Lab Color Chart

This Week Is All About Color

I've been working on a Lab Color Reference Chart, which you can download here. I looked through many thousands of images to find examples of common colors. After sampling and sanity checks on the data, I came up with these numbers as starting points for white balance and color correction in general.
These references are already quite valuable in my work; I hope they help you also. I put a copy of the png file in the directory I'm working in, to give me quick reference to the chart while working in Darktable.

The RAW file used in this video is available here. Thank you Andreas for the contribution 🙂

I also calibrated my monitor for both web and print profiles. After a bunch of bumping around in the dark, I came up with a simple solution here:

dispwin -c
dispcal -v -m -H -y l -q l -t 6500 -b 80 -g 2.2 web
targen -v -d 3 -G -f 128 web
dispread -v -N -H -y l -k web
colprof -v -D "web" -C "Harry Durgin Photography" -q m -a G -n c web

dispwin -c
dispcal -v -m -H -y l -q l -t 5500 -b 80 -g 2.2 print
targen -v -d 3 -G -f 128 print
dispread -v -N -H -y l -k print
colprof -v -D "print" -C "Harry Durgin Photography" -q m -a G -n c print

I switch between them with a hot key sequence. For web I use

dispwin -I web.icc

and for print

dispwin -I print.icc

I hope it works for you too.

Complete Show Text

Download complete text here

Aloha everybody, and welcome to Weekly Edit.

Boy, did we have big waves this week: 20-foot right here at our house.

The water depth drops off quickly at our house.

We don't have a reef offshore, and the waves break right next to the cliffs.

My dog was afraid.

The waves were so big that she would just shudder at night from the sound, but she's just a puppy and she'll get used to it because this is where we live.

Wow, look at that: just amazing, just amazing.

It was hard to get anything done this week with all the action, but I made time.

I could look at these all day long.

This was from a giant storm south of Alaska, in the gulf of Alaska.

It pushed waves straight towards us; it was great.

Usually, they come off at a little bit of an angle, so Maui and Oahu get them, but not the Big Island.

This was special for us.

It's one of the reasons we moved close to the shore: so we could hear the ocean at night.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

The challenge is to keep the salt spray off your lens.

If you go out early in the morning, there's an offshore breeze.

That really helps in pushing the salt spray off the shore.

So, you've got to get out early.

This week I've been working on color.

That was the theme.

I looked at thousands of images and came up with a complete version of my LAB Lookup Table.

Here it is.

I've got five different categories: People, Roadways, Foliage, Sky, and Sun.

Then, each of them are broken into their own categories: different Foliage colors; different colors of sky: deep blue, dark sky, sunny sky.

Then I came up with LAB proportions that give you a starting point with each of these.

See, these give you a starting point for Skin Tones.

Under Roadways, we've got Asphalt and Bricks and the paint on the roads.

I hope these help you as much as they help me.

I was having a real hard time looking at colors when there's an adjacent color that changes the way I perceive it, or when a color is lighter or darker in a darker part of the image or a lighter part of the image.

These tables have really helped me a lot.

I refer to them often, back and forth when I'm editing.

We'll use them a little in today's guest edit.

Also in the spirit of working on color, I re-calibrated my monitor.

That required installing new drivers and going through a web of trying to get everything to work together.

It didn't work as simply as it was supposed to.

I had to use different versions of different libraries in some specific pattern to make it go.

It wasn't just the newest version of everything; it took a full day of tinkering.

Anyway, all the errors are now gone, and now it calibrates properly.

I set up two calibrations here in a little script.

One of them, this one, is for doing web work, and this one is for doing print work.

I hot-key between them and use the soft-proofing in Darktable.

I'll show you what that looks like.

When I set it up for Web, when I run darktable-cmstest, it shows me that I've got the Web Profile.

If I change my profile to Print-based with my hot-key and run the same darktable-cmstest, I see that I've got my Print Profile.

So, if I've got my Print Profile and I open Darktable, I can go down to Soft-proofing down here and select my paper and my printer.

Then, when I click on Soft Proofing, I get a more accurate idea of how my colors will stay in gamut and whatnot.

It was a big project.

I will go much more in depth at some point on Soft Proofing and Color Profiling your camera, your printer, and your monitor.

That's a subject for another day.

I'd like to show you a website today: This website is such a gem.

There's enough to keep you busy for days and days of reading here.

There is so much useful information.

I suggest you come here and just go for it.

This night photography series really caught my eye.

He started working on this a couple years ago.

It just gets better and better all the time.

Looking at his pictures, I see that a lot of them are right next to our place in Colorado.

I love Colorado; it's so beautiful.

In this week's Edit my RAW we have a beautiful picture from the Lofoten Islands in Norway.

From Andreas.

Thank you so much, Andreas: this is beautiful.

It just takes my breath away.

We were in Scotland last year, and boy did I want to go to Norway.

Okay, I'm looking at this image and trying to figure out what's going on here.

It looks like there's a rocky outcropping.

You can see there's a little bit of soft focus on the near objects.

It looks like our focus starts getting sharp right about here.

I see from the EXIF data that we're shooting with a 12mm on a D7200, which is a crop-frame sensor, so this is an equivalent 20mm on a full-frame.

I imagine that at F8 with a 20mm, probably everything from here to infinity is perfectly in focus, so we may have to exclude some of this foreground.

But I find the foreground a little confusing because it doesn't really add to the sense of depth.

From this rock outward, I like it.

My eye tends to go in a circle like this.

That makes me want to use the Golden Means Spiral to get some idea of flow.

Here's the overlay.

I use Golden Mean, and then under Extra, I selected Spiral.

If I bring in this crop some so that the circle comes around like this and ends me up over here, how does that work with my foreground? Okay, I think I like that.

Now, what are we losing over here? Well, this is in the shade and there's not much happening here.

We lose this part here, but it's a little soft on focus, and the real spectacular stuff is over here.

And we lose a little bit of this, but there are a lot of clouds here and we have some soft focus out here.

I think this is the way to go.

Okay, so we'll do a little bit tighter crop here.

That looks good to me.

As a matter of fact, we'll just cut off that edge.

So, we've got this rock and we've got some shrubs and then we come around.

We've got this beautiful expanse.

This area here looks low-contrast.

I want to bring out texture and height differences here.

There are some strong shadows on the side of the mountain here.

I want to bring that out so it doesn't look so harsh.

Our contrast decreases as we go out toward the horizon.

I'd like to have these mountains back here pop more because they're so spectacular.

I want to be sure our colors are good.

I want to lighten this whole mountain because it's really the center of my attention.

I keep getting drawn to this face but it's in the shade.

So, the idea is: while doing the edit, keep in mind this flow; have this area here form a circle.

I want to kind of hug this area, maybe delineate this from this side, and that will give me more of this spiral.

Let's look at our White Balance first.

This is a perfect opportunity to use the LAB Color Chart.

Now, we have some greens and we have some sky blue.

Let's look at our sky blue first.

Over here we'll use our Color Picker.

It says that we've got a -5 and a -23.

On the LAB Color Reference, let's see: Sky and I'd call that a pale sky.

It looks like if we're at an L of around 80, which we are actually, then we should be at -5 and -23 --about there-- and we've got right around -5 and...

...oh, it looks like we're right on the money.

So our blue looks GREAT.

Now, let's look at our Foliage.

Let's zoom in down here.

This is more yellowish foliage.

Let's check our yellowish foliage first.

So, we've got 50 and -8 and 33.

Let's see: yellowish foliage.

Here we are.

If our L is around 50 -- well, this one shows it somewhere between 50 and 60, so we're in that ballpark; then our B Channel should be about the same as our L.

Our B Channel is a little low, but it's similar.

Our A Channel should be around half as much, and we're at 8.

A little more green wouldn't hurt us at all.

But that's just one spot.

Let's look at a darker green area too.

And see what that gets us also.

Because right now it looks like we've got too much yellow.

How about this? That's a more blue-ish green.

Okay, we've got 36, -4, and 7.

Here we are.

It says that our B Channel should be lower.

Oh, it is; it's down to 7.

Okay, that's about right.

And our A Channel should be about the same as the yellowish green: -4.

Yeah, it looks like we're a little light on the green and a little heavy on the yellow.

Let's make a minor change to our temperature.

So, we'll go a little higher on our tint and a little lower on the temperature.

Now let's see where we stand.

Our blues: did we lose them? -5 and -17.


-5 and -17; that looks close.

Okay, and our greens now? We'll take a large swath and look for a middle color: -7.5 and 22 and 43.


43 would be Medium.

B Channel should be around 30 and A Channel should be around -20.

We could use a little more color, and still a little more green.

Okay a little more green.

And a little less yellow: 5300.

That's looking a lot better.

And our blues? Are we still good on our blues? That looks good.

And our clouds? Clouds should be almost exactly white, just a tiny bit blue.


we've got some green in our clouds.

Do we have green up here too? We do.

Let's decrease the green as we go up.

I'll combine that with a Parametric Mask.

So if we get brighter too.

And we'll bring our green down just a tiny bit.

There we go.

Our colors are good.

What next? Apply a Base Curve.

There are a couple of Nikons here: Nikon D7200.

Let's see what that looks like.

We'll have to adjust our Exposure.

I'll do a Screenshot there.

That's with the D7200.

There's Nikon Like.

What does that look like? It's a little flatter.

I can bring the Exposure up a little because I've got a little room here, so we can compare apples and apples.

Well, the first one's got more pop, but I think the second one controls our highlights better.

And there was one other one: Nikon Like Alternate.

Let's look at that.

It's coming in a little hot here; I'll take down our Exposure so we're comparing fairly again.

Well, it does a better job on our highlights, and our shadows aren't any worse.

I like that one the best.

There we go: we've got a Base Curve, we've got our Exposure set, we've got our White Balance.

I'll deal with Demosaic-ing, Chromatic Aberrations and Lens Correction and Denoising at the end because that slows down the re-draw time in processing.

It's a little bright on top.

It could stand a Graduated Density application.

Bring our Midpoint up a little bit.

Oh, that looks a little strong.

Okay, a third of a stop looks right.

It looks like I've got a little vignetting around the edges.

Let's see if applying the Lens Correction gets rid of the vignetting; if not, we'll apply a Watermark.

Lens Correction.

Okay, there's the D7200, and it says it doesn't have this lens.

We'll have to find one that's close to it.

Okay, it helped with the de-warping, but it didn't do anything for the vignetting.

Do we like what it did for the de-warping? Oh, it stretches these edges and doesn't give us any advantage.

No, I'll leave that off.

Okay, we'll deal with the vignet manually.

Where does it start? I think this is pretty close.

It starts about here and goes out.

I'll take my Falloff Strength, there we go, and have it end right there.

Then, instead of darkening it, I want to brighten it.

So, instead of a minus brightness, I'll go to a plus brightness.

Okay, that looks better.

I got 1.4 over here, and we're losing color out our edges because this has a minus saturation by default, so I'll make that at least zero, if not give it a little plus: not much, just a tiny bit to keep up with the brightness.

Otherwise, when you brighten it, you'll lose saturation.

Well, that's a starting point.

We have strong shadows, obviously, from the clouds and from the sides of the mountain.

And we've got areas in bright sunshine.

This looks like a perfect application for the Shadows and Highlights Module.

When we first turn it on, you can see that we get halos around all these edges.

But if we change the Soften Width to Bilateral Filter, they pretty much go away.

I can adjust how much of the shadows get brightened -- for instance, this area would probably be considered shadows, and if I increase the brightness there it brings them up, which is good.

And the highlights, these clouds over here, we probably want to knock them down some.

So, we'll bring our slider down a little more.

These are the numbers I came up with.

Radius will determine the distance between where it thinks a shadow and where it thinks a highlight is, and the rest of the picture.

We can adjust this to give us a more natural look and eliminate halos.

If I make it too small, you can start to see halos around things.

So, I'll bring up the size until I just get rid of the halos.

Then the Compression: the higher the Compression, the more it will only consider the darkest things shadows.

If I bring my Compression down, it will consider areas that aren't quite as dark to be shadow also.

So, if I bring my Compression all the way down, it lightens up a lot of it, thinking that it's all shadow or highlight.

And if I take my Compression up all the way, it will only lighten up the very, very darkest things like these.

I want it to lighten up this area here and maybe this area in here a little, so I'll take the Compression from 100% and slowly bring it down until it just affects these areas.


I think that's about the best I can do with this module.

I usually don't like to use this module at 100% because, later on when I start making changes, it tends to show any of the halos that came up with this module; they'll be exaggerated.

The most I use is around 50%, so I'll knock this down to 50%.

It helped us.

It doesn't get rid of everything, but we've got multiple ways to deal with our shadows and highlights.

That's a good start.

Another way to deal with shadows and highlights is a Lowpass Filter with Overlay Blend Mode.

I take my Saturation down to zero.

Then, using my Radius, which is a lot like the Radius on the Shadow and Highlights Module, I will adjust my Radius so I get large areas without features.

I don't want to see individual trees and things, but I can see this area is dark and this area is light, and this area is very light here.

So, that was up around 100px; I'm at 92.

Then I take my Blend Mode and change it to Overlay.

Here's the trick: you take your Contrast and start turning it negative.

I start with zero.

When it's exactly zero, you shouldn't be able to tell the difference between the original and this one.

Yeah, there is no difference: good.

Then, as I take my Contrast negative, these areas that are darker will get a little lighter.

These areas that are lighter will get a little darker.

I want to be careful with this because I don't want it to create halos either.

So, I'm slowly bringing it negative.

Let's see, 0.3.

So, that's before, and that's after.

We've knocked down our highlights a little and brought out our shadows a little more.

That's good.

How is our Exposure? I think we're pretty good here.

We're in the middle.

We're not point to point, but we'll worry about our Black and our White Points at the very end of the edit, and I want most of my data to be in the mid-tones so that I can bring out relief.

And I've got that: most of my data's in the mid-tones.

This is the end of our first stage.

Then we can apply Denoising and Chromatic Aberration Control and Demosaic-ing too.

Now, I see this was shot at 100 ISO, so it will be really hard to see where there is and isn't noise.

If we exaggerate the contrast in an area like here, we can look at which Denoising strategies yield the best results.

Now this is artificially contrasty, just so I can look at my Denoising options.

Okay, what have we got? We can always start with the RAW Denoise, which usually gives fantastic effects, but blurs your edges.

Yeah, that makes the water look great, and we lose all our detail in here.

If I bring that down to the point where it just works in the water, it's a little better here.

Okay, that's at 0.005.

We'll take Snapshots along the way and come up with our best Denoising strategy.

Let's look at the standard Profile Denoise, which usually does an excellent job -- and it does, look at that.

Oh, look; we still have our detail in the smaller features, but we've got much smoother transitions here.

The only thing I don't like about this Nonlocal Means on the Profile Denoise is you get these little patterns that look like an artistic brush or something, and it's a little bit splotchy.

There's a splotch there and a splotch there.

If we go to Wavelets, that gets rid of the splotches, but it looks like we've got a different problem pattern here.

We could probably deal with that with the Equalizer.

Let's see if we bring our Strength down and bring our Equalizer Noise Reduction to try and get rid of the small patterns from the Profile Denoise...

Okay, so it's a two-step method here, doing the Profile Denoise and then the Equalizer to get rid of the remnant pattern.

How does that compare to the RAW Denoise? Well, it's not quite as smooth in the water, but it's pretty darn good.

It's a lot better down here in the trees and houses, though.

Okay, so that's our new best one.

I'll take a Snapshot of that.

We'll get rid of these settings and try the Bilateral Filter Denoising.

Oh, that does a nice job in the water.

Look at all the detail it keeps down here! ...and in these trees.

This seems to be a nice balance between detail and denoising.

That's my new favorite one.

I'll look at the Non-local Means.

Ick! What if we increase the Patch Size? Nope.


Alright; I like that Bilateral Filter.

That turned out sweet.

Bilateral Filter it is.

Now I can get rid of the extra contrast that I added just to be able to see the Denoising.

Okay: Demosaic.

We're starting with PPG.

Take a Snapshot and look.


I see a little purple fringing here from the PPG, and in these windows.

And with the Amaze it's gone entirely, but we don't seem to have compromised any detail.

There's purple fringing here that goes away too.

Okay, and with the VNG? The VNG is usually a little soft, and in this case it's soft.

And I don't think we need the extra softening that VNG does because this was shot at 100 ISO and is such a high-quality image.

So, Amaze it is.

I'm pretty happy with the effect I'm getting with that; I don't think that we need to add any Color Smoothing to the equation.

Lastly, Chromatic Aberrations.

A listener wrote in and pointed out an error I've been making in Chromatic Aberration adjustments.

In reference to the Darktable Manual, it says here that the model only works with an uncropped photographic image, and that when I zoom in to the image, I'll get incorrect data.

I shouldn't work that way.

It sounds like I should just turn it on by default, and that it works with any camera that uses a Bayer sensor, which this particular Nikon does.

So, let's turn it on.

At some point, I want to do an exhaustive study of the Chromatic Aberration controls and see how that works.

So, by default, I'll turn it on now.

Okay, this is where I'm at.

I'll save this image with all these changes, then start working on tones and guiding the eye through changing the brightness and darkness of different parts of the image.

Okay, let's save it.

I'll save it as a TIFF.

Change these values to zero and zero.

I'm working in Adobe.

Here we go.

Alright, here we are.

Let's start working with tonal control.

I'll be using the Tone Curve a lot.

I notice that the top part of this image gets a little dark, especially towards the very top, so I'll take care of that first.

Let's see.


That helps.

It's getting a little bright here, so maybe I'll be a little more strategic about my brightening.

There we go.

Now, from this point to here, it also needs to brighten.

Okay, that helps.

I'd like to get some large-scale detail differentiation down here because it looks flat, and it's not interesting yet.

Let's look at the Equalizer Tool for that.

One of the ways to use the Equalizer tool so we can visualize what's happening is to do a Gamma adjustment and then look at the different blend mode operators, so let's do that.

Okay, new Tone Curve.

Do a big jump there so we can see what we're doing.

Okay, now under Equalizer, I'll change my Blend Mode to Difference.

Then I can bring up these sliders and see where I'm seeing adjustments.

Okay, these are large scale.

This is nice; this is the kind of scale I was thinking of in this area.

Let's see the next size down.

Oh, it's getting smaller, but I still think it helps.

And the next size after that? That's getting too small; that just gets confusing.

Okay, I want to work on this area in here, right there, with these larger sizes.

So, maybe a combination of these two, like that? Okay, that gives us a little bit of this hill, and we can see some changes in these fields.

So, turn off the Gamma adjustment and change our Blend Mode from Difference to Normal.


Without it, and with it.

Yeah; we're getting these changes down here from differences in tone.

That helps; that gives us more differentiation.

It's easier to see what's going on.

And I only want to apply that down here; I don't want it to go everywhere.

I'll use a Drawn Mask.

Let's see: we'll go up here.

Stay away from the water so we don't get any halos.

Now, make it a little smaller and make our Blend Area a little bigger.

Bring that down.

That's what it looked like before, and that's what it looks like now.

It looks like it's a little heavy, so I'll just bring down our Opacity a little.

That helps.

This looks a little light here.

I'd like this hillside to pop from the bottom, so I'll darken the hillside and leave the bottom part lighter so it will match this area better.

We'll have it go like this.

And bring down our darker areas so we have more relief.

Ah, that looks better.

Before, and after.

Now the planes down here are starting to separate a little and I'm starting to get the circle the circle that I wanted, coming in like this.

This top part up here and over to here is too light.

That looks better.

Before and after.

Mountain looks a little dark.

We'll get all of these done and then we can work on the relief aspect.

Let's see: mountain.

We don't want our mountain to be dark.

I'll make it a little smaller, make our Blend Area a little bigger.


And let's concentrate on the darker parts.

Here's our spiral.

What have we got? Come up like this and over like this.

This looks good.

I want this to be a little lighter though, because it gets right in the middle of our spiral and breaks it.

So, this front rock.

Let's see: Tone Curve.

Another Drawn Area.

I want to add some color to the parts that don't have as much color so that we get some of these de-saturated areas.

I'll use a Parametric Mask on the C Channel, which is Chromaticity.

I'll turn on the Mask Indicator and bring my two sliders down until I start finding my most-saturated areas.

Right there.

Now, this has created a graduated mask, where the parts with the least saturation are getting the most effect.

They are the brightest yellow.

And the parts with the most saturation are getting the least effect.

Then I'll steepen my A and B Channels.

That's without it, and that's with it.

I think we can use it full strength.

That looks fine.

Our blue's getting a little out of gamut here, but that's just where it's going to white, so I'm not actually going to worry about that.

And I'm staying on my Histogram on both sides.

Now let's look at adding some tones with our Lowpass Filter.

If I turn off my Saturation, bring the Contrast down a little and the Brightness up a little, then adjust my Radius and try to get the kind of shadows I'm looking for here.

Let's see: this shows me the sides of the mountain and gives me some basic shapes here that are kind of nice.

That's at 27 px, so I'll apply that with a Softlight Blend Mode and use the Opacity to attenuate it.

I don't want it to get too dark.

I don't see it helping me up here at all, so I'll use a Drawn Mask and just have it work on the bottom part of the image.

That's before, and that's after.

I want to do that again.

Saturation down to zero.

Contrast down a little.

Brightness up a little.

The reason I bring my Contrast down and my Brightness up is so that my end result is approximately the same brightness as my starting result.

Bring our Radius to the point where we're showing different details, like the edges of these hills.

Now, I see when I'm doing that, I'm not getting any detail in these clouds, so I don't want to apply it up there.

Once again, I'll use a Drawn Mask and just apply it on the bottom, and use Opacity to attenuate it.

Softlight again.


And bring it up.

I'm looking at the sides of the hill and these crevices and these shadowy details.

The edges of the waterfront.

I'm trying to come up with a good level of application so I don't get halos or too dark of areas but still get nice relief.

That looks good.

And that was smaller: that was at 17 pixels.

Let's try that again.

This time I'd like to get small enough to get these clouds.

I'll bring my Radius down until I start getting details in the clouds.

Getting some.

Ah, that looks better.

Now they're looking rounded.

I can see details in these mountains too.

So, that's at around 6 pixels.

Once again, Softlight.

As I bring it up, it looks a little heavy here compared to up here, so I'll do a mask going the other way.

A Drawn Mask.

I want to apply it here also.

I just want more of it up here, so I'll make the mask larger.

If I go like that, 100% of the effect will occur from here up.

At this point, it will be about 50% of the effect, and then a little lower down here.

Can we turn our Opacity up? Oh, yeah, we can.

That looks good.

The bottom is a little dark still.

I'll make another tonal adjustment.

Okay, reverse the direction.

We'll turn on our Mask Indicator to see where we are.

Then I'll bring this up a little.

Okay, that looks better.

Maybe a little more.

No, that's too much.

The mountain is still a little dark.

That one right there.

So maybe this edge needs to come out further.

Let's take our Blend Radius and make it a little smaller, bring our effect out a little more.

We're losing contrast in there but we're gaining brightness.

I'll give it a little S curve here.

Give it a little more punch like that, but then bring down our shadows a little.

That's what I'm looking for.

Now I want to bring out more detail.

I'll use the Highpass Filter with the Softlight Blend Mode.

I'll bring my Sharpness way up to try and get some detail like this, and around these edges, but I don't want anything to become too black.

I'm okay so far.

Let's bring the Contrast up a little.

Oh, that's a little too much there, around these edges.

We'll bring it down.

Okay, now I'll apply that with a Softlight, but I'm not going to apply it evenly because in these darker areas, it's just going to turn black.

I'll use a Parametric Mask based on the L Channel so that the brighter parts of the image get most of the effect and the darker parts get none of the effect.

I'll change my Blend Mode to Softlight and use my Opacity to attenuate it.

That's with it off, and then I'll bring it up slowly until it starts to look like it's too much, then bring it back down.

It's starting to get a little crunchy in here and up here too.

That was at 80%.

And that's at 60%.

So, before and after.

It looks nice up in these clouds and it looks nice on this side, and I think we're still good over here.

I'll save it at this point.

Then I'll work on final color and final sharpening and Black Point and White Point.

Save it.

Export as a TIFF.

There we are.

I'll use the Multiply Method with my Tone Curve to add more color.

If I take a Parametric Mask based on the L Channel and change my Blend Mode to Multiply, as I bring up my Opacity, you'll see that as I start increasing our Saturation our greens are starting to pop and our blues are getting more saturated too.

If I bring it too far, it gets kind of dark.

But I can balance this by using this curve also.

Let's bring up our Midpoint.

I don't want to lose contrast, so bring this down.

Here's before, and here's after.

I like that.

I want to work on some specific colors, but first I also want to add some color in large areas.

I can do that with an Equalizer, and also with a Gaussian Blur.

I think the Equalizer is the right tool here.

I'll go to the Chroma Channel and look at these larger areas that we know were at this end of the spectrum.

Let's bring up our color.

This gives us color separation based on distance.

This is just a straight saturation adjustment, even though it gives me separation by one area to another, like I say based on distance, but it applies to all the pixels in an equal way.

We should apply this with a Parametric mask based on the L Channel so that the brighter pixels get more of the effect.

Then we can bring our amounts up a little more too.

There we go.

Now our colors are really starting to pop.

This might be too much down here and in here, but I like it up here, so I'll use a Drawn Mask combined with the Parametric Mask.

I'll try to have less of the effect down here on the bottom so we don't get too crazy with our colors.

Okay, bring down the Opacity just a little.

We're starting to get somewhere.

I want the green to have more impact in here and out here, but I don't want it to get too crazy over here.

I think I'll have to use a couple of Graduated Density Curves combined.

I'll take one and go from here to here.

I'll turn on our Mask Indicator and take another one and go from here to here.

See how it includes all of this area? What I need to do is turn these around so they're the opposite of what I want, and then change my Drawn Mask Polarity.

Now I get what I want.

Right there.

So, the trick is to turn it opposite and then reverse the Polarity.

Now I can look at this color here.

Let's look at an Area.

We'll include the light green and the dark green and everything, but not the little lakes.

Then when we look at our color channels we have some distance here, and we can create more distance.

We'll bring up our yellow a little at one end but not at the other.

Same thing with our green: at one end and not the other.

Let's be sure our colors are still good.

We'll look at our light greens and our darker greens.

Now, lighter greens should be: L and B should be about the same, and A should be about half of that, a little bit less than half of that.

So, lighter greens.

L and B are close to the same: we've got 56 and 46, and the A is about half of that, maybe a little less than half of that.

We could bring up our green a little more, but let's look at our dark greens.

Dark greens should be right around in here.

Let's see: we've got a variation.

L is about twice B and B and A are about the same.

Okay, so L is about twice B, and B and A are about the same.

It looks like we've got too much yellow.

Okay, too much yellow.

So, we can bring up our green a little and bring down our yellow a little.

It's a little closer to half.

Those are a little closer to each other.


it's still too much yellow and not enough green.

Okay, we're looking a lot better here.

Those colors look a little strong, so, our Multiply that we did earlier here, which is 36% -- I'll take that down.

Ah, that looks right, about at 20%.

I want to do more separation of things.

I want the mountains to pop away from the clouds more, and for the water and the green and this hill and this side all to pop a little more.

I'll use a Lowpass Filter with an Overlay Blend Mode.

I'll take my Saturation down to zero and turn my Radius up so that I lose details but keep general shapes, like the shape of the mountain and the shape of the inlet, but not the crevasses and the trees.

I'll bring my Radius up.

There we go.

If I bring it up more, I can't see the difference between the water and the mountain, so I'll bring it down until I can see the difference.

There we go.


I've got my major differences here.

Then I'll apply that with an Overlay Blend method and bring my Opacity way down because it comes on too strong.

Well, I like it more up here than over here, so I'll use a Drawn Mask.

I want it everywhere; I just want more of it on the left.

With that I can bring my Blend up a little bit stronger.

Before, and after.

Highpass for giving me more details.

Bring my Sharpness all the way down and my Contrast until I get just the edges I want and no other ones.

Those look good.

Then I'll use an Overlay method with that and bring my Opacity down.

That gives me this sharpness in these rocks.

It looks like around 64% was good.

Now things are really starting to pop.

I want this to be a little bit brighter still.

I'll use a Lowpass Filter just in this area, because this is darker than I want and this is lighter than I want.

I'll use a Drawn Mask Blend Mode and go around this mountain.

There we go.

We'll give our Blend Distance a little more; make it a little smaller.

Now I'll take my Saturation down to zero and bring my Radius up so I'm just looking at these large areas: this dark and this light.

There we go.

Change my Blend Mode to Overlay; change my Contrast so it goes negative.

There is starting at zero; it should be indistinguishable from our original.

It is.

Then, as I bring my Contrast negative, that makes the lighter areas a little darker and the darker areas a little lighter.

Here's our before and here's our after.


I'll set our Black Point and do a final sharpening with Unsharp Mask.

...Gamma adjustment...

I want my Black Point up here to be a little lower; this is looking a little hazy.

Oh, final adjustments...

Okay: Black Point.

There we go.

See, I've got the spiral that I wanted.

This area breaks away from this area.

We come up in here.

Maybe a little more color in here? A little more pop right in here, because that's where my eye is drawn.

So, a little lower blacks, a little higher whites to give me more contrast.

Maybe a little brighter as we go toward the top.

My whites are a little too bright; I'll lower my Exposure for the whole image.

I want more detail in the clouds.

So, Highpass Filter...

No, I'll use the Equalizer with a Darken Blend Mode.

So, I'll set up a new one and use a Drawn Mask.

I want to do it more in the clouds, so I'll combine that Drawn Mask with a Parametric Mask based on the L Channel.

Right now here's a Mask Indicator.

It shows the clouds are getting a lot, and it goes up as we go up.

I want to see where I'm working so I'll do an artificial Gamma trick again: bring that up so we can see, and switch the Equalizer to Difference.

Then, let's look at what differences we make.

There's one.

Oh, that's too small.

Okay, like that.

There we go.

Now let's change it to Darken and get rid of our Gamma adjustment and see what our Equalizer did then.

It went from that to that.

Oh, yeah; that's what I'm looking for.

Maybe even a little more.

Now we've got our clouds popping from the background.

Okay, final sharpening: Unsharp Mask, probably around 0.1 Yeah, that looks good: 0.1 Looking at this image, I want to double check the colors of my clouds.

It looks like we might have some color in the clouds up here.

I'm pretty happy with the rest of the image, but let's look at that.

Go to Area.

Oh, yeah; look.

It's a little warm in both channels.

I don't want to change much of anything else, so I'll use an L Mask and Drawn Mask combined, and select the clouds.

I'll try to bring them closer to neutral.

Tone Curve.

That should be our last adjustment.

So, we've got a Parametric and Drawn Mask.

First, like that.

Then we'll use our L Channel here to isolate our clouds.

There we go.

Just the brightest areas.

Where does that show up? Oh, look; we're getting some of this blue in here too.

I don't want to include that.

Maybe we can do that based on the B Channel? Is there a difference between here -- that's 6.4 -- and here -- that's -30 We can absolutely use the B Channel.

Bring these sliders over and eliminate the blue sky.

There we go.

Now we're just looking at the clouds.


Give a little Mask Blur.

One pixel ought to be good.

Okay, our A and our B; take our Midpoint out, and bring this right where we want it.

We want to bring our B Channel down a little.

Okay, close to zero there.

And our A Channel also.

Take out our Midpoint.

Now we're at zero and zero.

We've got white clouds.

How does that look? Oh, it did look pink before.

That worked out great.

Andreas, thank you so much.

What a beautiful image! Do you actually live here? Or were you just visiting? Let us know.

It's spectacular.

Oh, that was fun.

Well, we're doing great.

We've gotten a lot of new subscribers on YouTube.

We're almost up to 600 subscribers.

And people have been asking questions and giving me suggestions, and correcting things I've done that weren't correct; this is great.

I want to remind everybody to send me your RAW edits.

I need contributions in order to do them.

Otherwise, I'm going to start doing my own shots again.

(laughing) So, you can click on 'Edit My RAW' here and you can upload your files.

It's at

Here at the site you can create playlists, which is really useful.

You can do them based on topics or on modules.

If you watch a video here, on the site, don't forget there's a tab down here to make it full screen.

You don't have to watch it in the little tiny window.

All the recent posts are here.

There are these resources: there's the LAB Color Reference Chart that I've been working on.

My Workflow: I show most of the steps of my workflow.

I should probably keep it up to date with little changes I make here and there.

The Sun and Moon Calendar is useful; it's the Photographer's Ephemeris.

It helps me figure out when I want to catch the Supermoon.

What else? Shoot With Harry.


Come to Hawaii and shoot with me.

We would have so much fun.

We'd go out and take pictures of all sorts of stuff, and talk about cameras and talk about editing.

You can sign up here at It's an opportunity for me to make a little money and you to have fun.

I'm sure you'd learn something; I'm sure I'd learn something.

Lastly, we've got Patreon Support.

You can click here to go to the Patreon page.

We have two people now that are contributing.

This is actually going to work out! This is great! Look, we're up to $3 a month (laughing) All right, everybody.

I hope you have a great weekend; I'll see you next week with more stuff.

Thanks for your contributions; thanks for your RAW edits; thanks for your questions and your suggestions.

I feel like we're building a community here.

See you then! Bye.

5 thoughts on “Lab Color Chart

  1. Hello Harry. Thank you for sharing your chart! Just as an idea for future improvements: provide color samples (or gradient) for those Lab values. And turn off spellchecker during file export ( is highlighted) 🙂

  2. As a suggestion, maybe make the name of the post clickable so people can easier get to the blog post of it with the links on the side with the procedures. At present you have to move down and click on the posted date to get into the post with the links. Regards

  3. Hi Harry,

    my girlfriend and I cycled on the Lofoten and Vesterålen islands for three weeks this year. The mountain is called Fløya where I took that picture. You can find a few more pictures are at

    Thanks for another amazing video. I think I need to take vacation for a week to learn and try all that stuff I learn here every week 🙂 Thanks for those great darktable videos.

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