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Infinite Color: I Created a Smart Color Grading Tool for Photoshop

Working as a retoucher, one of the hardest parts of my job wasn’t even the cleanup work that an image typically requires, it was the color grading. Applying a specific look to an image to really enhance or create a mood that meets the client’s vision was either doable or really hard. There was never a time when it was completely easy, even for me.

When the client has appropriate references in similarly lit situations to the job at hand, it’s a bit easier to dissect. If a client has no particular idea of what they want, this became impossible. Think about how many potential options there can be? It’s hard to live up to. What if there was a way to communicate in color?

People always know what they don’t want, but figuring out what they like is the hard part. With the sheer amount of possible color variations that an image could lead to, the choices are almost infinite! And in that moment of realization, I came the idea for Infinite Color. It was born out of necessity for me. I was curious to see what it could do to my life and to others.

What if there was something that allowed you to see an infinite amount of ways you could color grade an image? It almost sounded like a superpower in Infinity War. However, that might be the worst superpower ever in a fight! But for a photographer or a retoucher, it’s a good power to have!

This would open up a level of color communication with yourself and your client. For instance, it would give you an idea of the possible direction you might want to go in without doing a lot of work when you see the color potential of your work. Then, you could easily navigate it towards the final destination.

In relation to clients, I had someone who told me that they used it on set when the client wanted something “edgy” and had no other references. He told them to give ICP a spin and then suddenly the client found something they liked within a few tries. It was a done deal and the process of communication was much easier.

Even within your own personal work, if you’re curious to see which path the image could go, this opens up an opportunity to explore that. I’ve opened up old work just to see what it could look like and if I had missed any potential paths with color. Maybe you don’t want to use what it provides, but you like the idea of what it created, this gives you that clarity of direction and the ability to modify it to suit your taste.

Suddenly I realized I solved a huge part of my frustration as a retoucher. I initially developed this for myself but wanted to make it available to everyone to try.

How It Works

Here’s a video I made about what it is (within the first two minutes) and how it actually works. There’s even a way to save all your layers at the end of the video that allows you to make your own “presets” and apply it to a series of images for consistency! Every feature is explained in the video.



August 2020
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