Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Improving saturation and vibrance, part of Editing GoPro HERO Photos and Videos with Lightroom and Photoshop.
- Because the GoPro footage and stills are heavily compressed, it's easy to lose a lot of color information. I find that adding this backing in post really helps the shot out. Here we have some footage from our motorcycle course on lynda.com. And I love the point of view, but the color just doesn't really match the muddy, rich tones that were there. Let's start by getting an auto white balance. It's not bad.
And I'll do auto tone. That put a lot of contrast in and really opened things up. I'll just make it a tad brighter. And recover the whites just a little bit. Not too bad. What's now needed is the boosting of color. For this, we could take advantage of vibrance. As I add that back in, the shot looks a lot richer. That really enhanced the color, but it's pretty limited what you can do inside of Lightroom.
Lightroom only lets you apply quick develop settings. If you wanna take more control, let's jump into Photoshop for a second. I'm gonna take those same shots and open them up in Photoshop. Here we have an aerial shot. Let's start by quickly fixing the curves, and I'll just do an auto curves for now. Not bad, but the color is a bit off so I'll option click on the word auto and tell it to do monochromatic constrast and snap the mid-tones.
Not too bad. And as we make the adjustments to the image, it looks better, but the color is washed out. I prefer the vibrance adjustment layer. This lets you roll in all the colors, using the saturation slider, or be a bit more selective with vibrance, which has a tendency to push the blues and greens more than it does the reds. That's looking a lot better. If we compare the before to the after, a lot of information's come back.
Let's try that on two more shots. There's that boot cam. We'll do a levels adjustment like you learned about earlier. Opening up the mid-tones, pulling in the blacks, and lowering the output value of the white. The exposure's better, but the color looks washed out. Toss on vibrance, and boost the vibrance and saturation, and it really starts to come back to life. Remember, these are very quick, so you could play the video back in real time and watch your shot.
Always fix the exposure first. Take advantage of tools like the on-image tool if you need to make a targeted adjustment. And then fill in the color afterwards. Vibrance first, followed by a little bit of saturation. And that will bring back a lot of that detail that was missing. Remember, if you're not happy with the white balance you can always take the white balance eyedropper and attempt to fix it.
In that case, simply white balancing on the front of the bike really popped the whites. I'm very happy with that curves adjustment now, it looks a lot better. And the vibrance adjustment just fills in a bunch of the missing details. We've got the rich, fiery tones back in his uniform, the dirt looks much more intense, and the sky is absolutely essential. That's a much better looking shot. Always tackle the exposure, and then know that if you've brightened up the shot, you're gonna need to boost the color to round it back off.
If you're for some reason darkening a shot, which is not that likely on a GoPro, well, then you may need to back off on the saturation. Remember, it's an inverse relationship. Brightness goes up, saturation goes down. Darkness goes down, you pull the exposure down, the saturation is gonna go up. As long as you keep that in mind, it's a very easy order to fix. Tackle the exposure first, then go after the color.
Author Rich Harrington starts with the basics: importing and organizing photos, correcting distortion, adjusting color and exposure, and getting ready for print. He then moves on to working with video: developing color and exposure with adjustment layers and presets, and then rendering out the adjustments for editing in another application. He wraps things up with a short, fun tutorial on assembling a time-lapse sequence. Start watching and learn the skills you need to get the best-looking footage from the GoPro and other action cameras.
- Importing and organizing stills and video
- Correcting lens distortion
- Repairing color, contrast, and compression artifacts
- Improving exposure
- Boosting saturation and vibrance
- Sharpening and cropping
- Assembling panoramas
- Merging HDR images
- Building time-lapse sequences