Anything Photoshop or Photography

WHAT ABOUT THOSE COLOR STRIPS IN THE HUE/SATURATION ADJUSTMENT LAYER?

Image of a purple Red Ruffed Lemur
This week I am just going to explain how this Red Ruffer Lemur turned into a purple Lemur – possibly trying on his Easter outfit? This technique that I learned makes this so easy but you need to follow the workflow below. I am finding that this is really a great way to add some creative effects into an image. It was presented in Unmesh Dinda’s totally excellent video called Master Hue/Saturation from Start to Finish in Photoshop. This 38-minute video is by far the best I have seen on the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer so if you have the time, watch it. You will learn some new things.

After viewing Unmesh’s video, I was able to turn this Lemur fur purple very easily – I was totally blown away by how natural the color replacement looked. What is happening is that by looking at the horizontal strips at the bottom of the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and moving the gray slider indicator in the middle of the two strips, the bottom strip color will show a very exact color replacement in your image. Don’t worry about this, it it pretty intuitive once you try it. Totally amazing and very easy to get the correct color change and coverage.

A lot of post processing was done on just the original Red Ruffer Lemur image and it seemed finished (see last image of blog for this result). To change the fur color, two Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers were used to adjust slightly different color tones on the fur (the reddish orange and the really over-exposed yellow white area on the right side of lemur.) My short video shows how to achieve a similar result using the free Lily Pads image from a set called 20 Free Photos From Seychelles. (I use these images all the time for practice.) In this case two color ranges were changed using just one Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer.

The final result of the Lily Pads image from the video is shown below. Two slightly different iterations were created just by setting the adjustment layer sliders and the gray slider between the horizontal strips at different positions.

Image of Lily Pads with creative coloring
This is the workflow:

  1. Add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and click on the little hand with the horizontal arrow in the upper left of the panel. Click on the color you want to change, in this case the red Lemur fur (or water in Lily Pads image). This will open up the Reds (or Blues in Lily Pads) in the field by the little hand. (For PS Elements users, if you do not have a hand, just select one of the colors that you want to change in the drop down, then sample with the left bottom eye-dropper tool – it will do the same thing. Otherwise all the other steps are the same.)
  2. Move the Saturation and the Hue sliders all the way right.
  3. Look at the horizontal color strips at the bottom of the panel – the area between show a gray slider with tabs on the ends and indicates the range of color PS has chosen. The top vertical strip and bottom strips look the same right now. You can make the color range narrower or larger by moving on the gray slider the little vertical straight line tabs closer together or further apart – look at your now crazy colored image to see what areas are being affected. (This is not unlike the way the Blend If tabs in the Layer Style Panel work.) Basically I just dragged the straight vertical lines out until the red fur was turned to a purplish color (or the water was covered with a color I liked). It will be adjusted more later.
  4. Drag the little pointed outside tabs outward to smooth the color transitions or closer to straight vertical lines for a narrower range. (Again like pressing the ALT key and splitting the tab in the Blend If dialog.)
  5. Now set the Hue and Saturation sliders back to 0 by double clicking on the words.
  6. Last step is to adjust the Hue slider to bring in the new color more cleanly. You will see those colors show up on the bottom horizontal strip and the top line will retain the original colors so you can compare the ranges easily. You can also adjust the Saturation and the Lightness sliders here. Note: when using Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer (or just Adjustment), the Lightness slider should not be used with the Master selected – looks really bad, but in the individual colors, it is fine to move the Lightness slider. Also go back and move the gray slider between the horizontal color bars to possibly get an even better color blend.

The two other examples of the Lily Pads image show that by using this technique, the different colors can be changed to get other looks. Note that all three versions used a Curves Adjustment Layer on top to add a little contrast back into the image.

Image of Water Lilies using Different Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Settings

Here are the original images used before the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers were added:
Tych of Lily Pads and Red Ruffed Lemur

That’s it. This was so easy I could not believe it and the horizontal Color Strips are so handy. Well that’s my tip – short but sweet. If you want to try a slightly different technique, check out Colin Smith’s recent video called Instantly Change Color of Anything in Photoshop without Selections where he uses the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer’s mask to limit the location of the color change first. I like that I did not have to use the mask to adjust the colors with this technique, although you can. For example, I could have brought back the Lemur’s yellow eyes by painting them back in the Hue/Saturation Adjustments Layer’s mask. Hope you give this fun technique a try. Have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd

11 responses

  1. Ann Mackay

    Interesting – I didn’t realise that there was so much control over which colour is changed. Will have to go and play… 🙂

    04/06/2019 at 7:29 pm

    • Photoshop is just too much fun!

      04/06/2019 at 8:33 pm

      • Ann Mackay

        It is! 🙂

        04/07/2019 at 7:02 am

  2. I love these images so much! I admire your courage 🙂

    04/07/2019 at 1:04 pm

    • Thanks Inese but I am not sure it is courage. I am just starting to realize a little humor goes a long way for my creative process. Its got to be fun or why do it?

      04/07/2019 at 1:17 pm

      • Not every ‘humor’ looks so amazingly right 🙂 I have tried the changed color before, but it never looked right. You always inspire me to do new things, and hope I will surprise myself some day 🙂

        04/07/2019 at 1:21 pm

      • This technique did not work on every image. That’s the trick – figure out where it looks best. Thanks for the kind comment!

        04/07/2019 at 6:27 pm

      • Thank you for the inspiration and helpful tips!

        04/08/2019 at 8:44 am

  3. That is a cool way of using the hue and saturation layer. And I really like the result you got in the lily pads image.

    04/11/2019 at 10:07 am

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