August 12th, 2008
Damien Lovegrove’s Adobe Photoshop® action for colour infrared photography
I’ve done a bit of online research to understand the processes other photographers use for colour infrared photography. I’ve created an action that utilitses the best bits of each and I then mixed in some image degradation too for good measure. Colour IR images really benefit from having the digital correctness knocked out of them and that is what I’ve aimed to do in this action.
The action is designed for batching jpegs that have been shot with a custom white balance applied in camera. I’ve tried processing RAW files in the Photoshop® family of applications then using auto colour as the first step of my action but it does not produce as nice results.
Photoshop CS or later
Suitable camera files
The action starts by applying an auto levels command hence the importance of stage 5 in the instructions below. The auto levels will equalise your files. Infrared jpegs tend to be flat by nature and this process makes allowances for most exposure errors. The next section creates a duplicate layer and does some colour swapping using the channel mixer. Once this has been achieved the action will create two diffusion layers and a couple of grain layers. Each of the layers is then labeled for your convenience.
- Download the action by clicking here
- Place the action in a suitable folder in your home directory
- Open Photoshop and load the action by selecting ‘load actions’ from the drop down menu in the top right of the actions palette. If you can’t see the actions palette select it first in the ‘Window’ menu.
- Open any file in Photoshop and go image/adjustment/levels then click the options button on the right. In the resulting dialog box set both clip values to 0% and check the box marked ‘set as defaults’. Close the boxes by clicking OK and close the file without saving.
- Use the batch command to run the action on a folder of camera files.
- The files will each be saved as a layered tiff ready for later adjustment as required.