How do I turn an indoor picture outdoor. Photoshop lighting/colour
July 25, 2020 11:06 PM   Subscribe

I have a picture taken indoors. I'm going to change the background so it's outdoors. But of course the lighting colour looks all wrong. I've already tried colour match to the background, which looks terrible, even faded. I tried colour lookup, but there's no built in table for this. Can you explain how I change the lighting of an indoor fluorescent pic and make it look like it was lit by a sunny-ish outdoor day? I'm looking for instructions along the lines of "make the yellows more blue and then take the greens and make them less blue" (or whatever). Using photoshop.
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You need to mess with the "white balance," which is a setting set at the time of the photo that relates to the type of light it was captured in. If it was fluorescent you probably will want to make it "warmer," which generally corresponds to yellower.

I'm not sure about Photoshop, but in Lightroom's color adjustments you can select colors and shift them toward one direction or another, kind of a localized hue control.

You'll probably also want to change up the brightness a bit to make it match the outdoors better. Look for a setting called "curves" and play around with it. You may also be able to curve individual channels (red, blue, green) and change the look of the photo that way.

Good luck! It won't be perfect but a few changes (especially to temp) can really make a photo look totally different.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:31 PM on July 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

In Photoshop you can Open in Camera Raw (I think it's in the File menu, but you can Google it) and change the white balance (aka color temperature) in there, and then take it back into Photoshop to do more editing.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:07 AM on July 26, 2020

Try to adjust the direction of the light to match the outdoor background image.
posted by sammyo at 4:04 AM on July 26, 2020

Response by poster: Yes, you can definitely adjust individual channels and I know about the curves adjustments and the white balance. My problem is that I don't have an artist's eye, so I can't SEE that it looks "too blue" or "the reds should be less saturated" or whatever. So I was kind of hoping for some help knowing HOW to adjust the settings, not just which ones to adjust. Which direction should I be moving the white balance in? I often adjust the white balance from the levels dialogue (using the middle dropper to pick a neutral...should I pick a slightly yellow or slightly blue spot? (or maybe a quite yellow or quite blue and then make that layer less opaque?)

My problem is that if I don't get it exactly right, I can't "see" that it's in the right direction just too much or two little. I just see that it's wrong. So I'm adjusting things with no feedback. If I knew HOW I should be adjusting that would really narrow things down.

Thanks for the info on lighting effects sammyo. I did also add some sunlight/rays overlap and was going to adjust the visibility of the rays on the people manually with a mask (the sunlight comes from behindish, so would only be visible on tops of head/one side of face, parts of table), but I will give the lighting effects a try and see if that's better. If it's not, I'll have learned a new function, at least.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:23 AM on July 26, 2020

If it were me I'd try the Photo Filter. Go to adjustments and run down the list until you get to the Photo Filter option. The default color is a sort of warm orange color, though this can be changed if need be. It will overlay a warm tone on your photo. The amount of color can be adjusted to suit. You could then try adding an adjustment layer (go to layers-new layer-adjustment layer)and add a glow setting. Adjust the opacity of the layer as needed.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 5:49 PM on July 27, 2020

Generally speaking, indoor light will be yellower and/or greener than outdoor light, depending on the source. So removing the green and yellow will get you closer to the color temperature of the sun.

Lighting direction and source is going to make a huge difference as well, in how natural the composite looks. You can get the color tone "correct" but if the lighting quality is otherwise very "indoor" it will never look like it came from the same spot.

I suggest using a slider if it's available for the white balance, instead of the eye-dropper. It may help you get your eye around what's happening if you can slide smoothly between the extremes. If you're compositing, sometimes there's a clear moment where it looks a lot better with the background.

The other adjustment to look for is often called "tint", and it will move tones greener or pinker. That will help remove any green cast from the image. Again, a slider interface here will help train your eye better than an eye-dropper.

If you have those tools it's kind of just a matter of playing with them until it looks right, at least in my experience.

It seems like since you're trying to match the look with another image, you may be able to do this without the "artist's eye" — just fiddle until it looks better.

Good luck!
posted by wemayfreeze at 5:19 PM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

« Older Was I wrong? And how do we solve this?   |   Identify this gif Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.