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Understanding vibrance and saturation

From: Lightroom 4 Essentials: 02 Enhancing Photos with the Develop Module

Video: Understanding vibrance and saturation

In order to really understand how the Vibrance and Saturation controls work in the Develop module, let's work with this demo file here. You can find it in the Resource Files folder; it's titled color.jpg. Select that file, and then go ahead and navigate to the Develop module. Well here in the Develop module, we are going to focus in on the Basic panel, and in particular, on the controls for Presence: Vibrance, and Saturation. Now Vibrance, and Saturation; they work in similar yet different ways.

Understanding vibrance and saturation

In order to really understand how the Vibrance and Saturation controls work in the Develop module, let's work with this demo file here. You can find it in the Resource Files folder; it's titled color.jpg. Select that file, and then go ahead and navigate to the Develop module. Well here in the Develop module, we are going to focus in on the Basic panel, and in particular, on the controls for Presence: Vibrance, and Saturation. Now Vibrance, and Saturation; they work in similar yet different ways.

Let's try to reverse engineer, or deconstruct how these tools, or how these controls actually work. Well Saturation, we are all probably used to. What it does is it either says, okay we have a certain amount of color; let's then remove or let's add color to this particular image. Yet what's exactly happening here. Well, what saturation does is it makes what are called linear adjustments. It says, I want to take this blue, in this case a faded blue, or a bright blue, wherever that blue is, and I want to boost it up, or take it down.

So in this case, we can see that all of the blues become a little bit more blue relative to where their saturation level was, or all of those, in a uniform way, become less blue. So again, it doesn't really pay attention to the color; it just says, I am going to add more, or I am going to take away. Well Vibrance on the other hand, it allows us to make nonlinear adjustments. Vibrance is almost a little bit maybe intelligent. What it does is it says, hey, you know what? These blues, well, they are not quite as blue as the other ones down over here.

I want to help these guys out. So Vibrance focuses in on color in a fascinating way. As I increase this, you will notice that the blues on the right are those blues which are more affected than the blues on the left. Let's look at that before and after. Well here is our before, and then here is our after. On the other hand, if we decrease the Vibrance, well, it's going to decrease the colors which are little bit less blue, and it's going to try to maintain the blue in the colors which were once the most blue.

So this is nonlinear. It's paying attention to color in an interesting way. It works on those weaker colors in a different way than it does the stronger colors. Okay well, why does this matter, besides it being kind of interesting? Well it matters because it can help us process our images in really powerful ways. Let's take a look. Go back to Library module for a moment, and then go to the folder titled other. Inside of this folder, we have a photograph which is titled sayulita_door.

This is a picture of a painting on this little shop door down in Mexico. Let's process this image using those Vibrance, and Saturation controls, and so let's go to the Develop module. Well here in the Develop module, let's just see what these controls do. Decrease Vibrance; well what happens? Well it primarily targets the blues; it doesn't affect the Reds as much. Increase this up; what we are going to see is all of a sudden, we have not just more color, but more color variety, and that's what's really important here.

What Vibrance does is it actually expands the color palette. Rather than just taking red or blue, and making more of that, it gives us almost these different shades of blue; these different shades of red. Take a look: here is our before, and then now here's our after. All right, well let's compare that to Saturation. What Saturation will do is it will boost our colors. In this case, we kind of lose detail on the reds. There is too much red there. It's not really usable. Decrease; we know what's going to happen there.

Well what we can do is we can use these sliders together, say, increase Vibrance, and maybe take down the Saturation a little bit, and a little bit more Vibrance until we come up with a nice color combination. Here is that before, and then now the after. The trick with this, of course, in this image in particular, is that the reds, well those are going to easily get blocked up, or they are going to have too much information in them, because the red channel is the one in digital capture which is most sensitive to light. And you know what? This happens all the time with people's faces as well.

If you increase the Saturation, well their face becomes too ruddy; too red. You see all those kind of strange colors in their face. Yet if you use Vibrance, say, with a people photograph, well it can boost the other colors, but not so much affect the face. In other words, Vibrance helps us bring other colors out, while the main or the big colors, it doesn't affect as much. And here, you can see it just gives us kind of a fun way to process this image. We have a little bit of flexibility with regards to finding the sweet spot; the amount of reds, and blues, and also all of those vibrant tones.

Here it is: our before, and then after. Well now that we have been introduced to this whole topic of how these sliders work, let's apply what we know, and let's do that to a few more images.

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This video is part of

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  1. 2m 1s
    1. Welcome
      1m 17s
    2. Using the exercise files
      44s
  2. 22m 4s
    1. Develop module overview and essential shortcuts
      4m 13s
    2. Panel navigation tips
      4m 53s
    3. Using the Develop module presets
      3m 32s
    4. Creating your own presets
      4m 1s
    5. Using the Snapshot and History panels
      3m 40s
    6. Working with the tool strip
      1m 45s
  3. 15m 20s
    1. Working with legacy Lightroom files
      6m 53s
    2. Viewing the before and after
      4m 29s
    3. Comparing and surveying images
      3m 58s
  4. 19m 42s
    1. Understanding white balance and color temperature
      2m 43s
    2. Using the White Balance Selector tool
      4m 22s
    3. Correcting white balance with a color checker
      3m 52s
    4. Working with white balance presets and fine-tuning white balance
      4m 24s
    5. Color correcting multiple images at once
      2m 42s
    6. Creativity and white balance
      1m 39s
  5. 23m 5s
    1. Getting familiar with the tone controls
      3m 19s
    2. Deconstructing the tone controls
      5m 39s
    3. Using the tone controls to enhance photographs
      5m 28s
    4. Correcting clipping with the tone controls
      4m 53s
    5. Synchronizing tonal adjustments with multiple images
      3m 46s
  6. 22m 31s
    1. Understanding vibrance and saturation
      5m 6s
    2. Working with vibrance and saturation
      5m 38s
    3. Color creativity with temperature, vibrance, and saturation
      3m 19s
    4. Understanding clarity
      2m 34s
    5. Using clarity in collaboration with vibrance and saturation
      5m 54s
  7. 10m 37s
    1. Basic panel workflow
      3m 38s
    2. Using Auto Tone
      1m 42s
    3. Workflow considerations
      5m 17s
  8. 18m 27s
    1. Cropping
      3m 29s
    2. Changing the crop aspect ratio
      1m 47s
    3. Straightening with the Crop tool
      2m 49s
    4. Working with the crop overlay
      3m 4s
    5. Crop creativity and orientation
      2m 36s
    6. Synchronizing crop settings
      2m 36s
    7. Exploring how to improve the composition of your photographs
      2m 6s
  9. 15m 55s
    1. Retouching with the Spot Removal tool
      8m 26s
    2. The Spot Removal tool: Clone versus Heal
      4m 56s
    3. Fixing red-eye
      2m 33s
  10. 16m 43s
    1. Introducing the Graduated Filter
      5m 14s
    2. Darkening the sky with the Graduated Filter
      6m 10s
    3. Enhancing a sunrise with the Graduated Filter
      5m 19s
  11. 45m 51s
    1. Adjustment Brush overview
      7m 45s
    2. Using Auto Mask
      5m 55s
    3. Burning and dodging a black-and-white image
      6m 44s
    4. Reducing noise
      5m 40s
    5. Minimizing moiré patterns
      3m 18s
    6. Painting in localized sharpening
      2m 14s
    7. Improving the eyes
      4m 6s
    8. Dimishing a distracting highlight
      3m 42s
    9. The Adjustment Brush and Basic panel workflow
      6m 27s
  12. 15m 38s
    1. Demystifying the Tone Curve controls
      5m 5s
    2. Using the tone curve to correct exposure
      2m 16s
    3. Changing tone and color with the the point tone curve
      3m 39s
    4. Making creative RGB adjustments
      4m 38s
  13. 13m 36s
    1. Understanding the HSL controls
      4m 4s
    2. Using the HSL Target Adjustment tool
      1m 40s
    3. Brightening tones with HSL
      3m 21s
    4. Using HSL to bring out warm and cool tones
      1m 47s
    5. Creative color with HSL
      2m 44s
  14. 36m 35s
    1. Introducing black-and-white conversion
      2m 38s
    2. Converting to black and white
      2m 16s
    3. Modifying black-and-white tones with the Grayscale panel
      5m 26s
    4. Enhancing black-and-white images with the Adjustment Brush
      9m 4s
    5. Using presets to convert to black and white
      5m 13s
    6. Black-and-white workflow with virtual copies
      5m 29s
    7. Black-and-white images and collections
      4m 22s
    8. Creating better black-and-white photographs
      2m 7s
  15. 14m 2s
    1. Split-toning essentials
      3m 34s
    2. Advanced split-toning tips
      2m 44s
    3. Split toning a color image
      3m 5s
    4. Split toning to create a sepia-tone effect
      2m 22s
    5. Using split toning to enhance a sunrise
      2m 17s
  16. 12m 21s
    1. Introducing noise reduction
      5m 10s
    2. Understanding sharpening
      5m 2s
    3. Sharpening workflow
      2m 9s
  17. 13m 35s
    1. Using the Lens Correction controls
      1m 56s
    2. Correcting distortion
      2m 45s
    3. Making subtle adjustments to composition and tone
      4m 10s
    4. Removing fish-eye distortion
      3m 18s
    5. Removing chromatic aberration
      1m 26s
  18. 12m 55s
    1. Adding and correcting vignettes
      2m 24s
    2. Using the Post-Crop controls
      4m 5s
    3. Adding a post-crop vignette
      4m 26s
    4. Working with film grain
      2m 0s
  19. 5m 34s
    1. Understanding camera calibration in Lightroom
      3m 20s
    2. Creative color with camera calibration
      2m 14s
  20. 21s
    1. Goodbye
      21s

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