Is this the best way to implement color grading in ART?

There’s a New Zealand based landscape photographer on YouTube named William Patino who has some really stunning work. Well, it all fairness it helps to live in one of the most beautiful places in the universe, but I digress… :slight_smile: Anyway, he’s really good (IMO) with his processing and in more than one video he’s presented his approach to accentuating warmer / cooler areas through either selective white balance (IIRC) or color grading.

He uses Adobe Camera Raw, which is functionally about the same as Lr. I realize we don’t know what’s happening under the skin in ACR, but I’ve tried to implement what he does in ART and it … works … but for some reason (to my eyes) I usually end up with a more obvious color cast / shift than I see in his images (YouTube compression notwithstanding). His edits seem to be very “warm / cool noticeable” but more subtle, if that makes sense. If I back off on the edits’ intensities, they just fade nothing instead of becoming more subtle (again if that makes sense).

So I think there’s a difference. It certainly may be 99.99% up to my eye, skill and subtlety (or lack thereof). My questions here aren’t critiquing ART, but rather if I’m using it optimally. Also, it could be the individual character of the images in question, not to mention his subject matter… LOL

While he doesn’t go into warmer tones too much in this video, he does illustrate his techniques. In particular he shows color grading starting here, using ACR’s color grading module:


That’s VERY similar to ART’s Color/Tone Correction local adjustment tool in HSL factors mode:


What I’ve tried so far is one of two approaches:

  • Using HSL factors mode, take one adjuster and pull it more toward blue (to cool), then the same with another one toward yellow / red (to warm), based on tonal characteristics in the image.

  • Using Perecptual mode, create two mask layers of what I want to pull cooler / warmer and using the ‘master’ adjuster there push each as needed.

Is this the best tool for such a technique? Maybe the right tool but flawed approach? Or maybe the Color Equalizer?


P.S. - On a side note, Will also uses adjustment brushes, which I think would be a terrific addition to any image editing software. The ability to – via a definable, controllable brush tool – apply various edits ad-hoc is phenomenal.

Having examples would help a lot… (I mean pictures that we can use, possibly with the acr edit that you want to emulate).

Forgive my ignorance, but how do they differ from brush masks?


I’ll have to find some… but will. Mostly I was just trying to see if I’m on the right track.

From what I’ve seen demonstrated* they usually have several characteristics. Maybe ART’s brush masks do overlap more than I think, but:

  • The brush is the delivery, not the effect.

  • Adjustment brushes have all the usual brush attributes: hardness / feathering, opacity, flow, size, pressure sensitivity, etc.

  • A brush is chosen then an effect is ‘loaded’ (assigned) to it: white balance, tonal change, saturation, etc.

  • The effect of an adjustment brush is cumulative: Brush over the same spot repeatedly and it gets stronger.

  • I don’t believe (?) typical adjustment brushes actually create a user-visible mask, per se. They just do their stuff and they’re done. There may be masks involved under the covers, but not at the user level.

There may be more but that’s what I’ve seen.

To be fair brush masks in ART have (at least) one important capability that I’ve not seen demonstrated in adjustment brushes elsewhere: Edge-aware feathering. However, IMO edge-aware feathering and brush hardness / feathering complement each other rather than replace each other. In a similar vein, adjustment brushes and masking complement, rather than replace, each other IMO.


* None of the tools I have / own have adjustment brushes.

From what you say, most of it can be done in art, especially if you have a wacom tablet or something like that. The interface is probably different enough to explain why you didn’t notice though :slight_smile:

You should be able to create one brush mask in one effect module, then copy/paste that brush mask to other effect module(s).

I have a modest Wacom Intuos S tablet. I use it from time to time with brush masks, but not extensively. TBH, some reasons for me not using the pen:

  • There’s no quick way (that I’m aware of) to quickly pan the image while in draw mode, other than turning draw mode on and off. For example, a common capability elsewhere is to hold down the spacebar and then the pen / mouse will pan the image instead of drawing. Release it and the pen is active again.

  • There’s no way to create soft brush strokes, i.e., a soft-edged / fuzzy brush.

  • There’s no quick way to increase / decrease brush size while drawing without explicitly adjusting the tool. E.g., [ and ] are often used to decrease / increase brush size elsewhere.

  • In the end result, it’s still creating a mask through which I need to apply an effect, not simply brushing an effect. There are advantages to both, but incrementally “brushing on” an effect in real time is very intuitive. To some degree, they’re almost the same thing, just in a different sequence, but it’s nice to see the effect added on in real time vs. building the mask and then applying the effect through the mask.

  • Ctrl+z (e.g.) to undo the last brush stroke would be nice.

And… there’s also another “meta reason” in that I quite often end up doing further edits in a bitmap editor (usually Affinity Photo, and for various reasons). I’m still kind of working on which edits seem to work better in ART and which are better later. For example:

  • ART’s vignette tool is in some ways superior to the one in Photo, but doing it in ART ‘bakes’ it into the image earlier in the workflow. Same is true for the gradient tool, in particular since Photo has “true” no gradient tool of that sort.

  • ART’s masking / selection by color (and related) is better than I can do in Photo. In fact, most of ART’s local adjustments tools are better than I can do in Photo.

  • Photo’s inpainting / cloning tools are better / faster for me. Also, all the tools in Photo can be used locally through masks.

Now, could someone deeply skilled in Photo better my results? Probably. But the same can be said of someone deeply skilled in ART, so… :slight_smile: I’m just playing and asking questions.

And again, these aren’t complaints about ART, just the real things I’ve encountered. If I’m overlooking something, by all means I’d like to know.


Yes and no. I’ve seen it work OK, particularly between multiple layers / masks of the same type tool / mask. But when you start ‘crossing boundaries’ things can get strange: Color/Tone to Local Contrast, etc. Also, when (for example) there’s a brush applied in erase mode to an existing mask, the composite mask can copy quite strangely. Throw in inverted masks, etc., and it’s a challenge to make work predictably (at least in my experience).

One other thought: From what I’ve seen (e.g., ACR) after an adjustment is applied, it remains a dynamic thing. You can go back and further adjust it, post-brushing. So, to compare:

ART / mask

  1. Create / refine the mask(s)
  2. Make the adjustment(s)
  3. Change the mask / adjustments as needed later to refine

ACR-ish / brush

  1. Define the adjustment type / details and assign to a brush
  2. Brush on the adjustment
  3. Refine the adjustment as needed later
  4. And possibly ?? Add more adjustments later using the same brush

So, there’s a lot of similarity but also a few key differences.

Anyway, just random thinking…

Is it perhaps something related to blending the effect and how ACR does that … just guessing about the difference you are seeming??

I thought he actually provided a couple of his raw files to accompany him but I can’t locate them if he did. And I don’t have anything really appropriate – lately I’ve tried the warming / cooling technique shirts on a few play raws.

You’re not going to get anywhere close to him with a single shot. Pretty much all of his images look like he used HDR , Luminosity Masks. or another blending method.

Maybe but I seriously doubt it. I’ve been following Will for quite a while and he has never mentioned doing any of that. Maybe odd luminosity mask in Ps long ago, but he has never mentioned HDR. He’s an avowed hand-held shooter and about the only stacking he does is focus.

None of those photo that I’ve seen of his are single shots. 99% of photographers wont mention hdr or masks or stacking, they lie through their teethuntill you buy their course. lol

Oh look just buy his course to learn how to

Master focus stacking and create epic night sky images with infinite depth of field…

That’s his astrophoto course, obviously. Plus, focus stacking is not HDR.

FTR you can find very similar processing from many others, e.g., Nick Page, Mads Iverson, Nigel Danson, Michael Shainblum, Andy Hutchinson, James Popsys, Adam Gibbs, etc., etc. It’s a standard technique, by and large. But if you doubt, ask Will - He’s responsive.

I think you might be wise to watch for a while before you declare him and “99% of photographers” to be liars. Does that include everyone here as well?

The point is the technique and how it can be implemented in ART. Whether it involves one image, compositing or whatever is ultimately irrelevant – it’s the image that matters. I don’t believe HDR is required for this technique (I’ve come too close myself before without HDR). Modern cameras can certainly handle the dynamic range, even my low-end DSLR.

1 Like

Nick Page makes no secret that he masks and stacks in Photoshop.

and that’s how it should be.

I don’t have access to the specific edits he did. I’m pretty sure he made some of his raws available for download, but I can’t find them now (maybe it was for a limited time only).

For whatever reason – lack of subject matter maybe? – I also can’t find any strong potentially warm / cool images I’ve shot, but here’s an ancient Canon 350D shot that we can use… all 8mp of it! LOL It’s kinda intrinsically cool with warm areas in it, so maybe it’ll work.

The image files in this post are licensed Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Share-Alike.

IMG_1440.CR2 (6.6 MB)

This is a seriously cropped edit. I’ve tried to warm the sunset-facing parts of the flooded flood gate while cooling the water.

IMG_1440.CR2.arp (13.9 KB)

And here’s another similar image but with maybe a bit more intrinsic temperature potential. I’ve not re-edited it yet. Also an old 350D clunker.

IMG_1353.CR2 (7.0 MB)

For this purpose I’m not as interested in perfect artistic work (sorta) but rather in the best way to approach it technically.


I’ve seen Nick demo this type of color pushing / separating, whether to (e.g.) separate greens from yellows in foliage or separate warm and cold to emphasize depth.

No idea if it’s going into the rigth direction, but with just 2 quick area masks, I warmed up the sunlit part of the image, and cooled down the remaining, to introduce more color separation

IMG_1440.jpg.out.arp (13.2 KB)

It’s not the best image to test. Maybe I need to pop down to NZ and shoot a few… :smiley: