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16 How-To Tips for Using Photoshop Camera Raw

#33 Adjusting Hue, Saturation, and Luminance

The sliders on the HSL/Grayscale tab allow you to make adjustments to a specific range of color. With these controls, you can boost the level of one color relative to others or increase and decrease saturation and luminance (Figure 33a).

Figure 33a

Figure 33a The Hue, Saturation, and Luminance tabs are nested within the HSL/Grayscale tab.

Each of the HSL tabs controls one aspect of color, and each slider on each tab controls the characteristics of a single color range:

  • Hue. The fundamental nature of a color within a limited range. In other words, you cannot change a blue to red, but you can change blue from cyan to purple.
  • Saturation. The vividness of a color. For instance, you can change a blue sky from gray (no color) to highly saturated blue.
  • Luminance. The brightness of the color range.

To get a better handle on HSL, let’s consider the following scenario: You have created a beautiful landscape photograph. The image is good, but you want to enhance the blue sky color. How would you do it?

  1. Click the Hue tab and drag the Blues slider to dial in the exact shade of blue you want.
  2. Click the Saturation tab and drag the Blues slider to the right to increase the saturation of the blue tones in the image.
  3. Click the Luminance tab and drag the Blues slider to the left to make the sky a deeper and darker blue (Figure 33b).

    Figure 33b

    Figure 33b The color of the sky in the left half of this image was deepened using the HSL controls.

This scenario is a good example of times when you will utilize all three HSL tabs to produce the desired result. Other times, the best result will be produced by using just one HSL tab.

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