Photoshop 2021: Color Grading in Camera Raw



Photoshop has finally updated the same feature you might be already enjoying with Adobe Lightroom. In this tutorial, you’ll learn color grading in Photoshop’s Camera Raw!

Learn to use the new Color Grading panel in Photoshop 2021’s Camera Raw.

This amazing new color grading tool allows you to target the shadows, midtones, and highlights with easy to use controls.

Check out this 5-minute crash course on how this new Photoshop 2021 feature works!

Tutorial Image

You can download the tutorial image here.

Converting the layer into a Smart Object

The working document has a gradient going from black to white underneath the portrait to help you visualize how this tool works. 

Start the process by converting the layer into a Smart Object so that you can work non-destructively and have the ability to readjust any filters, effects, and layers applied to it.

Convert to Smart Object

Apply the Camera Raw filter

Choose Filter > Camera Raw Filter to access the filter that allows you to enhance your image’s colors and details.

Choose Filter > Camera Raw Filter

Click here to learn how you can fix perspective distortions in Photoshop!

3-Way Color Grading in Camera Raw

In the latest version of Photoshop, you will no longer find the Dual Toning tab as it is now replaced by the Color Grading tab where you will find three color grading wheels for the Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights.

Color Grading tab

Apply a color tint to the Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights

Adjust the Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights color wheels to change the color of the portrait. 

Adjust the Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights color wheels

As you do, the Gradient Bar below the portrait allows you to see which colors you have as your Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights.

You can reset a color wheel just by double-clicking on it.

The Blending and Balance slider

The Blending slider allows you to see the amount of overlap between the Shadows and Highlights. 

The Blending slider allows you to see the amount of overlap between the Shadows and Highlights.

The value set to 0minimizes the amount of overlap, and the value set to 100 maximizes the overlap.

The Balance slider balances the effect between the Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights.

The Balance slider balances the effect between the Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights.

The Balance Slider :

  • Values <0 increases the effect of the Shadows
  • Values 0> increases the effect of the Highlights

Individual Color Wheels

The three icons above represent the color wheels: the darkest being the Shadows, the middle icon as the Midtones, and the lightest being the Highlights.

The three icons above represent the color wheels: the darkest being the Shadows, the middle icon as the Midtones, and the lightest being the Highlights.

Whichever icon you click, you’ll see the same set of sliders: the Hue, Saturation, and Luminance. 

If you hold Ctrl (Windows) or Command (macOS), you cannot add Saturation by locking the Hue and focusing on it, which can also be achieved by using the Hue slider.

 hold Ctrl (Windows) or Command (macOS)

If you hold the Shift key, you can drag the pointer around to adjust the Saturation in the color wheel

Hold the Shift key to drag the pointer around to adjust the Saturation in the color wheel

Meanwhile, the Luminance slider helps you adjust the brightness and the darkness of the color.

Luminance slider

The Global Color Grade adjustment

The Global Color Grade applies a global color grading, including any Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights adjustments you may have made.

The Global Color Grade applies a global color grading, including any Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights adjustments you may have made.

When you’re satisfied with your adjustments, press OK to save.

Your Camera Raw Filter adjustments will then be applied to the Smart Object and you can easily return to the workspace by clicking on the Camera Raw Filter label.

Final Image

Drag The Slider To See Before & After

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