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In digital imaging, clipping refers to areas of your photograph where you have loss of detail. Perhaps your highlights are too bright, or your shadows are too dark. And the reason why clipping matters is because if you have clipping in your photograph, well, then you may not be able to create a very good or high-quality print of that image, because you don't have detail in certain areas of the photograph. Well here, I want to look at a few shortcuts that we can use in order to identify areas where we have clipping, and also I want to look at how we can correct those issues.
Well for starters, let's go ahead and open up the Histogram, and the Basic panels. Press Command+0 and Command+1 on a Mac, or Control+0 and Control+1 on Windows. In the Histogram, you will notice that you have these little triangle icons in the top left and right-hand corner. Those icons allow you to turn on what's called the clipping indicator. You can either click on the icon, or you can press the J key to turn on the clipping indicator. Here, if we go ahead and zoom in on this photograph, what we'll see is that we have some loss of detail on this side of the image.
We have some highlights where we have no detail. That red color is showing us the problem. Well this is really helpful, because what may happen is we may make an adjustment, say, like we may increase the exposure, and not realize that we are actually introducing a problem into our photograph, but this clipping indicator helps us to see that we have that problem. So here I don't want to increase my exposure, so I will go ahead and double-click the slider to reset that Exposure setting. What I really want to do is to darken the Highlights to try to recover some of that detail here.
In doing that, you can see how we've recovered some of the detail in those highlight areas. Well, let's say that I haven't quite gotten all of those details back by using this Highlights slider. How can I get more of those details back? Well what we can do is we can go down to the Tone Curve panel, and in the Tone Curve panel, if we are viewing this curve as a Linear curve here, and if we click on the icon which allows us to view this in this Linear curve where we have these adjustments with this curve, we can then click on the top point, and just drag down a little bit.
In doing that, you can see that we're darkening those brightest white tones there, and we are correcting this photograph. Now, it would have been near impossible to make those corrections had we not turned on the clipping indicator. Again, you can press the J key to turn that clipping indicator on and off. Let's go back to the Basic panel, and let's talk about another way that we can identify and find these problem areas. Here what I want to do is reset the photograph, so let's use the shortcut which we've learned previously to reset our image to its default setting; that's Shift+Command+R on a Mac, or Shift+Control+R on Windows.
Next, let's press the J key to turn off these clipping indicators, so press the J key once, and then let's close the Histogram. Here in the Basic panel, we have different controls, and if we hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt on Windows, and drag these controls, we can also get another view of this clipping. Here you can see we have different types of clipping. If I move that Exposure slider, we can see that we have these issues in these areas, so if we go down to the Highlights control, here I can click and drag to left to try to remove that issue.
The same thing can be done with other controls as well. For example, as we work with our other sliders, say, like our Blacks slider. If you hold down the Option key on a Mac, or Alt key on Windows, we can click and drag in order to do this. In doing that, you can see those black areas; that's showing us where we've introduced clipping in these darker tones. If we press the J key as well, you can see another view of that, and sometimes what you'll do is use these two shortcuts together to figure out, say, how dark you can make those tones, or how high you can increase your contrast before you're introducing different types of clipping.
And by doing this, you can ensure that your image will not only look good on your monitor, but also it will look good in its final form if it's going to be printed, say, in a publication, like a magazine, or a book, or if you're just creating a print for your portfolio. So again, let's reset this photograph, and let's review a few of these shortcuts. Press Shift+Command+R on a Mac, or Shift+Control+R on Windows. Next, let's remember that we can press the J key to toggle on and off that clipping indicator. If we have the clipping indicator on, it's pretty easy to make adjustments, so that we can see the clipping area disappear.
Press the J key to turn that clipping indicator off. Another way to do the same thing is to hold down the Option key on a Mac, or Alt key on a Windows, and then to make the adjustment. After you've made the adjustment, to see how it looks, just let go of the Option or the Alt key, and then it will take it back to the regular view, so that you can evaluate the overall look in the photograph.
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