Digital Lith Tutorials – Dealing with Color

Welcome to the fourth episode of the Digital Lith Tutorials. Here we are going to have a closer look at the Coloring Dialog. The digital lith process itself is a pure grayscale process. The color is added later after the image is developed. Or if you have the development running in the preview window after each iteration.

There are different ways to deal with color. So let us have a look at the coloring parameter section first. What you see is two check boxes, a button and a color gradient. The color gradient shows how the tonal curve is mapped to color values from dark to light tones. The Keep Color checkbox is used when you want to preserve the current coloring in a preset selection. More about presets in a later tutorial but if you select a preset and the preset includes the coloring, then the preset coloring is not taken if this check box is selected. If the Black&White Only check box is selected, then no matter what the coloring is, a black&white image is created and stored. This is what you want to select if you add color later in another photo processor. 

Now let us jump right into the color dialog. To get there press the Set Colors button. On the left you can see how the dialog looks if you have never dealt with color before or if you selected a reset of all colors and curves. It might look a little bit confusing the first time you look at it, but once you know how it works it is not at all confusing again.

Right at the top there is a selection about which coloring method to use. There is the coloring method of version 3.x of the program which is there for backward compatibility. And there is the new version 4.0 coloring method. In version 3.x coloring you could define tonal curves for the highlights and shadows and the midtone color was filled in. In version 4.0 coloring you can also set the tonal curve for the midtone color. Let us go with version 4 for now.

Below the coloring method selector you see the color gradient for the current selection. This is updated once you pull the sliders or change the curve so that you always see the effect of your changes. If you have an already computed image in the preview this image will also be adjusted as you work on the controls of the dialog. It would be pretty time consuming if you would have to run a test development every time you adjust the coloring.

Then you have the color selectors for the shadow, midtone and highlight color. You can set the hue and saturation.

Below that there is a coordinate system showing five curves: the shadow, midtone and highlight curve, the global saturation and the gradient.

To adjust one of the curves you need to select the curve with the select box. The selected curve is shown in red. To add a new point to the curve just click where you want to place it and the point is added to the curve. To move a point, just click on it and drag the mouse. If you want to remove a point then you just move it to another point and they merge into one.

Besides the Cancel and OK buttons there are two more: Reset to reset the whole dialog and Reset Current to reset the current selected curve.

For the next development let us do the following adjustments (at the end of the page you will find a download link containing a preset with the coloring as shown)

With that selected what we get in the UI is the following:

And last but not least, here is the final image with these settings:

Now that we can get this kind of lithy look, let’s have a closer look at all these development parameters and we do that in our next episode: Click!

If you want to download the preset and add it to Digital Lith, here is a quick start in loading presets from files. Below the presets list on the right there is an import button. Click it and select the preset file. Once loaded you can simply select the preset and the coloring will change.