HSL gives you full control of the individual colors in your images. Together, the Hue, Saturation, and Lightness sliders can be used to create both dramatic and nuanced effects. By controlling colored lights in a studio, the three approaches below help illustrate the basics of the three sliders. Try making a simple studio setup with your own lights, or experiment with some of these editing techniques on an existing image that has a few dominant colors.
Use Hue to shift colors.
Green and purple are the dominant colors in the original image on the left. By selecting the green icon inside the HSL tool, we can shift the hue of all the green parts of the image. Sliding hue to -6.0 gradually shifts the color from green to its neighbor on the color wheel, yellow. A move in the opposite direction would have shifted the green toward blue. By shifting the hue of the purple region in the image, a more subtle change toward pink is apparent. Use the hue sliders to experiment with creating targeted color shifts.
Use Saturation to isolate colors.
Saturation is most easily thought of as color intensity. Increasing saturation enhances the color by making it stronger and more vibrant. Decreasing saturation removes color until it ultimately becomes a shade of gray, with no color at all. Taking this to the extreme, HSL allows you to completely remove some colors from a photo, while maintaining, or even boosting, others. In this example, all colors exempt purple were desaturated to -6.0, turning the whole image black and white exempt for the purple regions, which remained saturated.
Use Lightness to adjust tones.
The lightness slider controls how bright or how dark a particular color appears, without drastically shifting the color itself. Sliding up to +6.0 will lighten the color's tone, while moving down to -6.0 will darken it, creating a deeper tonality. This example shows how lightness can be gradually shifted from light to dark.
Want to know more about HSL? Join us on Friday, March 4th at 3:30 PM Pacific for a #VSCOCreatorSession live experiment and share what you create on VSCO.
Read more about using color theory with the Borders tool.