Friday, January 30, 2009

Photoshop Tips: 8. Brightening your image with Saturation

Are your photos sometimes dull and grayed out, as opposed to your brilliant originals?
I've run across a few artists who mention that their images are not as 'bright' as the originals. Sometimes this can attributable to the time of day or other lighting situations which are not optimal; in my own experience, I've noticed that even different cameras take different photos. I have a regular camera and a backup/travel camera: take the same photo from the same angle, same time of day, and backup camera's photo will be duller (which I don't like) and somewhat 'bluer' (which I do like) EVERY time. It's probably in the factory settings of each camera (I've tried resetting them but I admit I'm no camera whiz. My small expertise is on the computer end).

But a certain amount of 'grayness' can be corrected in the photo editing process.
Today I'll show a quick sample of how to enhance a dull photo with Saturation. In the sample photo below, I've included copy of the photo so you can visualize the change that occurs. To begin, open the Hue/Sauration dialog box, click on CTRL+U (Cmmd+U for Mac users) or from the top toolbar: Image/Adjustments/Hue-Saturation (and for followers of these tips, yes, this is the same adjustment used in tip 4; only today we'll use a different aspect of it).

Make sure the 'preview' box is checked, so you can see the progression (in this case, on the top image). Click and hold down on the arrow on the Saturation line, pulling to the left to brighten (pulling to the right will dull the image down). A little can go a long way, in this sample I've only gone from 0 to +15. I also lightened the image slightly, using the bottom slider to +7.

I should point out, that with a box full of cool tools like Photoshop has, you may find that some work better on one image than another. For the most part, I'd choose to try the Levels before Saturation; it may correct your image to your satisfaction.

The steps I usually follow in order are:

  1. Cropping
  2. Levels, RGB
  3. Levels, other channels (if more color correction is needed)
  4. Color balance (to fine tune color)
  5. Saturation (if needed)
  6. Spot Healing (for small corrections)

In the case of this painting, I broke my own rule and took the photo indoors, thinking I could get away with it just this one time (it was after sunset, and I was eager to send it off to DSFDF). 30 minutes of tinkering later I had an image what was...well, okaaaaay... but I knew better. In the end, I retook the photo outside the next morning. This time the photo editing took about ten minutes, and the final photo is much better (shown in tomorrow's post).

1 comment:

  1. FYI, I tagged you with a "I love your artblog" award in my blog. HUGS!


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