I invested many years in designing and developing the Color Codex. I started collecting and indexing resources in 2013, articles, papers, books. In 2016 I begun evaluating different solutions, setups, and workflows to build, publish and maintain such a complex training course. I think it is finally the time, in 2018, to start producing content. The first three projects I’m already working on, are a complete Workflow in Lightroom, Integrating Lightroom and Photoshop, and Color Correction. Until these three projects will be completed the Codex will be available at 99$, a fraction of the cost.
Until these three projects will be completed and published, access will be granted not only a fraction of the cost, but without time limit as well. Plus to thank the subscribers I will add an extra year on top of that. If, for example, I will need two years to record the projects, the total length of your subscription would be three years. I’m pretty confident it is not possible to produce so much content in a shorter time, but as an extra final rule, I’ll guarantee that the minimum duration of this subscription will be three years.
Now In Production
Workflow in Lightroom
Importing to backup, all stages to post-produce and color correct a photographic project. My professional method applied to Lightroom and RAW.
Integrating Lightroom and Photoshop
When Lightroom falls short, and we need more tools. Why, when, and especially how, let Lightroom and Photoshop coexists.
Software are just tools. What to do with them, how and why are discipline’s topics. Learning a method is essential for success.
A tool that was created with a precise goal in mind, but that can be very helpful for colorists, in specific cases.
The Fader: the best plugin for LrC
The Fader, available at this link, is an incredibly useful and effective. An extension worthy of its name.
Tool Reviews: Snapshots
A simple yet essential tool for Lightroom & Camera RAW. Let’s talk about how it works, and why this is a canary in a coal mine for colorists.
Tool Review: Hue Adjustment
An in-depth analysis of the new tool presented by Adobe in the 2020 June update. Also a few comments about the official press release you can find at this link.
Apple’s CPU migration
My point of view about the just announced Apple Mac’s line-up migration from Intel to ARM.
Adobe June 2020 Update
My opinions about Adobe’s June 2020 updates for Photoshop, Lightroom and Camera RAW.
Tool Review Trail Introduction
We will isolate the tools we have in Lightroom and Photoshop, to be able to break up our workflows to improve them. We will search for the best, most efficient and easiest to use tools to do the job.
Introducing the Sharpening trail
A few opinions and warnings about the sharpening’s history and role. Before we start learning tools and techniques.
A new conceptual approach to Codex’s content publishing, that will arrive in the next weeks.
Tool Review: Calculations
A video that will disappoint many, about a tool that has no more a place in a professional workflow.
Tool Review: Apply image
A staple of the old school, one of the most used tools ever in color correction, let’s see together if it can still be useful today.
Worst mistake for a pro
In my opinion this is the worst misstep for a professional colorist, let’s see how to avoid this.
Becoming a Pro
A quick introduction to a new series of Codexes about how to become a professional.
Early 2020 Update
Some development news, and a new tool: Time Machine!
How do I get that style
I’ve been asked about how to replicate someone else’s style. Please note: my screencasting application failed to record audio from my mic, this is the backup, not as good, but usable.
Controlling Lightroom via hardware
Introduction and analysis to three different systems to control Lightroom via physical buttons and knobs. Upsides, shortcomings, and marvels for solutions we are forced to look for from third party developers.
Case Study: an impossible Range Mask?
How to approach, a real life example, the complex removal of a shadow from a black and white.
Tool Review: White balance
The easiest, and most common tool in any RAW workflow.
Black and White in Lightroom
Strategies and tools to correct a black and white in a RAW environment.
Problem solving in Photoshop
Guidelines to solve an issue, or an unpredictable behaviour, in Photoshop or Lightroom.
Tool Review: Selective Color
Another ancient tool in Photoshop, that was replaced by the new ones in Camera RAW and Lightroom. Deeply interconnected with Channel Mixer, but much easier to use and understand.
Tool Review: Channel Mixer
An almost forgotten tool, that may be still relevant for some professionals, that agree to invest time on channels.
The problem with a good original
One of the most common with good originals, what exactly should we improve?
Classify an original
A simple system that can help a professional in several stages, from defining a budget to set expectations for results.
Tool Review: Curves
A tool, and a philosophy, at the very core of Photoshop build and development. Plus a tiny adventure in CMYK.
Tool Review: Range Mask
An in depth analysis that focus on the best tool Adobe introduced for colorists in the last two decades.
Buying an Apple machine
My opinion on the most recommended systems for color correction professionals. Advices on how to face and plan the investment.
An introduction to the problems, and solutions, to apply quality standards to our work.
Tool Review: Blend if
A complete analysis of one of the most important, and powerful, tools in Photoshop. From the basic usage t in-depth real world cases.
A quick introduction to the beginner’s video for Photoshop.
A quick introduction to the beginner’s video for Lightroom.
Roadmap: Color Correction
A quick introduction to the beginner’s video for Color Correction.
Update: November & December
A quick update about the direction Color Duels will take in the coming months.
Developing an eye for detail
Few rules to improve how we approach a project, from both a professional and creative side.
Photoshop 2020 news and Photoshop for iPad
Within Adobe MAX 2019 released a new major version of Photoshop (21.0.0), and introduced, for the first time Photoshop for iPad. “All that glitters is not gold”.
The problem with tools
Some necessary words of advice before we start listing all the numerous tools we have at our disposition, and the way they interact with each other.
Should my photos have a look?
We start talking about aesthetics and styles. When it is possible to label post-productions as “looks” and the role of photography.
Introduction to quality
A necessary introduction to set the foundations to learn image analysis.
Introduction to color correction
Where we start talking about the color correction discipline and the job of the colorist. Thoughts about the teaching, about the market and how these two interact with our job.
Working with severely underexposed images
There are common elements to all images that are excessively underexposed. But, noise is rarely the most important, or most challenging to solve. In this video we will evaluate different cases, tests, and we’ll work an image from start to end, comparing then the result with the versions from the Workshop.
Introduction to Softwares
It’s not easy to pick the first software to learn and use. In this video we’ll introduce Photoshop and Lightroom and we’ll define the differences.
By analysing analogies and differences with two other medias, books and music, we’ll evaluate how the transition to the digital system affected the way we experience photography and why it made post-production an inevitable necessity.
My Workflow for video production
A complete and detailed walkthrough about how I designed the workflow to record videos like this. From design to recording all the thoughts behind improving and refining a production experience.
An introduction to the Workflow category. What, who, when, why and where to use one. Essential definitions, five rules, and five issues, to evaluate when designing or revisioning one.
All the info you need to sketch, execute and deploy a simple, cost-effective and efficient backup strategy. In this video we will go back to digital photography’s beginnings to evaluate how devices, softwares and formats affected how we handle files.
The Contrast Luminosity relationship
The important link between luminosity and contrast in an image
Switch colors with LAB
LAB’s unmatched advantages when we need to intervene on the chromatic component
Shadow and Highlights
A good tool to fine tune the general contrast of an image
How a Digital Image is made
A digital image genesis, and why it is important to know this data flow
Digital Imaging Introduction
A quick introduction to digital imaging and all the related terms
What’s Codex purpose, and how it’s different from all other video courses? The Color Codex is a complete videocourse in development about color correction. My goal is not to teach you about softwares basics and tools. I want to help you improving your images. Photoshop doesn’t makes you photos better, you do! This course is being developed, produced, and published by me.
This little (huge) difference allows me to update, extend and swap key videos anytime I will find a better solution to achieve something, or a new software, or hardware, will came up. Finally, managing all operations, from support to publishing, I can answer to your question with a video, if necessary, in quite a short time.
How do I know the topics are of my interest? In this page you can see the nine main categories, plus the last codexes that were published, or are being produced.
I don’t really trust crowdfundings! I totally understand, me neither! That’s why, in any day, at any time, you can see in real time how many videos, ho many hours, their topics, I already published. And then evaluate if this is worthy for you.
Are training videos the best way to learn color correction? No. The most efficient way is practice. This is why many years ago I created the Color Correction online Workshop. If you agree that practice is more important for you, maybe you’re right. Maybe you’re not sure, this is why I built the free trial so that it is the same for both the Codex and the Workshop. Please note: for all Workshop members the Codex is free.
I still have doubts! Inquisitive mind! Have a spin with the trial, it is free, no credit card, it last a month. And if it is still not enough you can always write me!
If you’re interested in the Codex you have to choices, to apply for the free trial, or to subscribe. The free trial allows you to watch the last six Codexes published, and to check out the Workshop.
If you think you’re ready to join, you can subscribe here. This membership doesn’t have a specific length, it will give you access until the three projects will be completed plus an extra year. It will last, in any case, at least three years, and it will not renew. The price is 99$, one time.
Reserch & Development
June 2013 – Present
Evaluation, classification, and indexing of all resources. Articles, papers, and books. Topics and fields blueprinting.
Categories separation. Tools selection, begin alpha code development, systems integration. Workflow selection and simulation.
All tools, hardware, software and beta code ready. First three projects draft, and content production. First feedbacks evaluation.
The first of three project is completed. Re-evaluation and course-correction of all systems.
Publishing and update of the first three projects. Definition and draft of the next three. The Codex is no complete and ready for its final stage.
Codex Is Live
The Color Codex is live and its last stage. Main work now it’s to extend and update.
A modern and advance method to read an original, and analyse an image, based on Lightroom (or other RAW processor). In Photoshop we can measure colors, but in Lr we can continuously change all the parameters to see how the image react to these changes. This way we can rapidly collect info not only on the image’s issue, but on its potential as well. We can couple this with the tool “Snapshot”, to create further references to compare.
The biggest problem for users that approach post-production and color correction is not about techniques, or tools, is about image analysis. Readings is a feature of the Online Workshop, is a video where I comprehensively analyse an original un-retouched image, its flaws and potential and how to approach its enhancement.
An absolute genius, and a great friend. Davide has a large and meaningful experience in many high end professional niches. He’s a brilliant coder, and build several Photoshop extensions. He wrote, as well, several books to learn to extend Photoshop. To add insult to injury is an incredibly talented colorist as well.
An application published by Adobe in 1990 for Mac that allowed primitive (but jaw-dropping back then). Pleasure and pain of any digital photographer, colorist, pre-press manager and hundreds of other professions, from architecture to web design. Once sold as a stand-alone application, or bundled in the Creative Suite, it is today available only via a monthly or yearly subscription. It has always been the most pirated app in the world, and one that was developed without care or vision. So many, and diverse, tools were added during the decades, that an organic and comprehensive study is now impossible.
A new tool introduced in Camera RAW and Lightroom that allows user to subtract on a layer-based logic. It acts only on local adjustments subtracting the unwanted areas of brushing and filters. It has a great importance in lessening Photoshop usage, and it is the first step towards the end of the Lightroom Photoshop dualism.
The most important technology that we got when digital imaging switched to digital. Developing a RAW file means first and foremost that we’re not actually modifying that file in any way. We are working on a different text file, or database. This is also why RAWs are called “digital negatives”, because they will stay there untouched. It is the closest stage we can get to raw data from the sensor. There are also downsides, for example each manufacturer chose a different way, and extension, and there are significant variations in different softwares.
A core quality, like contrast and brightness, for every colorist. As such, one of the key parameters to evaluate in a corrected version. When we talk about saturation we mean a certain hue‘s intensity. When saturation get higher colors are more vivid, when it approaches zero hues turn to grey. Often words like “vivid” or “strong” are overlooked in color science, but are still valuable to us. Especially when we remember ourselves how much important perception is in our field.
The Workshop‘s users are a legitimate Team. In years of practice, work and discoveries we distilled a common language and refined our skills. We inspired each other with smart ideas and unconventional approaches. But most of all we disagreed. Agree with each other is a good thing, but disagreement is even better. The Team corrected hundreds of images for years, and it is always invited to share feedbacks and thoughts.
A general understanding of how our visual system works is important for any colorist. The visual system is not limited to our eyes, the brain plays an important role. This combination, and the results they produce, was tweaked during our evolution to serve a purpose. Some of its phenomena can be proficiently used in color correction to our advantage.
A “version” is an image that has been corrected by a colorist. In our Workshop a version is produced by every colorist, every week. It has a great value, but it gets multiplied when used in combination with other versions. Even if your working solo, producing more versions of the same original, can help you producing a better result.
Let’s start from the start! Alessandro Bernardi, or AB (all acronyms in this page are friends, classmates and colleagues). A professional colorist, with a huge experience, he studied oversea with Dan Margulis, and from 2009 managed his classes in Italy. I, and many others, owe him a great debt of gratitude. The education, experience, and networking those classes generated changed many lives, mine included.
My favourite Photoshop tool is also a long forgotten one. I will write a complete article soon, in the meantime let me say blend-if is the most powerful tool to blend two different layers, allowing logical operations, especially when used in Lab. It is as well a tool that can be used in combination with masks, blend modes and opacity. What used to make Photoshop truly essential, at least until Range Mask came out in Camera RAW, and Lightroom.
Photography’s original language (although imposed by technical limitations). Still doable, but massively penalized by digital, black and white is actually a very difficult language to recreate. Similarly to the imitation of gold on paper, todays colorists fail to understand a good old-fashion black and white print used many technologies not available anymore. A huge market, not always honest, gravitates around B&W, from grains to apply, to filter to auto-generate corrections. The best approach is still understanding how a color image is created, and to use its channels.
Our visual system and our color perception will always be more advanced than a camera. Sure, there will be hardware capable of features we can compete with (it is already like this with night vision), but these usually involve peculiar hardwares and algorithms that do not produce good, nor natural, images. The power our brain has to manipulate colors will probably never be matched by a sensor. This is why many times there is no match in what we see, and what our camera sees, forcing us to operate a balance.
Different sets of calculations that allows for different interactions of two adjacent layers. We can set the blend mode of a layer, adjustment layer or smart object, the result will impact luminosity, color or both. There are as well some primitive logic functions, like “difference”.
One of the fundamental elements that compile a digital image. Channels are usually three (RGB, Lab) or four (CMYK), and they are very valuable in practical color correction as well. They are essentially black and white versions of an image (where black and white values depends on colors), thus are great for masking, or reading an image.
Once the the line that divided pros from amateurs this still relevant color method is used less and less day by day. The importance of having four more channels will always be the same, but the more modern RAW tools (and the huge amount of time required to learn Photoshop ‘till CMYK), and the better quality we get from digital cameras, allows for much simpler and faster tools.
Color, limiting this definition in regards of our professions and studies, is our perception of the macroscopic manifestation of physical properties in everything around us. Our visual system is based on perception, and evolved for hundreds of millennia with a purpose: surviving. Studying this phenomena can be rewarding, like in the case of chromatic operation, or adaptation.
Professionals in the fields of color correction. It is a quite definite subset of pros, like retoucher, or post-producers. Once (film age) a very prestigious career, with the transition to digital its value was diluted and quickly forgotten. Learning color correction is frequently mistaken with studying Photoshop, or other image processing applications. That couldn’t be more wrong.
The most important feedback we can have happens when we compare two version of the same image. We’re not able to measure colors with our eyes, but our visual system can compare things very quickly, and we can gain great value in this comparison. What works better, if there is a color casts, paired with tools to read color values we can safely tell the quality of our work.
A core quality for colorists. As with many concepts in disciplines that involve perception it is much easier to observe the changes than to give a definition. If we increase contrast highlights will be brighter and shadows darker, if we reduce it the opposite will happens. Its definition, the relationship with dynamic range and the analogies with other disciplines require much more time and space.
My opinion is that it is better to split color correction results in two categories: “corrections” and “interpretation“. Corrections focus on objectively improving an original. Removing issues like color casts or lack of contrast, and improving saturation. It should be the first step in any job, and it should be the goal of photojournalism or scientific images. This required precision can, sometimes, make things harder, like in multi-images projects.
Duels is the last tool I developed. It allows you to challenge the Winner of a previous assignemt from a pool of over 300 images. You can comper your own version with the Winner’s, with the Average, and the Original. When you want, how many times you want.
Let’s keep this simple. Hue define the kind of color we’re seeing, not how much is bright or saturated. So a saturated red, and a pale red will have the same hue, and different saturations. While a crimson red, a cardinal and a carmine will have similar hues, and different luminosities. Finally, greens and reds will have different hues. In digital color Hue can be a parameter in a color space, combined with Saturation and Lightness.
My opinion is that it is better to split color correction results in two categories: “corrections” and “interpretations”. Interpretations have a much more complex goal than corrections. They focus more on aesthetics, on subjectivity, their goal is to make a picture (or one of its element) to looks “better”. This can’t be absolute, and we risk, sometimes, to achieve the opposite result. Post-production for fashion photography, portraits and product photography usually are interpretations.
A RAW developing application published by Adobe since 2007. Lightroom was developed around the photographers but it still requires Photoshop for a complete color correction workflow. It is divided in modules, and can be used to manage catalogues, archives, metadata, editing, post-production and exports. Since the switch to the subscription model Lightroom is part of Creative Cloud.
A word that represent different things in the color correction world. A quality, a parameter, a channel in Lab, one of the two fundamental elements of a photo (the other is chroma). It is a core concept during the evaluation of a correction. It is a much more appropriate term when describing what was the exposure in a previous stage.
Our collecting, analyzing and tweaking data received from our senses. We are not capable to make absolute measures, but we are very good at comparing things. visual system and color perception are good topic for colorists to learn to add a layer of complexity to their work.