Explained: Lab colour mode in PhotoPlus

Photo editing can be a very complicated process. There are so many different ways to edit photos that it can become far too overwhelming to even get started. It can take a long time to grasp the simple concepts of editing an image correctly, and can become a very frustrating affair if you can’t get it right.

PhotoPlus has been a solid editing tool for years, and with the new version (PhotoPlus X7), we can now enjoy a whole new spectrum of visual editing. We can now bring you closer to what your eyes have been designed to see using the new Lab colour mode.

Many of you reading this may not be familiar with Lab colour mode and its potential to unlock powerful photo editing options. So here is where we strip away the complicated stuff, and get down to the simplicity of Lab colour mode in PhotoPlus X7…

Get the lowdown on Lab

So what is Lab colour mode? Well, essentially it’s a colour mode, just like RGB and CMYK. Yet Lab mode isn’t available in all photo editing software, but it is in a select handful of software such as PhotoPlus X7, Photoshop CC and GIMP.

Lab overcomes many shortfalls of RGB as it can describe a greater range of colours and works in a more natural way, with lightness separated from colour, which is similar to how our eyes work.

This mode isn’t used as much as RGB and you won’t be able to mimic the same effects in anything else. It’s a more flexible and powerful working mode compared to RGB.

So in RGB colour space you use red, green and blue channels, check out the diagram below:

Lab can describe a greater range of colours and works in a more natural way than RGB


What about Lab mode then…

Lab mode has three channels, L, a and b:

  • L = lightness (if you adjust this, you only adjust the lightness of the image, not the colours)
  • A = Contains colour information for the green and magenta in the image
  • B = Manages blue and yellow colours in the image.

Separating the lightness from an image in Lab colour mode takes less time, and less difficulty to do in any other colour space.


When to use?

Lab colour mode can work for you in many different ways but one of the main reasons to use this mode is for image enhancement.

You may have taken the perfect image, however when you get it back to your computer, the colours can look completely different, and not exactly what you saw at the scene. You can use Lab mode when you want to enhance contrast, make subtle yet realistic colour enhancements, or add stylish colour effects to a photo.

It’s recommended that you use this mode on things like animals, landscapes and street-scapes for the best results. Try to avoid close-ups on people, as it doesn’t work very well with natural skin tones, unless you’re going for a really cool effect!

You may have taken the perfect image, but the colours can look completely different when you get it back to your computer

Lab Colour - Before


Lab Colour - After


Lab mode is quite different from RGB mode, so expect tools to behave differently, and to learn and experiment with some new techniques. You can make Lab mode work for you, it’s all about trial and error.

How to use in PhotoPlus X7

For more information on PhotoPlus and the amazing new Lab colour mode, please visit serif.com/photoplus.