advanced photoshop

Quick trick: Color lookup adjustments

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Tips & Tutorials, by Anna-lisa Saywell

We take a look at this new adjustment layer, introduced in Photoshop CS6

Quick trick: Color lookup adjustments

There are so many new features in Photoshop CS6, that some of them seem to get swept under the table with the focus being on the big additions to each version of the program.

For example, did you know that there is now a Color Lookup adjustment layer in CS6? This works using Lookup Tables (LUTs), which are common in the film, video and TV industry to grade and composite film during post-production.

This means that you can quickly and easily apply preset looks to your photos in seconds, to get some really interesting effects. You can also use them on video, which means that you can grade your film.

Don’t be afraid to stack up multiple adjustments either, as you can really get some professional-looking results by learning which of the presets work well together and which don’t.

There are three categories of presets (3DLUT, Abstract and Device Link), which together offer over 30 different effects. You can also import more of your own. While there are some very advanced ways to use this adjustment layer, for now, we shall just run through the basics to introduce you to the feature.

Step 1: Initial adjustment

Quick trick: Color lookup adjustments

First of all, you’ll want to consider what effect you are trying to achieve, and choose you image accordingly. Once you’ve decided, open up the image in Photoshop. You will need an RGB image to access the 3DLUT presets, but you can use the other categories with CMYK images. From the Adjustments palette, pick the Color Lookup option at the end of the second row.

Step 2: Pick an effect

Quick trick: Color lookup adjustments

The Properties panel will now open, where you can select from the various presets available in the three different categories. You can load your own presets too. We expect to see more of these presets available of on the internet in the future. All the presets are applied like the normal adjustment layers, with a mask attached, so the process will seem very familiar.

Step 3: Stack them up

Quick trick: Color lookup adjustments

If you want to add more than one look to your image, then simply repeat this process, selecting the Color Lookup adjustment from the Adjustments window and picking a preset from the Properties palette. It is worth experimenting, as there are some great combinations available. You can even add these adjustments to video clips in the same way.