Join Bryan O'Neil Hughes for an in-depth discussion in this video Bad adjustments turned good (Brightness/Contrast, Vibrance not Saturation, etc.), part of Photoshop Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials.
- Photoshop's been around for a really long time, and there are certain things that work better than others, and there are certain tools that you're told to just not use. So, I wanted to start by dispelling a myth and sort of showing you a better way to do something, and then I want to touch on a common workflow that's a little bit misunderstood. So, the first one would be brightness and contrast. These are considered bad words in Photoshop. If you read a lot of older books on Photoshop, folks will tell you don't go anywhere near Brightness/Contrast. And if you look at how Brightness/Contrast used to work you understand why.
So let's turn on Use Legacy, and in a moment I'll explain why that's there. Use Legacy is the old way of doing Brightness/Contrast. It's where the bad reputation comes from. And if I were to increase Brightness all the way and Contrast all the way, I shove all of the data off a cliff. I loose everything. It goes completely blank white. If I go all the way in the other direction, it goes completely black. Obviously, that doesn't work. So, if I hold Option to reset, let's use the new way and see how things work now.
Brightness cranked all the way up, pretty bright, but the image is still there. Contrast cranked all the way up, pretty contrasty, but again it's still hanging in there. And if we go the other direction, dark and low contrast, but the image still is intact. We're not pushing the data off a cliff. So, these used to be bad words. This used to be a bad place to go. It just works now, so I want you to forget what you thought you knew about Brightness and Contrast. They're not so bad after all. Alright, so another one. There are a couple of different ways to do saturation.
And the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer is pretty heavy handed. If you max this out, especially on people, you're gonna get a really crazy result. But there are benefits to this workflow. You can adjust individual colors, channels, you can adjust the hue. You've got this really nice, on canvas tool, where you can click on a value and adjust the saturation. It's quite powerful, but like you saw, a little heavy handed. Let's look at another way to do it. Using the Vibrance adjustment layer you can really bump that up, and the results are pretty subtle, even pushing that really, really far.
And you'll notice this especially with skin tones. Skin tones don't get pushed way out of gamut. And with the saturation control within here, it's a little more nuanced than in Hue/Saturation. It's still pretty heavy handed, but it's not so over the top. So think of Vibrance as the most subtle, detailed way of adjusting saturation, tune for skin tones. Saturation found next to Vibrance, a little confusing, to be the next, and Hue/Saturation to be pretty heavy handed but to give you some controls you don't have otherwise.
So, in summary, Brightness/Contrast now okay to use. If you're gonna saturate, you wanna consider Vibrance for skin tones, desaturation found with Vibrance for most other uses, and Hue/Saturation for special cases. Alright, I hope that helps.
This course, from Adobe's own principal product manager of digital imaging, Bryan O'Neil Hughes, is here to help. Bryan details various Photoshop features, many of them relatively new, that can help photographers and designers alike streamline their work.
- Exploring Photoshop's evolution
- Passing non-raw files to Camera Raw
- Video editing in Camera Raw and Photoshop
- Refining selections
- Getting the most from layers
- Using Photoshop's new design-oriented features like Typekit
- Working "smarter" with Smart Object and Filters
- Making powerful and nondestructive image adjustments
- Sharpening and resizing