How can I add more warmth into my pictures


Complete newbie here. I have ten or so pictures, in different settings with one or multiple characters in each, with which I am trying to tell a story. I have done the color correcting so far. While doing some research, a more yellow and orange tint can introduce warmth into the pictures. I have also heard about teal and orange. I would like to experiment with these but couldn’t figure out how to implement it. Best I could come up with is to increase warmth of the whites. But it doesn’t really do the teal and orange thing. I want my characters to stand out slightly from their background with warmth.

My questions:

  1. How can I experiment with such a look
  2. Is the any other setting you would recommend
  3. Does it make sense to hit all of the pictures with the same degree of orange and teal look to have some consistency or is it better to vary it picture to picture.

Hi @Baran, and welcome!
Please use the search utility in this forum. Among other
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Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden

Hi Claes,

Thanks for the reply. I was perhaps a bit more direct when I was phrasing the question. I am not solely looking for an orange and teal implementation but also for suggestions and feedback in my line of thinking.

It is also not clear to me how to (or whether to) implement the same amount of filter across multiple images.

Hi Baran, welcome to Pixls!

I’ll start with this one first:

Short answer: No, it does not.

The way effects, in general but in this case colour grading specifically, manifests itself depends on the initial image. So, strictly speaking each image is unique and needs to be treated as such. If, for example there are almost no (darker) shadows in an image an effect that makes the dark shadows colder wont have any/that much of an effect so you might need to adjust the tool(s) used to make the shadows that are present colder. However…

If you have a series that is shot in the same conditions you can get away with using the colour grading from the first and blindly apply it to the rest of the series. I would personally still revisit the ones that the style/grade were applied to and probably do some minor adjustments.

It is also a very good idea to make editing a two step process when you want to colour grade an image: first make sure the image is technically correct. For example: white balance is rather important when doing colour grading: make sure the whites are actually white, otherwise you are going to colour grade an already “colour graded” image in step two, and this might have unwanted/unexpected results. You now have a baseline for step two: Colour grading., which is all about the artistic part of editing.

There isn’t a specific tool and/or setting that will always work. You most often need to use multiple tools and revisit them during the edit to make it all fit together. You do need to experiment and get a feel for the image and what the tools can do. Knowing before you start what it is that you want to accomplish is also important.

RawTherapee comes with some rather nice colour related tools and I’ll mention a few of them:

The L*a*b Adjustments makes it possible to adjust the a, but probably more importantly the b channel (these two adjust colour only). The b channel gives you control over blues and yellows and it is a nice way to add blue (“colder”) to the shadows and/or subtract blue (add yellow/warmth) to the highlights. You do need to watch out though: These a and b channels can easily create an ugly colour cast instead of a pleasing cold/warm/colour emphasis.

The RGB Curves also gives you the possibility to manipulate colours. This tool is RGB based so you will not only adjust the colour but also its luminosity/value and saturation. This might come in handy when you want to get that washed out look in the shadows. I would advise you to not change the green channel, at least not initially, but play with the red and blue channels.

The Channel Mixer I’m not going to say much about this one. It might not be one of the easiest to understand but is a great tool for colour manipulating areas of your image. @s7habo just uploaded a video about using the channel mixer that might be worth a watch to get a better understanding (it’s a darktable video, but the principles are exactly the same for all channel mixers).

And then there’s the Colour Toning module…

Out of the box it is set to Colour correction regions, which is really powerful and can be used to target specific areas (masking can be done with this one). But it comes with a few other Methods. Try switching to the L*a*b blending method: Tada! A very crude orange and teal. With the top part (Colour) you can set which lightness value (horizontally) gets which colour (vertically). You can add as many points as you like, Rawtherapee tries to make the transitions as smooth-less as technically possible. The bottom part (Opacity) dictates how much of the effect (colouring a specific lightness with a specific colour) is shown.

This tool is very powerful but does take time to get your head around. Do experiment with the other Methods as well. One of them might suite your needs and/or might be easier to use by you.

PS: You mentioned doing some research and I can only assume that you had a look at RawPedia. If you’re able to read Spanish you might want to have a look at those articles too (do a search on the main page and choose the ES version); Some of the Spanish pages are more detailed (same is true for the French pages if I’m not mistaken).

EDIT: Fixed typos, added clarifications / added Boris’ video link