12 Replies Latest reply on Oct 11, 2017 5:11 AM by fiirvoen

    Color grading plugin

    Zacthe6pack Level 1

      hey, I am trying to find a good plugin for photoshop that allows me to easily color grade photos, but at the same time, giving me the freedom to be very complex. I have tried colormancer, but the interface is not to my liking. programs like premeire pro come with great tools for this sort of thing, but there really isn't anything in photoshop, a program that specializes in photo enhancement.


      I was wondering what success you guys have had with any of the other plugins out there, because most of them cost money, and I don't want to by them all just to try them.


      NOTE: i am not looking strictly for free plugins, paid ones will be fine.

        • 1. Re: Color grading plugin
          c.pfaffenbichler Level 9

          but there really isn't anything in photoshop, a program that specializes in photo enhancement.

          If I understand correctly color grading is a term from film editing; but can the processes it describes or their effects not fairly easily be achieved with a combination of Adjustment Layers (CS6’s new Color Lookup may be especially relevant)?

          Could you describe in more detail, possibly with examplary images, what you are trying to achieve?

          • 2. Re: Color grading plugin
            Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

            Magic Bullet Looks comes as Photo Looks for PS....



            • 3. Re: Color grading plugin
              Zacthe6pack Level 1

              Most of the grading plugins that i have tried (including magic bullet) are made for the person who wants to just drag on a preset, and maybe tweek it a little, and thats it. I like the freedom to tweek the hell out of my photos, and customize every feature about it. Again, i have tried colormancer which gives allot of freedom, but it is very hard to use, and i really don't like it.

              • 4. Re: Color grading plugin
                Level 7

                Most color grading is done with 3 point color controls -- which match the basic controls in levels, but with a different UI.


                Secondary color grading may need masks and Hue/Sat controls.


                All the typical color grading operations and controls are already available in Photoshop - they are just presented slightly differently because Photoshop is more flexible, and predates most of the grading apps.

                • 5. Re: Color grading plugin
                  Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                  Most of the grading plugins that i have tried (including magic bullet) are made for the person who wants to just drag on a preset, and maybe tweek it a little, and thats it.


                  Far from it. Looks can be a s complex as any other color correction tool but based on your complaints I guess you're simply laboring on the wrong assumption that any of this could be learned in 5 minutes or even would be intuitive. Color grading is an art in itself, that's why it's still one of the few leftover jobs in film production that pays reasonably well. It's a complex process that requires an eye for it and an understanding of the technical aspects. Without it, the most expensive and sophisticated plug-in is useless. In any case, it seems to me that you' haven't really spent enough time with PS own tools. No offense, but that "I want to tweak the hell out of my photos" comes off like in the end you still only want the same over and over used looks we see everyday, you're just making a fuss over it without acknowledging that a photo you tweak to perfection on your system may still look crap on anotehr one or whan printed on a cheap printer. Or more to the point: In my opinion, you have wrong priorities and obsess over merely one aspect of the work while completely missing out on others - like color management or while saving a tweaked photo to JPEG for Internet use may nullify all your best efforts. I'm the last to advocate PS as I dislike its clunkiness and outdated paradigms as much as the next guy, but really, you can do a lot just with its bundled tools and features and you should spend some time learning them...



                  • 6. Re: Color grading plugin
                    Stéphane Richard Level 1

                    I do not agree with you Mylenium and your answer is for a significant part not relevant to the discussion. Please don't tell people who and what they are, that's very unnerving, even for other readers.


                    Before starting the discussion, let me say that I'm a photoshop user since 1997. I'm still learning tricks every day, but I can say that I know this softawre pretty well. Yes color grading seems to be an art in itself, and if it has it's own tools, that's probably for some reason. You can do everything a grading softawre do in photoshop, but it is going to involve a lot more manipulations. For instance, photoshop clearly lack those dynamic masking features, and some more advanced color spectrum analysis tools, which are present in most of the color grading packages. This become counter productive when you have to color correct a bunch of images the same way. Writing actions is definitely an option, but it's far more time consuming than copypasting layers with dynamic masking features.


                    I guess the main point about this discussion is more about productivity than doability.

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: Color grading plugin
                      Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional

                      Stéphane, that's one hell of a first post to the forum!  I believe the point Mylenium was making is that the term Colour Grading is usually associated with video production, hence the name of Adobe's video colour correction application Speedgrade.  Of course colour management is a huge issue with Photoshop and still images.  It's just not usually refered to as 'grading'.

                      • 8. Re: Color grading plugin
                        PECourtejoie Adobe Community Professional

                        Then, would it be possible to send a picture to Speedgrade from Ps? Maybe by converting it to a video, and getting a lookup table, that one can then apply with the new adjustment layer?

                        • 9. Re: Color grading plugin

                          join the club! the club of users looking for a decent color correction plugin - something - anything ... photoshops rudimentary color correction is indeed the bane of the software .. the simple idea of committing one correction  [i.e. levels] then moving on to the  next correction [ say saturation] is at the heart of the complaints for photoshop users - since all these adjustments work together [adjusting one affects the other] ... only further reenforcing my opinion that programmers write programs with no clue how designers use programs ....


                          what your missing is a complete breakdown of all levels of RGB [or CMYK] into highlights midtones and shadows - AND each one of those broken down to gamma - pedistal and gain ... the advance masking tools [as in a previous post] and meters and guages. while you can use, say curves, to correct magenta with a gamma curve [ if you know what a gamma curve looks like] its totally arduous procedure .... theres is no way i can get the color correction in photoshop than i can in a video editing grading programs ... so herein lies the secret ...


                          get after effects - including the color software you need ... and heres your workflow ... after effects will accept a photoshop file and preserve the layers [or just import the layer that needs the CC] ... if you drag the imported PS file directly into a comp - AE will also preserve the pixel size but you must remember that AE only uses 72 dpi - not a problem - your pixels are still preserved just your interface will be larger ... then after said corrections AE can export back into PS layers ..... now the corrections will be written in stone at this point - but if you save the AE project as well you can back track and re-adjust ...


                          one more thing - i believe magic bullet makes 2 seperate programs - a lesser expensive drag and drop preset CC devise -and a more expensive full feature CC suite with all the tools necessary

                          • 10. Re: Color grading plugin

                            I've been looking for the same thing and came across a new program called Palette Effects from f64. The creator posted a webinar on YouTube going over all the functions, which is what piqued my interest. It comes in a software package of nondestructive Photoshop plugins. I personally cannot afford the software at the moment but it's definitely on my wishlist now:

                            Zone System Express Panel - f.64 Elite

                            Here's the link to the webinar going over the features of the software:

                            Palette Effects, the Big Reveal: Live Event Replay - YouTube

                            That said, I really wish Photoshop would add something to the program besides leaving us to gradient masks and importing palettes to and from cc libraries. It is possible to make speedgrade LUT's and import them into libraries for use in Photoshop but everything they offer by way of color is the long way round. I've used Topaz Restyle which was initially exciting, however, it's terrible for professional purposes (opening the smart filter will reset all of your settings and ruin the work you've done for the image). The program was created to give you a baseline for ideas, which is rather pointless considering the learning curve on the software then having to recreate the style from scratch in Photoshop using countless setting adjustments.

                            I have not used colormancer but I now feel the need to torture myself with it for a bit out of sheer curiosity.

                            • 11. Re: Color grading plugin
                              NeighborhoodOverlord Level 1

                              Wow. Colormancer looks extremely, dissapointingly, basic. No wonder you were frustrated with it, there are more options in Photoshop. Better results for color cast removal and adjusting tones can be found in the Nik software package. They're now free and I use them pretty consistently. Unfortunately, Google over extended themselves with the purchase of the company and will not be making upgrades or changes to the software anymore. But they have been updating it to work with OS platforms as they evolve, so at least there's that.

                              • 12. Re: Color grading plugin

                                Honestly, if you have the resources to use after effects or another adobe product, just use Lightroom. The color correction in there is much more sophisticated and reminiscent of video editing color grading tools. Plus, if there is a similar problem across a whole photoshoot, you can apply the same correction to multiple photos fairly easily.