How to use Adobe Capture on your phone to create free LUTs in Photoshop

Adobe Capture is a photo to vector converter that allows users to create assets on their IOS and Android smartphones. In addition to various other tools, Photoshop users can create LUTs based on the photos they take that can be shared seamlessly with Photoshop libraries.

Let’s see how to use Capture on your smartphone to enhance your images in Photoshop.

To start

Before diving, make sure you have the Capture app on your smartphone.

To download: Adobe Capture for Android | iOS (free in-app purchases available)

What are LUTs?

LUT is the abbreviation for “lookup table”. In the video world, it’s a color grading tool. In photo editing it’s pretty much the same and can be thought of as a filter. LUTs can be applied to images to create subtle or drastic changes, depending on the look the user is looking for.

How to use Adobe Capture

Phone call from an old town

Adobe Capture is an easy-to-use phone application. Once opened on your smartphone, any photo you take will create a LUT which can be saved in Photoshop and applied to any image. Let’s take a look at this process.

On your smartphone:

  1. Sign in to your Adobe account to access Capture. If you don’t have an account, you can create one.

  2. Open the Capture app. At the bottom of the menu, scroll right and select Looks.

  3. Whatever you point with your camera, a color bar representing all the colors and brightness values ​​will appear at the top. Press the circle shutter button to take a photo.

  4. You will be directed to the Edit menu. Use the slider to adjust the intensity of the effect on each sample image. You can also scroll through the images at the bottom to see what each sampled color range would look like.

  5. When you are satisfied with the result, press the key. The arrow at the top right of the screen.

  6. From the Save menu, rename your new LUT if you want. Otherwise, a generic name such as “Look 1” will be assigned.

  7. In Save in, press options and select My library.

  8. hurry to safeguard at the bottom right of the screen.

Your LUT has been saved to your Photoshop libraries and will be accessible as long as you use your Adobe account.

Note that there are a number of recording options for LUTs created in Capture for other Adobe products. You can record your LUT in any of them simultaneously by checking the applicable boxes.

How to access LUTs in Photoshop

The LUT you just created in Capture is now available in Photoshop libraries. We’ll walk you through the steps of applying the LUT to an image, as well as how to use the Opacity slider and Blend If to fine-tune the LUT to perfection.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. With your image already open in Photoshop, go to Window > Libraries.

    Window libraries

  2. Under My Library, click the filtered icon and select Looks.

        Filter the looks

  3. Click on the look you want. It will be highlighted and a color search adjustment layer will be added on your image.

    Add LUT

That’s all we can say about it. To see the before and after, click on the button eye-ball icon.

Use adjustment layers and mix if to refine

After applying the LUT to your image, you might want to make some additional changes, especially if the effect is too strong, like in our example here. There are two common and very effective methods of improving LUTs.

Opacity and fill

Strong effect

The fastest way to reduce the LUT effect is to reduce the Opacity slide. To fill can also be used, however, the overall effect is often difficult to distinguish from opacity, except when certain blend modes are used. The image below has the following values: Opacity 50, Fill 75.

Opacity 50 Infill 75

You can experiment with any blend mode to see how the LUT transforms, then play around with the Opacity and Fill sliders to reduce the effect. Most blend modes will look overcooked, but lowering the opacity or infill to 10-30% will make it much more appealing.

Soft light and mix though

The image above has been set on the Soft light blend mode using Blend If.

Mix if

Blend If is another great tool to use for LUTs. It is quite versatile and has many applications outside of LUTs. This is because Blend If works on the layer itself and determines how the effect applies to shadows, midtones, and highlights.

We’re going to take a look at another LUT that’s a bit too powerful and fix it using only Blend If. To access Blend If, click on the empty space in the box next to the text that says Color Lookup.

LUT applied

Follow these steps to assign the zones that the LUT will affect. Moving the sliders will give you a live preview of the state of the image.

  1. In the Layer Style menu, find Underline layer.

    Find the underline layer

  2. Click on the white handle and hold on Alt on the keyboard. Now drag the sliders to soften the effect.

    White handle adjustments

  3. Do the same with the black handle. Basically what we’re doing is protecting specific regions of LUT while dispersing it to others.

    Black handle settings

  4. Click on Okay when you are done.

Below is the side-by-side comparison with the original (left) and the Blend If edition (right).

Before and after - LUT

Since Color Finder adjustments are non-destructive, you can come back at any time to make adjustments. In the example above, the effect can be considered too strong. Now is a good time to adjust the Opacity and Fill sliders.

Use additional effects

Once your LUT is complete, you can continue the editing process if needed. Other tuning layers can be added or third party plugins such as Luminar AI can be used for a finishing touch. You can even use a plugin like Anthropics Smart Photo Editor to add an interesting effect and then reduce the opacity in Photoshop.

Develop your editing style

Using Adobe Capture in tandem with Photoshop to create LUTs is a great way to develop your photo editing style. This is because when you are working with many images at once, such as for portrait shoots or weddings, your own custom LUTs can be applied to the entire batch to create a cohesive look.

The magic of the process is that it all starts with your smartphone and your imagination.


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