Facebook Pixel Retouch4me Color Match Review: Professional Color Grading Made Easy

Retouch4me Color Match Review: Professional Color Grading Made Easy

A review of Retouch4me's color match plugin

Back in August, Retouch4me, the software company behind a number of popular AI Photoshop plugins, unveiled its most intriguing product yet: the Color Match plugin, which promises to “[e]xtract colors from any image and apply them to your photos.”

In other words, using Retouch4me’s Color Match plugin, it should be possible to:

  1. Import an image that you want to color grade (the original image).
  2. Import an image featuring a color-grading style that you like (the reference image).
  3. Instantly transform your original image to look like your reference shot (color-wise, that is!).

I don’t know about you, but I’m a little obsessed with color grading, and the applications of an AI-powered color-match editor seemed unreal. Imagine being able to take a screen grab from a beautifully graded movie, and then apply that same look to an entire series of images in about five seconds flat. Amazing!

So when Retouch4me offered me the chance to try out the new Color Match plugin, I jumped at the chance. The big question on my mind: could the plugin really perform as well as Retouch4me claimed? In this mini Color Match review, I share my findings after some hands-on testing.

Note: The Color Match application is marketed as a Photoshop plugin, but it also works as a standalone editor and integrates well with Lightroom and Capture One. I primarily used the software in its standalone form, but I also tested it in Photoshop and found the performance to be identical.

The Color Match plugin’s performance

After a simple installation, I opened the Color Match application and selected a photo: a travel-style image captured by Jason Gardner that I pulled from Unsplash:

Retouch4me Color Match plugin review

Why did I choose this file? A lot of my favorite color grades involve dark, moodier tones, which tend to work well with overcast lighting. Also, the image’s tones are fairly neutral, making it a prime candidate for some color-grading fun.

The file opened in the main Color Match interface:

Retouch4me Color Match plugin review

As you can see in the screenshot above, the application’s layout is very spare; there are a few buttons for uploading and saving images, as well as four tools on the left-hand side: Pan & Zoom, Brush, Eraser, and Invert Mask. There’s also a Blend slider at the top of the screen, and a handful of sliders on the right-hand side to tweak the results of the color grade. It isn’t sleek, but it’s serviceable, and there’s plenty of powerful technology hiding behind the older-looking interface. 

I did a quick browse through FilmGrab, a website with a database of shots pulled from thousands of films, and chose a few with beautiful color grading. Then I hit the Load Reference button, chose the first FilmGrab file, and pressed Open:

Retouch4me Color Match plugin review

The effect was instantaneous: My original image was modified to match both the colors and tones of the reference photo, and the results were incredibly accurate. When I dialed back the Blend and the Luminance – in order to make more of the original image come through – the result was even better:

Retouch4me Color Match Review: Professional Color Grading Made EasyRetouch4me Color Match Review: Professional Color Grading Made Easy
Retouch4me Color Match Review: Professional Color Grading Made EasyRetouch4me Color Match Review: Professional Color Grading Made Easy
Retouch4me Color Match Review: Professional Color Grading Made EasyRetouch4me Color Match Review: Professional Color Grading Made Easy

The plugin makes it easy to change reference photos by tapping a couple of arrow buttons, so I quickly tested out more of my FilmGrab images. The more reference photos I tried, the more impressed I became; I only stopped when I realized that a good 45 minutes had flown by and I needed to move on with my Color Match review.

I also spent a few minutes experimenting with the plugin’s other features. The Brush and Eraser worked fine and allowed me to selectively apply the color-grading effect to portions of my image, but what I really appreciated is the option to create LUTs from an edit, which can then be used in Photoshop and even video-editing applications. That way, you won’t always need a reference image on hand in order to duplicate an effect; you can simply apply a LUT and watch as your image transforms. 

The Color Match plugin: verdict

I didn’t set out to write a comprehensive review of Retouch4me’s Color Match plugin, but the features are so simple that it’s difficult to say a whole lot more than this: Color Match does exactly what it promises to do, and it does it really, really well. You can use it to add a variety of different moods to your images, and operating it couldn’t be easier.

For the best results, you’ll sometimes need to reduce the effect by reducing the Blend slider, and it can also be helpful to adjust the Luminance, Color, and Smoothing sliders to really refine the look, but at the end of the day, you’re bound to be impressed.

Sure, the interface is barebones, but given the power of the underlying software, I’m not complaining!

If you like the idea of applying high-quality color grades to your images, head on over to Retouch4me’s website and give the demo version a try. Alternatively, you can purchase the full version for $124. While the price is high, the results really are outstanding, so if you’re looking to improve your editing workflow, Color Match is a worthwhile buy.

Now over to you:

What do you think about the Color Match plugin? Will you give it a shot? How will you use it in your work? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Jaymes Dempsey
Jaymes Dempsey

is the Managing Editor of Digital Photography School, as well as a macro and nature photographer from Ann Arbor, Michigan. To learn how to take stunning nature photos, check out his free eBook, Mastering Nature Photography: 7 Secrets For Incredible Nature Photos! And to see more of Jaymes’s work check out his website and his blog.

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