On Studying MCW Chapters 3 and 4


From: Susan Chapin

Date: May 17, 2013 3:43:36 PM AST

Subject: Amateur questions about MCW ch3 and ch4


IÕm an amateur with no real background in color correction, except IÕve learned a bit from Photoshop LAB color and some Photoshop World presentations by Dan. And IÕm struggling with Chapters 3 and 4.


Chapter 3:


This chapter seems to target professionals. I have no problem at all treating color and luminosity separately in separate layers - IÕve been doing so for years ever since PS LAB color came out and it was Òwell, duh!Ó as soon as it was suggested. But once I decide that some things are wrong with the image, based on the numbers, and try to correct them with RGB curves, IÕm lost. Dan just says, ÒHereÕs what I didÓ without any real teaching as to why. I remember being lost in the same place in Photoshop World tutorial and presentations, too.


If someone could write a few-pages-long RGB Correction Curves for Dummies and post it somewhere that would help. Or even just a list of all the pages in all the chapters where Dan goes through RGB color correction - IÕve just got to the Cheetah in Chapter 4; I didnÕt know how to find it.


Once IÕve got a beginning handle on this step IÕll be able to improve with practice, but I canÕt seem even to get started.


Chapter 4:


IÕm just starting it; have gone through the flowers. The channel blending approach to contrast adjustment is a non-trivial thing to learn, though I suspect I will be able to learn it by working through the rest of the chapter and practicing a lot.


My question: I have NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 and IÕm pretty good with it already (IÕve been using it in Luminosity mode ever since I bought it) - I was able to get a good result on the flowers in about 30 seconds. So, are there advantages to learning the channel-blending/curves approach that are worth the considerable effort it will take?


 - susan chapin



From: Hector Davila

Date: May 17, 2013 6:42:41 PM AST

Subject: Re: Amateur questions about MCW ch3 and ch4


Here are some color correction by the numbers photoshop youtube videos that i found...









Hector Davila



From: James Gray

Date: May 17, 2013 7:05:44 PM AST

Subject: Re: Amateur questions about MCW ch3 and ch4


As Dan says, the first mistake you may make related to chapter 3 is to

think that every image needs this step.  When I was struggling with this

step of the PPW about a year ago Dan suggested that I color correct in

Camera Raw.  That will take care of most problems.  You can also move the

file into LAB just for this step and then move back to RGB for step 2.


James Gray



From: Stephen Marsh

Date: May 17, 2013 8:26:03 PM AST

Subject: Re: Amateur questions about MCW ch3 and ch4


Susan, something to think about is that CMY/RGB curves are very similar (R=C, G=M, B=Y).


Here are some PDF links that may help with colour correction and curves in separate channels:









Stephen Marsh



From: Michael Demyan

Date: May 17, 2013 11:54:37 PM AST

Subject: Re: Amateur questions about MCW ch3 and ch4




Try following AdrianoÕs (one of the beta readers) advice on the last

page of the introduction.

ÒSo, read it (this book) like you donÕt own Photoshop.Ó Read the

chapters without a computer turned on or nearby. Try to grasp the

concepts as you read. ÒThis book is tough.Ó


If you need some basic understanding, try to get (borrow) a past copy of

one of DanÕs Professional Photoshop books to learn some fundamentals on

color and color correction.


This new book builds on the past 15 years or so of the methods Dan has

been teaching, and is a culmination of the knowledge, wisdom and

proficiency in current color correction. Education and understanding is

a long process. Develop the basics and practice, practice.



Mike Demyan

(beta reader)



From: Òtwinkle_maxÓ

Date: May 18, 2013 2:56:04 AM AST

Subject: Re: Amateur questions about MCW ch3 and ch4


This one from Curvemeister is quite interesting (uhm, I might try Curvemeister)




Massimo Calvani



From: Òtwinkle_maxÓ

Date: May 18, 2013 3:11:58 AM AST

Subject: Re: Amateur questions about MCW ch3 and ch4


Ch. 4 Working with Color, by Katrin Eismann is also interesting IMO




[Inserted by moderator: http://www.digitalretouch.org/samples.html#ch4 - SM]


Massimo Calvani



From: James Gray

Date: May 18, 2013 3:57:44 PM AST

Subject: Re: Re: Amateur questions about MCW ch3 and ch4



I do not know if there is a simple answer to your question about channel

blending beyond the examples in chapter 4.  I started studying DanÕs

methods by reading *Professional Photoshop 4th ed. *in about 2002.  My eyes

glazed over in 2002 when I read about channel blending and I did not try it

back then.  It is hard and if you find it challenging, just be conservative

and do not expect too much.  However, experimenting with your own photos or

with the example in the book may help.  I have not become adept at seeing

when a blend will create a good channel for luminosity curves.  Note that I

said channel and you said layer.  I am one of the beta readers of the book.

I will confess I totally misunderstood a major aspect of what Dan is

saying in Chapter 4 when I read the first draft as a beta reader.  It was

only after seeing the video associated with Chapter 4 that I really

understood.  So look at the video.  There are couple of issues that I find

channel blending helps.  Often one of the channels has much better detail

in some part of the photo than the other two channels do.  When you have

that situation blending that channel into one or two of the others really

helps with detail.  As Dan says in the book there is no other way to

accomplish that.  It is sort of the same thing, but often the red channel

has a much more interesting sky than the green or blue channels.  Blending

some or all of the red into the green in darken mode can make a much more

interesting sky.  Blending the red into the blue can sometimes help too.

However, do not get too bogged down in channel blending if you find it

difficult or you are used to other methods of getting good luminosity.

IMHO there are more important things than channel blending.


James Gray



From: Dan Margulis

Date: May 21, 2013 4:55:21 PM AST

Subject: Re: Re: Amateur questions about MCW ch3 and ch4


Further to this thread, I got the following from a reader, and realized that for all the links cited by others we had overlooked one of the best:


Begin forwarded message:



Date: May 20, 2013 10:48:35 AM AST

To: Dan Margulis

Subject: Re: Modern Photoshop Color Workflow - Request for comments


chapter 3 seems to be a difficult to master but am finally starting to get it. more videos on this would be very helpful.


thanks for the great way to fix up my pictures :-)


The series of videos I did on PPW for Kelby Training some years ago was in three parts: Initial Color (as in Chapter 3), Contrast/Luminosity (as in Chapter 4), and Final Color (as in Chapters 5/6). A lot has changed since the recording, particularly in the last one, less so but still significantly in the second. The first one, OTOH, more than two hours of curvewriting, should be just as good as the day it was recorded: not too much has changed in how we evaluate color, or how we correct imperfections.


www.kelbytraining.com is a subscription service, they have hundreds of videos on various Photoshop/photography topics. Last I knew the monthly fare was something like $20 for unlimited access.


Dan Margulis