ColorWasher lets you correct most digital or scanned photos perfectly within seconds. You only need to keep the default settings and use the auto buttons or the sample area feature. However, if you want to process a very old and faded photo, a totally trashed digital shot or a special image type like a drawing or artificial graphic, you may need to do some extra tweaking and experimenting in ColorWasher. While you would need several minutes or up to a few hours to tweak a photo perfectly in Photoshop or other tools, you will only need one or two minutes in ColorWasher if you read the tips below.
Tip 1 - Try the Sample Area
The Auto buttons of ColorWasher achieve a good color correction on little or medium difficult color casts. For very difficult cases you should consider creating a sample area on the preview. Please experiment with the placement of the sample area to get the best effect. Sometimes it can help to move the sample are a little away from a white or gray image area. It may also help to sample unusual image areas. For very tough photos you should consider creating a second sample area in different part of the image. That can give the result a more balanced look.
Tip 2 - Try different Cast Type options
Although the Autodetect item of the Cast Removal combo will work in many cases, it may be less effective for very special cases. So please try every cast type option and use the one that produces the best result.
Tip 3 - Desaturate Orange Color Casts
Orange color casts are very difficult to correct, because they suppress the blue channel as well as the green channel. If the green channel is suppressed too much, you won't be able to correct the color casts sufficiently, because there is not enough color information in the image. Nevertheless you can try to decrease the Saturation slider a bit to suppress the remaining false color. Sometimes it may help to decrease saturation before you do the color correction in ColorWasher, because ColorWasher applies the color correction before it applies the saturation adjustment.
Tip 4 - Use the Adjust Cast and Highlights/Shadows Sliders
The Adjust Cast slider basically adjusts the saturation of the color correction. So it can help to set a negative or positive value for the Adjust Cast slider. Especially when you are correcting close-up shots which often don't offer reference colors for the Auto buttons or for the sample area. You can further fine tune the color correction by using the Highlights and Shadows sliders below the Adjust Cast slider to change the intensity and direction of the color correction in these image areas.
Tip 5 - Play with the Color Controls
If none of the of the above mentioned tips help, you will have to trust you own judgment of the right colors. Selecting HSL from the Color Models combo gives you the best options for doing a manual color correction. Try the Hue and Saturation slider for different colors and color variations. Hold down the Shift key while dragging the sliders to get an instant impression of the colors. Please make sure that the Balance icon is activated, otherwise you might change the lightness of the image. Additionally you can also use the Color dialogs, color picker or the Split View options to make your image look as you prefer it.
Tip 6 - Tweak Auto Contrast
Screen shots and graphics with only a few colors may get burned by the activated Auto Contrast. In some rare cases it might also be a good idea to switch off or reduce the Auto Contrast. Activating the Boost check box can produce better results with difficult images.
Tip 7 - Different Exposures
Sometimes you might want to lighten a part of the image more than the "Autodetect" or "Enhance Shadows" option of Exposure Fix does it. Some images profit from a "Balance Midtones" setting. However, if you notice that some other areas of the image get too bright, you should consider decreasing the value of the Highlights or Exposure slider or applying ColorWasher to a selection of that image area only. The Sensitivity slider lets you adjust the contrast of the brightness change which can be a big help.
Tip 8 - Manual Exposure
Image with large white areas (e.g. cloudy sky or white stage background) can make the Autodetect option of Exposure Fix consider that image as overexposed. As a result the image is darkened. In such a case it is better to switch Exposure Fix off and manually adjust the Exposure slider.
Tip 9 - Saturated or Not Saturated?
Try activating the 'Sat Fix' check box and see if the result is better. Usually this feature reduces the saturation a bit. Sometimes it seems to desaturates the photo too much, but sometimes it helps to improve the performed color correction. Often using the Saturation slider is more flexible, but produces slightly different results.
Tip 10 - Highlights or Shadows (HS) Fixing
Often it can help to use the HS sliders to make the photo look better, because some areas of a photos are more exposed as they should be while other are perfectly exposed. If the HS adjustment might give some image areas a grayish or oversaturated look, try the H-Contrast and S-Contrast sliders to adjust it.
Tip 11 - Correct Image Areas Independently If Necessary
If there were different intensive light sources in an image, you sometimes don't have a choice but to create an image selections for different areas of the image in your image application. Please don't forget to feather these selections to avoid had transitions. Applying ColorWasher to these image areas independently, ensures that it can work perfectly on removing the individual casts.
Tip 12 - Sleep On it and Try Again the Next Day
Sometimes when you are very enthusiastic or in a hurry to correct a photo, you might do a correction that isn't that brilliant. If you have the time, it sometimes helps to leave a photo alone and to try correcting it again the next day. You might find that you missed something the other day, added a too strong antagonistic color cast or didn't adjust the exposure perfectly.