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The CS6 Feature You Never Knew Existed

Category: Photoshop, Tools, Video
Tagged with:
Feb 26

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…Until Now.

If you use the extended version of CS6, there’s a feature lurking deep within Photoshop that you’ve been completely unaware of. Well, it’s an adjustment layer so maybe it’s not lurking that deep. The Color Lookup adjustment layer lets you pull up different color variations such as Horror Blue, and Candlight. While this isn’t the best tool for doing fine color-tuning, it’s great for creating multiple versions of the same image in seconds.

Photo by Francois Vendiol

  • Jose Gallardo

    Nice feature!

    It also works in 16 Bit images :)

  • Bryan Dockett

    It’s in the standard version of CS6 also.

  • Barnabás Böröcz

    Already knew the feature, works great to apply your Adobe Speedgrade look’s.
    Wonder if it’s better to color correct your images in Speedgrade or in Photoshop, any diffrences? Is it only the better control of your mid’s, light’s and dark’s in Sg? (Is this actually true?)

  • Josh Preissner

    Here is a still from a recent trip. You can see the image with a warm crisp adjustment layer as well as the adjustments in camera raw. Thanks for the tip!

  • Guest

    Sorry trying to attach image

  • Josh Preissner

    Ok nevermind, it’s not uploading my picture. Thanks for the tip anyways!

  • Karim Arsad

    3d Lut has nothing to do with 3d images or 3D in Photoshop!

    It means 3D LookUpTable!

    It’s essentially a way to look at your footage (or photo in this case) in a way it would be represented on the final film print. This is used in compositing (VFX).

    A bit more in depth information on the adobe blog:

    or just read about it on wikipedia:

  • Derek Lawrey

    Hahaha your so angry!! Hahah but your right 3d lut is for video and composting VFX. You can save and load luts as away of keeping “the look” between shots. Sure I never would have used this in PS because I also don’t use PS to edit or color grade video…Hahahah

  • Karim Arsad

    I”m not angry at all, I just wanted to put this straight. Errors happen to everyone.

  • Zoha

    Awww..Thanks alot~

  • Aaron Nace

    Right on, thanks man. I was misinformed.

  • HeavyTheory

    Foggy Night is my personal fave. I know it’s for video but it’s a great jumping off point color wise. Thanks Aaron.

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  • Tymon Aguilar

    Nice! It reminds me of some presets I have in Lightroom.

  • Ahtziri Lagarde

    Super well explained as always!

  • Gina Garbero

    Oh, I had to check it out! Started out with the foggy night then attempted to add a warm street light or maybe a glow from a window across the alley? :)

  • hassan uriostegui

    Hi guys, I just read your article about 3D LUTS in photoshop, I just develop an app for creating 3D LUTs on your iPhone, it mimics most lightroom retouch capabilities, please take a look and let me know if you want to make a review. Thanks. site:

Episode Transcript

Today, I’m going to show you and amazing tool you never knew existed in Photoshop. (Music) Hey guys. Welcome to Phlearn. My name is Aaron Nace. You can find me on twitter @aknacer. Today, I’m going to show you guys something awesome. It’s a hidden gem inside of Photoshop and it’s going to change the way you guys work. I’m so excited.

Before we get into it, it is a feature that’s available in Photoshop CS6 Extended. So, if you guys are not running CS6 Extended, I apologize. This is not going to be there for you but I think a lot of you guys are running the newest, current update. We’re going to link to the product down below in Photoshop and you know what it is. (Laughs) If you guys want to pick it up. Probably not worth spending the money for just this tool itself, but if you already have it, this is an awesome thing and I think everyone who has CS6 Extended should know about it.

All right. We’ve got an image here and this is by François. Very cool image. He won our contest last week so he gets a Phlearn Pro tutorial and his image edited on Phlearn. It’s super, super easy to use and that’s why I really love this tool and it’s totally a hidden gem.

Here’s what it is, if you go to your adjustment layers right down over here and go all the way down to where you see color look up. Now, before you get to this, just make sure your image mode, you’re editing in RGB and 8 Bit. It’s not going to be available if these are not checked. RGB and 8 Bit. Go down all the way over here and go to your color lookup. Now, you are going to see something that’s a little bit weird. It looks like any other adjustment layer color lookup and then you have things like 3DLUT, Abstract Device thing. You’re probably like, “Uh, I don’t know what this is. I’m not going to touch it.”

Well, Photoshop built this in for 3D modeling capabilities. To actually be able to render and visualize different themes using different 3D lighting diagrams. That’s what this 3DLUT is. It’s a 3D lighting file. Then, you have some abstract. But the cool thing is, and the thing that not a lot of people know to do, is you can use these 3D lighting files for two dimensional images as well and they create some amazing effects.

We’re just going to go through it and I’m going to show you guys how they work. Super simple. Basically, just click on your little drop-down menu and you have all these different “looks”. I thinks it’s about time Photoshop added these to the actual program. I think that they took way too long in doing it. I still think they’re in a menu system that doesn’t really work well, but hopefully in CS7 they’re going to have like pre-done “looks”. So maybe they’ll watch this video.

We have things like, EdgyAmber. Let’s just click on that. We can see all it does is it completely loads a different look into your image and this is already a very, very nice image. I love this image by François. We can see just by double clicking here, we have EdgyAmber. Things like, FallColors, filmstock, which is going to blow-up the highlights a little bit. Desaturate, pump up your contrast. Each of these things can be a little bit difficult to identify what they’re doing because these are not curve adjustment layers. They’re not levels. They’re doing quite a few different things. They’re playing with curves. Playing with your curves. They’re doing a lot of things with the shadows and highlights as well. FoggyNight, FuturisticBleak looks really cool. HorrorBlue and all these things. You can see I’m turning these off and on.

Now, keep in mind these are totally just normal adjustment layers. You can do things like lower the opacity on them. If you just want a little bit less visible, you can apply blending modes. You can use your layer mask as well. Totally normal layer mask. They just give you a couple different options. I probably wouldn’t use this to edit an entire image, like just load an image and click on one of these looks and then you’re good to go. TealOrange, that’s kind of nice as well.

That’s probably not what I would do. If you guys are looking for a great way to add a couple different variations to an image. If you have an image and you’re kind of like, “Yeah, I don’t really know which way I want to edit it,” load this up and you might say, ”This FoggyNight. Oh you know what? I actually really like that.” Maybe you don’t stick with it exactly, we lower the opacity. Maybe you grab a hue saturation layer after that and you pump up your saturation just a little bit and maybe pull your hues just a little bit as well. It can give you a really nice starting point, which I think is very cool.

You can also use them in conjunction with one another. We have one color lookup layer. Let’s grab another color lookup layer and we’ll go to Crisp_Winter. There we go. So we can see we’ve used these in conjunction with one another and you can lower the opacity on this as well. So just a really quick cool way to add some drama and some nice feel to your images and it’s a really good starting point. Then, you can kind of take it a little bit further and go from there and edit.

That’s today’s tutorial, guys. It’s super easy, super simple and I think you guys are going to really love using this new tool in Photoshop. Guys, thanks so much for watching Phlern. If you guys have any images that you’ve edited using this color lookup, be sure to post them in a comment down below. I’d love to see them. Thanks so much, guys. I’ll Phlearn you later. Bye everyone.

What does it look like when a mind gets blown? Just pick up a mirror and look at yourself because I just blew your mind.

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