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Refining colors with Hue/Saturation

From: Photoshop CS6 Image Optimization Workshop

Video: Refining colors with Hue/Saturation

If you started using the Vibrance Adjustment to optimize the colors in your image, giving the a little bit of a boost, then you might feel that you no longer need Hue Saturation. And yet, Hue Saturation can be an incredibly helpful adjustment in a variety of situations. Let's take a look at how you might want to use Hue Saturation on some of your own images. I'll go ahead and start by adding a New Adjustment layer for Hue Saturation. I'll click the Create New Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel, and then choose Hue Saturation from the popup list.

Refining colors with Hue/Saturation

If you started using the Vibrance Adjustment to optimize the colors in your image, giving the a little bit of a boost, then you might feel that you no longer need Hue Saturation. And yet, Hue Saturation can be an incredibly helpful adjustment in a variety of situations. Let's take a look at how you might want to use Hue Saturation on some of your own images. I'll go ahead and start by adding a New Adjustment layer for Hue Saturation. I'll click the Create New Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel, and then choose Hue Saturation from the popup list.

That will add a Hue Saturation adjustment and give me the controls for Hue Saturation on the Properties panel. If you just start exploring around with Hue Staturation, you might feel that it's not really and adjustment you'd want to use. For example, shifting the hue can create some rather bizarre effects within the image, probably not something you'd use in most cases. Although, I could certainly see situations where this could be a little bit of fun and sometimes allow you a new creative outlet for a photograph. But typically, you would not want to adjust the hue for the overall image.

The Lightness slider is perhaps even less useful for most photographic images. I think of increasing lightness as effectively spilling white paint all over the image, and decreasing lightness as spilling black paint all over the image. Not the best effect for a photo. Although again, to create sort of a faded back look it could certainly be useful. But by and large, you're probably not going to use the lightness adjustment for most images. And if you take a look at saturation, especially if you increase it significantly, you'll see some rather strange effects within the image.

Not the most pleasant effect in most cases. And reducing saturation of course, produces something of a black and white image depending on how far you take the saturation down. And especially considering the Vibrance Adjustment provides a little better effect, I'd say in most cases and sometimes a much better effect. I would tend not to use the Saturation slider much when working on the overall image. So thus far, I seem to be saying that you should never use Hue Saturation at all because all of these adjustments have some sort of problem associated with them.

And yet, I use Hue Saturation all the time. The trick is I don't use it for the overall image, but rather I use Hue Saturation to adjust individual colors. Let's say for example, I'd like to fine tune the appearance of the greens in this image. To me, they look a little bit too cyan and maybe I'd like to tone down the saturation just a little bit. They just don't look quite right to my eye, and so I'd like to change the appearance of just the greens. Well, by default, in Hue Saturation, we're working on the Master Channel, meaning that all of these sliders affect all of the colors.

Every single pixel within the image. However, we can change that option. So, for example, since I want to affect the greens, I'll go ahead and choose the Greens Channel from the popup. And now, any adjustment I make will only affect the green values within the image. Just for sake of argument, let's say I wanted to desaturate the greens. So, I'll go ahead and reduce the saturation completely, and you can see that areas of the image that are considered green are now completely desaturated. You'll also notice because I've made an exaggerated adjustment that we can see that not all of the foliage. In this case, was actually included in that range. And that's because some portions of what we would call green were a little bit yellow, and some portions were a little more cyan. In effect, my idea of green didn't quite match entirely with Photoshop's idea of green.

We can see what Photoshop thinks is green by looking at the Color Gradient bars. The top bar is our before values as it were and the bottom bar are the after values. So, you can see the after values have become grey for a range of greens. But you can also see that the range of greens being identified does not encompass everything that we would consider green. The vertical bars represent the range of colors that will be completely effected by our adjustment. An then, the controls just outside of that, represent the range of transition. In other words, the adjustment will slowly taper off until it reaches that outer color value.

When you want to fine tune the range, I do strongly recommend making an exaggerated adjustment. So here, I've reduced the saturation completely, for example. So, we can really see the effect within the image very, very clearly, and then I can expand the range of colors. I can adjust the individual controls, separately. I can adjust the vertical bar all by itself, or I can adjust the degree of transition all by itself. But if I point the mouse in between those two controls, I can click and drag both of them in unison. If I move the left boundary over to the right, you'll see that I'm starting to see more of the greens. Because they are no longer being affected by that reduction in saturation. In this case, of course, I want to expand the range of greens, so I'll drag that slider over to the left.

You can see that the yellows and the greens are also being added to the range being desaturated. And so now, I've got more of the greens being reduced in saturation. If I take this too far, of course, I'll start to desaturate the oranges that are found in the carrots, so I want to be careful not to take that out too far. I want to broaden the range of colors just enough to affect the colors I do want to affect, without harming the colors that I don't want to affect. That's helped us in terms of those areas that were a little bit yellowish, and how about those cyans? Let's expand the other side of the scale. Notice that I'm nearly up against the edge of the range of colors that are available here.

But this is really just a color wheel that's been spread out so that cyan continues on the other side. And in fact, if I point in between the two controls here and click and drag to the right. You'll see that first, that control that allows me to determine the range of transition shows up at the far left of the gradient. So we've effectively wrapped around from the right side to the left. Again, effectively clicking in between the two controls, but of course they're spread out on opposite ends of this color wheel as it were. But I can click and drag to continue moving both of those controls to this side of the color wheel. Again, this is really just a color wheel that's been cut and rolled out so that we can see it in a linear fashion.

So, I can fine tune the range of colors. Once again, and right about there I think I have the full range for those greens affected. Of course, I didn't really want to make the greens turn gray. I just did that to help illustrate the concept here. And to make it a little bit easier to see when I have identified an appropriate range of colors for this adjustment. I'll go ahead and bring my saturation adjustment back up. I do think I want to desaturate a little bit. I'm going to to leave this at a slight reduction in saturation. But first, I'm going to focus my attention on the hue.

You can see I can take that foliage over more toward the yellows or more toward the blues. In this case, I think I want to take it just a little bit more toward the yellow. I don't need to take it too far, but I think a little less of that sort of blue cyan tone will probably work a little bit better. And I think I might even reduce the saturation just a little bit more. To me, this photo is all about the carrots themselves. The tops of the carrots in the background there are really just sort of an accessory as it were, just a backdrop. And so, I don't want them to really compete too much with the carrots. So you can see, by working on an individual channel, and then customizing the range of colors that are being effected while we're working on that channel.

We can adjust specific color ranges within an image with great control. Obviously, we only have Hue Saturation and lightness as our available controls in this case. Of course, we on have the Hue Saturation and lightness adjustments when we're working with hue Saturation. But in many cases, that will be all you need to help improve some of the colors within a photo.

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Photoshop CS6 Image Optimization Workshop

28 video lessons · 459 viewers

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