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Last night I was stuck on a texture with a lot of color variation across the image. The texture itself was nice, but because of the color variation it was very hard to tile:
Normally it's quite easy to get rid of lighting. Just use "Filter->Other->High Pass". Afterwards Fade the filter (CTRL-SHIFT-F) using the 'Luminosity' blendmode to get your colors back. Unfortunately this also brings back the ugly color gradient.
Here is the same texture with High Pass filter being faded:
As you can see the lighting is more or less gone, but with the color difference from side to side it'll be very hard to tile this image. It's possible to desaturate the image and get the colors back with Adjustment layers, but this is very hard to do and takes a lot of time.
Then I remembered a Photoshop feature that has been around for a while but that I never actually tried: Match Color.
Match Color to the rescue!
Match Color analyzes the colors of an image and applies them to another image. This way you can transfer the color palette between images. This sounds simple, but there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Not only are the colors changed: the contrast of the image is transferred also. In spite of its limits, this tool works surprisingly well. Besides, it's very simple to use!
Here is how it works:
1) Completely desaturated the image:
2) Choose 'Match Color' from the menu:
3) A new window will pop up. At the bottom of the window select the source image you want to use. 'Plaster.psd' is my working document, 'IMG_4234.jpg' is the original photo.
Instead of picking the colors from a different file you can also take the colors from a layer in the same image. The sliders will let you set the strength of the effect.
4) The end result:
Excellent, now my texture has the original colors but without the ugly color variation from side to side!
For the best results the two images need to have more or less the same color range. If you apply an image with very little contrast to an image with a lot of contrast the result will be a very washed out image. Experimentation is needed!
As always you should work in layers and apply the Match Color on a new layer, so that you can blend and mask the effect for more control.
Boasted by these results I set out to experiment some more. This tool was designed to match color between different photos, so why not try to use it to recolor a wood texture?
Here is another example: This rusty edge is very nice, but the colors are a bit too much towards beige, for my taste. By applying a texture with a color palette I like, I can easily fix it:
Using Match Color on multiple textures
By applying the same source image to multiple textures you'll be able to get a very consistent overall color scheme. All of your textures will have the same color palette.
Obviously this shouldn't be overdone, because if all colors are the same your scene will look very bland!
If you discover other uses for this tool please let me know and I will add them to this tutorial.