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In Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training, Jan Kabili highlights the key features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. She shows how to correct and enhance photographs, and how to organize a growing collection of digital photos. The course also explains how to use photos in creative projects like photo books, calendars, and greeting cards, and how to share work online and in print. Exercise files accompany the course.
It seems that the photos that often get the most attention are those that have the most intense colors. If you want to control the intensity or the saturation of colors in your photos, then try applying a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer. Hue/Saturation is one of those adjustments that you can apply in an adjustment layer or as a direct adjustment from the Enhance menu. I suggest you do it as an adjustment layer so that your changes remain editable and don't directly impact the photo layers.
This photograph by photographer John Lorenz was taken on a rainy cloudy day and these umbrellas were pretty faded by the sun so the colors look desaturated. In other words, it looks like there's some gray in the colors. I can change that with a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer. To add that adjustment layer, I'll go to the adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the layers panel and I'll choose Hue/Saturation. That adds the Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer here in the layers panel.
Down here in the Adjustments panel, I now have controls for varying the Hue, the Saturation, and the Lightness of colors. These are three different properties of color in Photoshop Elements. Hue means the actual color, Saturation refers to the amount of gray in the color, a desaturated color has more gray, a saturated color has less gray and appears more intense and the lightness of the color is that darkness or brightness of a color.
The slider that I use the most here is the Saturation slider. If I want to saturate all the colors in the image, not only the umbrellas, but also the tables and chairs and the trees, I'll go to the Saturation slider and I'll drag it over to the right and all of the colors get more intense. If I were to drag this slider all the way to the left, all of the colors would become more gray. If I take it all the way to the left, all of the color is taken out of the image and it becomes a black-and-white. But I don't suggest that you convert a color image to black-and-white this way, because all of the colors are being desaturated to the same extent.
I'm going to pump up the saturation beyond its default of 0, just about like that. Now, let's take a look at these other sliders. If I want darker shades of these colors, I can go to the Lightness slider and drag that to the left. If I want lighter shades, I can drag to the right. I am going to darken these colors just a bit from the default of 02 to -10 and then there is a Hue slider. If I drag the Hue slider, all the colors in the image will shift.
If I want to know how the colors are shifting I can take a look at the bars at the bottom of the Adjustments panel. Let's take red for example. This red in the top bar represents the image as it was a moment ago. If I go directly down from that red to the bar below I can see that this shade of red is now a yellowish orange and over here this shade of green is now an aqua. So the entire spectrum of color is shifting over. I don't actually use the Hue slider very much, because it does tend to give me these unreal looking results and I prefer realistic looking photos.
So I am going to take this slider back to 0. The changes that I just made affected all the colors in the image, but sometimes I just want to change the saturation or the lightness of a particular color. Let's say the blue umbrellas in this photo. So, I'll go up to this menu labeled Master and from here I can choose any of these colors. I am going to choose Blues and then I'm going to drag the Saturation slider to the right and that will make the blue umbrellas more saturated without affecting the colors of the other umbrellas.
The bars at the bottom of the adjustments panel are now telling me exactly which blue shades are being affected. The blue shades that correspond to the middle part of this bar are directly affected and then there is a falloff in the shades of blue and purple and magenta over here that correspond to the darker areas of this bar and on the other side to the blues and aqua shades. I can expand the range of colors affected by that change by pulling on the sliders like this and like this.
I can also use these eyedroppers to target the colors that will be affected by my change. So if I select this eyedropper and I move into the image and I click on one of the green chairs. The bars down here changed to include green, they wrap all the way around to the other side and the increased saturation is now also affecting the green chairs. You'll notice that doing that created a new custom category in this menu which is a variation on the Cyans category and has been automatically named Cyans too.
So, that's how to use the Hue/Saturation and Lightness sliders here in the Hue/Saturation dialog box to tweak the color in your images. There is one more feature here I'd like to show you and that is the Colorize check box. If I click this check box, Elements applies a monotone color scheme to the image and I can adjust that color scheme. For example, I could move the Hue slider and change this from a kind of sepia tone to a blue toned image or a violet toned image.
I can also adjust the saturation of this monotone look as well as the lightness. So, there's a lot that I can do to the colors in a photo from here in the Hue/Saturation dialog box. So, give this adjustment a try if you want to tweak the Hue, the Saturation or the Brightness of color in your images.
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