How to tone down, up, or change colors in your picture.

Say you have an incredibly bright picture like this:

bright_flowers

Pretty, right? But not if the theme of your photo essay has an nice antique-y look to it. Or if it happens to have an even brighter, more eye-assaulting color scheme than this original picture.

So how can you dial down/up the color and make it fit into the theme of your essay? Easy-peazy!

1. First, open your picture in PhotoShop. Don’t forget to save it as a .psd!

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 8.52.57 PM

2. Locate the Hue/Saturation button in your sidebar and click it. It is highlighted in green in the picture below.

Hi-lite

3. This slider tool bar should pop out of the basic toolbar on the right:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.12.36 PM

With this toolbar, you can play around with three different effects: Hue, Saturation, and Lightness. I will be focusing on Hue and Saturation.

Hue: Changing the hue means that you can change all the colors in the picture to different variations of the original colors at the same time. It changes the colors at the same intervals, so the integrity of the color relationships remains.

For example:

Moving the Hue slider +50 changes the colors like this:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.23.50 PM

Original                                                                    

bright_flowers

Edited

bright_flowers50plus

Notice how the flowers have changed shade, not their actual color. See what happens if I take the slider the other direction, to -50:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.25.00 PM

Original

bright_flowers

Edited

bright_flowers50minus

Moving the slider in the other direction creates different variations of color.

Saturation: This is my favorite PhotoShop effect, mostly because of how simple it is. With this slider, you are able to change how bright and heavy the colors appear.

For example: 

Moving the Saturation slider to +100 produces a picture positively sopping with color:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.26.55 PM

Original

bright_flowers

Edited

bright_flowerssat100

Moving the Saturation slider in the other direction creates the opposite effect:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.34.38 PM

Original

bright_flowers

Edited

bright_flowersSat100minus

Instead of making the picture incredibly color-heavy, the color is completely taken out of it. This is an easy way to make black and white photos without worrying about destroying pixels; These edits are completely undoable.

With this slider, you can also give your pictures a colorized aged look by playing around with the Saturation:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.41.13 PM

Original

bright_flowers

Edited

bright_flowersantiquey

Now you know how to non-destructively play with and change the colors and color saturation of your photos! Have fun playing with this!

-EP

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s