Disclaimer: We were provided a copy of Pratik's Infinite Color Panel free of charge to conduct this review. As always, this does not have any bearing on this review, and we strive to present any information as accurately as possible, and without bias.
Pratik Naik is well-known in photography circles as a master retoucher, Photoshop educator, and founder of Solstice Retouch, with his work appearing in the pages of Harper's Bazaar, InStyle, Marie Claire, and a number of commercial campaigns. I've known of Pratik for quite a while through his work for high profile campaigns and photographers and through his excellent PRO EDU on beauty and portrait retouching, but have only gotten to know him better personally over the last year or so.
Pratik graciously provided us with a copy of his new Infinite Color Panel for us to test out and review. Needless to say, I was really excited to test it out because creating harmonious and aesthetically-pleasing color palettes for my photos has been something I've struggled with over the years — my go-to has always been the "cinematic look" (you know what I'm talking about — a little blue/cyan in the shadows, and a little yellow-orange in the highlights and midtones). This new tool makes the color toning step of my process infinitely easier (no pun intended).
What is it?
10 years in development, the Infinite Color Panel is an Adobe Photoshop extension/panel created with the sole purpose of applying beautiful, aesthetically pleasing color toning to an image or set of images. For people like myself, who struggle with finding and creating a color palette with which to color grade our photos, this panel is an absolute godsend and can spark creativity and present you options you may not have considered otherwise.
The Infinite Color Panel is simple in its operation, yet with enough depth, features and customization for advanced users. The panel is compatible with most versions of Photoshop — for reference, I am using the latest version, Photoshop CC 2018 (build 19.1.5, July 2018).
Infinite Color Panel in use
Using the Infinite Color Panel is extremely easy — at its core, you simply click the big, colorful "create" button in the panel and you're quickly presented with a different color grade with each click — just keep clicking until you find something you like; from there you can simply adjust the opacity of the layer group to increase/decrease the intensity of the color grade.
Additionally, under the "create" button, there are 3 different options for "Light", "Medium" and "Intense", affecting to the amount or intensity of the color grade applied to the image. The amount of control at both the effect level, being able to adjust the group's opacity, and being able to adjust the opacity of each individual adjustment layer – each of which has an effect on the final color grade — and being able to do all of this after the fact means that you can quickly and easily fine-tune the effect to your liking.
Yes, it's really that simple.
But, as simple as the panel's operation is, you also have complete control of the color grading process — you can disable individual adjustment layers that are a part of each Infinite Color color grade: Curves, Color Balance, Selective Color, Gradient Map and Color Lookup, however, I never turned any of these off — once Infinite Color has created its group of adjustment layers to deliver a color grade for your photo, each individual adjustment is customizable, allowing you to fine-tune the effect to your liking.
When you're done, simply re-name the layer group, and you can either start over and apply a second (or third, or fourth, etc...) color grade on top of the existing one for literally infinite possibilities. If you like the effect that the panel has applied to your image, you can simply save the layer group to your libraries (if you have a CC subscription), and apply the exact same settings from a previous photo to other photos — usually in the same set — for a uniform aesthetic.
Finally, the panel offers a "Harmonize" feature, which color grades your highlights, midtones and shadows independently with a triadic color scheme based off of the tones and colors present in the image you're working on — "Harmonize" can be used by itself as a complete color grade, or in conjunction with an Infinite Panel color grade to bring harmony (thus, the name), to the entire image. As with the rest of Infinite Color Panel's adjustments, each adjustment layer in the "Harmonize" group is customizable, so you can easily change or fine-tune the color and opacity of the effect on your highlights, midtones and shadows independently even after the effect has been applied.
One of the greatest things about the Infinite Color Panel is that it's universally useful — because of the fine adjustments you can make to each individual layer contributing to the overall color grade in addition to global adjustments to the overall intensity, literally anyone can make use of the panel, especially if you struggle with creating pleasing and harmonious color toning throughout your imagery. It may even spark some creativity and/or help you learn about color science and the harmonies and relationships between colors, making you a better retoucher in the process!
While the effects of the Infinite Color Panel are typically better suited to more stylized images like commercial, beauty, or portrait work, it can feel right at home and add an additional element of creativity to even your favorite personal photos. Check out our small gallery below, or the user gallery for some more examples of what's possible with the Infinite Color Panel and just a few clicks.
The amount of work and experience that has been put into this panel is readily apparent in its operation and results. It doesn't stop at just the panel either, as it's accompanied by this in-depth set of tutorial videos on how to use the panel taught by none other than Pratik himself.
In my testing over the last couple of weeks, I can confidently say that the Infinite Color Panel delivers on its promises, and has quickly earned its place as a permanent piece of my retouching workflow. I look forward to any updates and enhancements to come, but for now, Infinite Color Panel can be considered a complete, full-featured and polished product that's ready to use right after installation. In my testing and review, I didn't encounter any weird bugs or anything especially troubling; it's like Apple — it just works.
If you'd like to try out the Infinite Color Panel, head on over to this "early access" site and use code "VIP" for $30 off, bringing the price down to $99 (normally $129)
Below, you'll find some of our results with the Infinite Color Panel, all achieved with a few clicks.
07.31.2019 - RGGEDU is now known as PRO EDU.
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