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Let's talk about the different properties that make up any color. And those are hue, saturation and luminosity. First is hue, which is what color family does the tone belong to. Yellow, orange, red, green, blue and so on. Second is saturation, which refers to the amount of hue in the selection. If you have a lot of green in a sample, you'll have a very saturated green. If you have just a little green in a sample, you'll have a very desaturated green. Gray is the absence of any hue.
And by definition is completely desaturated, and the absence of a hue. Third is luminosity, which can also be called value. It refers to the relative lightness or darkness of a sample, without regard to the hue or saturation. In this example, each of these samples are the same luminosity. Although the top samples are a very saturated orange. Well the bottom samples are a completely desaturated gray. Finally, the words hue and color, are often used interchangeably, But they technically mean different things.
Hue as I mentioned before, just refers to the color family, red, green, blue. But these two swatches look very different, because they have a different saturation and luminosity. Color is much more specific. It has to have the same hue and saturation. Although it can technically have a different luminosity. In this example, these two samples are the same color because they have the same hue and saturation. Although they look slightly different, because they have a slightly different luminosity. With that in mind, let's go back to our sample file, and take a look at this solid violet overlay.
I have it at the top of the layer stack to look at the color variable modes. First let's set the solid violet layer to Hue. Something a little unexpected has happened. Didn't you expect the grey scale gradient to turn violet? It certainly turned our spectrum gradient violet. The reason it didn't turn the grey scale violet is that hue doesn't control the saturation, just the color family. So it looked at the grey scale gradient, and turned it violet. But didn't change the saturation or luminosity.
It remained completely desaturated or gray. With the color gradient, it turned everything violet but keeps the same saturation and luminosity levels. So you get this bright violet gradient. Lets try color. Here you probably get the result you expected. Color turns the greyscale gradient violet, as well as the spectrum gradient. The only thing that was kept from the original was luminosity, or the lightness and darkness. Next, let's try Saturation. Is that the result you expected? Since the layer of violet on top of it is high saturation, it's bumped every underlying color up to full saturation.
Look up here at the gray gradient, where you see the speckles of bright green red and yellow. That indicates that the gradient had a bit of noise in it, that pushed some of the pixels slightly red, green and yellow. And with the full saturated layer affecting it, it bumped all of those pixels up to their maximum saturation. Also look at my cat Jackson's fur. Before I turn this layer to Saturation, it look black with dark gray highlights. But now you will see that the highlights were actually slightly red.
So with full saturation turned on, his fur looks bright brown. The last choice is Luminosity, which once again, yields rather unusual results. Remember, luminosity looks only at the lightness and darkness of a pixel, not the hue or saturation. And since the layer we have set to luminosity, is all a medium dark luminosity. It is trying to set everything in the underlying sample to the same medium dark tone. The way you will regularly be using the color variable modes, is for tinting your work.
For example, if you wanted to selectively paint this multicolor sample orange, you could add a new layer, set it to Color, and now paint the areas you wanted orange. With color, it'll keep the luminosity or lightness and darkness of the underlying material, but change the color and saturation to the color you are painting. When color correcting photo reference, you may find this very helpful if you can't get the results you are looking for any other way. Next step, we'll put some of these transfer modes into action by creating a base texture for our castle.
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