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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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