How to Use New Hue Saturation Curves in Premiere Pro (2019)

Premiere Pro 09/12/2018 5 min read

Adobe just released version 13 for Premiere Pro and it’s got some awesome new features including the one we’re going to look at today: the revamped hue saturation curves. Let’s jump into how to use color saturation in Premiere Pro CC!

The New Hue Saturation Curves

In the old version of Premiere Pro, you had your hue saturation curve which was a single circle which you could use to influence specific colors and their saturation. It was limited, but it did its job at the time. But that’s now been replaced by five different curve interfaces with a lot more variability.

We’ll go over each one specifically, but to start out with, the five curves are:

  • Hue vs Saturation
  • Hue vs Hue
  • Hue vs Luma
  • Luma vs Saturation
  • Saturation vs Saturation

Hue vs Saturation

This first parameter is essentially the exact same as the circular hue saturation curve in previous versions, only in a more graphical form. Basically, the purpose of this curve is to designate a particular color range and isolate it’s saturation either to be more or less intense.

Let’s consider an example. Say you have a normal shot in front of a blue background. The background has somewhat of a consistent color, but it’s far from being perfectly uniform in color.

In order to isolate this color, you can either estimate where this color would fall along the graph here from left to right by using the colored indicator, or you can use the eyedropper tool and select a segment to then have automatically indicated along your curve.  

Using this method you should see three dots appear. The center one is the specific color that you selected, while the other two keyframes act as boundaries for your changes to not go beyond.

Raising the value will increase the saturation of this specific color, the more you raise it up. And you can see a visual readout of this in the vertical direction. No saturation at the bottom, and lots of saturation at the top.

You can also see the shape of the graph underneath is more of a bell curve. This particular section is experiencing the full increase of saturation, while other colors that are within this range, but not exactly the same hue, will experience a less intense saturation increase. This helps to give more of a natural graduation to your modifications.

If you made the boundaries really skinny, you’d get something more pixelated. But conversely, you can also make your boundaries much wider, decreasing the chances of harsh pixelation and poor looking color changes. Now you can start to see how these curves are more or less used, but there are more specifics that pertain to the rest of the individual graphs. 

Hue vs Hue

This graph works just like the last one, except instead lifting the graph up or down changing saturation, this changes the color hues that are in your image. Raising or lowering the whole graph will shift the entire color spectrum of your video. But you can isolate a really specific hue and change that color alone.

Again, let’s say you have a blue background. You can take the eyedropper tool and make a selection to see where on the graph the particular blue color falls.

If there’s not really a lot of other blues at all in the shot, you can widen the barriers and make a much more slow and healthy gradient to your color changes. Now when you lift up this center marker, you can see that the blue color is the only thing that’s changing. And if you hold the Shift button you can see that our movements are locked to the vertical direction, if you have your color locked in and don’t want to move it left or right at all.

You can see how well this tool does at isolating a particular color. We’re sure you can probably think of a few different uses for this particular effect. Changing the color of the sky to being a little more surreal or completely unrealistic. Or, just using it to make the green summer landscape look a little more like the orange color of fall. This is our personal favorite curve and we’re so happy that it’s finally come to Premiere Pro.

Hue vs Luma

This graph works exactly like the other two before it, except for instead of changing the specific hue or saturation of elements in your footage, it changes the brightness of elements with specific colors.

You can isolate a particular section of your footage based on its color, and you can tell that a particular range of colors to either appear more bright and luminous or to be darker. This tool you might not find yourself using too often, but when you need to adjust for some troublesome colors which are either distracting or not in line with the rest of your footage exposure, it can be invaluable.  

Luma vs Saturation

This graph is actually just a slight inverse variation of the previous hue vs luma curve. It works on exactly the same principle, except instead of changing the brightness of particular color hues, it changes the saturation of elements based off of their existing luminance or brightness.

That might sound confusing, but let’s give you an example here. Normally, when you think of working with saturation you might think of the basic saturation slider that just pumps everything up or down. But this curve allows you to have more specific control over the look of your saturation.

There’s a lot of different possible applications but here’s a basic one. Basically, in real life, darker elements will look less saturated. There’s way more to it, but let’s focus on that for the moment.

Let’s say that we have an aggressive color grade and notice that our color is seeping into everything. If you have a stylistic goal, then cool, but this is less realistic and professional.

If you take the luma saturation curve and drop the left side so that the darker elements have little to no saturation, it keeps the black and dark areas from having saturation and our image looks more professional as a result. That’s just one way you can use the luma saturation curve but it’s a good one.

Saturation vs Saturation

And finally, we have the saturation vs saturation curve. Yet another saturation tool that gives you more control than just the default global saturation slider.

This one can be tricky for some people, but basically, it allows you to specifically manipulate the saturation of parts of the image based on their existing saturation. It’s hard to visualize until you see it, so take the curve first and treat it like a global slider adjustment. Going up or down will increase or decrease the global saturation.

If you take the less saturated parts on the left and drop them all the way down, then increase the most saturated parts, you can see that what you’re left with is an image where only the most saturated portions of the video have color. For example, you can easily see that the lipstick in your subject if its the most saturated point of the image.

By moving our curve back a little bit here, you can bring that out a little bit more. This probably isn’t the effect you want, but what we to do is show you that when you increase the saturation of everything, certain elements can show that saturation more than others and look “too saturated” even if you like the levels in the rest of the image.

One way to use this curve would be to give a more even look to your saturation increase. By prioritizing the elements that have less saturation to begin with, you can give a more even look to your footage.

There you have it, folks! You’re now up to speed on the new hue saturation curves in Premiere Pro CC. If you liked our breakdown, let us know in the comments below.