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Understanding Auto Color and making tonal adjustments

From: Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac Essential Training

Video: Understanding Auto Color and making tonal adjustments

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.

Understanding Auto Color and making tonal adjustments

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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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac Essential Training

84 video lessons · 5424 viewers

Ted LoCascio
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 22s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the example files
      1m 20s
  2. 12m 1s
    1. Understanding Photoshop Elements
      2m 10s
    2. Using the Welcome screen
      2m 33s
    3. Importing photos from a digital camera
      7m 18s
  3. 1h 1m
    1. Viewing and selecting images
      2m 1s
    2. Creating and saving a custom workspace
      5m 29s
    3. Rotating images in Bridge
      3m 20s
    4. Renaming images in Bridge
      5m 34s
    5. Adding keywords to images
      7m 38s
    6. Applying ratings to images
      5m 17s
    7. Labeling images
      5m 17s
    8. Searching for images
      6m 38s
    9. Creating Collections
      2m 50s
    10. Sorting images with the Filter panel
      6m 36s
    11. Using image stacks
      7m 2s
    12. Hiding images
      4m 6s
  4. 31m 55s
    1. Opening images from Bridge
      2m 24s
    2. Working with palettes and the Palette Bin
      4m 53s
    3. Using the Project Bin
      6m 44s
    4. Zooming and scrolling
      8m 1s
    5. Fixing mistakes with Undo and Redo
      5m 3s
    6. Saving versions
      4m 50s
  5. 49m 38s
    1. Opening and viewing images in the Quick Fix mode
      6m 8s
    2. Understanding Auto Color and making tonal adjustments
      8m 50s
    3. Using the Lighting sliders
      5m 19s
    4. Using the Color sliders
      7m 1s
    5. Applying Auto Red Eye Fix
      3m 31s
    6. Applying Auto Sharpen
      4m 25s
    7. Using the Guided Edit mode
      6m 19s
    8. Processing multiple files
      8m 5s
  6. 10m 22s
    1. Understanding image resolution
      3m 23s
    2. Resizing images
      6m 59s
  7. 17m 8s
    1. Applying Auto Crop and Auto Straighten
      6m 22s
    2. Using the Straighten and Crop tools
      4m 10s
    3. Changing the canvas size
      6m 36s
  8. 30m 32s
    1. Why make selections?
      6m 3s
    2. Using the Quick Selection tool
      8m 37s
    3. Using Refine Edge
      7m 15s
    4. Saving and loading selections
      8m 37s
  9. 25m 58s
    1. Working with the Layers palette
      9m 45s
    2. Using adjustment layers and masks
      8m 37s
    3. Applying transparency and blend mode adjustments
      7m 36s
  10. 40m 56s
    1. Removing a color cast
      5m 53s
    2. Correcting skin tone
      3m 38s
    3. Enhancing color with Hue/Saturation adjustments
      6m 37s
    4. Balancing contrast and color with Levels adjustments
      7m 10s
    5. Correcting dark or light areas with Shadow/Highlight Adjustments
      5m 17s
    6. Improving images with Color Curves adjustments
      5m 55s
    7. Converting color images to black and white
      6m 26s
  11. 54m 14s
    1. Using the Red-Eye Removal tool
      8m 1s
    2. Using the healing tools
      7m 42s
    3. Whitening teeth and eyes
      6m 20s
    4. Cloning to remove contents
      8m 14s
    5. Adjusting perspective and correcting camera distortion
      6m 10s
    6. Using Photomerge Group Shot
      6m 17s
    7. Using Photomerge Faces
      6m 4s
    8. Using Photomerge Panorama
      5m 26s
  12. 16m 1s
    1. Creating a clipping mask
      7m 25s
    2. Creating collages with gradient blending
      8m 36s
  13. 22m 15s
    1. Reducing noise
      8m 7s
    2. Sharpening with Unsharp Mask
      7m 16s
    3. Sharpening with Adjust Sharpness
      6m 52s
  14. 17m 54s
    1. Understanding Camera Raw
      1m 46s
    2. Opening Camera Raw images from Bridge
      6m 37s
    3. Applying tonal and color adjustments in Camera Raw
      6m 23s
    4. Saving raw images
      3m 8s
  15. 40m 41s
    1. Painting with the Filter Gallery
      8m 7s
    2. Creating a pencil sketch
      7m 40s
    3. Customizing images
      7m 59s
    4. Adding artwork with the Content palette
      9m 39s
    5. Building and saving a multi-page photo creation
      7m 16s
  16. 37m 5s
    1. Creating a slideshow
      6m 58s
    2. Creating a photo book
      9m 1s
    3. Creating a photo collage
      6m 58s
    4. Creating a greeting card
      6m 31s
    5. Creating a web photo gallery
      7m 37s
  17. 31m 6s
    1. Choosing color settings
      7m 1s
    2. Printing to an inkjet printer
      8m 13s
    3. Using Picture Package
      4m 33s
    4. Saving for the web
      5m 55s
    5. Attaching images to emails
      3m 6s
    6. Burning to CDs and DVDs
      2m 18s
  18. 56s
    1. Goodbye
      56s

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