Creating an Orange and Teal Look

Creating an Orange and Teal Look

This video tutorial shows you how to create a custom Exposure preset with orange and teal color casts. Learn how you can expand your photo editing palate with custom-made looks like these.

Photos: Dylan Howell, Alexander Heinrichs, Miguel Quiles

In this video, we’ll talk about how to make a great-looking custom Orange and Teal preset in Exposure. Before we start adjusting sliders, let’s set a goal for what we want ours to look like, and I’ll give you a few tips along the way.

An orange and teal effect is a popular cinematic color grading method. Filmmakers use complimentary blue and orange color grading to add depth to the shot. The color combination will accentuate skin tones which helps them jump out of the image. Shadows will typically have a blueish teal-green hue, and the highlights have a subtle shift to a warmer orange. It also works well when it’s slightly faded, something to think about when you’re making your own effect.

As we create our preset, keep in mind that this is just a guide, and not an exact recipe. Color grading is subjective, so exact numbers will vary depending on each photo and your own artistic interpretation.

Whenever you are building a custom look, find several reference images to use as guides. This will give you something to compare your new effects against.

Photos that contain natural blue and orange colors will work better, since that’s where the effects will display prominently.

As you’re making adjustments, RAW photos are ideal. The higher quality color information you have in your image, the better your effects can be.

Blue and Green channels in digital cameras by nature will contain more noise than the Red channel, so watch for artifacts like banding or noise, especially if you’re applying strong effects in those colors.

To get the editing ball rolling, I’ll start by adding one of Exposure’s presets. Technicolor process 2 strip.

When making adjustments in Exposure, I advise you start making them at the top of the right dock and them work your way down through the controls on each panel. This helps clearly define each step you make as the effect builds up. On the Basic panel, I’ll add contrast – or use the keyboard shortcut S or Alt+S, I’ll bump up the highlights – or H or Alt+H, and i’ll add vibrance – I or Alt+I. I’ll also give it more saturation – Y or Alt+Y.

See the full list keyboard shortcuts, here.

Next, use the Color Saturation controls on the Color panel to decrease saturation to the reds and yellows, and to increase the saturation in the greens, cyans and blues.

Then, open the Tone Curve panel and add color casts with the Split Toning controls. Apply an orange-based color to the upper highlight areas of the image at a strong amount and apply a bright teal-blue on the dark shadows also at a high strength.

Next, edit the curves with the Tone controls. Lower the contrast in the Red channel. On the Green channel raise the blackpoint and lower the whitepoint. Then on the Blue channel lower the whitepoint, the contrast, and the midtones. And raise the shadows and the highlights.

At this point, I’m pretty happy with the look, so I’ll save it as a custom preset.