Saturate with Lab


I was reading an old Photoshop User magazine while reinstalling CS3 and ran into this Lab technique from Dan Margulis. It was neat to see an alternative to using Hue and Saturation that actually brings out even more color. So here it is in my own words:


  1. Open an image in Photoshop and change the color mode to Lab.
  2. Add a new Curves Adjustment Layer. Under the Curves Display Options, make sure "Show Amount of" says Light (so your curves will match the ones I show here).
  3. Bonus trick: Cmd-click anywhere on your image and a point will be added on the curve at that exact color or lightness value.
  4. Adjust the Lightness curve as necessary.
  5. Switch to the "a" channel and click a point in the middle of the curve. Drag the sliders as shown on the right. Basically you want the curve to be practically vertical. Ignore the crazy colors previewing in your image.
  6. Go to the "b" channel and do the same thing you just did to "a."
  7. Reduce the opacity of the Curves layer to 10% or 20%. I used 15% here. If the effect isn't quit right, double click the Curves layer and adjust things until you like the final effect.


I love color and this is another fun (and useful) way to play with color in Photoshop. Definitely a keeper!

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