LCCO action by Alexander Onishchenko

Digitally processed material specially for Radozhiva prepared Alexander Onishchenko (facebook).

© Irina Kriklya

© Irina Kriklya

I am Alexander Onishchenko. For many years I have been conducting master classes, teaching and writing publications on digital photo processing.

With the kind consent of Arkady Shapoval, I am starting to publish articles on various aspects of digital photo processing on Radozhiva's website, and more. I will try to make it interesting to many.

And I want to start with a gift to the readers of the site. Some time ago I developed an action for Photoshop that intelligently enhances the colors of an image while increasing color contrast. It contains processing techniques in the Lab color space, but it is implemented in such a way that anyone who is minimally familiar with Photoshop can use it effectively. Works with multilingual Photoshop localizations. The action was named LCCO, the meaning of which is revealed in the head figure of the publication:

The article provides a detailed, two-level description / instruction for the action:

  1. Level for beginners (items 1, 2, 4 of the table of contents) - for those who do not want to bother too much. This is enough to get started immediately.
  2. Level for advanced users (point 3 of the table of contents) - an in-depth description of what is in the action.

The idea of ​​LCCO is to make the use of Lab-processing technologies easy and accessible even for those who are not familiar with Lab. Manual fine-tuning of the correction results, if needed, is easy and depends only on how developed your understanding of beauty is.

Lab is an unusual color space in terms of organization, which in many ways provides unique opportunities for digital photo processing. But only a small part of amateur photographers use these opportunities. The reason is simple: to work effectively in Lab, you first need to understand its internal structure, and it is very unusual.

LCCO is aimed at those who have a general idea and minimal practice of working with layers, can adjust their opacity and paint with a brush on a layer mask. This is extremely easy to learn.

If you know enough Photoshop, are familiar with Lab, know how not only to change the opacity of layers, but also to select the parameters of their overlay, try to create your own actions - you may be interested in the third section of the table of contents.

Table of Contents:

  1. LCCO capabilities
  2. Instructions for users
  3. An in-depth description of the action
  4. LCCO Application Examples

1. Possibilities of LCCO.

The action does not shift the image towards certain shades, as do adjustments white balance in converters. It only enhances the colors that are already present in the original image, while simultaneously increasing the color contrast. The latter means the separation of close color shades, which increases the so-called. color variability.

LCCO does not disturb the color balance, i.e. neutral objects remain so. If the image initially had a "color shift", then the action will enhance it, which is usually undesirable. In this case, you can either clarify white balance before applying LCCO, or manually adjust the boost ratio of the base colors to achieve the desired hue after applying the action.

For example, if there is not enough magenta in the skin color (it is perceived as greenish), you, manually, based on your own taste, can reduce (down to zero) the enhancement of other colors. Thus, the action allows you not only to enhance the color, but also to adjust the color balance.

2. Instructions to users.

It is intended for beginners, which is why it is so detailed.

You got LCCO from me (LCCO file from awo.atn). How do you install it in your Photoshop?
Left double-clicking on the file will do it automatically. If Photoshop was not running at the time of doubleclick, it will start on its own.
Opening the Actions palette, you will see it there:

Fig. 02

Fig. 02

Of the three actions, in the “LCCO from awo” folder, only the first one, “Lab color channels Overlay”, is working, and you will run it exactly. The rest are service.

Your work will be more efficient if you can launch the action by pressing the specified keyboard shortcut, and not by mouse clicks in the Actions palette. Photoshop makes it possible to assign such a combination (the so-called shortkey). To do this, select the name of the action, then left-click on the icon of 4 horizontal stripes in the upper right corner of the Actions palette (Fig. 03). In the menu that opens, click on “Action Options”:

Fig. 03

Fig. 03

In the window that opens, set the desired shortkey, for example Shift + F11:

Fig. 04

Fig. 04

The specified shortkey will be displayed in the Actions window (Fig. 05). In the future, you can start LCCO at any time by pressing this keyboard shortcut:

Fig. 05

Fig. 05

Beginning of work.

Launch LCCO by pressing Shift + F11. The action always places the result of its work on the smartphone at the topmost level of the layer structure. Don't know what a smartphone is? It's like a file inside a main file. In it, LCCO stores the results of its work in the form of four layers, each of which enhances one of the four, basic in the Lab space, opposite colors: Magenta - Green, and Blue - Yellow.

After the action finishes, you will find yourself inside the created smartphone, in which you will see four adjustment layers created by LCCO, named for the color that each of them enhances:

Fig. 06

Fig. 06

By clicking on the eye icons (on the left in the Layers palette), you can enable / disable one or another layer, or the entire group at once (All Corrections). This blinking helps to assess the contribution of each layer to the overall correction.

Flash first with the whole group. If you are satisfied with the result, then the work is over.
If not, ask yourself, what exactly does not suit you?

If the proportion of the colors (i.e. the final shade) is correct, but the correction is too strong, reduce the Opacity for the entire group. The range of possible changes: from 100% to 0 in one. While changing the opacity, flash the entire group to see the degree of the correction made. As soon as you are satisfied with the result, the work is finished.

If the shade obtained after the correction does not suit you, you should select the proportion of enhancement of individual colors (Fig. 07). The way an artist mixes different colors on a palette. In this case, change the opacity of individual layers by constantly blinking them. When you are satisfied with the resulting shade, adjust the opacity of the entire group as described above.

rice. 07 (© Anton Martynov)

rice. 07 (© Anton Martynov)

That. manually fine-tuning the results of the action is reduced to flashing the layers and selecting their opacity. Anyone can easily handle this.

Important!
Let me remind you that LCCO places all corrections inside the smartphone. So that, after the completion of the correction, its results become visible in the main file, you should save it inside the smartphone by pressing the keyboard combination CTRL + S. The smart file is no longer needed, close it (CTRL + W).

After closing the smartphone, you are returned to the main one. At the very top of the layer structure, you can see the result of LCCO's work as a layer with a smartphone (Fig. 08):

Fig. 08

Fig. 08

It happens that the result of the correction, as a whole, suits, but is redundant in any separate fragment of the image. It is easy to see this by flashing the smartfile layer. To arbitrarily weaken its result in the desired place of the image, paint with black on the layer mask with a soft brush with a low opacity.

In Animated Slide 09, LCCO has successfully enhanced the colors of the night sky with the Northern Lights. But at the same time, he intensified the green highlights from the glare in the snow in the lower right part of the picture. Visually, excessively green snow is not very pleasant, so the snow area in Fig. 09 was locally disguised:

rice. 09 (© Jón Þórðarson)

rice. 09 (© Jón Þórðarson)

Important!

Remember: changing the opacity of a layer adjusts the strength of the correction for the entire field of the picture at once. If we want to weaken the degree of correction locally, i.e. only in some part of the picture, then we do this by painting on the mask of a layer or a group of layers with a soft black brush with a low opacity.

3. An in-depth description of the action.

Beginners and lazy ones can skip this section, it will not interfere with further work.

I mentioned above that the action contains "high" technologies. It's time to describe them in more detail.

3.1. The action works with multilingual Photoshop localizations. Anyone who has ever recorded an action on their own knows that actions created in a shop with one language localization often refuse to work in a version with a different localization.

This is because if English-speaking Photoshop creates a “Curves” layer, then Russian-speaking Photoshop will name this layer “Curves”. Obviously, the English version of the action will not recognize the layer with the Russian name and will immediately stop working with an error message. And vice versa.

Complexity ends where understanding begins. If, when recording an action, you immediately assign a unique name to any created layer, and then refer to it only in this way, the action will no longer depend on the interface language.

3.2. "Protection from the fool." It happens that running actions stop their work unexpectedly with obscure diagnostic messages. The reason for this is that in different cases, at the time of launching the action, a certain layer structure has already been created. And if yours is different from the one that the author of the action was counting on, an emergency stop occurs.

LCCO is insured against this. It can be run both when there is only one Background layer, or with an arbitrarily complex layer structure. Even with nested groups. In any case, LCCO will create a Smart Object with adjustment layers at the very top of the structure created before it was run.

Hopefully you don't end up in a situation like the one in fig. ten:

Fig. 10

Fig. 10

3.3. When you run LCCO, the color of the picture reinforces itself. To do this, the Lab color channels are superimposed on themselves in a contrasting blend mode (Overlay). Usually, to superimpose an image on itself, it is duplicated, i.e. create an additional pixel layer, which increases the file size on disk. But Photoshop allows you to do it differently: to overlay any adjustment layer (formulaic, in LCCO these are curves) on the pixel layer, setting it to the appropriate blending mode. At the same time, the file size will hardly increase.

3.4. The ability to enhance the performed correction. Earlier I described that there are two ways to weaken the adjustment made: by decreasing the opacity of the adjustment layer or group, or by painting on the mask with a dark brush. But at times it happens that the automatic correction needs to be strengthened rather than weakened. Overlay mode makes this easy. For example, if you do not have enough automatic enhancement of the magenta, you just need to make a copy of the layer of the same name by selecting it and pressing the shortcut CTRL + J.

The strength of the correction will double, and by adjusting the opacity of the copy layer, we can smoothly change the strength of the correction from 200% to 100% in 1% increments. Similarly, you can increase the degree of correction for the entire group (see Fig. 11):

rice. 11 (© hsvision)

rice. 11 (© hsvision)

3.5. Fine tune blending mode. Lab has two color channels and four base colors. Each of the Lab color channels is responsible for the ratio in the final color of two complementary (opposite) colors: channel a - Magenta and Green, and channel b - Blue and Yellow. To make working with LCCO as simple as possible, I decided to make it so that each base color corresponds to a separate layer (for each paint - its own tube).

Photoshop gives you this opportunity. They are available in the Layer Style palette. To get into it, you should right-click on the adjustment layer, and in the menu that opens, select “Blending Options” (Fig. 12):

Fig. 12

Fig. 12

The capabilities we need are collected in the “Blend if:” palette (Fig. 13).
In the drop-down list marked with an arrow, select the desired Lab color channel: “a” for the Magenta - Green pair, or “b” for the Blue - Yellow pair.
On the axis marked with a parenthesis, use the sliders to limit the color that will adjust this layer. Settings in fig. 13, correspond to Yellow correction:

Fig. 13

Fig. 13

4. Examples of LCCO application.

14. The action worked on the machine. No manual debugging was required. (© Irina Kriklya)

rice. 14 (© Irina Kriklya)

rice. 14 (© Irina Kriklya)

15. The action worked on the machine. No manual debugging was required.

rice. 15 (© Leonardo Martelli)

rice. 15 (© Leonardo Martelli)

16.

rice. 16 (© Jón Þórðarson)

rice. 16 (© Jón Þórðarson)

17.

rice. 17 (© Michael Wolta)

rice. 17 (© Michael Wolta)

18.

Fig. 18

Fig. 18

19.

rice. 19 (© Alexander Onishchenko)

rice. 19 (© Alexander Onishchenko)

20.

rice. 20 (© Gerrit Hoogmartens)

rice. 20 (© Gerrit Hoogmartens)

LCCO, like other actions, is not a magic wand, but a tool. In some cases, it really gives an excellent result on a fully automatic basis. But do not hope that it will always be so. In most cases, you need to manually adjust the opacity of the layers, and / or create a mask for local correction (this happens less often).

Get LCCO Action for Free can be via a private message on my FB page... Please subscribe to the page beforehand. Like is also welcome: o))

It is strictly forbidden for anyone to transfer the LCCO action received from me to third parties!

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Another thing I do: Calibration of monitors and laptops in Kiev.

You will find more materials from readers of Radozhiva here.

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Comments: 35, on the topic: LCCO action by Alexander Onishchenko

  • Roman Nikolaich

    Xs. If you do not delve into subtle matters, you can turn the color to the same state even at the stage of the development of the rav.
    Yeah, “THIS IS OTHER,” and I don’t understand how everyone will say, but damn it ...) Just an extra headache, in my opinion. And the payoff is minimal.

  • Romka

    If not in social networks, then try to twist it will not work?

    • Alexander Onishchenko

      Yes, those who know how to work well in the converter can really get the desired colors even at the stage of RAW conversion. But these are clearly not the majority.
      On the other hand, LCCO allows you to quickly and easily get the desired color, even for those who are only a little familiar with the shop, and have never heard of Lab at all.

    • Victor

      And don't forget to subscribe to the page :-)

  • Oleg

    Thank you, informative. I've been trying the Lab for a long time, but just for the sake of curiosity, and to understand if I'm missing something. In real life, rgb is always enough.

    • Alexander Onishchenko

      Due to its unique internal structure, Lab allows some techniques that are fundamentally unavailable in RGB. In addition, it is easier and more convenient to “read” color information in the editor in Lab, even if you never work in it.

      Here is a testimonial from a student in my online course “Lightroom from A to Z”:

      “For me, the discovery was the ability to“ read ”color in the LAB color space. As a physicist, I know very well what optical illusions are, how imperfect our vision is, and how often the brain simply draws what is not there or interprets in a different color. It was a great torment for me to understand if the colors in the photo look natural. And here, right in the second lesson, they definitely taught me how to “read” color by numbers!)) ”

  • Alessandro

    Yes, “physicist”, “reading color by numbers” is something from our happy and unattainable future! I will not say that I am very afraid of numbers: in my youth I was closely engaged in numerical methods, and programming, and defended a disser, and wrote a scientific book. And then he graduated from the Hood University and became a free, poor and happy artist (including a photo artist). And here's what I will say from my subjective experience: there are numbers and there is art. Numbers are the language of reason, and art is the language of wordless and non-digital intuition. If there is no silent feeling “move there, Vasya”, if… sing with your own you don’t feel what must be done and what must not be done, then no number will help you! For you are not an artist, you are a normal, reasonable, boring man in the street. Just a normal man in the street, having fun playing games with pictures. What else can you do to meet old age?

    • Alexander Onishchenko

      Alexander, and there is also the ability to combine numbers and art.
      To “check harmony with algebra”.

      • Zheka

        3d lut creator + capture one and all this is unnecessary. Or davinchi resolv + Zd lootcreator, but this is for skill people

  • someone RH

    all in American :-))))

  • Oleg

    Very interesting article !!

    • Alexander Onishchenko

      Glad to hear that!
      We plan to make such communication systematic.

  • German10

    Alexander, Arkady, thanks for the interesting approach to color development! We are still waiting.

  • Andrii

    Without registration in the FB in any way?

  • Andrei

    Basically you made a Vibration tool (in LR) with a skin tone capture, why? As I noticed, this, on the contrary, complicates the processing process by creating not only n-layers that need to be duplicated for amplification (which we need to decide whether to do this or not), but, at the same time, does it in a smart object in PS, but also how much can we trust this “strengthening”? Those. how correct is the decision to use this “enhancement” in a particular case to make the image look natural?

    For enhancement, we have a wonderful Selective color tool in the FS, which creates one layer and serves to edit all the colors separately, where we can take all these shades and bring them on our own. Or HSL (Hue Saturation) or Levels tool. Even if you look at the Color Picker and compare HSB with Lab, you can conclude that Lab works more unpredictably than HSB (which can be slightly pulled to HSL, since it has a very similar effect on colors, however L is lightness, and B is brightness).

    Maybe I didn't understand something in this story, then explain in a nutshell what exactly?

    • Alexander Onishchenko

      Good comment, Andrey! It's all in essence.

      1. In both Photoshop and LR, almost any goal can be achieved in different ways. And this is good, because everyone can choose the most convenient one for him. LCCO is another such tool.
      2. The action of LCCO is fundamentally different from Vibration (and this does not apply to skin tones)
      3. Many people have to process JPG, but doing it in LR is not the most correct and convenient.
      4. Unpredictability is the result of misunderstanding.
      5. “… we have to decide whether to do it or not” - I always, when working with any tool, decide for myself what and how I want to achieve.

      • Andrei

        1. Well, it just looks like not the most convenient way, in my opinion. Although there are more complex solutions ...
        2. I disagree here, the Vibration tool (as described in the instructions) does not capture skin tones, your action works with the entire palette, affecting both yellow and red, which I wrote about above.
        3. C1, for example, is very convenient in JPG processing, how can LR differ in principle? In some places it is even more convenient, because there are also layers and masks ... I think you need to add here that it is in your opinion that this is inconvenient and wrong. 🤷‍♂️
        4 and 5. It is these two statements that influence the work with this action (and in other ways, lighter or harder), which, as it were, decides for us the correctness of the colors, but in the end we still need to decide to strengthen or weaken ... What brings us back to the first point.

        This is how I see it. ✌😊

  • Jea reth

    I'll make a reservation right away: I am an absolute ignoramus in the theoretical side of color. Well, more precisely, beyond the course of physics on the specialty of Baumanka, I did not particularly taste in the direction of color. And color spaces are like Chinese to me ...
    But nevertheless, in the editors I twist the color by the method of banal trial and error. So something I flipped through the article a couple of times and did not understand what, in fact, is the meaning of this action? What does he do that cannot be done by other methods with less labor costs? I personally have the feeling of "another way to crack nuts in space."
    As they say, what is profit from a practical point of view?

    • Victor

      It seems that he does something like this for people of the generation of filters from Instagram)) Which give 1 button, so that it is beautifully bahato and without problems)))

    • Alexander Onishchenko

      1. I already wrote above that in Photoshop, almost any goal can be achieved in different ways, from which everyone chooses the most convenient for himself. And I have never claimed that LCCO is unique.
      2. “… with less labor costs” I disagree here. Blinking in layers - what could be easier?

    • First name

      Physics has nothing to do with FSH, it is rather metematics

  • Sergei

    sorry i'm not on FB

  • Yevhen

    I've been studying Lab for a long time. Started with Margulis (classical theory) and his PPW. LCCO action is magic. Simple 4-step processing (WB - LCCO - Camera RAW [dynamic range, sharpness] handles - my Vignette action) took less than a minute. Thanks to Alexander for a wonderful tool

    • Alexander Onishchenko

      Actually, the idea of ​​LCCO came about after reading Margulis's book about Lab. But only after many years I was able to implement it in an action game.

  • First name

    I also want to be such a “newbie in photography” so that I have money not only for the camera, but also for the purchase of FS. Or does the license come as a gift?

    • Alessandro

      Google Phoyoshop by m0nkrus or D! Akov or KpoJluK and you will surely get a license as a gift.

      • Seladir

        The subscription costs $ 8 a month and includes Photoshop and Lightroom for PC and iPad, as well as 20GB in the cloud so you can seamlessly continue working on files from any device. Well, the latest updates are always.
        Is it really that much if photography means anything in life?

  • Stas

    Alexander, why can you get it only on FBb? Are there any other options? I would love to try to apply your action to my landscapes.

  • Stas

    Hello Alexander, I would very much like to try your action at work on my landscapes, but I am not registered on FB, can I get it by mail? stas_stv@list.ru

  • Vladimir

    sorry no download link

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