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Design in 60 Seconds: How to Use LAB Color Mode

This post is part of a series called 60 Second Video Tutorials.
Photoshop in 60 Seconds: Seamless Patterns
Photoshop in 60 Seconds: How to Use Smart Objects
Lab Color Mode Explained

Welcome to our Design in 60 Seconds series, in which you can learn a new design skill, feature, or technique in just a minute!

Design in 60 Seconds: LAB Color Mode

Maybe you've heard of the LAB Color Mode, but never really knew what it was or why to use it. It's actually the color model that most closely approximates human vision and has a much larger color gamut than either RGB or CMYK. (By the way, it isn't pronounced as "lab." You say each letter just as you would with RGB or CMYK.)

If you've got just a minute, I'll tell you how it works.

How to Use the LAB Color Mode

The LAB mode describes the actual appearance of the color. It does this by using a three axis system starting with the L for Lightness.

L for Lightness for LAB Color MOde

The color tones are defined by two axes, Negative A values have more red in them and Positive A values have more green. Likewise the perpendicular B axis runs from yellow to blue with Negative B values showing more blue and Positive B values showing more yellow.

Two Axes for Color Tones for LAB Mode

In Photoshop, the LAB Color Mode does restrict the availability of certain adjustments and filters, but can easily produce very rich and vibrant color tones.

The LAB Color Mode in Adobe Photoshop

Want to see this in action? Check out the video above to see this lesson at work!

A Bit More Detail

Want to learn more about Adobe Photoshop's vast tools and settings? Check out these tutorials below:

60 Seconds?!

This is part of a new series of quick video tutorials on Tuts+. We're aiming to introduce a range of subjects, all in 60 seconds, just enough to whet your appetite. Let us know in the comments what you thought of this video and what else you'd like to see explained in 60 seconds!

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