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Adjust the strength of colors with Saturation.
What is Saturation?
Saturation generally refers to colorfulness. Since photography was initially black and white, the term “saturation” is rooted in painting. More saturation means more vivid and intense colors. “Desaturation” means to lower the intensity of colors.
Saturation is now handled automatically by our modern smartphone cameras, but they don’t always capture what we saw. The Saturation tool allows you to increase or decrease the intensity of the colors in your image both for correction and expression.
Where it is:
Why would you use it?
Color itself is attached to a wide range of emotions for us simply based on our own life experience and associations with various colors. We experience varying levels of colorfulness every day based on the time of day and the weather. The rods in our eyes that allow us to see in the dark do not perceive color, so we associate dark scenes with less color.
Additionally, light intensity increases colorfulness, which means cloudy and rainy days are naturally less colorful than sunny days. Thus, we have emotional connections to varying levels of colorfulness, and changing the colorfulness of an image can alter the feeling it conveys. For example:
Desaturated: Moody, dramatic, tragic, quiet, depressed, tired, fearful, cold
Saturated: Energetic, happy, hot, exciting, alive
Notice how the desaturated version on the left seems somber, dark, cold, even tragic, where the saturated version on the right feels bright and warm, full of hope.
Notice how lively the saturated image on the right is, you can practically feel the heat of the sun and the general mood is happy. Conversely, the desaturated image on the left feels cloudy and lifeless.
It’s also quite common that we perceive or remember a scene with far more color than the camera captured it. The saturation tool can help recover the color you remember.
Tips & Tricks
1. Most presets change saturation in one way or another. Typically, it makes the most sense to choose a preset first and then alter Saturation.
2. Double tapping the slider returns it to 0.
3. Contrast and Saturation are very complimentary. Contrast often has an effect on saturation, and sometimes visa vera. Natural-looking results often have the two working together.
4. Images with noise can get even noisier with the Saturation tool. Use care when using on low-light images.
5. Saturation affects all colors. To increase the intensity of a single color, use the HSL tool.