Show & Tell

Remember last week, when I said I was spending a little more time in Photoshop?  Well, thanks to one of my readers and fellow photographers (Thanks, Jeff 🙂 ), I learned of a little gem of a tool.    The sponge tool.  Don’t let the name fool you . . . like it did me. . . it has nothing to with a sponge, at least I don’t think so.   I’m no Photoshop techie,  but I’ll give it my best shot to explain how it works.  If I lose you, you can read more about it here:

Unlike the dodge tool that lightens (and if your not careful washes out the color) and the burn tool that darkens (and, for me, seems to leave the area looking a little gray), the sponge tool when saturation is selected lightens and adds vibrancy.  And when desaturate is selected, it does just that, it removes the color.  Make your adjustments on its own layer and you can adjust the opacity to get just the right amount.


In my iris photo, I wanted to draw a little more attention to the yellows, and especially the center of the iris were there are those lovely soft yellows and purples.  In the first photo, I used the sponge tool with saturate selected at 34% flow and left the layer opacity at 100%.   The differences are subtle, but the purples and yellows are not only brighter but also more vibrant.  In Photo II, I used the dodge tool set for midtones at 13%.  The same area is also brighter, but it lost a little of its vibrancy in the process.  I also used the sponge tool in first photo on some of the other yellow areas.  Of course, there are many, many ways to achieve similar results, that’s just the nature of Photoshop, but for a quick selective adjustment, I am really liking the sponge tool (although, I think it really needs a new name).

Til Next Time,Maria

4 thoughts on “Show & Tell

    1. Kathy, one of the things I love about the photographic community & creatives is the everyone’s willingness to share…its such a great way to learn!

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