Photoshop : Sponge Tool

There are many tools that are available to use to make amazing works of art or to edit images. One of these tools that not many people know about is the Sponge Tool. This tool can be used to either saturate or de-saturate parts of an image. This concept can be used in a variety of ways and the sky’s the limit.

First things first, we need to locate the Sponge Tool. This tool does not show up on the default Tools window. Instead, it is nicely tucked away between the Dodge and Burn tools. With this tool, you can use it just like a paint brush and go over you image. Now, depending on how it’s set will cause it to work in two different ways: Saturate or De-saturate. These options can be changed by doing so in the Mode menu in the options bar near the top of the screen.

Let’s look at Saturate first. With this mode, the Sponge tool will intensify the colors that you paint over. A great way to utilize this is if you need to intensify someone’s lips or make someone have rosy cheeks. Just go over the needed areas with the Sponge tool and viola! the area is adjusted as needed. By changing the Pressure setting you also change how much is changed. Usually a lower pressure setting is recommended so that you can make subtle changes and keep changing until you get to where you want to go instead of changing drastically and starting over.

The De-saturate mode will do the complete opposite of Saturate. It will soak up any color that you paint over with the Sponge tool. This is a great way to make an object stand out from it’s background. The more you go over with the Sponge, the closer the painted area will come to a gray scale. Using this, you can create an immense amount of creative images. Take for example where this idea was used in movies: Schindler’s List was filmed all in black and white but there was a sequence where the audience was meant to follow a little girl. However, there was no way to make her stand out from everything else, so they made the jacket she was wearing red. This color obviously stood out from the black and white background and the audience had no choice but to focus on this little girl. Take a more recent example, Sin City. There they used a mixture of creative elements but there were some sequences where there were subtle color appearances to draw attention. This same idea can be transfered to still images. Again, this is not the only way to use this tool, but within the creative realm, it is one of the many starting points.

Photoshop itself has the capacity to make an infinite amount of creative work. The Sponge tool itself has the ability to make subtle changes or to make drastic changes to suite your needs. The best way to figure out and get new innovative ideas is to go out and try it for yourself.

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