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Lab Mode in Photoshop

When you’re working with color in Photoshop, many people have heard of RGB and CMYK which work with print and web design. Many people will convert their images from CMYK to RGB to work with colors, perform color correction tasks, and other image editing duties, and then revert back to CMYK when they are done. While this is a common practice, there is another color mode available, which can produce amazing results. I am referring to Lab mode in Photoshop. Lab mode uses 3 channels, which are different from RGB mode. RGB combines red, green, and blue to create images. This makes it tough for some editing tasks, such as sharpening. Lab mode uses the lightness channel, and then an a and b channel for color. This means that you can edit the L channel and add contrast or details, without affecting the color information. In the video below, I present an introduction to Lab Mode in Photoshop.

You can produce some amazing colors with Lab mode in Photoshop. Lab mode is great for producing vibrant colors, as well as sharpening an image using the lightness channel. One of my favorite things to do in Lab mode in Photoshop is to use the Curves Adjustment to see what type of colors I can produce. What I like about this method is that if you flip the a and b channels, or alter them, you’re only working with the color information, and not the light or shadows. This means that reflections in car paint or any other glossy surface isn’t distorted, but it changes to match the a and b channels.

lab mode in Photoshop

What do you think about Lab Mode in Photoshop?

What do you use Lab mode for? Do you use it for sharpening? Do you use it for something else? I’d love to hear what you have to say about Lab color mode. Be sure to leave your thoughts or questions in the comments section below.