Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lightroom and HSL

One of the more powerful tools within Adobe Lightroom 3 is the HSL (or Hue/Saturation/Luminance) Panel.  Let's take a quick look.

The image to the right shows the selection of the "All" option which makes sliders for all three options visible.  As you can see, each color has it's own slider within each of the Hue, Saturation and Luminance options, but what's the difference?
  • Hue - The Hue controls allow you change a particular color in your image from one color to another.  For example, want to make that orange pumpkin red? Click the Targeted Adjustment Tool, or TAT (it's the circle icon to the left of the word Hue) and position it over the pumpkin. Click and drag down and you'll effectively reduce the amount of orange to the point that it turns red.
  • Saturation - Changes the intensity of the color just as the option in the Basic panel does, but provides you more granular control through the use of the TAT.  Blue skies not blue enough? Select the Saturation TAT, put  your cursor over your blue sky and click and drag upward.  It's magic!
  • Luminance - Luminance controls the brightness of colors much like the Brightness control in the Basic panel, but again at an individual color level through the use of the TAT.  If you increased the saturation of your blue sky and it looks just a little too dark, try using the Luminance TAT to lighten it up by clicking the sky and dragging up.
Obviously you can also use the individual sliders to impact various colors, but I find the TAT to be much easier as it can sometimes be difficult to know exactly which colors you're trying to adjust.

As with all things in life, practice makes perfect.  Grab an image and try out each of the HSL options until you feel comfortable.  That's all for this week.  Next week we'll review the "Color" option in the HSL panel for another method for adjusting colors.

Until next time, keep clickn'.


Lisadawn Schram said...

Learning how to use this tool has been the single GREATEST thing about Lightroom I have ever done. (And thanks to you, Ken.) I was afraid to use it at first, and thought WHY do I need it if I take great pictures? When I first tried it for about 30 seconds, didn't get it, and gave up, stupid on my part as it is VERY easy to apply once you learn how. It's an amazing and invaluable tool, often eliminating the need for those expensive filters, retrieving those dull or blown out skies, or just allowing you to just play around with your pictures, which I like to do at times!

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