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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
In this movie we will be working on this photograph of my daughter Sophia, its title sophia.dng and you can find that in the Chapter 11 folder. Press Command+R on the Mac/Ctrl+R on the PC to open it up in Adobe Bridge. Now what I want to do in this movie is briefly talk about the Vibrance and Saturations sliders because these are really interesting sliders. Now the Vibrance slider gives you the ability to make non-linear color adjustments to your image. Let me explain, if I decrease the Vibrance all the way, notice what happens. Well, the colors that are a little bit more muted, the colors are almost gone. The colors that were stronger, we still see that with the strawberries.
Now I we increase the Vibrance, the opposite happened, right. It said well, the colors that were really strong let's not affect those as much but let's help out the weaker colors. So you kind of think of this like the helping hand slider right. And again let's compare that to zero and when we increase this one of the things we are going to see is we are not going to see drastic change on the strawberries right here, because those are the strongest colors. But in the rest of the image, it's almost like those colors are going to just start to be pulled out. And one of the reasons why you want to use the Vibrance slider is to add color variety and to also help out some of the more muted colors. Or on the other hand to protect some of the more saturated colors because if you over saturate the strawberries, you are not going to have any detail there and they won't print very well.
Now the same thing is especially true when you are photographing people. A lot of times in people photographs the saturations is in the skin and so when you increase the Saturation, the skin doesn't look very good. Yet when you increase the Vibrance slider, it says, hey let's not mess with the skin, that's fine but let's increase the colors or the other colors in the image. All right, well just by a way of comparison let's look at the Saturation slider. This slider does make linear adjustments, what I mean is it says, take what we have and then decrease, decrease everything straight across the board.
Or take what we have and increase, increase, increase. Let's zoom on those strawberries for a second and make a quick comparison. Here is a Saturation amount of 100 on the strawberries, bring that back to 0 by double clicking it. Now here is a Vibrance of 100, interesting, right. You could still print this image; the strawberries would still have pretty good color. Now the rest of the colors aren't that good because I went so far but by way of illustration again that's Vibrance and now let's look at Saturation. Here is that saturation, right. Things just kind of get out of hand. So you can think of the Vibrance slider as the slider it's much more delicate, much more intelligent and so a lot of times this is how you will use it. What you do is you increase the Vibrance a little bit and if you find that your overall colors Saturation is too strong. Well then decrease the overall Saturation a little bit. So you are increasing the color variety, helping out the muted tones a little bit but then backing everything off, just a touch.
Let's look at our preview for this one, here is our before and after. Again, it's subtle yet significant, probably even hard to see. So how then can you tend to use this particular adjustment? Well, a lot of times what you will do is you will increase the Vibrance, I'll increase the Saturation of the muted colors, I'll increase the color variety. And then if the image is a little bit too saturated, well then decrease the Saturation. On the other hand there are times when you want to increase the Saturation just a little bit, give it a boost and increase the overall color variety, help out the muted tones and apply the color that way.
So what I'm trying to illustrate is that these two sliders work together. A lot of time you will be using them in unison. We will look at our preview by clicking on the check box or pressing the P key before and after, pretty subtle color improvements. Double click the Hand tool and again we will look at our before and after, pretty subtle yet pretty significant. Increase the warmth of the image, just a touch, little bit more Vibrance here and a little bit of Contrast, which will increase the color saturation. Now when I increase the Contrast here I notice, just a touch too saturated so I'm going to decrease my color saturation here just a little bit. And now let's look at our overall before and after, here is before and after. Yeah, that looks much better. Again the color is really snap; the image has really come to life.
Now keep in mind what I'm trying to illustrate here is two things, one, how do the sliders work and then two, that when you use these sliders it's about using them in combinations with other sliders. Now I'm aware that the adjustments I have applied to this image are really subtle. And keep in mind that there are times when your adjustments will be incredibly subtle. Other times some of your images will need a little bit more work. With this particular image I don't want to push it too far because I still want it to be called "a real moment" and because I started with such vibrant colors from the get-go so my adjustments are going to be a little bit more simple.
All right, well in summary Vibrance, non -linear color adjustments; saturation, very linear. There isn't one that's better than the other rather it's a combination of these different sliders together that will help you come up with the best color in your photographs.
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