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Adjust colors

You can apply many color effects to an object or text.

To open the Effects list

  1. At the bottom of the Effects section, click the Add Effect Cc294714.d5e94a0e-39f1-4fd7-b917-cb423f03ea03(en-us,Expression.10).png icon.

  2. Point to Adjust Colors and click one of the options on the list.

The following live effects are available from the Adjust Colors list.

  • Brightness and Contrast   Change the tonal values of an image or object through three parameters:

    • Brightness   Makes every color or tone lighter or darker by an absolute value. If you increase brightness, very light colors will become "blown out" to white. If you decrease brightness, colors in the shadows will become fully black.

    • Contrast   Alters the distinctions between light and dark areas. If you increase contrast, details might become more obvious, but highlights (light colors) usually "blow out" to white and shadows usually fill in and become black. If you decrease contrast, the lightest and darkest areas stay about the same, but everything else becomes flat and washed out.

    • Gamma   Adjusts the midpoint of the tonal scale and leaves the white and black points as is. This is often the most useful when you work with scanned images because you can increase contrast and brightness without damaging highlights and shadows. Increasing gamma (dragging the slider to the right) darkens the image; decreasing gamma lightens the image.

    Applying Brightness and Contrast to three objects: a bitmapped image, a rectangle with a gradient, and a text object on top of the rectangle. The original objects (above) and the affected objects (below).

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  • Hue, Saturation, and Lightness   Change the overall color and tonal values of an image or object through three parameters:

    • Hue   Rotates all the object's colors through a hue wheel (rainbow) spanning -180 to 180 degrees. For example, increasing the Hue setting turns red colors to orange, to yellow, to green, and then to blue. Decreasing the Hue setting turns red colors to magenta, then violet, and then to blue. Changing Hue does not affect neutral colors such as white and black.

    • Saturation   Adjusts the global saturation of colors. Increasing this setting makes all colors more saturated. For example, a pastel pink color will become bright red if you increase its saturation. Reducing saturation makes colors appear washed out and gray.

    • Lightness   Similar to Brightness. Increasing lightness makes all colors and tones brighter (closer to white) and decreasing lightness makes colors darker (closer to black).

    Applying Hue, Saturation, and Lightness to three objects: a bitmapped image, a rectangle with a gradient, and a text object on top of the rectangle. The original objects (above) and the affected objects (below).

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  • Color Balance   Change the overall color and tonal values of an image or object through eleven parameters:

    • Color Balance    The first nine controls let you adjust the color balance in three tonal ranges: Highlights, Midtones, or Shadows. The color balance settings control the Cyan-red, Magenta-green, and Yellow-blue spectrums. For example, dragging the Midtones Cyan-Red slider to the right reduces cyan in the specified tonal range and increases red.

    • Saturation   Adjusts the saturation of colors throughout the image or object, just as saturation works in the Hue, Saturation, and Lightness live effect. Lower values make colors grayer.

    • Source Lighting   Controls the overall color of the image or object as if you were telling Microsoft Expression Design what the lighting conditions were when a photograph was shot. The values use the Kelvin color temperature scale. Lower values correct a photograph taken in a lower temperature (more yellow) light, which makes the object more blue. Higher values correct an image taken in a higher temperature (more blue) light, which results in a more yellow tone.

    Applying Color Balance to three objects: a bitmapped image, a rectangle with a gradient, and a text object on top of the rectangle. The original objects (above) and the affected objects (below).

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  • Tint   Lets you apply a tint to your object or image, as if you were viewing it through a colored lens or filter. You can control the effect by picking a color (by dragging the red, green, and blue sliders) and adjusting the Level. The higher the Level value, the more the tint affects the object.

    Applying Tint to three objects: a bitmapped image, a rectangle with a gradient, and a text object on top of the rectangle. The original objects (above) and the affected objects (below).

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  • Auto Contrast   Boosts low-contrast (flat) images so that you see can the image detail better. There are no parameters to adjust the effect. Auto Contrast is often a good first step in adjusting an image's color. You can also adjust contrast with the Brightness and Contrast effect.

    The original image (left) and the image with the Auto Contrast live effect (right)

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