A LAB full of color | iRyanBell.com
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A LAB full of color

May 24, 2019

A LAB full of color

Dipping photos into the LAB color space is one of my favorite tricks for improving image vibrancy. Adjusting the levels and curves here, rather than doing so in RGB or CMYK space, is a bit like rolling up your sleeves and using the visual equivalent of a multiband audio compressor. You’re able to bring each element out in front with greater balance and control than with other tools.

What is LAB Color?

LAB Menu

The LAB color space represents color using these 3 values:

  • L*: Lightness
  • a*: Red/Green Value
  • b*: Blue/Yellow Value

This representation provides a wider color spectrum to work within than RGB or CMYK by separating the luminance of a pixel from its color vector. By compressing the values on the A/B curves, you can compress the color spectrum to really get images to “pop” with less distortion than a typical turn of the RGB saturation knob.

Download the Photoshop Action

I’ve been working on a new website for a local wrought iron & powder coating business. While setting up their photo galleries, I’ve been taking the time to enhance the depth of each shot. To improve my workflow, I created a suite of Photoshop Actions to make notch-level compression edits in the color spectrum.

LAB Curves

Check out this sample from the Photoshop Action:

LAB Sample

You can compare it against the built-in Vibrance adjustment tool: Vibrance vs LAB

Or, the built-in Hue/Saturation adjustment tool: Saturation vs LAB

You can download the action here: 👇
LAB Vibrance