Help with Photoshop to show "variations?" ARGH

SHOOT. I just realized that “Variations” has been missing from Photoshop. Apparently for quite a while… :rage:

Obviously, I haven’t used it. But my first time teaching Photoshop is happening tonight and I was counting on variations to help the students learn to evaluate color imbalance.

I’ve been googling like crazy, but… nothing.

Anyone have an equivalent idea, a way to show them the same image in multiple color balances, at one time?

Not sure, but if you have CC, Lightroom might do it with it’s “virtual copies.”

Hmmm. If it was just for me, I could probably do that, but these students are Photoshop newbies. Adding Lightroom too would be too much for them.

But I’m glad to learn this for my own use. :slight_smile:

Maybe I could create an action that would open a new copy, change the color balance, and batch them all into a contact sheet. Hmmm…

Dang, that variations tool was really helpful, back when I was learning about color balance. Dammit.

You could setup a few different “layer comps” and export those to a contact sheet, not really as useful though

Since you say this is a class and you are showing these images in some fashion, something as simple as a prepared powerpoint could do the trick. It wouldn’t be live and on the fly though.

Opening several copies of the same image in separate artboard windows could work too, depending on the size of your viewing area. Photoshop seems to have an aversion to opening the same file twice so it would have to be file copies.

That’s got possibilities. It wouldn’t be their image, but at least it would illustrate what color balance is. Thanks, PD.

It would take a little work up front … but, if you want to show how it works with their images, you could set up a photoshop file with multiple adjustment layers (rename them in a way where you can click around through them if need be). Then “place embed” a photo below the layers. Then right click on that layer in class and choose “relink to file” to update that layer.

Interesting… would it show all the color variations at one time?

No … but if you want to get really crazy, you could combine it with Indesign. place the layered file in Indesign. Right click on the placed PSD in Indesign and choose Object layer options to turn on/off the individual layers.

Then within indesign show your variations, and when you want to show a “live update” with their photo. Option (or alt) double click one of the placed PSDs (since they’re all linked to the same PSD), then within photoshop relink to a different photo, save and close. And go back to Indesign for your “live preview” which will update all of the instances of the PSD.

I can see that working… just not sure about in a class setting, though.

As much as I love InDesign, I’m still leaning toward a Photoshop action that would:

  1. Take an open image
  2. Create say, 15 copy jpgs
  3. Change each one to a different color balance
  4. Use the Automate/contact sheet tool to create them all in one open document.

Then I could give them each the action to use on their images.

Or am I dreaming?

You know, I thought about automating it with actions in Photoshop. That’s definitely an option too.

You don’t have to create fifteen copy’s of the jpg layer, just fifteen adjustment layers that you can check and uncheck when presenting. This can be done with an action, which can include visible and unvisible layers.

But I need it to show all the color variations at one time on the monitor. It’s not about presenting; I want my students to be able to see their image, with the color possibilities, all at once.

So something I have to check and uncheck won’t do the job. :neutral_face:

I want to end up with something like this; only with their image. Basically, recreating that wonderful old variations tool.


You could do this with multiple art boards in PS too

Would it be automated? Would it end up with all the variations in one screen or image?

'Cause that’s what I need. :slight_smile:

You could create an action, the tricky bit might be there sizes of the new art boards

@DocPixel Try this it worked for me.

  1. Create a file in Photoshop.
  2. Use File/Place Linked and insert an image
  3. Right click on that layer and choose “convert to smart object”
  4. Option (or alt) drag copies of that image
  5. Click on each layer and select layer/new adjustment layer and choose whichever you want
  6. Click the "use previous layer to create clicking mask (so the adjustment only affects that layer.)
  7. Once you’ve made all adjustments …
  8. Double click on one of the smart objects in the layers palette to open the object up (which will open the photo as a separate window.)
  9. From that separate window, right click the layer and select “Relink to file”
  10. Browse to a new photo file and say ok.
  11. Close the smart object separate window and click save when the dialog window pops up
  12. Voila

No actions needed. So, as long as the file is set up to start with, its relatively quick to swap out the photo for a live preview.

I’ll try this, CraigB. Thanks for the detail!

Let me know. I just tested it and worked fine. Depending on the size of the photo and the speed of your computer, it should work pretty well. Its definitely not exactly the same as the variations feature in earlier versions of Photoshop, but it seems to do the job fairly well.

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