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Adjusting tonality with the Levels tool

From: Aperture 3 Essential Training (2012)

Video: Adjusting tonality with the Levels tool

Like so many other things in Aperture, there is more than one way to do something. And that really true as we are sitting here looking at the Levels brick in our Adjustments pane, because once again, we are going to be dealing with tonality. And we have been able to play with tone up here in the Exposure brick, even some in the Enhance brick with the Contrast slider, Highlights and Shadows definitely talking about tone, but Levels is a Tonal Adjustment tool that's been around for a long time.

Adjusting tonality with the Levels tool

Like so many other things in Aperture, there is more than one way to do something. And that really true as we are sitting here looking at the Levels brick in our Adjustments pane, because once again, we are going to be dealing with tonality. And we have been able to play with tone up here in the Exposure brick, even some in the Enhance brick with the Contrast slider, Highlights and Shadows definitely talking about tone, but Levels is a Tonal Adjustment tool that's been around for a long time.

In fact, many people used it in Photoshop. So, let's take a look at Aperture's Version of Levels, and I'll tell you it's a very interesting one. The first thing that you'll notice up here at top is that we have two Auto buttons. Now this is Auto Combined, this one here, and this is Auto Separate, and they are both effective. And I think they are both a great place to start when you are making Levels adjustments. So, let's take a look at this image here.

I am going to hit the V key twice to bring up this image. It's a good start, but it definitely could benefit from some Exposure adjustments. Now if you want to use Auto Combined, what you do is you set your channel to Luminance/ And what's going happen here is that Aperture is just going to look at the overall tonality of the shot and make a Levels adjustment. So, you set the channel to Luminance, and then you click the Auto button, and there it goes.

And you'll see that we have the Luminance display here, and that it's moved in the highlights a little bit. So, it's increased the highlights. It's made a Shadows adjustment, didn't do a whole lot in the middle, so it mainly worked on the end. Now as you know, photographs are really comprised of three channels: red, green and Blue. And if we look at the separate channels after this adjustment, you'll see that nothing really happened to the individual channels.

They are all kind of set where they begin, and that's because this Auto adjustment isn't that type of adjustment where it works on the channel level. It's looking at the overall tonality of the shot and going from there. Now once you start with this Auto adjustment, you can fine-tune yourself by moving the individual - this is the mid tones and the shadows - to get it exactly the way that you want.

So, that's a very easy way to work and it's one that I like a lot, but I want to show you also Auto Separate, which is this other button. So, we are going to reset, so I am going to click the Reset button so we go back to the beginning. Now what Auto Separate does is that it makes an adjustment at each channel level. So, it will make a Levels adjustment at the red level, at the green level and in the Blue channel. So, the way that you set this up is you change your channel to RGB, and then you hit the Auto button, and it makes an adjustment.

Now a lot times, I have to tell you, I like this adjustment better. I think it's a little bit smarter, and it brings it up to the red channel. So, you can see, unlike when we did the Luminance adjustment - these were over here on the red channel - in this case, Aperture is looking at each channel and making a Levels adjustment, and you can see that as you flip through this channels. Now a lot of times what I'll do is I'll use a little bit of both worlds. I will go ahead and use Auto Separate and then to fine-tune the image, I'll go back to Luminance where I am just looking at the overall tonality and just do a little bit of fine-tuning from there and come away, actually, with a pretty nice adjustment, pretty fast.

And you can see that by - here's what we started with, and here's what basically those Auto buttons did. So, Auto Combined and Auto Separate. Now I want to show you just one more tool built in to this brick, so I am going to reset. And I'll show you Quarter Tones, which is this little button up here, and you see that when we click on that we get a couple more controls. Now the way that Quarter Tones works, this is more if you want to just adjust manually without using the Auto buttons.

The top Quarter Tones thing here, this adjusts the overall shadow area. So, you just kind of do it to what looks good. This adjusts the overall highlights area, so we can do that there. And then, of course, your mid tones right here. So, use those three sliders to get the image the way that you want, and then you can fine-tune those adjustments down here, and you can really just have a lot of fun fine tuning those basic adjustments.

So, really what Quarter Tones does, it's like on a hand radio where you have the big knob for tuning the major channels and then you have that little fine tuning knob that really kind of zero in or on them. That's what this does also. So, that's the Quarter Tones. I think it's more for people who really enjoy playing with these sort of adjustments. I am going to go ahead and reset and get rid of that. But I think for most folks the best workflow is go to RGB, use Auto Separate, go back to Luminance and just fine-tune and you can see how quickly you can make that adjustment and look what the difference it makes.

So, that is the Levels brick in Aperture 3.

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This video is part of

Image for Aperture 3 Essential Training (2012)
Aperture 3 Essential Training (2012)

128 video lessons · 15705 viewers

Derrick Story
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  1. 2m 16s
    1. Welcome
      1m 5s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 11s
  2. 41m 2s
    1. Understanding the system requirements
      1m 46s
    2. Understanding key Aperture terms
      6m 5s
    3. Touring the interface
      4m 43s
    4. Setting essential preferences
      7m 41s
    5. Customizing the top toolbar
      2m 5s
    6. Setting up two monitors
      2m 44s
    7. Configuring for faces and places
      5m 37s
    8. Understanding RAW files
      5m 5s
    9. Following the recommended Aperture workflow
      3m 23s
    10. Running Aperture Library First Aid
      1m 53s
  3. 45m 49s
    1. Preparing for import
      7m 38s
    2. Using managed libraries or the referenced file approach
      8m 7s
    3. Creating metadata presets
      5m 23s
    4. Adding keywords on import
      1m 44s
    5. Importing images from a digital camera
      4m 48s
    6. Using the RAW+JPEG option
      3m 36s
    7. Importing movies from your digital camera
      3m 10s
    8. Importing images from a hard drive
      4m 29s
    9. Importing images from an iPhone
      3m 48s
    10. Importing live images from an iPad or an iPhone
      3m 6s
  4. 39m 22s
    1. Working in Projects view
      6m 33s
    2. Working in Photos view
      3m 22s
    3. Viewing in full-screen mode
      5m 25s
    4. Zooming to actual size
      1m 23s
    5. Using the Loupe for a closer look
      3m 24s
    6. Showing focus points
      1m 28s
    7. Using Quick Preview
      1m 22s
    8. Proofing profiles and on-screen proofing
      2m 58s
    9. Customizing metadata overlays
      5m 26s
    10. Managing previews
      5m 34s
    11. Learning the heads-up displays
      2m 27s
  5. 24m 21s
    1. Creating projects and albums
      3m 22s
    2. Rating images by stars and color
      9m 52s
    3. Flagging images
      2m 0s
    4. Organizing a series with stacks
      5m 47s
    5. Grouping images with Smart Albums
      3m 20s
  6. 17m 22s
    1. Understanding the Aperture 3 library
      2m 45s
    2. Switching between Aperture 3 libraries
      2m 21s
    3. Exporting single or multiple projects as libraries
      3m 0s
    4. Merging multiple libraries into one
      3m 53s
    5. Splitting libraries
      3m 5s
    6. Sharing libraries
      2m 18s
  7. 58m 21s
    1. Defining the difference between master and version files
      4m 47s
    2. Working with the Adjustments pane
      6m 28s
    3. Updating RAW processing from previous versions of Aperture
      5m 55s
    4. Reading a histogram
      2m 8s
    5. Adjusting white balance
      2m 31s
    6. Adjusting exposures
      4m 37s
    7. Enhancing photos
      3m 24s
    8. Adjusting highlights and shadows
      2m 34s
    9. Customizing auto adjustments for levels and curves
      1m 50s
    10. Adjusting tonality with the Levels tool
      5m 45s
    11. Adjusting colors
      5m 5s
    12. Converting color pictures to black and white
      4m 14s
    13. Sharpening edges
      5m 54s
    14. Using the Vignette effect
      3m 9s
  8. 41m 13s
    1. Cropping images
      4m 39s
    2. Retouching blemishes
      7m 39s
    3. Fixing spots
      3m 2s
    4. Using Straighten Crop and Flip
      2m 19s
    5. Fixing a chromatic aberration
      2m 9s
    6. Reducing visual noise
      3m 5s
    7. Making adjustments with the Curves tool
      8m 53s
    8. Rotating images
      1m 22s
    9. Removing the Vignette effect
      2m 0s
    10. Using the Color Monochrome and Sepia tools
      4m 27s
    11. Considering the Sharpen tool
      1m 38s
  9. 44m 37s
    1. Introducing brushes
      2m 53s
    2. Using quick brushes
      7m 7s
    3. Using adjustment brushes
      4m 26s
    4. Retouching portraits with adjustment brushes
      5m 10s
    5. Creating multiple bricks for a single adjustment
      3m 25s
    6. Applying presets
      5m 46s
    7. Modifying presets
      2m 39s
    8. Highlighting hot and cold areas
      1m 51s
    9. Roundtripping to Photoshop
      3m 49s
    10. Using the edit plug-ins
      2m 52s
    11. Customizing the Adjustments pane
      1m 30s
    12. Batch processing with Lift and Stamp
      3m 9s
  10. 20m 41s
    1. Setting up face recognition
      4m 37s
    2. Searching for faces
      3m 43s
    3. Working with images that have existing tags in places
      3m 18s
    4. Adding geo tags using places in Aperture
      4m 28s
    5. Searching by place
      4m 35s
  11. 15m 42s
    1. Applying keywords
      4m 52s
    2. Creating unique captions quickly
      3m 17s
    3. Batch changing
      7m 33s
  12. 7m 0s
    1. Using the Search box
      4m 24s
    2. Creating Smart Albums for searching
      2m 36s
  13. 12m 48s
    1. Exporting masters and versions
      9m 10s
    2. Using the export plug-ins
      3m 38s
  14. 6m 44s
    1. Developing a backup strategy
      2m 23s
    2. Backing up with vaults
      2m 18s
    3. Restoring from a vault
      2m 3s
  15. 29m 52s
    1. Viewing your images via a quick slideshow
      3m 54s
    2. Setting up complex slideshows
      8m 19s
    3. Customizing individual slides
      8m 6s
    4. Adding video to your slideshows
      4m 13s
    5. Pulling a still frame from a movie
      1m 37s
    6. Exporting slideshows
      3m 43s
  16. 21m 39s
    1. Preparing your book project
      7m 9s
    2. Adjusting your book
      4m 54s
    3. Creating a custom template
      7m 2s
    4. Outputting your book
      2m 34s
  17. 22m 21s
    1. Emailing a photo from Aperture
      3m 27s
    2. Seeing your Aperture library from other applications
      1m 59s
    3. Building a web page
      4m 57s
    4. Publishing a web gallery
      3m 22s
    5. Publishing images to Flickr
      5m 58s
    6. Publishing images to Facebook
      2m 38s
  18. 10m 58s
    1. Printing a single image
      6m 32s
    2. Printing multiple images
      3m 4s
    3. Ordering prints from within Aperture
      1m 22s
  19. 36m 8s
    1. Taking advantage of Retina display Macs
      1m 56s
    2. Understanding the unified library for iPhoto and Aperture
      3m 2s
    3. Getting the most out of the advanced white balance adjustment
      4m 5s
    4. Understanding the changes in the revised Shadows and Highlights tool
      5m 23s
    5. Using Professional Auto Enhance as a starting point for image editing
      3m 24s
    6. Creating your own Auto Enhance presets
      2m 6s
    7. Using iPhoto effects in Aperture
      1m 34s
    8. Increasing performance with Fast Browsing combined with Quick Preview
      3m 40s
    9. Controlling Photo Stream in Aperture
      3m 52s
    10. Deleting images from your Photo Stream
      2m 2s
    11. Deleting images from the iPhone, reordering projects, and setting the desktop photo
      2m 33s
    12. Transferring photos into Aperture from the iPad and the iPhone
      2m 31s
  20. 1m 35s
    1. Looking ahead
      1m 35s

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