Inside Photoshop

Expand your color options with Lab mode

Inside Photoshop

by Amy Gebhardt

Photoshop comes equipped with a variety of color modes. When working on an image, the most common color modes used, as you mentioned, are RGB and CMYK. However, working in Photoshop’s Lab Color mode can be a lot of fun, especially when you want to experiment with color changes within an image. At first, working in Lab mode may seem tricky, but after you read this article you’ll be able to take full advantage of this powerful image-editing feature.

Explaining Lab mode

The Lab Color mode consists of three separate color channels, as shown in Figure A. The first channel is Lightness (L). The Lightness component, otherwise known as luminance, can range from 0 to 100. A Lightness value of 0 equals black and a value of 100 equals white. The higher the value, the more vivid the color. The other two channels, a and b, represent color ranges. The a channel contains colors ranging from green to red, and the b channel contains colors ranging from blue to yellow. Figure B shows how our original image is broken down within each channel.

Figure A:
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Figure B:
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Manipulating color

Now that you know the fundamentals behind Lab colors,[…]


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