Upload & Sell: On
Thanks, it was a new challenge for me to work on.
Which version are you referring to ... the "normalized" one or the "Blur & Boost" one?
Essentially, I try to assess the lighting / cast in a pic and neutralize the WB in the highlights first via Color Balance (PS), then do the same for the shadows. I rarely touch the midtones, as the overlap from from highlights and shadows will likely "split the difference" when there is a different cast between the two (often in ambient).
If I can't get them to balance to neutral via color balance first, then I'll move into saturation / hue to work on the specific color that remains as a cast. I always start with striving to understand the light that is involved and how/why/where I am contending with non-neutral color cast. I find that the removal of color cast is the most important aspect of generating clarity (vs. cranking up the clarity slider, etc.) ... assuming that's part of one's goals for an image.
Then, after I get my cast removal neutralized (verified by temporarily cranking sat to 50%-100%), I'll move to playing with gamma (exposure) to see how much gamma I want for the scene, or which area I want the most gamma in. Then, I'll paint in tonal masks to control lesser amounts of gamma.
Because sharpness is an issue of contrast, I don't sharpen until after I have worked through my other layers / issues first. I sharpen on a duplicate layer so I can (first and foremost) protect the original pixels, and adjust the opacity of the sharpening as well as mask various areas.
Also, when I sharpen, I do so with first a hiraloam (high radius, low amount) like many others do. Sometimes I'm inline with 16,60,0 like Karen, other times I may push to something like 25,70,4 or 40,40,12 ... varies with image and intent. This gets followed by another round of sharpening @ about 350,.4,4. This too can vary based on the scene and any previous processing.
I typically finish with my last layer being the brightness & contrast, where I'll need to pull down the contrast (after having pushed it in via exposure and sharpening) a touch. Working in layers allows me to "dial in" the gamma (levels, curves, etc.), sharpening & contrast via opacity & masks once I've "roughed" them in ... since they all are about pushing/pulling the pixels closer/farther from each other from their original linear capture. A tweak in one effects the others, so it is iterative in nature for me.
As to the second one, I've forgotten the details on it, except that I remember I flattened the image after I got my "corrections" finished, so I could make a duplicate layer to throw some Gaussian Blur at. Then I went to a saturation layer and added some boost to sat, as well as some lightening.
I wish I better remembered the details for the second one, but I subscribe to the concepts from Dan Margulis @ color cast correction being integral to normalizing the image (or rendering plausible) ... after which (imo), you are now liberated to apply your creativity license more freely. I believe that far too many people who throw "creativity" at their images are doing so to cover up the fact that they don't color correct first. Color theory isn't always the easiest thing, but ... even if I know I'm taking an image into B&W ... I still always color correct first ... that's how much I believe it effects the clarity of an image.
Many people "ooh & ahh" over creativity, but I find that color casts are detractors to otherwise fine workmanship that should be contended with first. I'm not dismissing such creativity because I can "ooh & ahh" over it too. But I find that the most powerful creativity comes after contending with the detractors that often times get amplified by the creative process, which steals from the power of the creation.
I'm sure that my ways are rather arcane in today's world of infinite canned processes & presets, etc. For me, every image is an assessment of where it came from vs. where do I want to take it ... followed my "hmmm, which tools can I use to achieve this". I process, much like I cook ... no recipe but I always tenderize my meat first (color correct), THEN I open the spice cabinet start to decide which flavors I want to play with (gamma painting, sharpening, etc.), then I let it marinate (harmonize layers).
As always S&P to taste.