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Quick Color Correction Workflow in Adobe Photoshop

A Photographic Guide

Hello there VRay users, today I’ll be showing you a simple color correction workflow that you can apply to your renders everytime. Needless to say that we’ll be using the time-tested Adobe Photoshop for this process.

Color correcting your raw VRay renders is essential for one basic reason. The VRay Physical Camera simulates real-life DSLRs and hence shoots in RAW mode. With 32-bit float image data, it packs much more information than even the best DSLR out there. When you shoot Jpegs with a DSLR, it actually color corrects the RAW data to produce an appealing result. Corrections like brightness, contrast, sharpening/noise reduction are all done internally by the camera.

So it’s a great idea to give your VRay renders the same photographic color correction treatment.

Color Correcting in Photoshop

This color correction workflow is designed to make your renders look more photographic and eye-catching. Since not all effects and corrections work as adjustment layers, we’ll work with our history and fade panels. So let’s get to it.

  1. Firstly, start off with an ‘Auto Contrast‘ correction, available under the Image menu. The contrast correction can be sometimes a little too much, therefore we can bring up the Fade panel (Ctrl+Shift+F) and adjust its opacity to taste. For this current Buddha render, I’ve kept contrast at 50% opacity.
  2. Next you can treat the image with the ‘Auto Color‘ correction. Similarly, use the Fade panel to change the strength of the effect.
  3. A Curves adjustment is a great way to control the shadows, midtones and highlights independently. Make the shadows a bit darker to give more depth to the image.
  4. Now we can move onto the Exposure correction panel. Just like a professional camera jpeg processing, we’ll boost the exposure and gamma correction values by a hair. Be careful that you don’t overdo it.
  5. Another thing that you can do is add a Color Balance adjustment to fix any white balance issues in your render. You have the option of adjusting the tints for the shadows, midtones and highlights. In this case, I’ve boosted the red and yellow in the midtones, and the blue and cyan in the highlight region. Again, use the fade panel to adjust the strength of this color balance.
  6. To enhance the details in the image, use the Sharpen filter in the Filter menu. Scale the image to 100% to see the change made with this effect. With the fade, adjust the sharpness strength. Here I’ve kept the sharpness to a 40% opacity level.
  7. Next up apply a Reduce Noise filter if you still have some noise/grain in your render. Use this effect moderately, since overdoing it will reduce the fine details in your image.
  8. Lastly, you can choose to add a photographic bloom effect with the Diffuse Glow filter. In order to use this effect you need to be in 8 bits/channel mode. You can access this setting under Image Menu > Mode. To apply diffuse glow, go to Filter > Distort > Diffuse Glow. A white background works best for this effect. Choose the glow settings that you like and later we can dial down the opacity to make the effect subtle and pleasing.

 

Share this tutorial with your friends and stay tuned for more awesome tips, tricks and tutorials.

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