Color Tab

Once you have mastered the Easy Mode and start using the Advanced Mode, the Color tab may play an important part when using ColorWasher.

The Color Boxes

One of the two color boxes is selected when a beveled frame is displayed around it. To select the other color box, simply click on it. The color values of the currently selected color box will be displayed by the three slider below and can be edited.

The Source color box usually displays the color of the color cast that is present in the image. When using the Auto buttons or the sample area marquee, the Source color box is automatically filled with the cast color. That gives you the possibility to further adjust the color of the cast if you like.

The Target color box determines how the color of the Source color box will look like when the image is processed. If you want to remove a color cast, the Target color box should always be neutral gray. Neutral gray means that, for example the Red, Green and Blue slider should have the same value, that the saturation should be zero or that the two color sliders of the Lab and YCbCr model should be set to 128. For artistic color effects you can set the Target color box to a different color.

The Balance button between both color boxes lets you adjust the lightness of one color boxes in relation to the other. If the Balance button is activated, the lightness of the selected color box will be set in the non-selected color box. This ensures that the brightness of the image will stay the same while you edit the color boxes.


Using the Color Dialog

You can display a color dialog for changing the color of the selected color box by clicking it. That means: One click on the color box to select it and another click to display a color dialog. The displayed color dialog will be the color dialog that you already know from your image application. The color dialogs of some image applications are quite sophisticated, other are less useful. ColorWasher passes the color of the color box to the color dialog, so you can adjust it there and return it again.

Unfortunately a few applications don't support color dialogs, but tell that to the plugin. As a result there will be no color dialog displayed. Examples of such applications are IrfanView and PhotoBrush.


Using the Eyedropper Tool

You can activate the eyedropper by clicking on the eyedropper icon above the preview. Clicking on the preview with the eyedropper tool, displays the grabbed color in the currently selected color box. With the Balance button activated, the brightness of the other color box is automatically adjusted to brightness of the selected color box.


The Color Models

Color Washer offers various color models for adjusting the color of the Source and Target color boxes. Selecting a new item causes the three sliders below to be adjusted to the change and to exchange their names accordingly.

The RGB color model is probably the most known one, because it is used internally by all video cards and monitors. If you want to select a certain color, you will optimally achieve that with the RGB sliders.

The HSL color model is very important, too, because it splits the color into hue, saturation and lightness. That means that you can edit the hue, which is the basic color component, independently. That's why the HSL sliders are very convenient for adjusting colors or creating color variations.

The Lab and YCbCr models are more of exotic nature as far as their usage in ColorWasher is concerned. Lab is an old color model that is also available in Photoshop and can be used for special purposes. It consists of a Lightness and two color dimensions. YCbCr which is used for JPEG compression is similar to Lab, but closer related to RGB. It consists of a Luminancy dimension which is very similar to Lightness and two color components.

The Color Model combo box contains a fifth item called Color Temperature which is a special case. In fact it isn't a real color model or at least a limited one. The first component of this model is the color temperature which is measured in Kelvin. Theoretically it represents the colors that a "black body" emits when it is heated up, e.g. from 1000 to 9000 Kelvin. The Color Temperature slider therefore lets you select values between 1000 and 9000 which correspond to a color gradient of Red-Orange-Yellow-Blue. Hues like magenta, cyan or green are almost not represented in this model or only occur in a very limited range. As this color temperature scale only incorporates a limited saturation and brightness range, two sliders with these dimensions were added. This will allow you to use the Color Temperature scale more effectively for color correcting photos or selecting certain colors.

Here is an overview of the Color Temperature scale:

1000 - 2000
Candle, Weak Flash
2000 - 2500
Sunset, Sunrise
2500 - 3000
Household Bulb, Incandescent
3000 - 3500
Halogen Lamp, Studio Lights
3500 - 4000
Carbon Lamp, Arc Lamp
4000 - 4500
Fluorescent Bulbs, Flash
4500 - 5500
Daylight, Electronic Flash
5500 - 6000
6000 - 7000
Bright Sunshine, Strobe
7000 - 7500
Cloudy, Sky Slightly Overcast
7500 - 8000
Overcast Sky
8000 - 8500
Hazy Sky, Slight Shade
8500 - 9000
Shade, Rain


Using the Sliders

Depending on the selected color model, the sliders represent the dimensions of this color model and let you adjust them. By changing the slider values you can edit the color of the currently selected color box. The color in the selected color box will change as you move a slider knob.

To scrub through the values of a slider hold down the Shift key and drag the slider knob. This will make the preview update instantly with every movement of the knob. With the Balance button activated, you can easily use this method to find and correct a color cast in the image. If you have a slow computer, don't do it unless you want to wait some time until the knob comes to a halt.

Advanced Techniques

As already mentioned you can use the color boxes, color model combo, the Balance button, the eyedropper and the sliders to creatively remove a color cast or colorize the image. Try experimenting with them and have some fun!