DARYNABARYKINA.COM | Color Grading. Cinematic portrait.
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Color Grading. Cinematic portrait.

I don’t normally use color grading techniques in my work, since original color is extremely important for majority of my assignments, but not so long ago I had time to play with it.

 I want to share this information with you, because simple color grading technique and a bit of texture really impressed me with its ability to dramatically transform the image.  Glancing at before/ after image, you will be able to instantly understand my excitement.

 I can’t say that I am extremely happy with this particular result, since I was working fast and certain things just slipped out of my hands. For example I “lost” model’s legs, when technically I would like the whole body contour be more “readable”.  

This particular color grading technique I picked up long time ago on youtube. The mechanism is very simple – stacking up selective color adjustment layers.


Ok, so let’s start from the very beginning and see what I did.


My first steps were quick frequency separation (just to blend some minor shadows on the model’s face) and levels (to slightly change exposure, since original was a bit overexposed). 

Then I multiply Black and White adjustment layer. I like this technique because of what it does to the overall image and the skin in particular. It brings more depth and minimizes saturation of the red tones. Opacity for this layer is 23%, blending mode – Multiply.

More desaturation for the red/yellow tones on a separate Selective Color adjustment layer and we finally get to selective color. You can see layers named “magenta” “blue” “yellow”.  I named layers based on the tint I was trying to achieve.  In Selective color dialog window I was mostly tweaking Neutral Black and White on all three layers. Color was achieved by stacking up selective color adjustment layers and the change of the layer opacity meaning in the experimental manner. 

Next application is the texture addition. I selected abstract bamboo painting in black ink on the white background, duplicated and placed painting on the background behind the model, selected Multiply blending mode for all texture layers.  Last application is some dodge & burn on the separate grey layers. Slight noise (on the separate grey layer) applied to the whole image.

That’s it.

More photos, using this technique.


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Let me know if you would like to read more posts like this on my blog.