Quevaal's blog

[tutorial] Dodge the yellow in Photoshop

posted by Quevaal, Aug 14, 2006 11:42 AM — 37 comments

Here's an image I took the other day on my way home from work.

I know, it looks like Granny's cellar wall with a 40W bulb.

It happens all the time. Now, there's a number of ways to get rid of this, but one very comon way (CTRL+L etc.) sometimes gives unwanted noise.

So then I thought: "There's got to be a way to avoid this. Avoid, avoid, avoid.... dodge! Photoshop has got all these dodge this and dodge that effects. Lets see if we can dodge this yellow tone"

So, I figured that if I selected the lightest colour on the picture, made a new layer and dodged it upon the original photo, then it might work. Hey presto, it didn't. But when I inverted the new layer, so that the slightly yellowish colour I had selected became dark blueish - then it worked!

See the procedure here:

1. Take the eyedropper and select the lightest spot on the picture.
2. Make a new layer, and colour it with that colour.
3. Invert.

4. Colour dodge!
Notice that you can reduce the percentage of the upper layer from 100% to, like, whatever, so that you have better control over the dodging. Often I use 70% to avoid a washed out result, but this time 100% worked fine.
5. Yay!

Now, let's see the closeups before:

....and after:

Not bad, eh? No noise and no washed out crap.

This method also works fine if there's a blueish tone on a picture or pretty much anything.

The end:

Download the finished result here:

Comments | RSS

1. posted by Zela, Aug 14, 2006 4:10 PM

Nice tutorial and I have already tried it out. Since I am a big clumbs in following step by step tuts it took me 10 minutes to find step 3 in Photoshop (ctrl+i) or >image>adjustments>invert.

But it does do the trick! Nice.

2. posted by lauralucia, Aug 14, 2006 9:07 PM

Great thing! Thanks for the tip! :)

3. posted by vivre, Aug 16, 2006 9:08 PM

Interesting... I wonder if you could achieve the same thing by selecting a subtle cyan variation (maybe with minor adjustments to brightness/contrast/saturation)?

4. posted by tooky, Aug 19, 2006 10:52 PM

I love you. This tutorial just remedied YEARS frustration!

5. posted by VijayDave, Aug 24, 2006 4:55 AM

Very interesting, indeed! Even the presentation of the whole story is very cool!
I appreciate this method. This is like using a filter of the opposite color so that the color cast is removed. We do in photography through a lence filter and in photoshop there are lots of filters and you can make your own filters tool. Try through a sky blue filter and your yelloish tone will go away! Promise -without spreading any noise!!!
Want to see more photoshop - see my site :

6. posted by da3moon, Aug 24, 2006 1:03 PM

Really great, thanks for sharing :)

7. posted by rrss, Sep 8, 2006 11:19 PM

Wow, that's great. I'm yet to try it, but it makes sense.

Your a genius :)

8. posted by kbramblet, Sep 16, 2006 12:03 AM

Wow! Just tried it and it worked beeewtifully! Great tip, thanks for sharing.

9. posted by lgs25, Sep 19, 2006 3:52 PM

Interesting tutorial.. but I like to keep things simple.. If it's RGB image, just go to IMAGE-AJUST-AUTO COLOR. And you will get the same result, sometimes even better.

Try that first ;)

10. posted by Quevaal, Sep 19, 2006 10:02 PM

Auto color?

There's Auto Levels and Auto Contrast, which gave respectively a green and a dark brown version.

11. posted by grberry, Sep 20, 2006 1:59 PM

Nice tutorial thanks. Together with VijayDaves' post it inspired me. I had a pic with a blue cast. I stuck a solid colour adjustment layer in yellow above it. Reduced the opacity of the adjustment layer (to 9% in this case) and low and behold no blue tinge! Then a layer mask to make sure only the tinged parts of the photo were affected and job done! Thanks for the inspiration!

12. posted by lgs25, Sep 20, 2006 2:48 PM

to Quevaal

yes Auto Color. Photoshop CS2. Guess you're using CS then :)

Auto Color (unfortunately only works with RGB) is amazing color corection algorithm. That saves you the time for this sort of image touch up.. one click and you're there.

13. posted by kbramblet, Sep 21, 2006 5:02 PM

I have CS2 and I tried the AutoColor thing on several pictures with a yellowish tint...(didn't know about it before) but the results were not very impressive. This tip may be two steps longer but it gives me great color correction and much more control. Quevaal, I'd seriously recommend you sending the tip in to Photoshop. I went to a seminar and they had a technique similar to this but MANY more steps. Your way is better. :^)

14. posted by Quevaal, Sep 21, 2006 6:10 PM

Nice to hear and thanks a lot, kbramlet! :)
I have sent it in to http://www.good-tutorials.com, but never thought about sending it to Photoshop.

(I only have 6.0, because frankly, I don't want to replace a lighter program that does the job with any new update, and so far there haven't been much that seemed necessary.)

15. posted by omar_franc, Sep 21, 2006 8:35 PM

Very good tip, if you're not satisfied with the result, try to change the hue till you got your perfect tone!

Thank you!

16. posted by reneau0010, Sep 27, 2006 4:02 AM

Sounds great. As a graphic designer and photographer, I prefer to leave the image alone and work with adjustment layers, colour adjustments.
Try this go into adjustment layers colour balance. Now you have 3 options– Midtones, Shadows, Highlights, if your picture has a yellow tint move the yellow slider closer to the blue. Do this for any or all of your 3 options. If you picture has a blue haze, move that slider the other way.
This method you can also punch up that vibrant red.

Alternately, try Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Where it says Master, select the yellow channel, then slightly turn down the Saturation. Ultimately, you can also punch up that red and give it a dramatic boost.

Incidently, you could change that red to another colour without messing with the other colours. Try it.

17. posted by lociuk, Oct 3, 2006 9:04 PM

bizzare way to go about it!!

just open selective colour and lower the yellow

18. posted by Quevaal, Oct 4, 2006 12:23 AM

@17 That causes noise

19. posted by basisb, Oct 6, 2006 9:41 AM


20. posted by smallbuddh, Oct 9, 2006 7:17 PM

this is genius! i've been trying to find a way to do this *forever*

21. posted by ronphoto, Oct 11, 2006 10:02 PM

Muito bom mesmo, vocês estão de parabéns, continuem assim, sempre mostrando coisas diferentes para o mundo. Valeu até mais

22. posted by bobike, Oct 17, 2006 8:27 PM

The best way is to shoot in RAW. Then you can adjust anything in your photo.HAVE FUN.

23. posted by zizzy0104, Oct 21, 2006 5:50 AM

Thank you so much! I always have a hard time with that, I need to try that out very soon. :)

24. posted by eyespywith, Oct 23, 2006 5:06 PM

thanks for the tips
but as a beginner i had to go and find all the things you mentioned
but otherwise it was good

25. posted by lukegillam, Oct 23, 2006 9:18 PM

Really good and helpful. A1+

26. posted by bebe106, Oct 25, 2006 8:20 PM

Oye wey creo que es mas facil en hue-saturacion, no crees?

I try in hue-saturation, saturation down and brightness up and I thing works perfect

27. posted by gerbrak, Oct 30, 2006 9:02 AM

This is a very good tutorial - I've used this method many times now and it's great! Thank you so much.

28. posted by Perceptor, Nov 2, 2006 2:03 AM

November, 2006

I was taught to use levels adjust and hue saturation, or contrast adjustments for such a color definition problem in Photoshop.

That way you don't simply mark off the already existing yellows and blues in the photograph, digital or film, and successful color seperations of the original photograph would not lose detail in cyan or yellow pre-press...

Your way seems simpler, but I would ask for another original film image, and then adjust for lighting after studying both images and comparing the pre-flight output...Well done, though, ahem...

29. posted by synik_1979, Nov 14, 2006 2:02 AM

Nice tutorial....And great photo too. You seem like a man after my own heart. Gotta those love paint faded walls and Urban Decay! ;)

And in regards to Colour Adjustment, theres a few ways to go about it, as mentioned above. However, I think its just a matter of which method/s the individual feels most comfortable using. I'd have to agree with "lociuk" though - "Selective Colour" is probably the best way to get the best results, because it allows you adjust any colour you want, as dramatically or subtly as you want. "Levels" are also a great way of 'punching up' image contrast before any colour adjustments are made!

30. posted by Quevaal, Jan 12, 2007 8:19 PM

One thing:
A common comment to this tutorial is "shoot RAW" etc. Not everyone has that option, but this technique can also be used for scans. Not just photo scans, but paper etc. Old paper gets yellow as you know...

31. posted by nightlina, Jun 2, 2007 8:05 AM

hmm.. previously I've attempted this correction by going colour-balance and , for example, pulling back the yellow on the midtones.. however I think your way would give a much more accurate result.

Thanks for the tip :)

32. posted by nerdluck, Aug 1, 2007 11:53 AM

Wow... I've been doing this thing all wrong all this time. Thanks for shedding some light on this puzzle... Time for better photos

33. posted by izmir35, Aug 19, 2007 12:17 AM

There is an easier way..You can do the same thing shortly. Go to Image>Adjustments>Curves and then pick the eyedropper on the right it is "Set white point" eyedropper. and select the lightest spot on the picture.Same point in the tutorial above.Then click OK. Exactly the same result.Check it !

34. posted by rhodes, Dec 22, 2007 1:55 PM

...Or you can use this one BRIGHTNESS/ CONTRAST then use SELECTIVE COLOR. From there you can choose the color you want to lighten or brighten. That was it!

35. posted by hoabinh, Oct 21, 2009 12:37 PM

Auto Color (unfortunately only works with RGB) is amazing color corection algorithm. That saves you the time for this sort of image touch up.. one click and you're there. http://mariecurie.biz http://tinyarticle.com

36. posted by careersB, May 27, 2013 3:57 AM

This is brilliant, thanks for sharing!! I've done some pictures this way, and it's amazing what results I've achieved, just what I was looking for! Thanks again for showing us!

37. posted by carlislekm, Jul 29, 2013 4:42 AM

Very interesting

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