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Photoshop Pro: Learn Match Color Effectively

Brief Introduction

  1. Match Color will match the general color and contrast of two images.

  2. Match Color is a useful Photoshop technique, generally used to change the color of one object to exactly match another.

  3. Match Color command is available in Photoshop CS (So, you’ll need to use at least a Photoshop CS in this tutorial)

I will show 2 different Match Color approaches in this tutorial. The first approach is to change an entire image color. Second, to change the color of certain elements in an image. In order to ‘match’ the images, you’ll need to open both files.

Step 1 Decide which image you want to modify, and which you want to copy. Make sure you are in the right window (in this case, the picture of a Man) before you begin.

Original Image of Man – Image ID: 3446451 © Andrey Tsidvintsev Original Image of Tree– Image ID: 3219389 © Ewan Chesser

Step 2 Go to Image > Adjustment > Match Color. This will bring up the Match Color dialogue box.

Step 3 The Match Color dialogue box is divided into two parts – Destination Image and Image Statistic. Look for the “Source” option at the bottom of the dialogue box and choose an image from the list as your Destination Image.

Step 4 You might want to adjust the Image Options to fine-tune the end result. In this case, I set Fade to 20 – just the right level without getting too reddish. Now, let’s move on to the next approach.

The next approach is about how to ‘match’, or transfer the color from one object to another object in another picture using the Match Color.

Step 1 Open the source image. Then duplicate the Background Layer.

Original Image – Image ID: 956234 © Nagy-Bagoly Arpad

Step 2 Now, make a precise selection of the area(s) that you’d like to ‘match’. In this case, I use thePath Tool (P) to select.

Click on the path layer when you are done. Then press Ctrl+Shift+I to invert the selection.

Go to Select > Feather and set Father Radius: 1 pixel to soften the edge.

You will get this :

Step 3 Now open destination image. Then use the Lasso Tool (L) to select a large area inside the object that contains the color you need. There is no need to make a precise selection, but be sure to make it big enough to include as much light and dark areas as possible.

Original Image – Image ID: 650833 © Jose Manuel Gelpi Diaz

Step 4 Now swtich back to the original image. Then go to Image > Adjustments > Match Color. 

Remember to tick both the check boxes at the bottom of the dialogue box and turn off the top check box.

Play around with the Image Options to get desired results – adding depth and creating more dimension along the way.

You will get this :

Step 5 Lastly, adjust the Selective Color Options for a better tone.

It’s done! Tips for Match Color

  1. Luminance Slider – Change the brightness of an image

  2. Color Intensity – Control color saturation

  3. Fade – If you don’t want to precisely match the reference image, but would like to instead head in general direction, then you can try to increase the Fade setting.

If you need to adjust more than one image, click the Save Statistics button and name that preset. All you need to do in the future is just to click on the Load Button and it will automatically do the Match color for you without needing you to open the Source Image again.

If you liked our tutorial, feel free to share it with your friends or even bookmark it!

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