The Infinite Color Panel has arrived and I have been pushing the create button ever since. The panel has been announced for quite some time and when it was close to being released you could feel the hype picking up on Facebook. The $129,- Photoshop extension looks deceptively simple, so why would you buy a big button?
But what does it do?
I wasn’t sure what it would do until I watched a video on the website explaining all the main functions to me. Simply put, if you push the big whopping CREATE button, the panel will automatically add a color grade to your photo. Don’t like the look, just push the button again and a new color look will appear. Don’t like that one, push again, and repeat…and repeat.
I am always looking for ways to skim editing time off my image composites, so this looked like something I might find useful.
I registered at the website, got accepted to the facebook group and waited till I could get my hands on the panel.
I was excited as I knew that the creators Pratik Naik and Conny Wallstrom are capable and creative people in their field, so for me, it was a no-brainer. I was already fond of the Retouching Toolkit by Conny, which I use on a daily basis.
The panel is a small 4MB download that comes packed with both PC and OSX installers. There are an installer and a Photoshop action that both need to be installed to get you set up. A handy readme is also included.
Once installed the panel can be found under the extension panel in Photoshop.
As I said before, the panel is simple in its design. With the big Create button dominating most of the panel. I’m not going to explain every other button in the panel, its more fun exploring, playing and discovering them yourself.
What you’ll get with the panel
- Customizable Randomization
- Looks like No One Else
- Stackable Color Groups
- Smart Setting
- Professional Grade Results
- Extra time to play with colors
- A great starting point into color grading
So what happens exactly when I push the button?
If you press it, Photoshop will provide you with a group of adjustment layers, like Curves, Color Balance, Selective Color, Gradient Map and a Color Lookup layer. They will all be automatically and randomly adjusted to give you a unique color look, every time again.
Great thought has been put into unifying the adjustment layers so they don’t just generate random values. Its all programmed to work in harmony. Pratik used hundreds of high-end reference images to figure out to cohesion between the different adjustment layers. There are no hidden settings found, all the adjustment layers are there and you’re free to adjust them individually
I pulled up an image and pushed the Create button. And I was disappointed because it didn’t look “right”, more of a muddy look. So I pushed again, a bit better, but not there yet. So after a few pushes, it finally gave me something I liked. And here lies one of the beauties of the panel. Everyone has a different taste in color, and with this randomization, a color look to your own liking is sure to pop up.
As a compositor and image manipulator I never know exactly what color look I’m going for in the end, but with this panel, it has never been easier to click through different looks in a matter of seconds.
I can even start with a look before I start my retouching.
So is this a one-button solution?
No, absolutely not. It sure doesn’t give me a finished look with just one or two pushes. It’s a starting point to dive deeper into a certain look once you have something you like.
It’s easy to adjust the different adjustment layers individually, either from the panel itself or from my layer stack. There are no hidden settings to take into account.
“People usually don’t know what they want, but they do know what they like when they see it.”
The panel is a great way to get a quick color look on your images. Its great for beginners looking to learn more about color grading as all the tools are self-explanatory and work with the existing tools available in Photoshop.
I’d encourage anyone using it to start tweaking a look or even stack a few looks together.
It’s also great for the veteran Photoshop user, as I think it can save you time setting up a color look or two to send to your client quickly and have them pick from a few different options.
be warned though, instead of saving me time, I find that I keep pulling in images, old and new, to see what the panel gives me…over and over…and over…..