What it does is adjust the saturation so that clipping is minimized as colors approach full saturation. This adjustment increases the saturation of less-saturated colors more than the colors that are already saturated.
Vibrance also prevents skintones from becoming over saturated.
If you use Camera Raw then it's an adjustment you may be familiar with. The advantage now that it's in the normal Photoshop editor we know and love is that it can be used as an Adjustment Layer which gives us the ever useful Layer Mask.
In portrait photography the vibrance adjustment can be used to make eyes sparkle and the lips fully saturated.
The adjustment can be used with an adjustment layer and it can also be used with the ever popular Sponge Tool.
This is a brush intensive kind of adjustment so it is best to use a Wacom Bamboo or Wacom Intuos4 with the pressure sensitivity set the way you want it to be. In this case it is probably best to set the Size to change with pressure.
The Sponge Tool lives with the Dodge and Burn Tools on the toolbar (keyboard shortcut is O) and it is used directly on the image so make sure you make a copy of the background.
To use the Sponge Tool to increase saturation in the eyes or the lips there are a few settings that need to be set-up in the Options Bar ....
From left to right ...
The important settings are in Bold.
Here's an eye to work on ...
Now this isn't a bad shot for sure! With the Sponge Tool set as described, this is what can be done ...
The Vibrance setting on the Sponge tool certainly made a difference, didn't it? The 50% Flow setting prevented the eye from being way too saturated.
The spectral highlights were also saturated because of my careless use of my Intuos pen so it was necessary to dodge out the spectrals a tad ...
The Vibrance Adjustment Layer is increasing local saturation at its best. The adjustments are not done on the original image and there is a layer mask to work with as well.
This pretty kitty has nice eyes now but we can make them sparkle and here's how with Photoshop CS5 (click to see final image)...
The first step is to add a new Vibrance Adjustment Layer (f you use this panel then it is the little purply colored one).
With Photoshop CS5 this is the panel that will pop up ...
There are two Tabs (Adjustments and Masks) and two sliders (Vibrance and Saturation).
The second step is to move the Saturation Slider all the way to the left in the Adjustments Panel - this will desaturate the photo.
This is what we have now - not a bad black and white, is it ...?
The third step is to click the Masks Tab and click the Invert button at the bottom of the tab - this will bring all of the color back.
The fourth step is to grab your Wacom pen, make sure the foreground color is white and paint on the eyes - this will turn them to grayscale again.
This is how our pretty kitty's eye is looking now ...
The fifth step is to flip back to the Adjustments Tab, move the Saturation Slider back to 0 and then move the Vibrance slider all the way up to 100.
And this is how our Pretty Kitty looks now ...
(Click here to view the original)
So let;s do a bit more with the Pretty Kitty - say - add a Black and White Adjustment layer (gotta love a good black and white photograph).
And here's the pretty kitty now ...
There you go - give this excellent adjustment a go. I expect you will be really pleased with the results.
Page LinksSponge Tool
Vibrance Adjustment Layer
Taking It Further
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