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The most common photo problems fall into one of two categories: problems with lighting and problems with color. One of the ways to address problems with color is with a Hue/Saturation Adjustment. I can apply a Hue/Saturation Adjustment directly to an image from the Enhance menu, going down to Adjust Color and choosing Adjust Hue/Saturation, but as I have said in other movies, I prefer using Adjustment layers to direct adjustments. So I am not going to use the direct adjustment. Instead I am going to go to the bottom of the layers panel, I will click the black and white icon and I will choose from the menu of Adjustment layers, Hue/Saturation.
I am going to close the Effects panel here so that I can show you both the layers panel and the Adjustments panel at the same time. I will click the Panel menu on the Effects panel and I will choose Close. Then I will double-click the layers Tab so I can see the content of that panel and the content of the Adjustments panel. So here is the new Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer, floating above the Background layer that contains the photo. With the Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer selected, down in the Adjustments panel, I have controls for tweaking the three different characteristics of color in an Elements image, and those are Hue, Saturation, and Lightness.
Of the three of these, Saturation is the most important in this dialog box. Saturation refers to the purity of color, in other words the amount of gray in color. If I move the Saturation slider way over to the right, you can see that the colors in the image become way saturated, very intense. If I move the Saturation slider all the way over to the left, all of the color comes out of the image and it becomes a grayscale image, although I don't recommend this as the best way to convert a color image to grayscale. I will put Saturation back to 0.
The Hue slider affects the actual color of the image. I don't often use this because it can give very unrealistic results, like this. The Lightness slider is for brightening or darkening an image. I rarely use this slider either, unless I am using the Saturation slider and just need to tweak Lightness a little bit. Instead I will use a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment layer or a Levels Adjustment layer to adjust image lightness. So in this case, let's say I want the entire image to be more saturated, I will drag the Saturation slider over to the right.
I can compare the way the image looks now with the way it looked before this adjustment by going down to the bottom of the Adjustments panel and clicking the Eye icon there. So that's where I started, and I pumped up the intensity of the image by increasing Saturation. Now, I don't have to increase the Saturation of all colors at once. I am going to put this Saturation slider back to 0 to show you that I can go up to this Master menu and from there I can choose the hue of colors that I want to saturate or desaturate. For example, if I just want to pop the Reds in the image, I will choose Reds, and then I will drag the Saturation slider to the right, and the Reds become more intense but not the other colors like green.
If I want to make the greens more intense, I will click that same menu and I will choose Greens, the Saturation slider goes back to 0, in so far as it affects Greens, and as I pull that to the right, you can see that green roof in the image becoming more intense in color. If I want to get even more specific about the colors that I am affecting with this increase in Saturation, I can come down to the bars here in this spectrum. The greens in between the inner bars are the ones that are being affected most, and the colors between the inner bars and the outer bars are the fall off area, which are being affected by this change, but not as much.
I can take this entire Gray bar and I can move it, impacting which colors are changing. I can also click on any of these bars and move them, also affecting the distribution of saturated colors. Another way to saturate specific colors is to use these Eyedroppers here. If I click on an Eyedropper and then I come into the image and click on that area, that particular area will be affected most by the saturation increase. In this case that's too much saturation, so I am going to decrease the Saturation slider, moving it over toward the left.
Notice that I have now created a new category of Reds, Reds 2, centered on the color on which I clicked with this Eyedropper. If I click the Plus Eyedropper and I click on some other colors of red, I have increased the range of colors affected by the saturation here, and that was done by expanding the middle area here in this bar in the spectrum. Then there is also a Minus Eyedropper, and I could use that to remove a specific range of colors from the Reds category that's currently being affected by the increase in the Saturation slider.
There is also a Colorized checkbox here that I can use to tint an image. I am going to check that and that gives a monochrome look to the entire image. I can change the Hue of that monochrome look, pulling it to the right to make more of a sepia tone, or going over this way to make a blue cyan type tone. In this case, I think I would desaturate a bit and maybe brighten slightly as well. So the Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer is one that I think you will use a lot to manipulate the saturation and in some cases the tint of color in your images.
Like any Adjustment layer, a Hue/ Saturation Adjustment layer comes with its own layer Mask, which you can use to hide the Hue/Saturation Adjustment from parts of the image by painting on this mask with black, gray, or white, or using a black to white gradient on this mask.
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