a pro photographer for almost too many years now and a lot of features in Elements remind me of the "good old days" in the darkroom. Like the dodging tool. Once upon a time we used to accentuate the eyes in portraits by dodging them a little. This way they attracted just a little more attention. Nobody noticed, but the images were just a little better. When I went digital I tried to repeat the same trick. It worked, but rather often the dodged area showed a blue cast. And not everyone has blue eyes.... I tried -the other ...

  1. #1

    Default Dodging produces blue cast

    I'm a pro photographer for almost too many years now and a lot of features in Elements remind me of the "good old days" in the darkroom.
    Like the dodging tool. Once upon a time we used to accentuate the eyes in portraits by dodging them a little. This way they attracted just a little more attention. Nobody noticed, but the images were just a little better.

    When I went digital I tried to repeat the same trick. It worked, but rather often the dodged area showed a blue cast. And not everyone has blue eyes....
    I tried -the other way around-to select the eyes, feather set to about 100, inversed the selection and darkened the whole image using levels. Deselected everything and brightened the whole image until I was back to the same tones. This works, but it takes me too much time.

    Anyone out there that knows how to avoid this blue cast?

    Leen
    Leen Koper Guest

  2. #2

    Default Dodging produces blue cast

    Leen, you don't think the underlying image has a blue cast that's brought
    out by the dodging? I don't know how the dodging tool actually performs its
    function, but I would think it would just be increasing the brightness
    component of the HSB values for each pixel. Perhaps not....

    I've switched over to the 'non-destructive' method of dodging recommended by
    Scott Kelby, which involves creating a new layer in Overlay or Soft Light
    Mode, filling it neutral color (50% gray) then painting on the layer with a
    soft low opacity brush, white for dodging, black for burning. Might be
    interesting to see if that would give the same sort of results or would
    avoid the blue color cast...



    Chuck Snyder Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Dodging produces blue cast

    Chuck, thank you. I didnot know this method (like so many other methods). I'll give it a try next week in the studio.

    BTW, this blue cast isnot from an underlying layer as I often flatten my images and start working on a new layer again for the next enhancement. I know this isnot the best way to use layers, but this works for me. When I should be able to work afterwards again on previous layers, I know I would and I am working long enough, at least that's what my wife tries to tell me.

    Leen
    Leen Koper Guest

  4. #4

    Default Dodging produces blue cast

    Leen, I misspoke about the 'underlying layer'; what I meant to convey was
    that perhaps there was a blue cast in the (flattened) image that wasn't
    obvious until the dodging was done. I think I'll experiment with the
    dodging tool a bit and see if it does in fact manipulate only the 'B' value
    of the HSB, or perhaps does something else altogether...

    Chuck


    Chuck Snyder Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Dodging produces blue cast

    Leen, I experimented a little to see what the Dodge and Burn tools were doing. I opened a new canvas and filled it with a shade of red, not quite pure red but close (RGB 206-37-37, HSB 0-82-81) The dodge and burn tools left the Hue alone, but adjusted both saturation and brightness. Looking at the RGB values, the G and B, while changing, remained balanced, so it didn't appear that a color cast was being introduced by using the tools. Probably more testing required, but that's a start....

    Chuck
    Chuck Snyder Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Dodging produces blue cast

    Unfortunately I cannot work in Elements at home; I have it installed, but my monitor is defect and everything has turned magenta. The new monitor in the studio is to arrive on Friday together with my new printer, so then the studiomonitor can come to my home.
    Could you mail me your e-mail adress so I can mail you an example of my experience on an almost finished print and the original JPEG?

    Leen
    Leen Koper Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Dodging produces blue cast

    Chuck, I apologise. My webmaster -I love this guy, I mean the work he does for me- is much faster than I could imagine. The image -with the blue cast- is allready on my website.
    It is the last image in the "studioportret" galery, a intriguingly beautiful young woman; her eyes really "have it".
    The cast, clearly visible, is around her left eye, on the right side.....;-)
    Just click my name and you will find the URL

    Leen

    PS: looking at my website is not the prerogative of Chuck; other people are invited too. I'm mighty proud of what I achieved thanks to the "elementary" knowledge and feedback I received from so many nice people on this forum. Being able to show my images to you is a way of saying : "Thanks to all of you for your tremendous input and inspiration!"

    Leen
    Leen Koper Guest

  8. #8

    Default Dodging produces blue cast

    Leen,

    I took a look at the image on your web site and Chuck correctly identified
    the problem. As Chuck pointed out, the dodge tool affects saturation and
    brightness.

    What you are seeing as a blue cast is simply the reduction of saturation to
    the point that you are seeing the gray "tone" or "luminosity" of the image.
    It's not a cast at all, it's a loss of color. If you remove all the color
    from the image, the whole picture will be that "blue" cast (except then, you
    see the image is really gray not blue -- the blue is an optical illusion
    caused by our brain interpreting it in the context of the surrounding flesh
    tones).

    So, what to do about it? Try this, load the original image (the one without
    the "blue" dodged area), duplicate the image layer and set the blending mode
    of the top layer to "color". Click on the bottom layer to make the bottom
    layer active. Now use the dodge tool on the bottom layer.

    If you need to increase the color saturation, select the sponge tool and set
    the mode to "saturate" and the flow to a low number (20% maybe?). Select
    the top layer and paint on the top layer with the sponge tool. Don't overdo
    it. Flatten when done.

    Let us know how it worked out.


    RobertHJones Guest

  9. #9

    Default Dodging produces blue cast

    Robert, terrific explanation and approach - thanks!


    Chuck Snyder Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: Dodging produces blue cast

    Robert,
    Thank you very much for your explanation. Today is Sunday and I have to force myself not to go to the studio as I promised myself to take a day off. Tomorrow I'll try your approach, but there is just only one problem: I changed the color of the image a little too much to make it look like a "real Rembrandt".
    Everything you write sounds rather logical, but I suppose I have to disagree on one thing: the optical illusion of seeing a blue due to the surrounding colours. These things don't match in my mind; I think you are right, but the facts are against this theory.
    I had exact profiles made for my printer and my monitor screen, I calibrate my monitor every two weeks with a Photocal Spyder and nevertheless this image prints out this blue!
    I looked at it with various lightsources, including daylight.I know I happen to be able to recognise a color cast rather well. I can hardly believe something went wrong with the profiling, but I will know this Friday as a trained color expert will come to install and profile my new monitor and printer. Both come from the same supplier as this calibration Spyder.
    In the meantime I will check tomorrow wether I'm wrong using the color picker.

    I hope there is something we overlooked and this way your explanation will be wrong as if you are right, I cannot rely on my eyes any more.... ;-(

    Although I'm confronted with this problem, I'm rather happy about it, as it shows we on this forum are like family, willing to help each other out. Moreover, this problem allowed me to ask an intelligent question and this way I might rise in your esteem.....;-)
    Leen Koper Guest

  11. #11

    Default Dodging produces blue cast

    Leen, good morning - was awakened by hard rain and came to the computer to
    see what the weather radar said about our prospects for more rain.

    Unlike you, I don't have a good 'eye' for color, so the recognition of a
    color cast is difficult at best. My only recourse is to rely on the
    eyedropper tool to give me numerical values for RGB; hence my simple
    experiment earlier to 'sample' values of a filled layer before and after
    dodging. My expectation was that if the tool was causing a color shift to
    occur, I would see a change in the relative values.

    I just re-ran my experiment using a 'skin tone' instead of a near-primary
    color. The results are interesting, and I'm not smart enough to interpret
    them. The starting tone was R=229, G=194, B=152 (H=33 degrees, S=34%,
    B=90%). After considerable dodging, the center of the dodged area was
    R=240, G=217, B=190 (H=34, S=21, B=94). In this case the R value increased
    by 11 points, while green went up 23 and blue 38. That would certainly seem
    to imply a shift toward the blue end of the spectrum! Interestingly, a
    similar shift is observed when using the Kelby method I noted earlier in
    this thread.

    Okay, I'm playing the role of 'laboratory technician' here, dutifully
    recording the experimental results. I need a scientist to look at the data
    and interpret the results!

    :-)

    Chuck


    Chuck Snyder Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: Dodging produces blue cast

    Goos morning Chuck,
    Thanks for your experimenting ; this way I'm probably able to bring some light into your rainy day....
    You 'd better move to the Netherlands. This way you will always eb near to consult and the weather is wonderful today. Lots of sunshine today and I should be outside instead of sitting behind my keyboard. While you Anericans seem to have experienced lots of rain this summer, we had one of the best in more than a century.

    I'm "glad" this laboratory technician showed I can trust my eyes again. But where is Robert theory gone wrong? It sounded very plausible to me.

    This brings me to another question: why does burning and dodging change the colour and saturation too? In my mind this doesnot make sense. Or should I start a new topic on this?

    Leen
    Leen Koper Guest

  13. #13

    Default Dodging produces blue cast

    Hello again, Leen:

    Now I've gone from lab assistant to research assistant, and I've been
    looking in my Photoshop library to see if there are any clues. Here's one
    quote that may give us a lead; it's from "Professional Photoshop - The
    Classic Guide to Color Correction" by Dan Margulis, a comprehensive but (I
    find) difficult book on color in Photoshop:

    "There are a number of ways to get there, but just applying the dodge and
    burn tools to the base image isn't a good one......there are color issues,
    because these tools must be set to affect either highlights, midtones, or
    shadows, and so will create different results in the various channels."

    Not exactly the answer, but a lead.... He goes on to use the same method as
    Kelby (overlay layer with 50% gray fill) but then take it into further
    methods using LAB color, which isn't available in Elements....I'll be
    reading further to see if there's more light that can be cast on the subject
    (without a bluish cast of course!)

    Chuck


    Chuck Snyder Guest

  14. #14

    Default Dodging produces blue cast

    Good morning Chuck and Leen,

    I may have been wrong about the optical illusion part but I believe my
    technique will still work around the problem.

    I've been busy this morning. After seeing the latest experiments, I decided
    to do some of my own. I downloaded the image from the web site to work
    with. Low res, but it should be good enough for experimentation. Would
    have liked to have used an undodged version though.

    First experiment:
    I added a hue/saturation adjustment layer and moved the saturation from one
    end of the scale to the other (0 to 100). Results: as the color faded
    away, the area around the eye hardly changed (in terms of blueness) while
    the rest of the image came to match it. On the other end, as the slider went
    over 60, the eye didn't get bluer, it mainly was red and green that boosted.
    The blue did not bloom up. In fact, the info palette showed that at 100,
    the blue component went to zero in that area.

    Second experiment:
    First, to work around the lack of the original image, I repaired the color
    in the eye area. I added a new blank layer in color mode, selected colors
    just above the brow using the dropper, and painted the colors over the upper
    portion of the eye. I reduced the opacity of the color layer until it
    blended, then flattened. I repeated for the lower eye portion. It looked
    decent.

    Then I duplicated the layer and set it to color mode. I selected the bottom
    layer and used the dodge tool to lighten up areas around the eye.
    Obviously, it made them too light since it had already been dodged before.
    But, I was mainly interested in seeing what it did to the color. I found
    that in some areas, those not in deepest shadow, this worked perfectly. In
    the darkest shadow areas, like along the side of the nose near the eye,
    there didn't appear to be enough color and I had a little of the "blue" cast
    again. This was easily fixed, I made the color layer active and used the
    clone tool to fill in color from the adjacent areas. I could have used the
    brush tool just as well.

    To me, it still appears to be a case of lack of color, caused by the deep
    shadows, and not a color cast. I'd still like you to try it yourself and
    let me know how it worked for you.

    Regarding the LAB reference. I'm kind of going in that direction. I've
    separated the color out in a quick-and-dirty kind of way. Here's something
    you can try. Starting from the flattened image, change the background to a
    layer. Duplicate it and then add a layer at the very bottom filled with 50%
    gray. You now have 3 layers. Set the top to color mode, the middle to
    luminosity. You've now separated the components. Toggle the middle layer
    off and you'll see the color component. You can see the area around the eyes
    don't have much color. Leave the luminosity layer on and toggle the top layer
    off and you'll see the luminosity component. (a b&w image). The gray layer
    is just there for the other two layers to resolve against. You can put an
    extra 50% gray layer under each of the top two layers and merge down the
    pair if you wish -- leave the resultant layers in color and luminosity mode
    as before and make sure you still have the bottom 50% gray layer. If you
    have the Lynch's Hidden Power tools, you can do a Luminosity separation and
    get pure color and luminosity layers directly from the original background.
    It has a split luminosity action that does all the work for you.

    Incidently, Leen, did you work on that eye other than to dodge it? It
    doesn't quite look right to me. You are correct, she has wonderful eyes!
    You may want to add some extra shapening to just the pupils and whites to
    give the eyes some sparkle.

    Bob

    RobertHJones Guest

  15. #15

    Default Dodging produces blue cast

    Bob, thanks for the information! I've printed it and will go back into
    Elements later to try some of your great techniques. What an awesome
    program, huh?

    :-)

    Chuck


    Chuck Snyder Guest

  16. #16

    Default Re: Dodging produces blue cast

    Robert and Chuck,
    You are two wonderful persons. In the time I sat down in the sun in front of my favourite pub ( drinking coffee) you both were hard at work.
    You do know quite a lot more about PE than I do, but I will do my utmost to catch up with both of you.

    Tomorrow I have to cover a wedding, so I won't have any time left, but I will print out these ideas and try them in my studio later this week and do some experimenting myself. Luckily there is no hurry at all with this portrait; I have another six weeks as she will be staying abroad (BTW in the USA).

    Chuck, in a few minutes you will find the original JPEG as it came from the camera and the "almost finished one" in your mailbox.

    Robert, if you like to have a copy of these images as well (longest side 600 pixels), please mail me your e-mail adress.

    Thanks!

    Leen
    Leen Koper Guest

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