Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Evaluating with a saturation boost, part of Learning Color Correction in Photoshop (2013).
In some cases, there may be colors hiding in your image that you're not even aware of. And that's because those colors might be relatively subtle and so, you don't necessarily notice them. With time as you apply a variety of different color adjustments, you'll develop an improved eye for color and you'll be better able to recognize when colors are off just a little bit. But, what about those colors that don't make themselves very apparent? Well, there's a technique you can use to really pull out those colors, to exaggerate those colors so that they stand out more obviously, and so you can get a better sense of the overall colors within the image.
And that is a strong saturation boost. Let's take a look at how you can utilize this technique to evaluate color in your images. I will start off by adding a Hue Saturation adjustment layer. So, I'll go to the bottom of the Layers panel and click on the half-black, half-white circle icon, the Add Adjustment Layer button. That will bring up a popup menu where I can select the particular type of adjustment I want to apply. And in this case, I want to choose Hue Saturation. That will add a Hue Saturation adjustment layer to the Layers panel, and it will also give me the controls on the Properties panel for Hue Saturation.
And all I want to do is take that Saturation slider and drag it all the way to the far right. I want to increase saturation by the maximum amount. And you can see that, that gives us some very exaggerated colors within the image. The overall scene is relatively warm. This was late in the day, and so we've got some golden light, and therefore you can see lots of orange, yellow and red types of tones. Of course, the terracotta roofs on the buildings are orange by nature, and so that's certainly coming out a little bit more.
But, you can see for example, the face of the church here has become a little bit more yellowish-orange, and that simply reflects the additional color. It was relatively subtle. I'll turn off the visibility for the Hue Saturation adjustment. And you can see there's certainly some color in the face of that church but it's relatively neutral, and so you might not be able to tell at a glance exactly what colors are contained therein. But by applying that exaggerated boost in saturation you can see very clearly what those colors are. You'll also notice some colors you might not have expected. We see lots of green off in the distance for example. For the most part those are copper tops to various bell towers and other objects within the scene.
But, some of that might be unwanted green elements as well. But, I think the thing that stands out the most as perhaps a surprise color is all of the magenta that we're seeing in the sky. I'll turn off the visibility once again for the Hue Saturation adjustment layer, and you can see those clouds look rather neutral. They essentially just look like shades of gray. But, turning on this adjustment once again we can see there's quite a bit of color out there. Now, the blue is not such a surprise because of course we're getting some of the sky color reflected in those clouds but the magenta is a little bit of a surprise.
Well, actually, it's not that big of a surprise after all, because it's quite common in a hazy scene. Because of refraction, you'll actually end up with a fair amount of magenta to red light, and that can give you that sort of pink cast off in the distance. Now, of course, it was a rather subtle cast in this case, but it was there, and it's good to be aware of these various issues in the image, so that you can pay attention to them later. So, for example I would likely apply an increase in saturation, at least to some extent, obviously not to this extent, for this image.
Well, it's good to be aware that, that pink is there, that those magenta tones are there so that I don't take that adjustment too far. Or that I maybe tone down just the magentas, or shift the color balance toward green to compensate for that magenta. There're a variety of ways I might compensate for that magenta, or I might leave it alone depending on the circumstances. But, the point is, that by boosting the saturation temporarily to the maximum value, we'll get a much better sense of what's going on in the image as far as color is concerned. Once you're finished evaluating the image and you have a good sense of that color. You can simply discard the Hue Saturation adjustment layer, which you can do simply by dragging the thumbnail for the Hue Saturation adjustment layer down to the trashcan icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.
You can then continue on with the various adjustments you might want to apply to your image. But, with a better sense of what's going on in terms of color within that image.
- Configuration considerations
- Understanding and evaluating color
- Foundations of color adjustment
- Balancing a specific color
- Eliminating a problem color
- Recovering color detail
- Neutralizing highlights and shadows
- Whitening and brightening
- Using an adjustment layer to paint in a correction