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Let's tackle the Exposure brick. This is a great brick, and as I said earlier, one of the two cornerstones for our image adjustments; the other being White Balance. So, in the Exposure brick, we have four sliders: Exposure, Recovery, Black Point, and Brightness. Now as these relate to the histogram that we discussed before, the Exposure slider deals with the bright tones. So, it's going to be working over here. The Recovery slider allows us to recover detail that has been lost in the highlights.
In other words, if we have really bright areas where there is no bright detail at all, it's just paper white, sometimes the Recovery slider can help us pull some detail out of those very bright areas. The Black Point deals with this end of the histogram, the dark tones. And then Brightness deals with the middle of the histogram, those gamma tones, those middle tones. So, let's use these four sliders to work on a picture, work on this shot right here, and I am going to hit the V key once. I am going to hit the V key twice.
Now this shot is a little underexposed in this area, at least for my taste, mainly because I think the meter was fooled a bit by this brighter area behind her, and I didn't compensate for it. So, the first thing that we can do, when we are working with RAW files, is we have the Auto button available to us. It isn't available for JPEG, but for RAW files, we can start with the Auto button, and that will give us an auto exposure setting. So, let's see what Aperture does with that.
We'll click Auto, and it definitely brightens things up. And we can see the change right here. We go from 0 to 1.0. Now actually, for my taste, it's a little too bright. So, just like any Auto adjustment in Aperture, we can always do a little bit of a manual override, and I am going to back that off just a hair. Now we do have some lost detail. We are fairly okay here, but there might be some detail in this highlights areas that we can recover. Let's just take a look.
This is a nondestructive edit, of course, so we are allowed to do a little shopping. So, I am just going to move that Recovery slider and take a look here. It's very subtle. If you watch this area right here, you'll see that we are recovering some information, but it's not information that I really care about. So, in this case, I am not going to recover any highlights using the slider, because they are highlights I don't really care about. Now if I didn't have any highlights right here in this area, if they were blown out, I would feel differently about that adjustment.
Black Point, well, I think I can increase the Black Point a little bit, in other words, make the blacks a little blacker. You will notice here that we have a little gap here on our histogram and another little gap here. So, we are not fully utilizing the black tones in this image, and a lot of times by increasing the black point, we sort to give the image a little more punch. Let's see how that works here. Oh yeah! You see. Isn't that nice? Now you can go too far, and then suddenly you get to way too much black, and actually when the information on the histogram starts shooting up the side here, that's when you know that you are losing detail in those dark areas.
So, we don't want to do that. We want to back it off, but I like the little bit of punch that we are adding to this image by moving the Black Point up a bit. So, we are going to go right about there. Now all we have left are the middle tones. And you notice that in this brick, I am working from top to bottom, these sliders are in this order for that purpose. That's the way that I recommend you work most of time, work from top to bottom with these four sliders. So, the Brightness adjustment is the last, and that's going to deal with our middle tones, and middle tones are very much to taste.
There we go, right there. That looks quite nice to me. I want to do a before and after. The easiest way to do a before, and after is just uncheck the Exposure box. We can see what we started with and then I am going to check the Exposure box again, and we get to see where we ended. And as you can see, there's a quite a difference here. So, the Exposure brick is a very Powerful brick, again, highlights, shadows, midtones.
And just by moving a few sliders, you can dramatically improve your image.
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