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The Vibrance adjustment, which is new in Photoshop CS4, offers a subtle way to make colors more intense. The beauty of this new adjustment is that it uses a light touch on skin tones and it concentrates on colors that are less saturated than others in the image, which helps even out the saturation of colors across a photograph. You might think of color as having three qualities: Hue, which is the basic color; Brightness, which is the lightness or darkness of the color; and Saturation, which is the intensity of the color. You'll find that many color images just look better with a touch of increased saturation.
Until now the main way to increase saturation was with the Hue/Saturation adjustment, which is right here in the Adjustments panel. If I click there to open the Hue/ Saturation controls and I make a minor adjustment, I'm just going to pull the Saturation slider to the right, you'll see that the model's skin quickly becomes oversaturated. It looks like she has a bit of a sunburn. So this isn't exactly doing what I want. I'm going to go down to the trashcan at the bottom of the Adjustments panel and click it and say Yes to delete the Hue/Saturation adjustment.
Instead, I'm going to try the Vibrance adjustment, which is right here in the Adjustments panel. I'll click the Vibrance icon and I can see in my Layers panel the new Vibrance adjustment layer. The adjustment has two sliders: The Saturation slider works a lot like the Saturation slider in the Hue/Saturation dialog box. It just overdoes the skin tones a bit. To put that back to its default, I'm going to type zero in the Saturation field, and now I'm going to try moving the Vibrance slider to the right instead.
As you can see the Vibrance slider is a lot more subtle. It has made the colors in the image more intense. You can see that particularly down here in the skirt, but it hasn't overdone the model's skin. If I go down to this Preview icon and I click and hold, you can see how it was before I applied this adjustment, a little bit dull, and how it is with the adjustment. It just pops. That's how simple it is to increase the saturation in an image without overdoing it. Give the new Vibrance adjustment a try on your own images, particularly where you have photographs of people.
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