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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.
Now, let's take a look at how you can lighten or darken your images using the lighting sliders available in the Quick Fix Edit mode. I'm currently in the Adobe Bridge application and I'm viewing the exercise files folders here in the Content panel and what I'd like to do is double-click on the Chapter 5 Using Quick Fix Mode folder and then double-click on the lighting sliders folder and double- click on the Quick Fix 4 image. That will open up the image here in the Elements' Editing workspace and I'd like to enter a Quick Fix mode. So I will click the Quick button in the upper right and that gives us access to all of our Quick Fix controls.
The controls that I want to focus on are these three sliders right here in the Lighting section: Lighten Shadows, Darken Highlights and Midtone Contrast. Just a reminder that these sliders have nothing to do with the Auto buttons that are above. They don't affect these auto controls at all. They are a separate adjustment entirely. The Auto buttons are a one-click fix and these sliders down here are meant to be used for manual adjustments. Now let's take a look at our image over here. We've got the before and after preview which is a good thing. That allows us to see our adjustments and compare them to the original image side by side. If you look at the image, you can see that my son Enzo is actually backlit, meaning that the light source in the image is behind him. You can see that here in the photograph. You can see there's some light reflecting off his face and of course, in the background back here. But all of this area in the front is engulfed in shadow.
So we're losing some detail in here. The reason that that's happening is because there was a very large tree over here to the left that he was running towards that is casting a very large shadow over him. So it's hiding a lot of the detail. What we want to do with these lighting sliders is reveal some of that detail in the shadow areas and then in the areas back here like say, in his face and in the background where we have some detail that's getting lost because they're blown out. We want to reveal detail back there as well. We can do that using these sliders.
Let's start with the Lighten Shadows. If I drag the slider to the right, what I can do is reveal some of that detail that's getting lost in the forefront of the backlit image. See that happening there. The further I drag, the more detail I can start to reveal. Now when you're doing this, usually a good milestone is to drag to that first tick in the line. That's usually a good starting point. I think that's actually looking pretty good. We can see a lot more of the detail going on, in the ball, in the leaves and dirt down on the ground here and of course, in Enzo himself, all right. That's a very good thing.
If you start to drag this any further though, things are going to start to look unnatural. So you're going to want to use this with discretion and again, that's the great thing about having the before and after preview here. You can really see how this is just not looking right. We don't want to lose too much of the shadow because he's obviously under a tree. We can see the shadow in the background. We don't want to try and lose all of that. We want to be faithful to our composition here and make adjustments that are within reason. So I would say about the 25% mark or maybe even just before it would be the way to go for this particular image. All right, so now that we've done that, what we want to do is bring back some of the detail in these blown out areas here in the back of the image. Back over in here and of course, in his face. I could do that by dragging the Darken Highlights slider to the right and as we do, we can bring back some of the color and a lot of the detail in those areas. All right, the same principle applies here, if I drag too far, things are going to start to look unnatural.
That doesn't look balanced to me. Sure we're bringing back a lot of the imagery, but it doesn't look natural. So we want to do just enough to make the image look better, not worse. Use with discretion here. Again, refer to the before and the after. That's actually looking pretty good to me. Now the last slider here is the Midtone Contrast slider. You have to be very careful with this slider because what this slider here is wanting to adjust is the definition in the midtone areas of the photograph. That would be like the areas in his shirt, maybe his hair, some of the areas down here in the leaves and as you drag the slider to the right, it's going to Undo some of what you did with the sliders above because it's going to darken those areas. So you're going to make those areas look dark again. That's going to undo which you did in Lighten Shadows. And if you move it to the left, it's going to lighten things up and in some ways in this particular image actually can help a little bit. But again, it's going to undo some of what you did with Darken Highlights.
So you want to be careful when you're moving this around. You don't want to undo everything that you did up here. If it helps a little bit to move it either way, you can give it a shot. I think it helps to move it just a little bit to the left, but otherwise be very, very careful. Once you've made your adjustment here moving the sliders and things are starting to look better, you can apply the adjustment by clicking the green check mark over here, commit to that and we've now edited our image. We can go back in Full Edit Mode and see what it looks like. Take a look around it. We don't have to scroll too much. It is filling the whole window; we can zoom in a little bit and then inspect it. Things are looking much better, we can see a lot more of the detail and we did so using the three sliders available in Quick Fix Mode, quickly and easily.
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