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Photoshop Tutorial - Basic image adjustments - Hue and saturation




The following image of some rather cute mallard ducklings is ok but a little washed out. The image lacks punch as the colour saturation is not high enough.

I suggest that your screen is accurately calibrated before making adjustments to your images, otherwise what you produce will not print out as you would expect it to be, and if you post it on a website or e.mail it to someone they may not see it on their screen as you expect them to either.



If I was working with a RAW image I would have adjusted the hue/saturation slider in the "adjust" menu and then selectively chosen a colour to boost it a little more in the "calibrate" menu. Any further adjustment in Photoshop should then become unnecessary - unless you want to tweak a little further.

When working with jpeg images, the camera parameters dictate the hue and saturation, so if you are not happy with what the camera produced for you, then you will need to follow this tutorial to rectify the situation. Hue/saturation becomes another essential basic image adjustment.

Ok, so let's get going. Open your image and click Image > adjustments > hue/saturation. Adjust the saturation slider until the image looks how you would like it. +19 looked about right to me in this example. Don't overdo it or the image will look unnatural. The dialogue box also gives you options to change the hue (i.e. alter the colour itself or lighten/darken it). I tend not to use these controls as I find that it is better to adjust lightness in "levels or curves" and hue in "colour balance".


So what we have done is apply a universal increase in colour saturation to our image and it looks much better. On most occasions this is all I tend to do. But what if we want to bring out one colour in particular ?

The next image is of a ring-tailed lemur taking a rest. The image was taken in the shade of a tree and consequently the wonderful red colour of the sand and the glow of the lemur's eyes are lacking in red saturation. I have opened the hue/saturation dialogue box again, and this time selected reds from the drop down menu and clicked ok. If I use the saturation slider now, all the reds in the image will increase in saturation, but only the reds covered within the range indicted at the bottom of the hue/saturation window)


But it gets better - click on the middle eyedropper tool and then move it over to any part of the image that you want to work on and click on it. Take a look at the image below and you will notice that the central eyedropper is highlighted, and also if you look in the tools palette to the left of the screen the foreground colour box has changed to the colour of the sand where I had clicked the eyedropper. I then adjusted the saturation to +14 affecting reds of the selected hue only. Clever huh?


This ends the tutorial on hue/saturation. I hope that it will assist you in getting the most out of your images.

 



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