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In Photoshop CS5 Essential Training, author Michael Ninness demonstrates how to produce the highest quality images with fantastic detail in the shortest amount of time, using a combination of Photoshop CS5, Adobe Bridge, and Camera Raw. This course shows the most efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, Michael shares the secrets of non-destructive editing, utilizing and mastering Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, layers, adjustment layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more. Exercise files are included with the course.
When you have an image that's got some muted colors in it, maybe all the colors are muted or just certain colors are muted, like in this image. There's some nice color in the greens, but the pinks, and the reds and the flowers here, they are a little bit flat and don't have a lot of color to them. So, what I want to be able to do here is increase the saturation of those particular colors. Now, you might think to go to Hue/Saturation to do that. Let's go use a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer, and we'll take that Saturation slider over to the right. You can see there's a problem, right away. I mean, yes, you're using the Master slider here. It's set to Master, and I'm increasing the Saturation.
So, that means the saturation of all the colors in the image are increasing at the same time. You can see you're getting some pretty drastic and ghastly colors very quickly, even with just a modest shift of that Saturation slider. So, I'm not going to use Hue/Saturation. Let's go ahead and delete that Adjustment layer and say Yes to that. So, instead, I'm going to use Vibrance, a Vibrance Adjustment layer. The Vibrance algorithm is a lot smarter than just Hue/Saturation. You'll note that there is a Saturation slider. This is kind of similar to the Master option in Hue/Saturation, but it's not as dramatic.
So, we'll skip Vibrance for just a second and take the Saturation slider over to the right. You can see I can crank up all the way to 100 and still not get as toxic an effect as using the Saturation slider in Hue/Saturation set to Master. So, it is a little bit too much here, but it's not overdoing it to the extreme that Hue/Saturation did. So, Saturation slider in the Vibrance Adjustment layer often gives you better results than Hue/Saturation alone. I'm going to take this back to reset, so I'll click the Reset button at the bottom of the Adjustments panel to do so.
What the Vibrance slider does is builds in a little bit intelligence. It says, "Okay, as I move this Vibrance slider to the right, I'm only going to increase the saturation of colors that need it." So, as I drag this all the way over to 100, you'll see the greens and yellows in this image were not adjusted. They did not have their Saturation boosted, because they were already the most saturated colors in the image. Instead, Vibrance boosted up the color of the pinks and the reds and the purples, because that's what needed at the most. Now, you can actually use Vibrance the opposite direction for creative effects f I want to decrease the color of the areas that are already saturated, leaving the least saturated colors alone.
So, you actually get these cool hand-tinted, or color effects. So, this is more of a creative effect. Most of the time, you're using Vibrance to boost the saturation of colors that need it and leaving the colors that are already saturated alone. I find that almost every image could use a little bit of Vibrance, kind of a nice saying there. If there's a particular region of an image that just isn't quite popping in richness of the color, that Vibrance slider, drag it over to the right a little bit until it looks right, and you're going to get some pretty good-looking results.
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