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How to Change Hue and Saturation of One Layer in Photoshop

Published: 07/06/2021

The hue/saturation feature in Photoshop allows you to make corrective and creative color changes to any image. It also lets you make color adjustments to only a specific area by affecting a single layer. Let’s learn how to change hue and saturation of one layer in photoshop by following a few simple steps.

How To Change Hue and Saturation of One Layer in Photoshop

Sometimes you may have an image that is distributed over multiple layers. Different elements of a single image may exist in different layers. What if you want to make color adjustments to only one of the many layers? Thankfully, Photoshop allows you to do that in an effortless manner.

You can easily make hue and saturation changes to just one layer by using a hue/saturation layer and clipping mask feature in Photoshop. Here, we will explain how clipping masks and adjustment layers work together to help you make color alterations on just one layer.

Introduction to Hue and Saturation

In total, there are three elements that contribute to forming the color scheme of every digital image and graphic. These include the hue, saturation, and brightness. Photoshop provides powerful tools to adjust each of these components individually so that you can get the color that you desire.

Here, we will be looking at two of these components, which are hue and saturation. The first one, hue, is the basic attribute of the color. It represents the shade or color. The second one, saturation, is the intensity of the color. It represents how much of any color is being used in your image.

Hue and Saturation in Photoshop

Both of these attributes can be edited through the hue/saturation adjustment layer in photoshop, where they are represented by sliders. You can simply move these sliders to the value that you want. However, this may cause the color to change in all the layers. Here, we will look at how to make changes to just one layer.

Changing Hue and Saturation of One Layer

If you want to change the hue and saturation of only a specific area of your image in photoshop, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Before proceeding with the editing, you have to make sure that the layer that you want to make changes to is selected in the Layers panel. You can find the layers panel on the bottom right corner of your photoshop interface. In case it’s not visible, go to ‘Windows’ and click on ‘Layers.’
  2. Once your layers panel becomes visible, click on the layer you want to edit. Once selected, the layer becomes highlighted with a shade of grey, and the thumbnail gets a white border around it.
  3. After selecting the particular layer, now it is time to add a new hue/saturation adjustment layer. So, go to the menu bar present at the top of your photoshop interface. Click on ‘Layer.’ This will open up a drop-down menu.
  4. From the menu, navigate to ‘New Adjustment Layer’ and then select Hue/Saturation from the cascading menu.
Selecting Hue/Saturation from the New Adjustment Layer cascading menu
  1. Alternatively, you can also click on the ‘New Adjustment Layer’ icon present at the bottom of the layers panel. This icon looks like a half-filled circle. As you click on that icon, a pop-up menu will appear. From the menu, click on the ‘Hue/Saturation' option.
  2. As you click on the hue/saturation option, the adjustment layer will be created right above your selected layer. Now, the changes you make to the adjustment layer will be applied to all the layers present below it.
Creating an adjustment layer after clicking on the hue/saturation option
  1. In order to restrict the changes to just one layer, you would have to create a clipping mask. To do that, select the ‘Clipping Mask’ button at the bottom of the properties box of the hue/saturation layer. The button for creating the clipping mask looks like a square with a downward arrow beside it.
Selecting the ‘Clipping Mask’ button at the bottom of the properties box of the hue/saturation layer
  1. As you click on the button, a small downward arrow will appear right on the Hue/Saturation layer. This arrow demonstrates that the changes you make to the hue/saturation will only affect the layer directly below.
Clipping mask button
  1. Now, you can experiment and have all the fun with the Hue and saturation sliders. The changes will only affect the layer you targetted, and all of the other areas of the image will remain the same.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does the Hue Slider Do?

The hue slider lets you set the hue (color) of your image as you need. When you slide it, the value of the color varies across the color spectrum. You can move it left or right as per your requirement and stop when you get your desired results.

What Does the Saturation Slider Do?

The saturation slider allows you to set the color intensity of your image. By moving this slider, you can easily increase or decrease the color saturation. As you shift the slider to the left, the strength of the color will reduce. When you move it to the right, the strength of the color will boost up.

What if the Area I Want To Edit Is Not in a Separate Layer?

If the area you want to edit is not already present in a separate layer, then you will have to create a new layer for it before proceeding with any of the steps explained above. To do this:

  1. Open up your image in Photoshop.
  2. Now, go to the toolbar present on the left side of your photoshop interface. 
  3. From the toolbar, pick the ‘Quick Selection Tool.’ This tool looks like a paintbrush with a dotted circle drawn over it.
  4. Now, highlight the area that you want to edit using the quick selection tool.
  5. Once the required area is selected, go to the Layer > New >> Layer via Cut.
  6. As you click on Layer via cut, a new layer will be created for your selected area.
  7. Now, follow the procedure explained above. You will only make hue and saturation changes to the newly created layer.

How Can I Use the Preset Values for Hue and Saturation?

The preset values for hue and saturation allow you to change the color without having to move the slider. Making the changes through the slider can sometimes be a hassle, especially if you don’t know the exact outcome you want. Thankfully, photoshop offers some preset values that can help you.

You can easily use the preset values through the drop-down menu present at the top of the property box. It can also help you reach a certain color value from where you can make further adjustments more easily.

Small downward arrow will appearing right on the Hue/Saturation layer

Conclusion

If you want to adjust the color settings of an isolated layer of your image, then using the hue/saturation adjustment layer is the best way to go. It works together with clipping masks, as explained above, to help you get the desired color in any targeted area of your image very easily.

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