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Adjust Colors

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Learn Color Basics

Take a minute to understand how colors are generated and you’ll get a head start on how to adjust colors in photos. Three terms are used to describe how we perceive colors: Hue, Saturation, and Brightness, known as the HSB model of color. Hue is what most of us think of as color: red, yellow, blue, green are all different hues. Saturation refers to the vividness or purity of a particular color. Brightness, obviously, depends on how much light or dark a photo contains.

Whether it’s on a computer screen or a printed page, a color photo never looks quite as rich as the real thing. That’s because our eyes perceive a much greater range of hue, saturation, and brightness than any machine can reproduce. Your computer monitor tries to duplicate that range by mixing red, green, and blue light (using the RGB model) to generate all other colors. Printers take a stab at it by mixing pigments or inks of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (using the CMYK model). While you might change colors for artistic reasons, the main point of adjusting colors is getting your monitor and/or printer to match the color you saw when you took the photo. To clearly show how hue, saturation, and brightness affect color, the sliders for the photos on this and the next page have been moved beyond the normal adjustment range in the Hue/Saturation dialog box.

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