Color-Boost Your Images

Turn good shots into great-looking photos just by boosting their color. It takes just a few steps to make colors really pop off the screen.

Layers, the Gaussian effect and the Curves feature are used in this tutorial.

Step 1

Open an image to which you would like to apply color adjustments.

Step 2

Duplicate the “Background Layer” by choosing Edit > Duplicate. Name the new layer “Curves” and change the Blending mode to Soft Light in the Layers palette. The image colors instantly look better just by changing the Blending mode.

To boost the colors even more, use the Curves feature. In the Effects Browser (View > Show Effects Browser), select the Color adjustments group. Then, double-click the Curves thumbnail to apply the adjustment. Adjust the curves and click OK once you are happy with the adjustment. Use the image below as a reference.

Step 3

To soften the intensity of the colors, duplicate the “Curves” layer and change the Blending mode of the duplicate layer to Overlay. Reduce the Opacity to roughly 20% and name the new layer “Blur.”

Apply the Blur effect. In the Effects Browser, double-click the Blur thumbnail to apply the effect. Adjust the Radius to approximately 10 px, and click OK.

And, that’s all! Only a few steps and the colors look brighter and more vibrant.


Tutorial Comments

  1. John Sturge

    I followed directions without results. For example, I opened an image. Do I open it as a layer or new under file. How do I name it. Where do I name it? If i’m supposed to be in layers it should say open file as a layer.

    I can not get beyond step #1

    John Sturge

  2. Ausra

    Hi John,

    To open an image choose File > Open, or simply drag the image onto the Pixelmator icon to open. The background layer is automatically created for you at this point. To duplicate the background layer choose Edit > Duplicate. To view Layers palette choose View > Show Layers. To rename a layer double-click its name.

  3. Steve

    Thank you for response to John. I was having the same difficulties.


  4. Steve W

    John and Steve – perhaps you shouldn’t be using the ‘Intermediate’ tutorials just yet and mastering the ‘Basic’ ones first? The questions you have just asked are pretty basic stuff even to me and I’m far from being an expert.

  5. Melissa

    This achieved an amazing result, from a non-descript dull photo to a vibrant work of art. Impressive.

  6. Sammy

    This doesn’t really have anything to do with this tutorial but I was wondering if it’s possible to change the color of hair in pixelmator?..because I’ve been trying to change the hair color in a photo.

  7. Ausra

    HI Samy,

    Try using the Replace Color Tool. Here is a quick video tutorial about it:

  8. Charles Segard

    How do I multiply whole image? I duplicated the layer with multiply but doesn’t seem to change image at all. Am I missing a step some where?

  9. Ausra

    @Charles Segard: is it Multiply blending mode you have in mind? If so, you can change the blending mode in the Layers palette.

  10. Carol

    Can’t get the split screen icon to do it’s job. The hit icon changes to plain green without letting the image float to the left or right. Also when I open two screens, and when the icon does work, it says no window available. I have just updated my MacBook pro; is this creating the problem?

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