A common question we receive from customers here at Topaz is how to correct a color cast. Yellow color casts are a common problem when shooting under incandescent lighting, so here’s a method I’ll share with you on how to accomplish this task using Topaz ReStyle.
How to Fix a Color Cast
For this demo I’ll be working with the image below of a coffee cup and bokeh lights. It was late night when this photo was taken, so incandescent lighting was used to light up the scene. Unfortunately, this resulted in a yellow color cast.
Here is the after, which was altered using Topaz ReStyle:
Feel free to download the original image to the top right so that you may follow along. You can also download a free 30-day trial of Topaz ReStyle if you don’t already own the plugin.
How to Correct a Color Cast
- With the image open in your host editor, open Topaz ReStyle.
- Under collections on the left side of the interface, select the Seascape collection. While this image has nothing to do with the sea, I chose this collection because I know that it contains a lighter set of effects with the kinds of colors I want (think seashells, beach froth, pastel sunsets).
- Click on this icon to expand the set of effects in a grid-view mode.
- Scroll through the different looks, taking snapshots of ones that catch your eye and might potentially work out. To take a snapshot, click on the camera icon beneath the preset. You can later compare and contrast effects in your snapshots folder .
- The preset Apricot Mornings really stands out to me. If you look at the colors in the preset, the periwinkle blue pairs well to the cup, while the lighter, peachy pastels work with the background. Click on this effect to apply it to your image and return back to the home screen.
- Press the spacebar to toggle between the before and after.
- Now let’s adjust the opacity of the effect and try a blending mode. These two options are located within the RESTYLE toolbar. For this example, I chose a Color blending mode and reduced the opacity of the effect to around 80%.
- Expand the ReStyle module. Under Color Style, select the SAT option and increase the Fourth slider. This will increase the saturation of blues within the cup, making it stand out more.
- Next, expand the BASIC module, which contains basic adjustments. You have the option to use the temperature and tint sliders here, which are staples in color correction. If dealing with a yellow color cast, you’ll want to decrease the temperature to a cooler, blue tone. Since this specific effect also applied a peachy-pink cast to the image, I toned that down a bit by decreasing the tint slider.
- Adjust the tone as desired. I typically like to increase the midtones just a tad to brighten the image.
- Since this is a macro shot, I increased the sharpness to give the cup crisper, more in focus lines.
- Press OK when finished to save the image back to your host editor.
Optimize Your Workflow with these Tips
This was just one example of how to remove a yellow color cast using ReStyle’s available filters. It takes practice and an eye to know which effect to use with image, but a good starting point is selecting the proper collection.
Here are some other tips to optimize your workflow when using Topaz ReStyle:
- Grid-view mode is key. Use it for a more efficient search process.
- Browse through different collections to discover different looks.
- In grid-mode, click on the magnifying glass beneath a preset to discover similar looks.
- Another way to discover similar looks is to click on a color within a preset.
- Use keywords in grid mode to find specific effects.
- There isn’t an apply button in ReStyle, so if you want to stack effects, simply press OK to return back to your host editor. Make a copy of that layer (ctrl/cmd + J) and bring that copy back into ReStyle to apply another effect.
- Snapshots do not save once you exit the program, but favorites do.
- Keep opacity in mind as you are browsing through effects. The effect may look bad at 100%, but beautiful when the strength is reduced.
Here are some other examples where ReStyle helped to correct color and also bring out tonalities in less than ideal lighting situations.
Art Museum – No Flash Allowed
Seascape Collection-> Cold & Steamy Sea (73% opacity, luminosity blending mode), increased structure and sharpness. Adjustments in tone levels.
Flashes are a big buster at art museums, since over time they can decay the artwork. Without a tripod, it can be hard to properly expose an image and maintain sharpness. In addition, incandescent lighting is prevalent in art galleries.
Nature Collection -> Mantis Showoff preset -> opacity reduced to 75%, increased sharpening applied.
Yellow color casts upon city scenes are quite easy to neutralize in ReStyle. The Night collection is perfect for this and contains a variety of effects suited for both city scenes and landscapes that were shot at night.
Non-Traditional Studio Settings
Portrait Collection-> Cyan Tinted Tea Rose, 42% opacity. On same layer-> Cream & Redwood preset at 42% opacity. On same layer-> Salmon Pink Veil, 57% with a screen blending mode. Layer masking was then used to partially mask in the original skin tone (which had turned quite ghostly).
Without access to a studio, sometimes you have to make due with you you’ve got. When shooting indoors, yellow color casts are likely to be a result, especially if it was night time when no natural lighting is available (like these examples). Topaz ReStyle was an easy fix for both of these.
And that wraps up this tutorial. Topaz ReStyle is usually not thought of as a program that can help with a technical fix such as correcting a color cast, but it really is a powerful program for this technique. Applying a single effect usually does the trick, but sometimes stacking effects can give you a truly unique result.