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In many cases, you may find that a simple Brightness and Contrast adjustment with the Exposure and Contrast sliders provide all the control you'll need for adjusting Tonality in an image. However, in some cases, you may want to exercise a little bit more control, lightening and darkening areas of the image based on their Tonal value. For that, we can turn to the Highlights > Shadows > Whites and Blacks sliders. The Highlights and Whites sliders are very similar, they allow us to lighten or darken the brightest pixels in the image.
Whites will affect a broader range and especially focuses on the white values, the brightest values in the image. While Highlights adjust a narrower range of Tonal values and won't adjust the white point in the image. I typically start with whites so that I can establish a white point. And in all cases, for all four of these sliders, we can hold the Alt or Option key, Alt key on Windows, Option key on Macintosh, in order to get a Clipping Preview to make sure were not losing too much detail. For example, I'll hold the Alt or Option key while increasing the value for Whites and we get a Clipping Preview showing us when were losing detail in the image.
Generally speaking, I don't want to sacrifice any Highlight detail if I can avoid it so I would typically go up to about the point where those pixels first start to appear and then perhaps back off slightly. You can see that that gives us a bit of a boost in the brightest areas of the image. But if I want to further fine tune the appearance of the brightest areas in the image, I can go to the Highlights slider and then increase it to brighten the Highlights or decrease it to darken down the Highlights. Obviously, which direction you slide will depend upon the image.
And in this case, you might actually go either way depending on your preference. You could increase Highlights in order to really emphasize the bright light reflecting off of the ice here. Or if you want to bring out a little more detail on those highlights, then you might tone down that adjustment just a little bit. Taking a look at the darker areas of the image, once again, we can use the Blacks slider with the Clipping Preview, holding the Alt key on Windows or Option key on Macintosh. And then, adjust to establish that black point. If I move over to the left, you can see that I can block up Shadow detail, making areas of the image very, very dark, nearly black in many cases.
But in most cases, I'll again use that Clipping Preview and move the slider over to the right until I see the fewest possible pixels. Notice that eventually, I get to the point where no more pixels are disappearing, even as I increase the value for blacks. And that's because those areas were underexposed in the original image and so I'm not able to bring back detail in those areas. Right about there looks to be a good result. Let's take a look at the image itself. That looks good in terms of overall Contrast, but I think some of those shadow areas could use to be brightened up so that we can see some more of the fur detail, for example.
And so, I'll switch now to the Shadows slider and increase the value there, and that opens up a little bit of Shadow detail. So, I'm maintaining good Contrast, thanks to the Highlights and Blacks Adjustment. But then, I'm able to fine tune the overall appearance of detail within the photo by adjusting the Shadows and the Whites.
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