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Adjusting or Changing Ranges of Color

In the next chapter, you’re going to learn how to paint an adjustment over any part of your image, but sometimes you need to affect an entire area (like you need the entire sky bluer, or the sand warmer, or a piece of clothing to be an entirely different color). In those cases, where you’re adjusting large areas, it’s usually quicker to use the HSL adjustments, which not only let you change color, but also let you change the saturation and the lightness of the color. It’s more powerful, and handy, than you might think.

Step One

Here’s the original image of a red car on a washed-out yellow wall, and what I’d like to do is tweak the color of that wall so it’s a richer yellow, which would add a nice contrast to the red car. You tweak individual colors, or ranges of color, in the HSL/Grayscale panel, so click on its icon at the top of the Panel area (it’s the fourth one from the left—circled here in red). Now, click on the Luminance tab (as shown here) to bring up the Luminance controls (which control how bright the colors appear).

Step Two

The yellow in the wall is washed out, so we need to bring some richness and depth back into the color, so drag the Yellows slider way over to the left toward the darker yellows (those color bars behind each slider give you an idea of what will happen when you drag a slider in a particular direction). Now drag the Oranges sliders to the left quite a bit, too (as shown here). Moving the Oranges slider affected the bright yellow reflection in the red car, as well as the wall. How did I know this was going to do that? I had no idea. I just dragged each slider back and forth real quick to see what it would do. I know—it sounds awfully simple, but it works.

Step Three

So now the Yellows are bright, but they’re not rich and bold yet, so click on the Saturation tab near the top of the panel, and then drag the Yellows slider all the way over to the right, and the wall just comes alive with color. I also dragged the Oranges slider to the right, too (as shown here), because it had such a great effect on the wall earlier, and as a bonus, it also made the orange in the turn signals really stand out. Now that the photo is really vivid, you can see some unintentional edge vignetting in the corners, so just go to the Lens Corrections panel and, under Lens Vignetting, drag the Amount slider to the right until it goes away (for me, it was about +26, and I didn’t need to touch the Midpoint slider at all. See page 124 for more on fixing vignetting).

Step Four

To actually change colors (not just adjust an existing color’s saturation or vibrance), you click on the Hue tab near the top of the panel. The controls are the same, but take a look at the color inside the sliders themselves now—you can see exactly which way to drag to get which color. In this case, to make the yellow wall change to a green wall, you’d drag the Yellows slider to the right toward green. Easy enough. Now, quite honestly, I wouldn’t actually have changed the wall color to green like that, but I wanted to show you how the Hues section works, and this does the trick. While we’re trying some wild stuff, try this: to make everything orange, drag the Reds slider to +79, drag the Oranges slider to −32, and the Yellows slider over to −100. How did I figure this one out? You guessed it—I started dragging sliders around (don’t tell anybody I actually do this).

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