Photoshop Infrared Tutorial

Before reading on, understand that this tutorial will not teach you how to mimic infrared pictures. You will require a properly taken picture using an infrared filter. To see a how-to on how to take infrared pictures using an infrared filter please go here. Okay, lets begin. (Note: To enlarge any picture simply click on it.)

Step One: First open up the picture you took with the infrared filter in photoshop and create a new adjustment layer making sure to select “channel mixer”. (See picture below.)

Step Two: With your new adjustment layer created you should see the channel mixer settings appear on the right of the screen. Make sure you are on the red output channel and change the red slider to 0% and the blue slider to 100%. Now change your output channel to blue and change the red slider to 100% and the blue slider to 0%. (See pictures below.)

Red Output Settings

Blue Output Settings

Your picture should look a little something like this (color-wise.) It should be tinted any form of blue. If its gold, still red, or any other color, you might have made a mistake in changing the settings, or you did not take the picture using the correct settings while still on camera.


At this point you are pretty much done. You can convert to black and white if you don’t want the blue color in your sky/water areas. You can also modify the tones of the picture slightly to get it to your liking. If you look very closely you might still see a small red tint in the trees. If you want to fix that follow these directions:

Step One: Create another new adjustment layer, this time clicking on hues/saturation. Once you do that, zoom in on your picture to any foliage area. Your screen should look a little something like the following:


Step Two: The tool area on the right should have changed very slightly. Change the drop down menu on the right from “master” to “magentas.”


Step Three: After magentas is selected, click on the very left eye dropper next to where there is a check-box for colorize and click somewhere in your foliage where you can see the odd coloring. Try not to choose the darkest spot or the lightest spot, try and catch the color in a normal tone. Once you click on any spot, a little color slider should appear on the right. Don’t change this. (See picture below.)

From this point on, you can change the foliage to be a different hue, or you can desaturate it depending on what end-product you are going for. To do either one of these use the sliders on the right after having selected the red tone from the foliage with the eye dropper tool. Depending on what you decided to go with, your final product might look like this:

Click to enlarge.

NOTE: You can also use this hue/saturation adjustment layer to fix any problems you feel you have with your sky. Change its tint, and any blown out highlights.

I hope this tutorial has helped you. Please know that there are many ways of editing infrared pictures. Some ways are easier than others, but this one we found to give the photographer the most control over the picture. If you want to mess around with your picture, you can try changing the channel mixer settings to get a completely different tone other than blue, or using the hue/saturation layer to change things up a bit as well. If you have any questions feel free to comment.

[Roman]

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