How to Match Color between Documents in Photoshop CS6 - dummies

How to Match Color between Documents in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

The Match Color command in Photoshop CS6 enables you to match colors in a single image or between images — a source image and a target image. But it doesn’t stop there. You can also match colors between layers or even selections. You can further refine your correction by adjusting the luminance and color intensity (saturation).

The Match Color command works only with RGB images, but be sure to apply this command before you perform any color conversions.

  1. Open the two images you want to match.

    If you want, you can make selections in one or both of those images — for example, if you’re creating a composite image from two separate images and want to match the lighting color or skin tones. Without selections, the overall target image is matched to the source image.


  2. Make sure your target image is the active file, and choose Image→Adjustments→Match Color.

    If you’re using a specific layer in your target image, select that layer prior to choosing the command. Make sure you select the Preview option so that you can view your adjustments on the fly.

  3. In the Match Color dialog box, select your source image from the Source pop-up menu in the Image Statistics area.

    Select None if you’re working with only one image.

    Remember, the source image contains the colors you want to match in the target image.

  4. If you’re using a particular layer in your source image, select it from the Layer pop-up menu.

    Or choose the Merged option to match the colors from all the layers.

  5. If you have selections in your images, you can select one of the following options:

    • If you have a selection in your target image but want to match the colors from the whole image, select the Ignore Selection when Applying Adjustment option.

    • Select the Use Selection in Source to Calculate Colors option if you want to use the colors in the selection in the source image to calculate the adjustment. Deselect this option to ignore the selection in the source image and match the colors from the entire source image.

    • Select the Use Selection in Target to Calculate Adjustment option if you have a selection in the target image and want to use the colors in the selection to calculate the adjustment. If it’s deselected, the adjustment is calculated using the colors of the whole image.

  6. Select the Neutralize option to remove any colorcasts in the target image.

    When using the Match Color command, your cursor becomes the Eyedropper tool. This allows you to sample colors on your images and look at the color values in the Info panel while making your adjustments.

  7. Adjust the luminance by moving the slider or entering a value.

    A higher value increases the brightness in the target image.

  8. Adjust the color intensity of your target image.

    A higher value increases the color saturation, and a lower value decreases the saturation. Moving the slider to 1 desaturates the image to grayscale.

  9. Use the Fade option to control the amount of adjustment that is applied to the target image, moving the slider to the right to reduce the amount.

    If you move the slider all the way to the right, the image returns to its original colors.

  10. If you want to save your settings to use on other images, click the Save Statistics button. Then, in the Save dialog box that appears, name the file, specify the location, and click Save.

    To reload the settings later, click the Load Statistics button and navigate to the file.

  11. Click OK to apply the adjustment and exit the dialog box.

My image, while not spectacular, has less of that nasty green cast from the fluorescent lighting.