With Adobe Photoshop’s proven ability to perform feats of color magic, you might think a color-correction plug-in would be overkill. Not so. Even for color experts, the process of correcting color can be time-consuming and frustrating because of the many problems and methods of correction, and because fixing one detail can throw off another.
PictoColor’s iCorrect EditLab Pro 5.0 Photoshop Plug-in (which is also available as a stand-alone application) is geared toward digital photographers and anyone else who appreciates optimal color. It makes correcting RGB images a breeze, and its interface offers as much or as little assistance as you need.
Accessible from Photoshop’s Filter menu, iCorrect EditLab contains a preview window with four tabs; each tab contains a color-correction tool. Presented in a logical order from left to right, the tools are Color Balance, Black Point/White Point, Brightness/Contrast/Saturation, and Hue-Selective Edit. The last tool boasts one-click buttons for both black-and-white and sepia conversions.
People who live to tweak every setting to perfection will appreciate each tool’s individual controls and reset button. Those who don’t—or who lack the time to tinker—will appreciate iCorrect’s SmartColor technology: this color-correction wizard analyzes and corrects images automatically, leaving you to make minor adjustments instead of major ones.
SmartColor can be used in three ways, which can be confusing at first. Clicking on the SmartColor button within a tool’s editing pane calculates and adjusts settings for that tool only. Clicking on the second SmartColor button—a little lower in the window—adjusts all four tools at once. SmartColor Mode (which you apply via a checkbox) lets the plug-in do the bulk of the color correction work for you, as adjustments made in one tool automatically trigger recalculations and readjustments in each tool to its right. Because the tools are ordered to produce optimal results, automatic adjustments are never made in tools to the left. However, you can edit manually in any order you please.
You can also control how SmartColor works. For example, if you don’t like the way it handles saturation, you can turn off that component in the Preferences dialog box. Any changes you make can be saved as a custom setting for later use, and each color correction can be recorded as a Photoshop action for use in batch processing.
Toggle the Preview option on and off to see the fruits of your labor, or, more conveniently, position the plug-in’s window next to your Photoshop document for a side-by-side comparison.
Macworld’s buying advice
If you’re interested in saving time or achieving frustration-free color correction, iCorrect EditLab Pro 5.0 Photoshop Plug-in will be a worthy addition to your Photoshop bag of tricks. Its logically ordered, easy-to-use tools and integrated SmartColor technology give you multiple paths to the best color possible for your images.
[ Lesa Snider King, founder of
TheGraphicReporter.com, is a freelance writer, chief evangelist for
iStockphoto.com, and graphics goddess of David Pogue’s Missing Manuals (Pogue Press, O’Reilly). ]
iCorrect EditLab Pro’s SmartColor Mode, invoked in the Color Balance tool, snapped the dull colors of this sunset into beautiful blues and pinks. Then the Brightness tool was used to slightly increase saturation.
Here’s what this image looked like before SmartColor Mode was applied …
… and after SmartColor Mode.