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[3D의 변화] 위지윅스튜디오, "중국과 헐리우드 변화 흐름을 읽겠다"

권명관 

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[IT동아 권명관 기자] 지난 2014년, 애니메이션 제작사로 전세계에서 유명한 픽사가 그래픽제조사 엔비디아와 함께 '시그라프(SIGGRAPF)'에서 재미있는 발표를 진행했다. 당시 픽사는 '실시간으로 3D 랜더링을 작업할 수 있다'라는 내용으로 주목 받았다. 그리고 2016년, 픽사는 같은 시그라프 행사장에서 8,000만 폴리곤의 애니메이션 '도리를 찾아서'를 보여주며, 실시간 랜더링 작업을 시연했다. 애니메이션에 등장하는 다양한 물고기의 눈과 코, 입, 눈썹, 지느러미 등 각각의 부위를 별도의 레이어로 처리하고, 색상이나 조명, 모듈 등을 최종 단계에서 바로 조절한 것. 마치 포토샵으로 제작물에 여러 레이어를 중첩해 다양한 효과를 구현하듯 손쉽게 변경하는 모습은 현장에서 찬사를 이끌었다.

최근 3D 업계의 주요 관심사는 4K, 8K 등으로 확연히 늘어난 해상도와 3D/VFX와 같은 CG, 실시간 랜더링, 보다 효율적인 작업 단계(파이프라인) 등으로 요약할 수 있다. 요약하자면, 높은 해상도의 콘텐츠를 이전 방식보다 더 빠르고 쉽게 처리할 수 있는 것을 추구한다. 특히, 3D 작업은 많은 인력과 높은 PC 자원 등을 요구하기 때문에 오래 작업할수록 비용이 발생하는 구조이기 때문에 '시간 단축'은 주요 관심사다.

픽사가 공개한 USD, 출처: 픽사
< 픽사가 공개한 USD, 출처: 픽사 >

픽사 발표는 그래서 주목받았다. 픽사는 기존 3D 파이프라인과 다르게 더 효율적으로, 더 빠르게 콘텐츠를 생산할 수 있다는 것을 증명했다. 이어서 픽사는 발표 내용을 'USD(Universal Scene Description)'라고 명명한 뒤, 모두에게 공개했다. 더이상 3D/VFX를 작업할 때, 특정 툴에 끌려 다니지 말고, 더 쉽고, 더 편리하고, 더 빠르게 작업 프로세스를 줄여야 한다고 주장한다. 실제로 픽사는 현재 애니메이션을 제작하며, 특정 제작 프로그램만 집중해 사용하지 않는다. 다양한 소프트웨어를 활용하고, 각 소프트웨어로 제작한 여러 콘텐츠(모델링, 음영 처리, 애니메이션, 조명, FX, 랜더링 등)를 하나로 통합 관리하는 체계를 구축해 제작 시간을 줄였다.

이에 IT동아는 국내 3D 콘텐츠 제작 및 CG 전문 업체와 만나며 변화하고 있는 3D 기술에 대해서 이야기를 나눴다. 지난 디지털 아이디어와 스튜디오M, 2L IMAGEWORKS, 자이언트스텝, 덱스터 스튜디오, 모팩 스튜디오, 매크로그래프에 이어 국내 VFX 역사와 함께한 전문가들이 모여 설립 1년만에 업계 주목을 끌고 있는 위지윅(WYSIWYG) 스튜디오(이하 위지윅)의 김재훈 실장과 조용석 본부장, 류재환 이사를 만나 이야기를 들었다. 참고로 위지윅은 '1987', '신과함께' 프로젝트에 참여했고, 올해 개봉할 '레슬러', '마녀', '스윙키즈' 등 3개 프로젝트를 진행 중이다.

위지윅 스튜디오의 조용석 본부장(좌)과 류재환 이사(우)

설립 1년, 중국과 헐리우드를 연결하는 위지윅

IT동아: 만나서 반갑다. 얼마 전, 위지윅스튜디오의 박관우 대표님과 VR/AR 관련 인터뷰를 진행했는데, 이렇게 또 만났다. 참 질긴(?) 인연이다(웃음). 박 대표님과는 위지윅이 제작한 VR/AR 콘텐츠에 대해서 이야기를 나눴다. 이번에는 스튜디오의 본업(?)이라 할 수 있는 CG, VFX와 관련해 듣고 싶어 인터뷰를 요청했다.

김재훈 실장(이하 김 실장): 인연인 것 같다. 박 대표님 인터뷰 때 혹시나해서 담당 기자님을 물었더니, 권 기자님이더라. 한 달 사이에 2번을 만난 셈이다(웃음). 위지윅은 설립한지 횟수로 3년, 만으로는 1년 반 정도 지난 3D, VFX 전문 스튜디오다. 신생 스튜디오라고 생각할 수 있는데, 설립 멤버 경력만은 절대 그렇지 않다. 국내 VFX 산업 1세대, 1.5세대 전문가들이 모여서 위지윅을 창업했기에, 업계에서도 우리를 많이 지켜 보는 것 같다. 아, 국내 영화뿐만 아니라 헐리우드와 중국의 블록버스터 등 다양한 미디어 콘텐츠에 참여했던 인재들도 참여했다.

위지윅은 한마디로 CG 전문 프로덕션이다. VFX, 애니메이션, INTERACTIVE MEDIA, VR/AR 등 CG 기술로 표현할 수 있는 모든 콘텐츠를 제작한다. 위지윅(WYSIWYG)이란, 'What You See Is What You Get'의 줄임말로 '보는 대로 얻을 것이다'란 뜻이다. 전통적인 CG 기술과 미래 리얼 타임 렌더링(Real time rendering, 실시간 영상제작) 기술을 접목해 새로운 현실 세계를 구현하고자 위지윅이라 회사명을 지었다.

IT동아: 중국 영화, 중국 작품, 중국 프로젝트를 국내 스튜디오에서 많이 담당하는 것은 잘 알고 있다. 최근 국내 시장에서 가장 큰 손이 중국 클라이언트라는 말도 있고. 그런데, 위지윅은 중국뿐만 아니라 헐리우드와 작업을 함께 한다고 들었다.

위지윅 스튜디오의 조용석 본부장

조용석 본부장(이하 조 본부장): 맞다. 헐리우드에 타우(Tau)필름이라는 곳이 있는데, 이곳과 전략적 제휴(MOU)를 맺은 상태다. 중국 프로젝트를 본격적으로 시작하면서 인연을 맺기 시작했는데, 타우 필름은 아시아권 영화 프로젝트 소식을 우리를 통해서 연결되고, 우리는 헐리우드 프로젝트 소식을 타우 필름을 통해서 듣는다. 서로 필요한 부분을 보충하는, Win-Win하는 관계다. 서로 각자 담당하는 지역 소식을 전달하는 교두보 역할인 셈이다.

마침 중국도 영화 산업이 성장하면서, 보다 높은 기술력, 큰 시장을 찾아 헐리우드 문을 자주 두드리기 시작했다. 헐리우드도 중국 영화 시장에 대한 관심이 늘어나기 시작했고. 이런 시점에 우리가 중간에서 믿을 수 있는 벤더 역할을 담당하는 것이다.

IT동아: 위지윅은 헐리우드의 시스템과 솔루션을 체험할 수 있는 계기로 삼을 수도 있겠다.

류재환 이사(이하 류 이사): 맞다. 장기적인 네트워크를 생각한다. 헐리우드 스튜디오는 국내 스튜디오와 작업하는 방식이 조금 다르다. 음… 국내 스튜디오와 비교해 순발력이 조금 떨어진달까. 헐리우드는 프로젝트를 진행할 때, 클라이언트로부터 자금이 들어온 순간부터 파이프라인을 구축한다. 때문에 결과물까지 나오는 시간이 다소 느리다. 하지만, 중국 클라이언트는 결과물을 빠르게 확인할 수 있는 것을 원한다. 민첩한 스튜디오를 찾는 이유다.

중국와 헐리우드의 이런 차이점을 우리가 상쇄하는 방식이다. 지금까지는 전략적으로 잘 맞아왔다. 그리고 이 과정에서 헐리우드가 구축한 시스템과 솔루션을 위지윅에 매칭하는 경험을 쌓고 있다. 처음에는 헐리우드가 어떤 방식으로 일하는지 조차 몰랐지만, 지금은 서로의 파이프라인을 매칭하기 위한 작업을 진행하고, 미래 방향을 조율한다. 파이프라인을 공유하고, 작업 시스템과 사용하는 소프트웨어를 같은 것으로 매칭하는 작업 등을 진행 중이다. 이에 대응하는 TF도 구성했다.

IT동아: 타우필름은 다소 생소한데, 작업한 결과물은 어떤 것이 있는지 궁금하다.

조 본부장: 국내에 알려진 작품 중에는 '발리우드'라고 불리는 인도 영화 프로젝트를 많이 담당했다. '로봇', '바로발리' 등의 CG, VFX가 타우필름 작품이다. 이외에 톰 크루드, 카메론 디아즈가 주연한 '나잇 & 데이', 짐 캐리 주연의 '파퍼씨네 펭귄들', 브래드 피트 주연의 '머니볼', '엑스맨 퍼스트 클래스', '크로니클', 'R.I.P.D', '라이프 오브 파이' 등이 있다.

위지윅 스튜디오의 조용석 본부장(좌)과 류재환 이사(우)

분업화된 파이프라인에서 효율성을 찾다

IT동아: 과거의 경험과 최근 스튜디오 업계의 흐름까지, 위지윅이 추구하는 작업 방식이 궁금하다.

조 본부장: 글쎄. '아직 우리만의 파이프라인은 이것이다'라고 말하기는 어려운 것 같다. 회사 내 각 팀, 각 파트 책임자들이 경험했던 것을 하나로 모아 정리하는 단계라고 생각한다. 국내외 여러 스튜디오에서 각자 쌓은 경험과 작업 방식, 파이프라인이 달라 이를 통합하는 과정이다.

여기서 많은 문제를 겪고 있다. 작업자과 관리자의 관계, 분업화된 각 팀을 조율하는 관계 등이 대표적이다. 아무래도 상충되는 부분이 많다. 예를 들면, 어떤 프로젝트의 관리자는 마지막에 나온 결과물을 중시하지만, 작업자는 자신이 진행한 부분을 중시한다. 또한, 관리자는 프로젝트 전체를 보며 수익 부분도 생각해야 하고. 각자 생각하는 바가 다를 수밖에 없다. 때문에 이를 어떻게 파이프라인에 잘 조율할 수 있는지를 고민하고 있다.

이는 우리만의 문제가 아니다. CG, VFX 파이프라인에서 자연스럽게 이뤄졌던 '분업화' 과정에서 도출된 단점이다. 과거에는 '스페셜리스트'라고 불리는 경력자를 한 가지(소프트웨어)를 잘 다루는 스킬을 요구했다면, 이제는 작업 과정 전반을 다룰 수 있는 스킬이 보다 중요해졌다. 하드웨어 성능은 계속 발전하고, 하드웨어 성능을 효율적으로 사용할 수 있는 소프트웨어도 지속적으로 등장했기 때문이다. 전체적인 시스템이 발전했기 때문에 한 가지 스킬이 아닌 두세 가지 스킬을 다루는 인재가 더욱 부각되고 있다.

특히, 분업화되어 있는 각 단계에서 문제가 발생했을 경우, 여러 스킬을 보유한 전문가는 빠르게 문제를 해결할 수 있다. 특정 프로젝트의 병목 현상을 해결할 수 있는 능력을 요구하는 셈이다.

위지윅 스튜디오의 류재환 이사

IT동아: 20년 전과 지금의 시스템을 비교한다면.

조 본부장: 비교 자체가 불가능하다(하하). 당시에는 20GB 하드디스크를 렉 방식으로 연결해 작업하는 방식이었다. 지금은 거론조차 되지 않는 SCSI 하드디스크를 추구하기도 했고. 이후 하드웨어적으로 많이 발전하면서 지금의 분업화된 파이프라인이 자리를 잡았다. 아, 네트워크의 발전도 파이프라인 변화에 영향을 끼쳤다. 과거에는 네트워크를 각 개인 작업자의 결과물을 모으는 용도로만 사용했지만, 지금은 더 빠른 네트워크를 이용해 실시간으로 작업한다. 때문에 과거에는 모든 것을 관리할 수 있는 스페셜리스트가 필요했다면, 지금은 각 단계의 스페셜리스트를 필요로 하는, 전문 분업화된 파이프라인을 추구하게 된 것이다.

이에 야근도 많이 줄었다. 한때는 늦게 퇴근하는 것을 자랑삼아 이야기했지만, 지금은 그렇지 않다. 자연스럽게 업계 나이가 많아지면서 유부남, 유부녀가 늘어나 가정에 할애하는 시간도 많아졌고. 프로젝트 마감 시일이 급할 경우에는 간혹 야근을 하기도 하지만, 지금은 그렇지 않다.

류 이사: 하드웨어, 소프트웨어 발전이 파이프라인 방식을 많이 바꿨다. 각 단계 세분화가 치밀하게 이뤄지면서, 스튜디오 덩치도 많이 커졌고. 과거에는 20명 정도의 소형 스튜디오가 대부분이었지만, 지금은 100명, 200명 이상의 스튜디오가 많아진 이유다. 또한, 프로젝트 자체가 대규모 인원을 필요로 하는 경우도 많아졌고. 스튜디오의 대형과, 기업화라고 이해해도 좋다.

지금은 직원들의 마인드 자체가 많이 달라졌다. 과거에는 공방이나 작업실 정도의 개념이었다면, 이제는 휴가와 같은 복지를 중시하는 스튜디오가 계속 늘어나는 상황이다.

IT동아: 그렇게 분업화된 과정에서 이제는 전체를 관리할 수 있는 능력자가 다시 각광받는 시대로 변화한 것인지.

조 본부장: 하드웨어의 발전과 소프트웨어의 발전, 어셋과 DB의 라이브러리화 등을 통해 이제는 프로젝트 전체를 소수의 전문 인력만으로도 제어할 수 있다. 영화나 드라마를 촬영하는 현장 인력은 크게 변화하지 않았지만, 후반 CG 작업이나 소프트웨어를 다루는 인력 등의 필요성은 과거와 비교해 많이 줄었다. 스튜디오의 경험과 스킬이 쌓일수록 파이프라인이 효율적으로 바뀐다. 결과적으로 각 단계에만 특화된 전문가는 전체 과정을 이해하는 스페셜리스트보다 경쟁력이 떨어질 수밖에 없다.

때문에 이제는 스스로 주특기를 두세 가지 이상 갖춰야 한다. 멀티 스킬이 필요한 시대다. 디자인만 전문 인력보다 디자인과 모델링, 디자인과 모션 디자인을 함께 다룰 수 있는 인력 즉, 전체 파이프라인을 이해하고 다룰 수 있는 사람이 필요하다.

류 이사: 국내 스튜디오가 아닌, 헐리우드 스튜디오에 이러한 변화 흐름이 빠르게 적용 중이다. 헐리우르는 프로젝트 참여 인력과 계약직 형태로 많이 진행한다. 담당자가 보유한 스킬과 능력에 따라 여러 스튜디오에 프로젝트별로 참여하는 것이다. 때문에 한 스튜디오에 많은 인력이 항상 상주하지 않는다. 탄력적인 시스템이다.

반면, 한국 스튜디오는 대형화, 기업화되어 있다. 200명, 300명이 근무하는 스튜디오도 꽤 있다. 문제는 여기서 발생한다. 만약 진행하는 프로젝트가 많지 않다면, 여유 인력이 발생하는 것이다. 인원이 많다고 무조건 성장하는 스튜디오라고 말할 수 없는 이유다. 개인적으로 어느 정도 규모가 있는 스튜디오들이 컨소시엄 형태로 묶여서 프로젝트를 공유하는 것이 좋지 않을까 생각한다. 위지윅이 추구하는 스튜디오의 미래 모습 중 하나다.

현재 (인력이 많은) 대형 스튜디오들은 자력으로 유지하기 힘들 정도로 너무 인력이 많다고 생각한다. 점차 수익성도 떨어지고 있고. 또한, 중국 시장에 의존하는 부분이 너무 크다. 지금은 중국 클라이언트가 국내 스튜디오를 많이 찾고 있지만, 중국 시장도 변화하고 있다. 한국이 아닌 헐리우드 스튜디오를 찾기도 하고. 이러한 변화에 준비하는 과정이 필요하다.

IT동아: 정리하자면, 위지윅은 이러한 변화의 흐름에 어울리는 파이프라인을 찾아가는 과정인 것인가.

조 본부장: 어떤 것이 효율적인 것인가를 판단하는 중이다. 구체적으로, 실제 적용시켜 나가는 단계는 아니지만, 조심스럽지만 한걸음 내딛는 상황이다. '무조건 이것이 맞다'라고 결론 내린 단계는 아니고, '이것도 하나의 방법이지 않을까?'라는 차원에서 준비하고 있다.

위지윅 스튜디오의 조용석 본부장(좌)과 류재환 이사(우)

변화하는 흐름 속에서 위지윅의 것을 찾는다

IT동아: 위지윅이 작업 방식, 파이프라인에서 발생하는 문제에 어떻게 대비하고 있는지.

조 본부장: 정기적인 TF 회의를 지속적으로 진행한다. 파이프라인뿐만 아니라 새로운 기술, 새로운 시스템, 새로운 솔루션이 등장할 때마다 현재 위지윅과 잘 어울릴 수 있는지를 판단하고, 도입 여부를 결정한다. 각 팀, 각 파트에서 기술적인 것을 담당하는 책임자들이 모두 모이는 자리를 계속 가진다.

최근에는 파이프라인 이슈가 가장 크다. 기존 매니지먼트 툴을 바꿀 것인가 말 것인가를 고민 중이다. 현재 위지윅이 사용하는 파이프라인은 다소 범용적이지 않다고 내부에서 판단하고 있다. 지난 1년 동안 개발하고 구축한 것에 대해서 다시 한번 생각하는 과정 속에 있다. 우리가 바라보는 방향과 설정이 장기적으로 봤을 때도 유효한 것인지 고민 중이다.

IT동아: 헐리우드의 시스템과 솔루션, 파이프라인을 도입하는 것에 긍정적인지.

조 본부장: 내부적으로는 헐리우드 방식을 그대로 따라가면, 국내 시장에서는 100% 실패한다고 생각한다. 만약 헐리우드 방식을 그대로 도입해 지금의 프로젝트를 진행한다면, 남길 수 있는 수익이 없다. 헐리우드는 국내보다 새로운 시스템과 솔루션에 개방적이다. 개인적인 의견이지만, 새로운 기술이면 무조건 받아들이는 것 같다(웃음). 재정적인 것은 일단 뒤로 생각하면서 말이다. 때문에 (현실을 반영했을 때) 효율적이지 않다. 너무 과도한 투자, 과도한 기술 개발을 진행한다는 느낌이다.

시장 자체 규모와 새로운 기술을 바라보는 자세 등이 다르기 때문일 수도 있지만…, 지금 당장 헐리우드 방식을 그대로 적용하는 것은 부담이라고 생각한다.

류 이사: 어디까지나 작업 속도를 높이고, 효율적으로 관리하기 위한 고민이라고 생각해달라. 변화하는 과정이라고 이해해줬으면 좋겠다.

IT동아: 픽사가 공개한 USD처럼, 파이프라인을 보다 효율적으로 사용하는 시스템은 어떻게 생각하는지.

김 실장: 어디까지나 개인적인 생각이지만, 올해 USD가 국내 CG, VFX 스튜디오의 시스템을 한번에 바꿀 것 같지는 않다. 국내 시장의 현실이라는 것이 있다. 지금까지 구축한 시스템과 솔루션, 파이프라인의 모든 것을 한번에 바꾸는 것은 누구라도 부담을 느낄 수밖에 없다. 아, 전체 시스템을 변화할 수는 없지만, 각 단계를 통합하는 '카타나'와 같은 매니지먼트 관리 시스템은 검토 대상이다. 다만, 이를 다룰 수 있는 인력이나 경험, 투자금 등 현실적인 부분을 뗄 수는 없다.

류 이사: 실제로 USD 방식 도입을 검토했다가 다시 보류한 상황이다. 현재 위지윅 시스템, 솔루션과 비교했을 때, 내부적으로 크게 개선되지는 않을 것이라 판단했기 때문이다. 파이프라인을 바꾸는 과정에서 오히려 작업 속도가 늦춰질 수도 있다는 우려가 있었다.

다만, USD와 같은 파이프라인이 추구하는 효율적인 관리라는 측면은 공감하고 있다. 특정 소프트웨어, 특정 포맷에 종속되지 않고, 모든 작업자가 진행되는 과정을 살펴보고 관여할 수 있다는 것은 분명 경쟁력이 있다. 여기에 작업 파일을 불러오고 저장하는 시간을 줄일 수 있고, 최종 점검자가 이전 단계를 조율할 수 있다는 것도 매력적이다.

특히, 개인이 전체 흐름을 이해하고, 여러 스킬을 다룰 수 있다면 USD와 같은 파이프라인이 역량 강화에 도움될 것이라고 생각한다. 헐리우드가 하드웨어뿐만 아니라 소프트웨어적으로 효율적인 관리를 고민했다는 것, 그 발상 자체가 재미있다.

조 본부장: 파이프라인 각 단계를 통합 관리할 수 있다는 것은 긍정적이다. 앞서 류 이사가 말한 것처럼 작업자 개인이 스킬을 강화할 수 있는 파이프라인이라는 것도 마음에 들고. USD가 추구하는 미래 방향은 어느 정도 공감하고 있다.

다만, 현실적인 부분이 남아 있다. 새로운 것을 도입하기 위한 투자금, 이를 잘 다룰 수 있는 인력 확보, 기존 방식으로 처리하던 프로젝트 진행 등이다. 이 부분을 해결하기 위한 시간과 과정이 필요하지 않을까 생각한다.

글 / IT동아 권명관(tornadosn@itdonga.com)



ref: http://it.donga.com/27270/

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About histograms

histogram illustrates how pixels in an image are distributed by graphing the number of pixels at each color intensity level. The histogram shows detail in the shadows (shown in the left part of the histogram), midtones (shown in the middle), and highlights (shown in the right part) A histogram can help you determine whether an image has enough detail to make a good correction.

The histogram also gives a quick picture of the tonal range of the image, or the image key type. A low‑key image has detail concentrated in the shadows. A high‑key image has detail concentrated in the highlights. And, an average-key image has detail concentrated in the midtones. An image with full tonal range has some pixels in all areas. Identifying the tonal range helps determine appropriate tonal corrections.

Photoshop Histogram examples
How to read a histogram

A. Overexposed photo B. Properly exposed photo with full tonality C. Underexposed photo 

The Histogram panel offers many options for viewing tonal and color information about an image. By default, the histogram displays the tonal range of the entire image. To display histogram data for a portion of the image, first select that portion.

Note:

You can view an image histogram as an overlay in the Curves dialog box by selecting the histogram option under Curve Display Options, and in the Curves Properties panel, or by choosing Curve Display Options from the panel menu, then Histogram.  

Histogram panel overview

  1. Choose Window > Histogram or click the Histogram tab to open the Histogram panel. By default, the Histogram panel opens in Compact View with no controls or statistics, but you can adjust the view.
    Photoshop Histogram panel -- expanded view
    Histogram panel (Expanded view)

    A. Channel menu B. panel menu C. Uncached Refresh button D. Cached Data Warning icon E.Statistics 

Adjust the view of the Histogram panel

  1. Choose a view from the Histogram panel menu.

    Expanded View

    Displays the histogram with statistics. It also displays: controls for choosing the channel represented by the histogram, viewing options in the Histogram panel, refreshing the histogram to display uncached data, and choosing a specific layer in a multilayered document.

    Compact View

    Displays a histogram with no controls or statistics. The histogram represents the entire image.

    All Channels View

    Displays individual histograms of the channels in addition to all the options of the Expanded View. The individual histograms do not include alpha channels, spot channels, or masks.

    Photoshop Histogram panel with channels in color
    Histogram panel with all channels displayed in color and statistics hidden

View a specific channel in the histogram

If you chose the Expanded View or All Channels View of the Histogram panel, you can choose a setting from the Channel menu. Photoshop remembers the channel setting if you switch from either Expanded View or All Channels View back to Compact View.

  • Choose an individual channel to display a histogram of the channel, including color channels, alpha channels, and spot channels.
  • Depending on the color mode of the image, choose RGB, CMYK, or Composite to view a composite histogram of all the channels.
  • If the image is RGB or CMYK, choose Luminosity to display a histogram representing the luminance or intensity values of the composite channel.
  • If the image is RGB or CMYK, choose Colors to display a composite histogram of the individual color channels in color. This option is the default view for RGB and CMYK images when you first choose Expanded View or All Channels View.

    In the All Channels View, choosing from the Channels menu affects only the topmost histogram in the panel.

View channel histograms in color

  1. From the Histogram panel, do one of the following:
    • In the All Channels View, choose Show Channels In Color from the panel menu.

    • In Expanded View or All Channels View, choose an individual channel from the Channel menu and choose Show Channels In Color from the panel menu. If you switch to Compact View, the channel continues to be shown in color.

    • In Expanded View or All Channels View, choose Colors from the Channel menu to show a composite histogram of the channels in color. If you switch to Compact View, the composite histogram continues to be shown in color.

View histogram statistics

By default, the Histogram panel displays statistics in the Expanded View and All Channels View.

  1. Choose Show Statistics from the Histogram panel menu.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To view information about a specific pixel value, place the pointer in the histogram.

    • To view information about a range of values, drag in the histogram to highlight the range.

    The panel displays the following statistical information below the histogram:

    Mean

    Represents the average intensity value.

    Std Dev (Standard deviation)

    Represents how widely intensity values vary.

    Median

    Shows the middle value in the range of intensity values.

    Pixels

    Represents the total number of pixels used to calculate the histogram.

    Level

    Displays the intensity level of the area underneath the pointer.

    Count

    Shows the total number of pixels corresponding to the intensity level underneath the pointer.

    Percentile

    Displays the cumulative number of pixels at or below the level underneath the pointer. This value is expressed as a percentage of all the pixels in the image, from 0% at the far left to 100% at the far right.

    Cache Level

    Shows the current image cache used to create the histogram. When the cache level is higher than 1, the histogram is displayed faster. In this case, the histogram is derived from a representative sampling of pixels in the image (based on the magnification). The original image is cache level 1. At each level above level 1, four adjacent pixels are averaged to arrive at a single pixel value. So, each level is half the dimensions (has 1/4 the number of pixels) of the lower level. When Photoshop makes a quick approximation, it can use one of the upper levels. Click the Uncached Refresh button to redraw the histogram using the actual image layer.

View the histogram for a multilayered document

  1. Choose Expanded View from the Histogram panel menu.
  2. Choose a setting from the Source menu. (The Source menu is not available for single-layered documents.)

    Entire Image

    Displays a histogram of the entire image, including all layers.

    Selected Layer

    Displays a histogram of the layer that’s selected in the Layers panel.

    Adjustment Composite

    Displays a histogram of an adjustment layer selected in the Layers panel, including all the layers below the adjustment layer.

Preview histogram adjustments

You can preview the effect on the histogram of any color and tonal adjustments.

  1. Select the Preview option in the dialog boxes of any color or tonal adjustment command.

    When Preview is selected, the Histogram panel shows how the adjustment affects the histogram.

    Note:

    When making adjustments using the Adjustments panel, changes are automatically reflected in the Histogram panel.

    Photoshop Histogram adjustment preview
    Preview of histogram adjustment in the Histogram panel

    A. Original histogram B. Adjusted histogram C. Shadows D. Midtones E. Highlights 

Refresh the histogram display

When a histogram is read from a cache instead of the current state of the document, the Cached Data Warning icon  appears in the Histogram panel. Histograms based on the image cache are displayed faster and are based on a representative sampling of pixels in the image. You can set the maximum cache level (from 2 to 8) in the Performance preference.

Note:

A higher cache level setting will increase the redraw speed for large, multi-layer files, but requires additional usage of system RAM. If RAM is limited or you work mainly with smaller images, use lower cache level settings

  1. To refresh the histogram so that it displays all of the pixels of the original image in its current state, do one of the following:
    • Double-click anywhere in the histogram.

    • Click the Cached Data Warning icon .

    • Click the Uncached Refresh button .

    • Choose Uncached Refresh from the Histogram panel menu.

    For information about cache level, see Histogram panel overview.

View color values in an image

You can use the Info panel to see the color value of pixels as you make color corrections. When you work with the Properties panel, the Info panel displays two sets of color values for the pixels under the pointer. The value in the left column is the original color value. The value in the right column is the color value after the adjustment is made.

Photoshop colors values in an image
Using Levels and Info panel to neutralize the tone of an image

You can view the color of a single location using the Eyedropper tool . You can also use up to four Color Samplers  to display color information for one or more locations in the image. These samplers are saved in the image, so you can refer to them repeatedly as you work, even if you close and reopen the image.

Photoshop Color samplers and Info panel
Color samplers and Info panel

  1. Choose Window > Info to open the Info panel.
  2. Select (then Shift-click) the Eyedropper tool  or Color Sampler tool , and if necessary, choose a sample size in the options bar. Point Sample reads the value of a single pixel, other options read the average of a pixel area.
  3. If you selected the Color Sampler tool , place up to four color samplers on the image. Click where you want to place a sampler.

View color information while adjusting color

You can view color information for specific pixels in the image while adjusting color in the Properties panel.

  1. Add an adjustment using the Adjustments panel.
  2. Make adjustments in the Properties panel. As you make adjustments, view the before and after color values in the Info panel. Move the pointer over the image to view color values at the pointer location.

    Note:

    If you are using a command from the Image > Adjustments menu, the Eyedropper tool  is activated (and other tools temporarily disabled) when you move the pointer over the image. You still have access to the scroll controls and to the Hand and Zoom  tools using keyboard shortcuts.

  3. If you’ve placed color samplers on the image, the color values under the color samplers appear in the lower half of the Info panel. To add new color samplers, select the Color Sampler tool and click in the image, or select the Eyedropper tool and Shift-click in the image.

Adjusting color samplers

Once you’ve added a color sampler, you can move or delete it, hide it, or change the color sampler information displayed in the Info panel.

Move or delete a color sampler

  1. Select the Color Sampler tool .
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To move a color sampler, drag the sampler to the new location.

    • To delete a color sampler, drag the sampler out of the document window. Alternatively, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) until the pointer becomes a scissors and click the sampler.

    • To delete all color samplers, click Clear in the options bar.

    • To delete a color sampler while an adjustment dialog box is open, hold down Alt+Shift (Windows) or Option+Shift (Mac OS), and click the sampler.

Hide or show color samplers in an image

  1. Choose View > Extras. A check mark indicates that color samplers are visible.

Change the display of color sampler information in the Info panel

  • To display or hide color sampler information in the Info panel, choose Color Samplers from the panel menu. A check mark indicates that the color sampler information is visible.
  • To change the color space in which a color sampler displays values, move the pointer onto the color sampler icon  in the Info panel. Then, hold down the mouse button, and choose another color space from the menu.


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About foreground and background colors

Photoshop uses the foreground color to paint, fill, and stroke selections and the background color to make gradient fills and fill in the erased areas of an image. The foreground and background colors are also used by some special effects filters.

You can designate a new foreground or background color using the Eyedropper tool, the Color panel, the Swatches panel, or the Adobe Color Picker.

The default foreground color is black, and the default background color is white. (In an alpha channel, the default foreground is white, and the background is black.)

Video Tip | Make a shortcut for the Color Picker

Scott Kelby

Choose colors in the toolbox

The current foreground color appears in the upper color selection box in the toolbox; the current background color appears in the lower box.

Foreground and background color boxes in toolbox
Foreground and background color boxes in toolbox

A. Default Colors icon B. Switch Colors icon C. Foreground color box D. Background color box 
  • To change the foreground color, click the upper color selection box in the toolbox, and then choose a color in the Adobe Color Picker.
  • To change the background color, click the lower color selection box in the toolbox, and then choose a color in the Adobe Color Picker.
  • To reverse the foreground and background colors, click the Switch Colors icon in the toolbox.
  • To restore the default foreground and background colors, click the Default Colors icon in the toolbox.

Choose colors with the Eyedropper tool

The Eyedropper tool samples color to designate a new foreground or background color. You can sample from the active image or from anywhere else on the screen.

  1. Select the Eyedropper tool .
  2. In the options bar, change the sample size of the eyedropper by choosing an option from the Sample Size menu:

    Point Sample

    Reads the precise value of the pixel you click.

    3 by 3 Average, 5 by 5 Average, 11 by 11 Average, 31 by 31 Average, 51 by 51 Average, 101 by 101 Average

    Reads the average value of the specified number of pixels within the area you click.

    Photoshop Eyedropper tool
    Selecting a foreground color with the Eyedropper tool

  3. Choose one of the following from the Sample menu:

    All Layers

    Samples color from all layers in the document.

    Current Layer

    Samples color from the currently active layer.

  4. To circle the Eyedropper tool with a ring that previews the sampled color above the current foreground color, select Show Sampling Ring. (This option requires OpenGL. See Enable OpenGL and optimize GPU settings.)
  5. Do one of the following:
    • To select a new foreground color, click in the image. Alternatively, position the pointer over the image, press the mouse button, and drag anywhere on the screen. The foreground color selection box changes dynamically as you drag. Release the mouse button to pick the new color.

    • To select a new background color, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) in the image. Alternatively, position the pointer over the image, press Alt (Windows) or Options (Mac OS), press the mouse button, and drag anywhere on the screen. The background color selection box changes dynamically as you drag. Release the mouse button to pick the new color.

    Note:

    To use the Eyedropper tool temporarily to select a foreground color while using any painting tool, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS).

Adobe Color Picker overview

In the Adobe Color Picker, you choose colors using four color models: HSB, RGB, Lab, and CMYK. Use the Adobe Color Picker to set the foreground color, background color, and text color. You can also set target colors for different tools, commands, and options.

You can configure the Adobe Color Picker to let you choose only colors that are part of the web-safe palette or choose from specific color systems. You can also access an HDR (high dynamic range) picker to choose colors for use in HDR images.

The Color field in the Adobe Color Picker displays color components in HSB color mode, RGB color mode, and Lab color mode. If you know the numeric value of the color you want, you can enter it into the text fields. You can also use the color slider and the color field to preview a color to choose. As you adjust the color using the color field and color slider, the numeric values are adjusted accordingly. The color box to the right of the color slider displays the adjusted color in the top section and the original color in the bottom section. Alerts appear if the color is not a web-safe color   or is out of gamut  for printing (non-printable) .

Photoshop Color Picker
Adobe Color Picker

A. Picked color B. Original color C. Adjusted color D. Out-of-gamut alert icon E. Alert icon for color that is not web-safe F. Displays only web-safe colors G. Color field H. Color slider I. Color values 

Note:

When you select a color in the Adobe Color Picker, it simultaneously displays the numeric values for HSB, RGB, Lab, CMYK, and hexadecimal numbers. This is useful for viewing how the different color models describe a color.

Although Photoshop uses the Adobe Color Picker by default, you can use a different color picker than the Adobe Color Picker by setting a preference. For example, you can use the built-in color picker of your computer’s operating system or a third-party plug-in color picker.

Display the Color Picker

  • In the toolbox, click the foreground or background color selection box.
  • In the Color panel, click the Set Foreground Color or Set Background Color selection box.

    The Color Picker is also available when features let you choose a color. For example, by clicking the color swatch in the options bar for some tools, or the eyedroppers in some color adjustment dialog boxes.

Choose a color with the Adobe Color Picker

You can choose a color by entering color component values in HSB, RGB, and Lab text boxes, or by using the color slider and the color field.

To choose a color with the color slider and color field, click in the color slider or move the color slider triangle to set one color component. Then move the circular marker or click in the color field. This sets the other two color components.

As you adjust the color using the color field and color slider, the numeric values for the different color models adjust accordingly. The rectangle to the right of the color slider displays the new color in the top half and the original color in the bottom. Alerts appear if the color is not a web-safe color  or is out of gamut .

Note:

You can choose a color outside the Adobe Color Picker window. Moving the pointer over the document window changes it to the Eyedropper tool. You can then select a color by clicking in the image. The selected color is displayed in the Adobe Color Picker. You can move the Eyedropper tool anywhere on your desktop by clicking in the image and then holding down the mouse button. You can select a color by releasing the mouse button.

Choose a color using the HSB model

Using the HSB color model, the hue is specified in the color field, as an angle from 0° to 360° that corresponds to a location on the color wheel. Saturation and brightness are specified as percentages. In the color field, the hue saturation increases from left to right and the brightness increases from the bottom to top.

  1. In the Adobe Color Picker, select the H option and then enter a numeric value in the H text box or select a hue in the color slider.
  2. Adjust the saturation and brightness by clicking in the color field, moving the circular maker, or entering numeric values in the S and B text boxes.
  3. (Optional) Select either the S option or B option to display the color’s saturation or brightness in the color field for making further adjustments.

Choose a color using the RGB model

Choose a color by specifying its red, green, and blue components.

  1. In the Adobe Color Picker, enter numeric values in the R, G, and B text boxes. Specify component values from 0 to 255 (0 is no color, and 255 is the pure color).
  2. To visually select a color using the color slider and color field, click either R, G, or B and then adjust the slider and color field.

    The color you click appears in the color slider with 0 (none of that color) at the bottom and 255 (maximum amount of that color) at the top. The color field displays the range of the other two components, one on the horizontal axis and one on the vertical axis.

Choose a color using the Lab model

When choosing a color based on the Lab color model, the L value specifies the luminance of a color. The A value specifies how red or green a color is. The B value specifies how blue or yellow a color is.

  1. In the Adobe Color Picker, enter values for L (from 0 to 100), and for A and B (from ‑128 to +127).
  2. (Optional) Use the color slider or color field to adjust the color.

Choose a color using the CMYK model

You can choose a color by specifying each component value as a percentage of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

  1. In the Adobe Color Picker, enter percentage values for C, M, Y, and K, or use the color slider and color field to choose a color.

Choose a color by specifying a hexadecimal value

You can choose a color by specifying a hexadecimal value that defines the R, G, and B components in a color. The three pairs of numbers are expressed in values from 00 (minimum luminance) to ff (maximum luminance). For example, 000000 is black, ffffff is white, and ff0000 is red.

  1. In the Adobe Color Picker, enter a hexadecimal value in the # text box.

Choose a color while painting

The heads-up-display (HUD) color picker lets you quickly choose colors while painting in the document window, where image colors provide helpful context.

Note:

The HUD color picker requires OpenGL. (See Enable OpenGL and optimize GPU settings.)

Choose the type of HUD color picker

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > General (Windows) or Photoshop > Preferences > General (Mac OS).

  2. From the HUD Color Picker menu, choose Hue Strip to display a vertical picker or Hue Wheel to display a circular one.

Choose a color from the HUD color picker

  1. Select a painting tool.

  2. Press Shift + Alt + right-click (Windows) or Control + Option + Command (Mac OS).

  3. Click in the document window to display the picker. Then drag to select a color hue and shade.

    Note:

    After clicking in the document window, you can release the pressed keys. Temporarily press the spacebar to maintain the selected shade while you select another hue, or vice versa.

Photoshop HUD picker
Choosing color with HUD picker

A. Shade B. Hue 

Note:

To instead select a color from the image, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) to access the Eyedropper tool.

Choose web‑safe colors

The web‑safe colors are the 216 colors used by browsers regardless of the platform. The browser changes all colors in the image to these colors when displaying the image on an 8‑bit screen. The 216 colors are a subset of the Mac OS 8‑bit color palettes. By working only with these colors, you can be sure that art you prepare for the web will not dither on a system set to display 256 colors.

Select web‑safe colors in the Adobe Color Picker

  1. Select the Only Web Colors option in the lower left corner of the Adobe Color Picker. Any color you pick with this option selected is web‑safe.

Change a non‑web color to a web‑safe color

If you select a non‑web color, an alert cube  appears next to the color rectangle in the Adobe Color Picker.

  1. Click the alert cube to select the closest web color. (If no alert cube appears, the color you chose is web‑safe.)

Select a web‑safe color using the Color panel

  1. Click the Color panel tab, or choose Window > Color to view the Color panel.
  2. Choose an option for selecting a web‑safe color:
    • Choose Make Ramp Web Safe from the Color panel menu. Any color you pick with this option selected is web‑safe.

    • Choose Web Color Sliders from the Color panel menu. By default, web color sliders snap to web‑safe colors (indicated by tick marks) when you drag them. To override web‑safe color selection, Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) the sliders.

    If you choose a non‑web color, an alert cube  appears above the color ramp on the left side of the Color panel. Click the alert cube to select the closest web color.

Choose a CMYK equivalent for a non-printable color

Some colors in the RGB, HSB, and Lab color models cannot be printed because they are out-of-gamut and have no equivalents in the CMYK model. When you choose a non-printable color in either the Adobe Color Picker or the Color panel, a warning alert triangle appears. A swatch below the triangle displays the closest CMYK equivalent.

Note:

In the Color panel, the alert triangle is not available if you are using Web Color Sliders.

  1. To choose the closest CMYK equivalent, click the alert triangle  in the Color Picker dialog box or the Color panel.

    Printable colors are determined by the current CMYK working space defined in the Color Settingsdialog box.

Choose a spot color

The Adobe Color Picker lets you choose colors from the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM®, the Trumatch® Swatching System™, the Focoltone® Colour System, the Toyo Color Finder™ 1050 system, the ANPA-Color™ system, the HKS® color system, and the DIC Color Guide.

To ensure that the final printed output is the color you want, consult your printer or service bureau and choose your color based on a printed color swatch. Manufacturers recommend that you get a new swatch book each year to compensate for fading inks and other damage.

Note:

Photoshop prints spot colors to CMYK (process color) plates in every image mode except Duotone. To print true spot color plates, create spot color channels.

  1. Open the Adobe Color Picker, and click Color Libraries.

    The Custom Colors dialog box displays the color closest to the color currently selected in the Adobe Color Picker.

  2. For Book, choose a color library. See below for descriptions of the color libraries.
  3. Locate the color you want by entering the ink number or by dragging the triangles along the scroll bar.
  4. Click the desired color patch in the list.

Spot color libraries

The Adobe Color Picker supports the following color systems:

ANPA-COLOR

Commonly used for newspaper applications. The ANPA-COLOR ROP Newspaper Color Ink Book contains samples of the ANPA colors.

DIC Color Guide

Commonly used for printing projects in Japan. For more information, contact Dainippon Ink & Chemicals, Inc., in Tokyo, Japan.

FOCOLTONE

Consists of 763 CMYK colors. Focoltone colors help avoid prepress trapping and registration problems by showing the overprints that make up the colors. A swatch book with specifications for process and spot colors, overprint charts, and a chip book for marking up layouts are available from Focoltone. For more information, contact Focoltone International, Ltd., in Stafford, United Kingdom.

HKS swatches

Used for printing projects in Europe. Each color has a specified CMYK equivalent. You can select from HKS E (for continuous stationery), HKS K (for gloss art paper), HKS N (for natural paper), and HKS Z (for newsprint). Color samplers for each scale are available. HKS Process books and swatches have been added to the color system menu.

PANTONE®

Colors used for spot-color reproduction. The PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM can render 1,114 colors. PANTONE color guides and chip books are printed on coated, uncoated, and matte paper stocks to ensure accurate visualization of the printed result and better on-press control. You can print a solid PANTONE color in CMYK. To compare a solid PANTONE color to its closest process color match, use thePANTONE solid to process guide. The CMYK screen tint percentages are printed under each color. For more information, contact Pantone, Inc., Carlstadt, NJ (www.pantone.com).

TOYO Color Finder 1050

Consists of more than 1,000 colors based on the most common printing inks used in Japan. The TOYO Process Color Finder book and swatches have been added to the color system menu. The TOYO Color Finder 1050 Book contains printed samples of Toyo colors and is available from printers and graphic arts supply stores. For more information, contact Toyo Ink Manufacturing Co., Ltd., in Tokyo, Japan.

TRUMATCH

Provides predictable CMYK color matching with more than 2,000 achievable, computer-generated colors. Trumatch colors cover the visible spectrum of the CMYK gamut in even steps. The Trumatch Color displays up to 40 tints and shades of each hue, each originally created in four-color process and each reproducible in four colors on electronic imagesetters. In addition, four-color grays using different hues are included. For more information, contact Trumatch Inc., in New York City, New York.


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Gradient

A gradient is any of several methods for achieving a smooth transition between two adjacent colors, including black and white.

A: Linear black to white gradient; B: Multiple color linear gradient; C: Linear color to transparency gradient (placed over graphic to show transparency); D: Radial color to white gradient


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Exposure

A measure of the amount of light in which a photo was taken. Underexposed digital photos are too dark; overexposed photos are, too light.

An overexposed image is too light overall (left). A properly exposed image with detailed highlight and shadow areas (center). An underexposed image is too dark overall (right).

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Contrast

The difference in brightness between light and dark areas of an image. Contrast determines the number of shades in the image.

A low-contrast image (left) retains detail but tends to lack dimension and looks soft. An image with normal contrast (center) retains detail and dimension, and looks crisp. A high-contrast image (right) loses detail especially in areas with gradated tones, and can look cartoony or posterized.


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Color cast

An unwanted color shift in the whole image, which can be caused by reflected light from a nearby object. For example, many photos taken using flourescent lighting tend to have a greenish color cast.

The original image (left) was taken with existing ambient light (no flash) and has a blue color cast, or “cool” color temperature. The image on the right has been adjusted to reflect warmer colors.


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Photoshop Examples of different color modes

Different color modes:

  1. RGB mode (millions of colors)
  2. CMYK mode (four-printed colors)
  3. Index mode (256 colors)
  4. Grayscale mode (256 grays)
  5. Bitmap mode (2 colors)

The color mode or image mode determines how colors combine based on the number of channels in a color model. Different color modes result in different levels of color detail and file size. For instance, use CMYK color mode for images in a full-color print brochure, and use RGB color mode for images in web or e-mail to reduce file size while maintaining color integrity.

RGB Color mode

Photoshop RGB Color mode uses the RGB model, assigning an intensity value to each pixel. In 8‑bits-per-channel images, the intensity values range from 0 (black) to 255 (white) for each of the RGB (red, green, blue) components in a color image. For example, a bright red color has an R value of 246, a G value of 20, and a B value of 50. When the values of all three components are equal, the result is a shade of neutral gray. When the values of all components are 255, the result is pure white; when the values are 0, pure black.

RGB images use three colors, or channels, to reproduce colors on screen. In 8‑bits-per-channel images, the three channels translate to 24 (8 bits x 3 channels) bits of color information per pixel. With 24‑bit images, the three channels can reproduce up to 16.7 million colors per pixel. With 48‑bit (16‑bits-per-channel) and 96‑bit (32‑bits-per-channel) images, even more colors can be reproduced per pixel. In addition to being the default mode for new Photoshop images, the RGB model is used by computer monitors to display colors. This means that when working in color modes other than RGB, such as CMYK, Photoshop converts the CMYK image to RGB for display on screen.

Although RGB is a standard color model, the exact range of colors represented can vary, depending on the application or display device. The RGB Color mode in Photoshop varies according to the working space setting that you specify in the Color Settings dialog box.

CMYK Color mode

In the CMYK mode, each pixel is assigned a percentage value for each of the process inks. The lightest (highlight) colors are assigned small percentages of process ink colors; the darker (shadow) colors higher percentages. For example, a bright red might contain 2% cyan, 93% magenta, 90% yellow, and 0% black. In CMYK images, pure white is generated when all four components have values of 0%.

Use the CMYK mode when preparing an image to be printed using process colors. Converting an RGB image into CMYK creates a color separation. If you start with an RGB image, it’s best to edit first in RGB and then convert to CMYK at the end of your editing process. In RGB mode, you can use the Proof Setup commands to simulate the effects of a CMYK conversion without changing the actual image data. You can also use CMYK mode to work directly with CMYK images scanned or imported from high-end systems.

Although CMYK is a standard color model, the exact range of colors represented can vary, depending on the press and printing conditions. The CMYK Color mode in Photoshop varies according to the working space setting that you specify in the Color Settings dialog box.

Lab Color mode

The CIE L*a*b* color model (Lab) is based on the human perception of color. The numeric values in Lab describe all the colors that a person with normal vision sees. Because Lab describes how a color looks rather than how much of a particular colorant is needed for a device (such as a monitor, desktop printer, or digital camera) to produce colors, Lab is considered to be a device-independent color model. Color management systems use Lab as a color reference to predictably transform a color from one color space to another color space.

The Lab Color mode has a lightness component (L) that can range from 0 to 100. In the Adobe Color Picker and Color panel, the a component (green-red axis) and the component (blue-yellow axis) can range from +127 to –128.

Lab images can be saved in Photoshop, Photoshop EPS, Large Document Format (PSB), Photoshop PDF, Photoshop Raw, TIFF, Photoshop DCS 1.0, or Photoshop DCS 2.0 formats. You can save 48‑bit (16‑bits-per-channel) Lab images in Photoshop, Large Document Format (PSB), Photoshop PDF, Photoshop Raw, or TIFF formats.

Note:

The DCS 1.0 and DCS 2.0 formats convert the file to CMYK when opened.

Grayscale mode

Grayscale mode uses different shades of gray in an image. In 8‑bit images, there can be up to 256 shades of gray. Every pixel of a grayscale image has a brightness value ranging from 0 (black) to 255 (white). In 16-and 32‑bit images, the number of shades in an image is much greater than in 8‑bit images.

Grayscale values can also be measured as percentages of black ink coverage (0% is equal to white, 100% to black).

Grayscale mode uses the range defined by the working space setting that you specify in the Color Settingsdialog box.

Bitmap mode

Bitmap mode uses one of two color values (black or white) to represent the pixels in an image. Images in Bitmap mode are called bitmapped 1‑bit images because they have a bit depth of 1.

Duotone mode

Duotone mode creates monotone, duotone (two-color), tritone (three-color), and quadtone (four-color) grayscale images using one to four custom inks.

Indexed Color mode

Indexed Color mode produces 8‑bit image files with up to 256 colors. When converting to indexed color, Photoshop builds a color lookup table (CLUT), which stores and indexes the colors in the image. If a color in the original image does not appear in the table, the program chooses the closest one or uses dithering to simulate the color using available colors.

Although its palette of colors is limited, indexed color can reduce file size yet maintain the visual quality needed for multimedia presentations, web pages, and the like. Limited editing is available in this mode. For extensive editing, you should convert temporarily to RGB mode. Indexed color files can be saved in Photoshop, BMP, DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine), GIF, Photoshop EPS, Large Document Format (PSB), PCX, Photoshop PDF, Photoshop Raw, Photoshop 2.0, PICT, PNG, Targa®, or TIFF formats.

Multichannel mode

Multichannel mode images contain 256 levels of gray in each channel and are useful for specialized printing. Multichannel mode images can be saved in Photoshop, Large Document Format (PSB), Photoshop 2.0, Photoshop Raw, or Photoshop DCS 2.0 formats.

These guidelines apply when converting images to Multichannel mode:

  • Layers are unsupported and therefore flattened.

  • Color channels in the original image become spot color channels in the converted image.

  • Converting a CMYK image to Multichannel mode creates cyan, magenta, yellow, and black spot channels.

  • Converting an RGB image to Multichannel mode creates cyan, magenta, and yellow spot channels.

  • Deleting a channel from an RGB, CMYK, or Lab image automatically converts the image to Multichannel mode, flattening layers.

  • To export a multichannel image, save it in Photoshop DCS 2.0 format.

Note:

Indexed Color and 32-bit images cannot be converted to Multichannel mode.


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The blending mode specified in the options bar controls how pixels in the image are affected by a painting or editing tool. Think in terms of the following colors when visualizing a blending mode’s effect:

  • The base color is the original color in the image.

  • The blend color is the color being applied with the painting or editing tool.

  • The result color is the color resulting from the blend.

Blending mode descriptions

Choose from the Mode pop‑up menu in the options bar.

Note:

  • In the Blend Mode pop-up menu, scroll over different options to see how they look on your image. Photoshop displays a live preview of blend modes on the canvas.
  • Only the Normal, Dissolve, Darken, Multiply, Lighten, Linear Dodge (Add), Difference, Hue, Saturation, Color, Luminosity, Lighter Color, and Darker Color blending modes are available for 32‑bit images.

Normal

Edits or paints each pixel to make it the result color. This is the default mode. (Normal mode is called Threshold when you’re working with a bitmapped or indexed-color image.)

Dissolve

Edits or paints each pixel to make it the result color. However, the result color is a random replacement of the pixels with the base color or the blend color, depending on the opacity at any pixel location.

Behind

Edits or paints only on the transparent part of a layer. This mode works only in layers with Lock Transparency deselected and is analogous to painting on the back of transparent areas on a sheet of acetate.

Clear

Edits or paints each pixel and makes it transparent. This mode is available for the Shape tools (when fill region  is selected), Paint Bucket tool , Brush tool , Pencil tool , Fill command, and Stroke command. You must be in a layer with Lock Transparency deselected to use this mode.

Darken

Looks at the color information in each channel and selects the base or blend color—whichever is darker—as the result color. Pixels lighter than the blend color are replaced, and pixels darker than the blend color do not change.

Multiply

Looks at the color information in each channel and multiplies the base color by the blend color. The result color is always a darker color. Multiplying any color with black produces black. Multiplying any color with white leaves the color unchanged. When you’re painting with a color other than black or white, successive strokes with a painting tool produce progressively darker colors. The effect is similar to drawing on the image with multiple marking pens.

Color Burn

Looks at the color information in each channel and darkens the base color to reflect the blend color by increasing the contrast between the two. Blending with white produces no change.

Linear Burn

Looks at the color information in each channel and darkens the base color to reflect the blend color by decreasing the brightness. Blending with white produces no change.

Lighten

Looks at the color information in each channel and selects the base or blend color—whichever is lighter—as the result color. Pixels darker than the blend color are replaced, and pixels lighter than the blend color do not change.

Screen

Looks at each channel’s color information and multiplies the inverse of the blend and base colors. The result color is always a lighter color. Screening with black leaves the color unchanged. Screening with white produces white. The effect is similar to projecting multiple photographic slides on top of each other.

Color Dodge

Looks at the color information in each channel and brightens the base color to reflect the blend color by decreasing contrast between the two. Blending with black produces no change.

Linear Dodge (Add)

Looks at the color information in each channel and brightens the base color to reflect the blend color by increasing the brightness. Blending with black produces no change.

Overlay

Multiplies or screens the colors, depending on the base color. Patterns or colors overlay the existing pixels while preserving the highlights and shadows of the base color. The base color is not replaced, but mixed with the blend color to reflect the lightness or darkness of the original color.

Soft Light

Darkens or lightens the colors, depending on the blend color. The effect is similar to shining a diffused spotlight on the image. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, the image is lightened as if it were dodged. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, the image is darkened as if it were burned in. Painting with pure black or white produces a distinctly darker or lighter area, but does not result in pure black or white.

Hard Light

Multiplies or screens the colors, depending on the blend color. The effect is similar to shining a harsh spotlight on the image. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, the image is lightened, as if it were screened. This is useful for adding highlights to an image. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, the image is darkened, as if it were multiplied. This is useful for adding shadows to an image. Painting with pure black or white results in pure black or white.

Vivid Light

Burns or dodges the colors by increasing or decreasing the contrast, depending on the blend color. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, the image is lightened by decreasing the contrast. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, the image is darkened by increasing the contrast.

Linear Light

Burns or dodges the colors by decreasing or increasing the brightness, depending on the blend color. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, the image is lightened by increasing the brightness. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, the image is darkened by decreasing the brightness.

Pin Light

Replaces the colors, depending on the blend color. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, pixels darker than the blend color are replaced, and pixels lighter than the blend color do not change. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, pixels lighter than the blend color are replaced, and pixels darker than the blend color do not change. This is useful for adding special effects to an image.

Hard Mix

Adds the red, green and blue channel values of the blend color to the RGB values of the base color. If the resulting sum for a channel is 255 or greater, it receives a value of 255; if less than 255, a value of 0. Therefore, all blended pixels have red, green, and blue channel values of either 0 or 255. This changes all pixels to primary additive colors (red, green, or blue), white, or black.

Note:

For CMYK images, Hard Mix changes all pixels to the primary subtractive colors (cyan, yellow, or magenta), white, or black. The maximum color value is 100.

Difference

Looks at the color information in each channel and subtracts either the blend color from the base color or the base color from the blend color, depending on which has the greater brightness value. Blending with white inverts the base color values; blending with black produces no change.

Exclusion

Creates an effect similar to but lower in contrast than the Difference mode. Blending with white inverts the base color values. Blending with black produces no change.

Subtract

Looks at the color information in each channel and subtracts the blend color from the base color. In 8- and 16-bit images, any resulting negative values are clipped to zero.

Divide

Looks at the color information in each channel and divides the blend color from the base color.

Hue

Creates a result color with the luminance and saturation of the base color and the hue of the blend color.

Saturation

Creates a result color with the luminance and hue of the base color and the saturation of the blend color. Painting with this mode in an area with no (0) saturation (gray) causes no change.

Color

Creates a result color with the luminance of the base color and the hue and saturation of the blend color. This preserves the gray levels in the image and is useful for coloring monochrome images and for tinting color images.

Luminosity

Creates a result color with the hue and saturation of the base color and the luminance of the blend color. This mode creates the inverse effect of Color mode.

Lighter Color

Compares the total of all channel values for the blend and base color and displays the higher value color. Lighter Color does not produce a third color, which can result from the Lighten blend, because it chooses the highest channel values from both the base and blend color to create the result color.

Darker Color

Compares the total of all channel values for the blend and base color and displays the lower value color. Darker Color does not produce a third color, which can result from the Darken blend, because it chooses the lowest channel values from both the base and the blend color to create the result color.

Blending mode examples

These examples show the result of painting part of the image’s face using each blending mode.


Original image


Normal, 100% opacity


Normal, 50% opacity


Dissolve, 50% opacity


Behind


Clear


Darken


Multiply


Color Burn


Linear Burn


Lighten


Screen


Color Dodge


Linear Dodge (Add)


Overlay


Soft Light


Hard Light


Vivid Light


Linear Light


Pin Light


Hard Mix


Difference


Exclusion


Subtract


Divide


Hue


Saturation


Color


Luminosity, 80% opacity


Lighter Color


Darker Color

 

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