Archive for June, 2013

#CreativeFriday – Matching colours from one picture to another? Flexing Speedgrade CC’s grading muscle with Photoshop CC.

A few months ago i gave a presentation to a group of Photographers and had the trickiest question. The photographer wanted to know, how he could take a picture in camera as a JPG but with an inbuilt colour look or colour simulation applied. For example, take a series of JPG’s with a sepia tone, or high colour saturation applied, then take this look and apply it to other images. As mentioned on the day the colour is baked into the JPG file and isn’t available for extraction, so other than creating the look manually by visually matching the tones, it’s going to be tricky to get right and most likely very time consuming. Then a few weeks ago some one asked the same question, but this time from a printed picture/image, one that was maybe taken with a DSLR or smart phone….surely that has to be something out of science fiction!!!

I decided to explore this question and try to find a good answer.

Firstly, I looked into Photoshop CC and the Match Color command under the Image/Adjustments /Match Color.

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You can see from the above image that it doesn’t do a bad job of matching the right image to the left image, however, this method does have it’s drawbacks. the look isn’t transferable to another image (or the difference), it is a destructive edit and can’t be done on a layer (so not editable at any time). Maybe there is a new way with better fidelity and a better workflow.

I install Speedgrade CC as part of my Creative Cloud subscription and start to explore the new “Match Shot” feature.

What is Match Shot traditional used for :

When people make a movie they typically shoot on different cameras and ultimately end up with completely different looking footage, i.e. shooting on a Red Epic will look different to a Canon C300 and and will look different to an ARRI. This is a huge issue for post houses and typically need to matched by eye or use some complex software or even write code to do it. The clever SpeedgradeCC engineers have worked their magic and now enabled this inside SpeedGrade and must admit it makes it really easy (Watch the videos in this post to see how it’s done). The other element that these guys brought to the table was to add the support for an image file and it’s colour look to be included as a shot match reference. In this scenario you can take a frame from the film, work with the client in Photoshop CC and get the look exactly how they want it (using traditional Levels, Curves, Colour Balance etc), then bring this image into Speedgrade CC and match the film to the picture, pretty powerful stuff and saving huge amounts of time.

But where does this leave the issue of the stills world, how powerful is this feature.

There are many scenarios that come to mind:

  • Video to Video – Proven and works extremely well
  • Still to Still (JPG -> JPG etc)
  • Video clip to Still image
  • Camera to Camera (i.e. Fuji X-Pro 1 to Canon 7D)
  • Camera Phone to DSLR
  • Art work to Still (Art work could be a painting, poster, graphics, screen grab etc)
  • Real World Objects to Still

Let us take Speedgrade CC down a few of these options and see what comes out, the only thing to say is that upon opening Speedgrade CC  for the first time does look like a console of the space shuttle endeavour (but it’s not that hard, honestly)!

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Let us take the Video to Video option as well as a quick how to (This post unfortunately won’t teach you how to use Speedgrade CC, only to this one feature).

Here are two videos and I would like to make the right hand sequence look like the left hand one.

Open Speedgrade CC and make sure it is “MEDIA”  mode (top right), using the navigator on the left hand side, find the clip that needs to be altered (in this case it is the clip that was shot flat) and drag it from the content folder (Yellow) to the left hand side of the time line (marked in Blue).
Red – File system navigator
Yellow – Contents of the folder
Orange – Time Line
Blue – Clip that is being dragged from the contents area (Yellow) into the timeline
Continue to drag and place the source clip (the one that has the desired look) onto the time line and move Speedgrade CC into “Color” mode (top right).
Both clips should now appear on the timeline (this is shown in Red), along with a play head (shown in Purple).
As soon as Speedgrade is moved to the “Color” mode the frame of the clip will be shown in the yellow section of the screen. Notice here that only one clip is shown, but there are two clips in the time line. We now need to create a second play head, this playhead will be used to position Speedgrade CC to the point that it will reference the source clip and create the look for the destination. Click the “2up” button (in Green)
Once the “2up” button has been clicked, a second play head will appear, as well as the second frame. Notice in the screen shot below the flat shot is on the left and graded shot on the right (there is no hard and fast rule here, as the grading source is irrelevant and can be controlled by the selected play head (described in the next section).
It may be, that you need to move the frames of the clips to find a frame that matches in both source and destination. To move the play head, you will need to grab the handle at the right hand side (marked purple), this will move the grabbed play head only. The middle section of the play head (yellow) is the time code of the clip, and when dragged, will drag all play head handles. The green part of the clip is the playhead number.
Using the playhead handles on both clips (single play head shown in Red), a similar frame can be found across both clips, or a frame on each clip that will a resemble the source frame and destination frame (remembering that the source is the graded and destination is the flat clip).
Once this frame selections are made the shots can be matched. Before we make the “match”, notice the blue box under the “Look” menu and see that there is a layer called “Primary”. If this layer is not there, click on the “+P” to create it. Sometimes there is a layer called “AutoColorMatch”, before the “match” button is pressed this layer should be deleted. Make sure there is a “Primary” layer there first, then Click on the “AutoColorMatch” layer and click the “trash” icon (bottom right of the blue box).
The green box above contains the “show grade” button and should be turned on, then any grade changes will be made visible. The pink box contains the match shot button, once this is clicked, the destination frame will be matched to source frame.
The next part is to get the grade out of Speedgrade CC and into Photoshop CC, and apply to the flat video.
To do this, click on the “AutoColourMatch” layer, then click on the icon next to the trash can (marked red).
This will create a look file in the panel below (marked yellow).
The look file will be the difference in tonal values from the source to the destination and is completely portable between applications (Ae, Ps and Pr).
The look will be displayed to the right of any current items in the list (marked blue). To export the look file out of Speedgrade CC, right click on the look and choose Export Look.
The Export look dialog box will be displayed
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The ones that we will focus on are the .look, .cube and 3DL files. Click on the Export button and place the file somewhere (it will be a zip file), you will need to unzip the zip file before progressing to the next step, and bringing the look into Photoshop CC or CS6.

Open the clip in Photoshop, it should be displayed on the screen with an associated time line, as well as the video in the layers palette.

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Photoshop makes it really easy to apply the colour .look file.

Select menu item Layer / New Adjustment Layer / Color Lookup and press OK. Once chosen navigate to the properties panel, and you will see 3DLUT File, clock on “Load 3D Lut”, then click on “Load 3D LUT in the next panel.


Find either the .look, .3dl or the .cube file that was exported from Speedgrade CC. You should see the video looks the same as the source clip that we used earlier in this post. At which point it wil behave just like a normal Photoshop layer (why not try a blending mode for something different!).

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you can see the final video with both clips below (the flat version was the right hand side)

Watch the above example how to video below

YouTube version

Matching Video to a Photoshop still image

The next logical step is to grade a piece of video against a JPG file that was created in Photoshop CC/CS6. For this we will apply  levels and curves to a still file in Photoshop CC and save as a JPG file, then take this into Speedgrade CC and grade the same flat video to the Photoshop adjustment.

Image to Image matching

How about we then take this one stage further and work on still images and tackle the original problem.


All video was assembled using Photoshop CC.

This post is a bit more complex and i have tried to be as accurate as i can, if you find an error in the text please drop me a comment. Also, if you find this post was useful, then please drop me a message.


Without the support of the following people this post would not have been possible

Glyn Dewis (Photographer / Retoucher and Trainer), Glyn can be found here.

John G Moore (Professional Photographer), John’s website is located here, his Behance page and G+ profile.

Julieanne Kost (WWW Principal Evangelist at Adobe Systems), Julieanne’s blog, and her work.


#CreativeFriday – Adding a Mask to a Locked Background Layer

Did you know that adding a mask to a Locked Background layer in Photoshop CS6/CC will automatically unlock the layer and add the mask.

Click add new mask to the locked layer


Background layer is unlocked and the mask is applied.


#CreativeFriday – Premiere Pro CC – Matching clips by audio

Today’s post will go out of the realm of Digital Imaging and talk about a great new feature in Premiere Pro CC. If you are using multiple cameras on a shoot along with a separate audio mixer (possibly with your DSLR when making short movies, how to’s etc), making sure that all footage is aligned correctly when editing is currently a manual process, or more to the point, dependent on a separate solution. Within Premiere Pro CC you are now able to create a multi camera sequence based on the audio of the selected clips. This is really simple and works really well and has already saved me hours of work when creating video for my YouTube channel.

If you have multiple clips in the project file within Premiere Pro CC you can select them and create a multi camera sequence by right clicking the files that are to be included.

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Select the clips that have the same audio track and choose the “Create Multi-Camera Source Sequence”

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Choose “Audio” for the synchronise point and press OK.

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Once Premiere Pro CC has completed the analysis, a multi camera sequence is created. This multi camera sequence can be be dragged to the source monitor for In/Out point marking.

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Each Camera sequence can then be placed on the time line for editing. You can see both videos with each audio track in the example below (green bars).

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You can see the above in action in this short video.

Adobe Creative Days are now available on-demand.

Videos from all the Adobe Creative Days are now available here for on demand viewing. The UK event is available on the same page but already selected here. You can view also view selected MAX keynote replays, customer videos or live product sessions with Adobe Experts.



Be inspired with Photography by Nick Danziger.

Nick Danziger was the special guest in the Digital Imaging section of the UK leg of Adobe Creative Days. Nick is a highly established Photographer and a great humanitarian, he has an incredible story to tell about his journey into Photography, what inspires him and what motivates his picture taking. You can watch Nicks presentation from the Creative days below.



CreativeBloq spoke with Nick about his approach and have written up the interview in this post.


We hope you are inspired by this and many other Photography luminaries that exist in the world today..

Amazing art work created using Adobe Ideas on the iPad/iPhone

A lot of creatives are using the Adobe Ideas touch application on the iPad/iPhone to show off their creative skills and create awesome content. One of our evangelists (Serge Jespers) has put together a showcase of some of these pieces, why not take a few minutes out and head to the gallery to see what they are doing.

To take a ride with Adobe Ideas and the other Adobe Touch apps, follow this link.

How to get up to date with Adobe Creative Cloud and the new Desktop App

The 2nd launch of Creative Cloud and the updates to CC went live yesterday and we are extremely proud of this release. We want you to make the most of Creative Cloud as there are many things to explore, so i thought i’d write up a quick how to of the next steps to make sure you have the full experience. The center of the Creative Cloud is the Creative Cloud Desktop Application, this is where all of your activity, application updates, Behance community activity, files and fonts (coming soon) will reside.

<– Update : 21st June 2013

“Creative Cloud Connection “preview” period is over. The Creative Cloud file sync services remain disabled and therefore Creative Cloud Connection users are unable to sync files.  When you install the Creative Cloud app it will remove Creative Cloud Connection from you machine (leaving the Creative Cloud Files folder and its content in tact).

The File Sync services are coming soon but until the service is available users can upload and access files by signing in to ”

End of update–>

But where is it and how do you get it?

There are a couple of ways to get the new and updated Creative Cloud Desktop App.

1. If you are a new user then you should download it from the Creative Cloud Website.

2. If you are an existing user are using the old Creative Cloud Connection, you should update this to the new version. If you are having problems downloading the current Adobe Application Manager, you are able to get it directly from here.

1. If you are a brand new user, the best route is to navigate via a browser to the Creative Cloud Website ( and login with your Adobe ID and password.

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Once you have logged in, click on the download center text at the top of the screen, this screen should appear.

Screen-Shot-2013-06-18-at-07.18.41   First thing is to download the Creative Cloud Desktop App (highlighted in the screen shot below). Once this has been downloaded to your PC or your Mac then you are good to go and will see a screen similar to the following.

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 08.36.41

Login with your Adobe ID or you can create an Adobe ID if you don’t already have one. Once you are logged in to Creative Cloud you will see something similar to the following, you will also see a Creative Cloud logo in your toolbar (MAC) or System Tray on the PC.


The Home screen will show activity in your time line. You can see here that Photoshop CC was installed to my system. The Apps panel will show you all of the apps that you are able to download.


You can see here that Photoshop CC is already installed on my system, however there are updates available (displayed in red on the panel, as well as the Blue update next to the downloaded application). The Creative Cloud icon (in the tool bar or in the system tray) will turn blue and have a number placed next to it to notify you that there are new apps to install (see below)

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To update the applications, click on the Red Updates button and you will be taken to the update screen where you are able to update your current applications (individually) or update them all at the same time.

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 10.06.41

NB. Unfortunately the File synchronisation/Folder sharing and Typekit fonts are not quite ready for shipping, but will be available soon.

2. If you are an existing user of Creative Cloud and are already using the legacy Creative Cloud Connection then you might want to update it using the Adobe Application Manager. To do this, Open the Adobe Application Manager and look for new updates, it should find the new Creative Cloud Desktop App and download it, and install it for you. Then, remove the old Creative Cloud Connection by quitting it

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 07.11.10

and uninstalling it from the installed programs on the PC or using the Uninstaller on the MAC.

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 07.14.33

Once the Creative Cloud Desktop application is installed, then you can install applications described in Point 1.



There is a load of content already there on the new apps, but more specifically here are a few that you may have missed from this blog or from my YouTube channel.

Lightroom 5 – New Features & Behance Integration

Photoshop CC – Smart Sharpen and Intelligent up-scale,  Udpate to the Pen Tool, Updates to Min/Max filters, Kuler iPhone app and Web site, Sync Settings (Via Creative Cloud), HDR in Photoshop CC and Toning in ACR, Conditional Actions, 3D, Shake Reduction, Camera RAW (ACR) 8.1,  Digital Publishing to iPad’s with Adobe DPS.

Behance  – Pro Site

If you are are not a CC subscriber and would like to be, then you are able to trial it here (navigate to Membership Plans and look for Free Trial (at the bottom of the page)). Don’t forget you don’t have to subscribe to everything, you can just get single apps on the Creative Cloud here.


We do hope you enjoy the amazing new features and  creative workflows that Creative Cloud and the new CC apps have to offer.


Update – 21st June 2013

The Adobe Application Manager is used to download the most upto date Creative Cloud Desktop App. If for some reason this isn’t updating, there is a direct link that you should be able to get the most current version from here.




#CreativeFriday – Content Aware Scale

I’d like to rejuvenate a feature that made it’s debut in Photoshop CS4. Content Aware Scale was Adobe’s intro into the work of Content Aware Technology and it is still a great feature. Content Aware Scale is designed to support the re-size of an image whilst protecting important parts of it from the re-size operation.

In the example I am using today i would like to re-size the image, however, I want to protect the hikers in the scene.

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 22.19.24

If a regular transform operation is performed on the image, everything will be re-sized.

To use the Content Aware Scale feature, Photoshop needs to know which areas to protect, in this case the hikers. Content aware scale won’t use the physical selection, but will use an Alpha channel, the selection is just a route to create the alpha channel (otherwise know as a mask).

There are many ways to select the hikers in the scene, but today will use a Quick Mask. To apply the quick mask, make sure that the Brush (B key) is enabled, then press Q (for quick mask). I tend to use a Wacom tablet for my painting however you can just about get away with a mouse, once painting starts a red mask will start to be formed. Continue to paint until all of the walkers are painted red.

Once the mask painting is complete, the image looks like the following

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 22.26.50

Pressing the Q key will turn off Quick mask and create the selection (quick mask can be enabled at any time using the Q key and the mask can be easily modified). The quick mask in this case will exclude the hikers from the scene, i.e. the rest of the image will be selected, therefore we need to invert the selection. To invert the selection use the short cut key SHIFT+CMD+I (on a PC replace CMD with CTRL). Once the selection has been inverted, save the selection using the menu item Select / Save Selection and give the selection a name (i.e. in this case hikers).

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The selection/mask will be saved in the Channels panel (menu item Window / Channels), marked Red in the following screen shot.

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Once the alpha channel has been created you will need to de-select the selection using CMD+D (mac) or CTRL+D (PC).

If you are going to re-size a locked background layer, you will need to unlock it (the background layer is typically locked and is denoted using a padlock on the layer itself). To remove the lock, press the ALT key and double click the lock on the background layer in the layers palette. Then to perform the re-size using Content Aware Scale, select menu item Edit / Content Aware Scale.

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The image will have a bounding box surrounding it, this is used to re-size the content. By default resizing at this point will resize everything including the hikers. Let us drill down on the tool menu bar

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 22.40.14R

Red – Defines the part of the image that the scale will be driven from

Yellow – Reference point placement on the x axis for the scale

Green – User defined location to start the scale from

Light Blue – Reference point placement on the y axis for the scale

Dark Blue – New width and height of the image, the icon between the W and H is used to keep the original aspect ration of the image during the re-size.

Purple – The amount is a percentage of how much to protect the original size of the alpha mask. i.e. 100% means that the alpha mask will not be sized, if 50% is chosen, the alpha mask will be reduced to a maximum of half the original size. If 25% is chosen, the alpha mask will be resized to a maximum of 25% of the original size.

White – This is the important choice. this defines the alpha mask that will be protected in accordance with the amount value.

Brown – selecting the person icon will chose to preserve skin tones during the scale operation.

Once you have selected the “Hikers” channel to protect, then you can re-size away and create you new image.

I have recorded a short video of this in action



Lightroom 5 and Behance integration

Lightroom 5 shipped this morning with over 400 additional tweaks since the beta release. Also, Lightroom 5 includes  integration to the Behance community platform (within the Library module) as an additional item in the publish services.

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The Behance base platform is a free service that you are able to join and publish to from Lightroom. If you are a Creative Cloud member you will have access to the base platform as well as the Pro-Site (without CC it’s $99 a year). To set up the Behance account in Lightroom 5, click the + icon by the side of the “Publish Services” or by clicking “Set up…” by the side of the Hard Drive under the “Publish Services”.

When configuring the Behance account, it should be given a description. Your user name and password for the account can be provided (If you are a Creative Cloud member this will most likely be your Adobe ID, also, if you are concerned about security, you can enter these details when you publish the pictures within Lightroom).  The image output specifics can be configured here, which tells Lightroom how the images will be processed (including sharpening, watermarking and the associated metadata). Don’t forget to save the settings.

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If the “Behance Work in progress” is selected (marked in Yellow), the middle section of Lightroom 5 will change and include the images that have been published, marked for republish or are new to be published (marked in Red). Once the Publish button (marked in Blue) is pressed.

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Once the pictures have been published they will appear in the WIP (Work in Progress) section of your Behance account, which can then be used to share and collect feedback from the community. The image/artwork can have keyword tags associated with it (which are derived from Lightroom Keyword tags), but can also be added to at this point. Any additional comments may be added to start the conversation with your community.

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If the image has not been published previously you will need to configure it’s visibility, to Everyone (public) or within the Feedback Circle (private).

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Once the pictures have been published, your followers will receive a notification via email as well as a Push notification on their iPhone (if they have the app installed and push notifications enabled).

Once the pictures have been published they can be viewed in the work in progress section of your Behance account

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Each image can be viewed and commented on

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then edited as appropriate.

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We hope that you agree that the Behance community is a great way to obtain feedback from your community and peers as well as share your work to a larger audience.

You can see my behance account at and my pro site at

Lightroom 5 now available for Upgrade, Purchase or Creative Cloud Subscription

Lightroom 5 is now fully available as a product to either upgrade from an existing version, to purchase as a new imaging solution or, if you are already on an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription (not part of the single app subscription), you can access Lightroom 5 straight away and download from your available applications. You buy/upgrade the software from the Adobe Store here. To get you started  I also put together a deep dive on the new features available on my YouTube channel.