I would like to to change the saturation of all the color of an image to a fixed amount retaining the original hue and brightness.

One could think that this is easily achieved by the sautration blending mode. In fact you can read on the web tutorials things like this:

The Saturation blending mode applies the saturation of the blend color to the base image while retaining the hue and luminance of the base image.

But this is actually false as far as I can see. If I use a 100% saturation blend color the resulting color will not have 100% saturation and the resulting saturation will also depend on the brightness of the blending color.

So what is the "saturation" mode doing? Is there a way to change the saturation of the color of an image to a given desired amount (retaining original hue and brightness)?

1 Answer 1


To achieve your desired result, I don't think Saturation Blending Mode is what you are looking for. I believe you want to apply a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer in order to increase the saturation of your image.

To do this, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation. This will create a single layer where you can adjust the Hue/Saturation to your desired levels. To apply the adjustment layer to only one other layer (instead of all layers below it), right click on the adjustment layer, and select Create Clipping Mask.

Edit: To clarify, Saturation Blending Mode affects how a layer interacts with the layers below it, not its own saturation.

  • Thanks but as far as I can see the adjustment layer will not set the saturation of the color below to a desired level, which was what I wanted. Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 15:27
  • The saturation number in the adjustment layer won't be the same as the actual colour you see. Neither will all the colours in the bottom layer be the exact same saturation. That all depends on the original image. You'll have to play around with the levels to get the desired result. Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 15:30
  • Ok but for example if there is a bright color there is no way to make its saturation higher than a certain amount, with this adjustment layer tecnique. Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 15:35
  • No, there's no way for a colour to have a saturation higher than 100%. Thus is the nature of HSV colours. Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 15:41
  • I don't want them higher than 100% but they can stay below 50% even if I set the saturation slider to +100. Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 15:44

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