Can someone explain the differences between these 5 terms, as if I were 5 years old?

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  • 1
    A good way to find out these things is to fiddle with the sliders. Move a slider to the far left, observe changes... then move it to the far right and observe changes.
    – Joonas
    Jul 1, 2019 at 6:40
  • 1
    I dont think it can be explained to a 5 year old. I mean for a layman "Gamma correction" is brigtness and brightness is something they should ignore.
    – joojaa
    Jul 1, 2019 at 12:05
  • This is a graphic design site, we're here to answer questions to people aspiring to be professionals not 5 year old kids. Maybe 15 year old.
    – Luciano
    Jul 2, 2019 at 8:01

2 Answers 2


NOTE : I'm not photo scientist who knows every properties deeply thus this answer contains the explanation according to my sense! I might be wrong somewhere :)

Well all terms are based on different base like terms "Brightness" and "Contrast" are based on visual perception of "LIGHT" (which is ray itself and contains many physical values like wavelengths and etc) while terms "Saturation" and "Color Balance" are based on "COLOR" which also depend on light!.


Science says that our eye can only see something if it reflect any kind of light rays! if object will not reflect anything then our eye will consider it as black color! so same goes for images! brightness stands for the value of the light reflected; to test it just adjust slider to the max and you can see now your most of the part of image will be looking like its reflecting the light and therefore most of part of your image will be white


now i don't think contrast can be defined in some proper language but to make it easy to understandable i'll tell it : contrast it the relative different between brightness of different objects!

now what did i just said?? well basically contrast is comparative value as I think like assume you have two fruits! apple and strawberries in this case if you will put white lamp on both fruits which is placed together you'll see raspberry is more shiny then apple; in same case if you'll put different colored light like some yellowish black then there might be condition when your apple will look like it's more colored so basically the contrast is the visual difference between two objects reflexive brightness and color!


The best way to understand this term is to take example of saturation word from chemical science. basically in chemistry the term "saturation" stands for quantity of specific element in specific object. same rule can applied for the color as well. you can define saturation as the quantity of specific color (only primary colors) in any image so if you'll increase the value of saturation all of the color shades will be start turning towards it's primary color like if there is dull red (brownish) color then upon increasing saturation too much will result your color into red!

Color Balance

this is so easy and experimental term to understand. if your color model is rgb then color balance is only about changing saturation of Red; Green and Blue separately ! thus if you want more red color in your image just increase Red slider!

Gamma Correction

now this is the term which is hard to explainable because even I can't define it but as far as i understand it is like changing darkness in brightness and contrast; I means if gamma will increased then i think the both brightness and contrast will be increased and it'll seems like image gotten bright and clear and if you decrease it then the image will be seems like dull! but still I'm not much clear on this term!

Hope this helps you to understand the terms! and after all you don't have to learn definition at all as joonas and jooja said in comments just adjust sliders and experience and learn ! Best Regards :)

  • 1
    Gamma adjusts the color so that it pushes middle values either towards bright or dark. It would be easy to explain with color curves. This is what most people should be adjusting, along with color balance.
    – joojaa
    Jul 2, 2019 at 20:35
  • Brightness shift colors from dark to bright or vice versa. See "gamma correction".

    Unless you actually need to move the white or black point to compensate for athmospheric haze. Or you actually have unused colors at the end of the spectrum. You should not be using this slider mostly since clipping will destroy your image.

  • Gamma correction, is actually what people do want to adjust when they want to make the image brighter (not brightness). Gamma correction redistributes the colors so that black and white stay the same but colors in between move to either light or dark edges. Name comes form the function used for this compression.

  • Contrast works similarly to gamma except it pushes darks toward dark and brights toward bright or vice versa if you lower contrast.

  • Color balance adjust each color channel nseparately. So that your overall color changes. Use it to remove unnatural color casts (or create them).

  • Saturation makes the colors stronger or weaker. So increasin saturation makes red more red and blues more blue..., neutral colors stay neutral.

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