Using the Sponge Tool in Photoshop

Using the Sponge Tool in Photoshop

Just as a carpenter has a hammer, a drill, saws, and many other tools, designers also have many different tools of the trade. Photoshop is out tool bag, and within it are many different tools for getting the job done. Some tools are great for some tasks, while other tools are good for other tasks. One tool that isn’t as well known is the Sponge Tool. Using the Sponge Tool in Photoshop can be really handy, especially if you want to selectively brighten colors.

This first image is of some leaves in the the Fall, and they appear to be dull or dying. To add a little vibrance to the image, we can brighten them up a bit by using the sponge tool.

Using the Sponge Tool in Photoshop: Location

The sponge tool is found when you click and hold down the dodge tool, and it is in a submenu under that tool. Set the mode to Saturate, and put it somewhere between 40% and 50%.

Using the Sponge Tool in Photoshop: Vibrance

Make sure to duplicate you original image, and that you are working on a copy, so that if you mess up and need to start over, you always have the original to work from. Then, you simply go over the areas that you want to brighten up. If I am covering a large area, then I will make my brush larger and I also set it to be a soft brush, so that it appears to be more natural. You want to pass over the area with smooth and even strokes, in order to get an even amount of saturation. Each pass over the same area will brighten that area by 50%, so  you have to adjust the percentage to taste. You may find that 20-30% works for your image. That part of the tutorial will have to be left up to you. Side note: (You may not want to brighten dead leaves, but this is just an example for illustration purposes).

Using the Sponge Tool in Photoshop: Vibrance Part 2

Another good use for this is to add color depth and brightness to your subject’s eyes, if you are shooting a portrait. Many people use the dodge tool for this, but in some cases, you get a wider range of color when using the sponge tool. It all depends on the photo. I have two models here, and the comparisons for each.

Using the Sponge Tool in Photoshop: Eyes

I used a soft brush, set to a small size, and set to about 50%, and I made the brush the size of the iris of the subject’s eye. Then, I clicked and observed, clicked and observed, and repeated this until I reached a level of saturation that I was pleased with. Here are the results:Using the Sponge Tool in Photoshop: Eyes Part 2These results overall were pretty good. In some instances, the dodge tool brightens the overall eye, but if the color it muddy, then then eye will simply be a brighter tint of muddy. With the sponge tool, the color is brighter, and it saturated all of the colors found in the eye and makes them pop, but sometimes it doesn’t give it the “shine” that we are looking for. In the first instance, when the eye was too dark, no matter whether I had the shadows, midtones or highlights selected, the dodge tool just couldn’t help the darker eye. It ended up blowing out the highlights before you could notice a difference. When I combined the two, I got the best of both worlds, and created eyes that were bright and full of color at the same time.

  1. David
    April 17, 2013 | Reply
    • April 17, 2013 | Reply

Your opinion is important to me. Be heard!

Dreamweaver Fireworks Flash Illustrator Indesign Lightroom Painter Photoshop Quark Typography
The Incredible Photoshop Work of Norman Soo

Norman Soo Every now and then you come across an artist...

New features of Illustrator
The Best New Features of Adobe Illustrator

The Best New Features of Adobe Illustrator I am glad to...

Working With 3D in Illustrator

Being Aware of 3D in Illustrator Illustrator is the go-to place...

Mobile Design Vs. Responsive Design

Deciding between a mobile or responsive design can be a difficult...

Mini Sites Can Work for You

For years, websites for businesses and organizations resembled elaborate family trees,...

Modern Web Design Trends: Using a Large Background Image to Boast of Your Offerings

As web technologies are constantly changing, designers apply new techniques to...

WordPress video courses
Enter to Win 1 of 5 WordPress Seo Courses

WordPress Seo Courses Even if you’re a really advanced blogger, chances...

Bluehost: The Best web hosting provider
Who is the Best Web Hosting Company?

10 Best Web Hosting Companies Choosing the best hosting service for...

Wpjobboard Plugin Features
The WpJobBoard Plugin For WordPress

WpJobBoard Those of us born in the ‘90s are called the...

Study Inspiration: 50 Best Education WordPress Themes

50 Best Education WordPress Themes Higher education is a stepping stone...