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In Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac Essential Training, Ted LoCascio teaches casual photographers how to organize, edit, and share their digital image libraries using this powerful software package from Adobe. He tours the included Adobe Bridge application, used for importing and organizing photographs, and explores every feature of Elements itself. He demonstrates how to navigate the Elements workspace, which is used to correct and improve images, combine them into projects, and produce slideshows, photo books, web galleries, and more. Ted also explains how to get the most out of each editing mode, and shares tips for correcting, retouching, and sharpening photographs. Example files accompany the course.
With this movie, I would like to show you how you can quickly apply various Auto Color internal adjustments using Quick Fix Edit mode. I'm currently in the Adobe Bridge application and I'm viewing our exercise files folder that is on my desktop. You can see I have the catalog images folder selected, but I actually would like to select the Chapter 5 Using Quick Fix mode folder. We'll double-click that in order to access the auto tone & color folder. Double-click that and then we're going to open up these two images inside here.
Go ahead and click on the first image, hold down Shift, click on the second image. We now have them both selected. We'll press Command+O in order to open those up in the Elements' Editing workspace. All right, so we have both images opened now. First thing I want to do is go over to Quick Fix mode because currently we're in Full Edit mode which you can see over here in the Edit tab. Let's click on the Quick button. That takes us into Quick Fix mode. Next thing I want to do is focus on the first image in the Project bin so I will double-click on that image to bring it to the forefront here in our work area.
All right, you can see I already have the Before & After - Horizontal preview setup. So we have the before image on the left and the after image on the right, let me go ahead and hide the Project bin for now so we can focus on this image. Now, what we can do to it to improve it? Off on the right in Quick Fix I want to make you aware of four of the auto controls we're going to focus on here in this movie and that is in the General fixes, the Auto Smart Fix, you can see this button here. In the Lighting section, we have auto Levels and auto Contrast and then we have in the color section, Auto Color. All right, now all four of these Auto buttons can affect the tonality of your image and most of them can affect the color of your image. When I say tonality, I'm referring to the darks and the lights in your image. So let's start there, let's start with contrast. If I click on the Auto Contrast button, it's going to balance out the contrast in the image overall.
What it's going to do is bring out some image detail especially in the shadow areas. So I'm going to go ahead and click on this and as I do it, I also want to make you aware of that these sliders underneath have nothing to do with this adjustment over here. So if you were to move these sliders before clicking the Auto button, they are completely unrelated. That's sort of just seeing it in the way this is set up in the interface. Auto Contrast has its own adjustment and Lightening in shadows and darkening highlights and Midtone Contrast are all separate adjustments. They are not related to this button.
Same thing goes for these sliders under here, underneath the Auto Color option, not related at all. Now that we know that, let's click on the Auto Contrast button and you can see what it's done, it has lightened up the image, revealed more detail especially in the shadow areas of the image. That actually is a very, very nice adjustment. I like that. However, I want to undo it so that we can compare it to the other Auto options, because the real trick here when you're working with these images is how to know when to apply each of these auto adjustments. They all do somewhat or the same thing with just some slight differences and the way Auto Contrast might work with one image may not work exactly the same way with a different image because all of these auto adjustments are depended on the image that you're working with and what type of information is inside of those images. So don't always expect the exact same results every time you click these auto adjustments when you're working with your images. Different images can produce different results.
We know what happens when we use Auto Contrast with this image. Let's try Auto Levels. What Auto Levels is going to do is going to try to balance out the color and the tonality in the image by going into the individual channels of the image. Every RGB image is made up of three channels red, green and blue. When you click on Auto Levels, it goes into each of those individual channels and calculates what it need to do in order to balance out the color in the image. Sometimes it creates the desirable effect and sometimes it doesn't. In this instance, it wound up creating somewhat of a blue cast in the image, which I don't think is a very good adjustment.
It's nice to have more detail in here, lighten up the image a bit. But now it has the sort of predominant blue color, which is called the cast, and I don't think that's a very good adjustment. So I'm actually going to undo that by pressing Command+Z and now compare that to the Auto Color option, which is down here. The Auto Color option is going to do the same thing, try to balance out the color in the image, it's going to do it to the composite RGB as opposed to the individual channels in the image. Click on Auto and here we have a very, very nice adjustment. It doesn't have that blue cast that we had when we clicked on Auto Levels. It does have a little bit of a magenta cast, little bit of a reddish sort of tint to it. But that's okay. I think it's way more desirable effect than we saw with Auto Levels. Let's undo that, pressing Command+Z and take a look at the last auto feature, which is Smart Fix.
Smart Fix is also going to try and balance out the color in your image but it's also going to balance out the lighting information, specifically the shadows or highlights. So it's applying a type of Auto Shadow Highlight adjustment in addition to an Auto Color adjustment. So let's click on that and see what we get. It takes a little bit longer to render and you can see over here it's similar to what we saw in Auto Levels. Not exactly the same, the cast is not quite as predominant as it was with Auto Levels, but still there. Okay, so in this instance, I'm going to press Command+Z to Undo, the best adjustment is Auto Color. If I wanted to tweak this just a little bit further, I could drag the Temperature slider, just a little bit to the left in order to remove some of that magenta cast and maybe even move the tint slider a little bit over to the green. Now it's looking pretty balanced to me. I can go ahead and apply that adjustment and that's looking pretty good.
All right, so let's take a look at how the same sorts of auto adjustment would work with a completely different image because as I said before, different images produce different results. Once you accept that fact that these buttons are not going to give you the same results with every image, the better off you will be. Let's take a look at a different image. Open up the Project bin, double-click and here we have our image of the bird in flight. We will go ahead and scroll that over pressing down the Spacebar and access the Hand tool temporarily and moving the image over so we can focus on the bird and the water in the background.
Let's take a look at what Auto Contrast will do. Now generally, Auto Contrast won't affect much of your color, unless a predominant color in your image contains a lot of darks like the water does in the bottom of this image. When I click the button, it's actually going to make the blue areas in the water, especially down here appear, much richer. So let's go ahead and click that, you can see that's exactly what's happened. Okay, so it had an interesting effect on the color. I actually like that adjustment. Brought out a lot more of the detail and that made the blues appear much richer in the water. I actually think that looks pretty good.
Let's compare it to some of the other Auto Adjustments. Command+Z, take a look at Levels again. Auto Levels actually looks even better and let's say we have much richer blues than with the contrast. Okay, did a very nice job. Again, going to the individual channels to calculate this adjustment. Command+Z, we also have Auto Color, let's try that. Now this time around, even though in the last image, Auto Color produce the best results. With this image, it produced the worst results. So as we can see in here, it made the bird look really nice, but the water is completely washed out looking gray and not looking blue. I would say the after image doesn't look any better than the before image. So in this instance, I would say Auto Color was not a good adjustment to make. Press Command+Z we'll try out Smart Fix and see what happens. Looking pretty good.
Again, similar to Levels, maybe with a lighter blue in the water. Looking very, very nice though. You can see little bit more of the detail going on down here, which is the result of the Shadow Highlight adjustment that comes along with applying Smart Fix. But I think in this instance, I like Levels the best. So I'm going to undo that by pressing Command+Z, I'm going to apply the Levels adjustment and stick with that. So what I wanted you to take away from this here is that every image is different and even though these are automated features in here that can effect the tonality and the color in your image. You can't always expect the exact same results every time you apply these to each image. You're going to get different results based on the information that's in those images.
In this instance, the best auto adjustment to apply was Auto Levels and in the previous image, the best adjustment to apply here in Quick Fix mode was Auto Color. We have to add a little bit too with the sliders, which again are separate from the auto adjustment, but overall Auto Color did the best job.
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