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In this movie we're going to look at several different ways to adjust the exposure, or in other words the brightness of the image. And of course we want to do this with adjustment layers. So,in the layers panel, we go down to the bottom here, the half black half white circle. >> And we could create different adjustment layers. And these are the ones that we're looking at when we specifically want to adjust brightness. So let's start with the top one here, brightness contrast. That's the easiest one. We basically have two sliders here, we have brightness which pretty much brightens everything or darkens everything.
And then we also have contrast. So, if you're a little intimidated by color correction, this is a great (no period) Place to start. Make sure, though, that you never ever ever ever check this use legacy button. Consider it, like, a blow up the world button. Because it makes this effect absolutely terrible. So avoid this button at all cost. But other than that, If you just want to do a very simple color correction. Brightness and contrast might help get you there. I'm going to go ahead and throw this effect into the trash can, and go ahead and click on the Levels effect. And the Levels effect, the benefit here is that we have this great histogram. And it's not too complex when we're using it in the basic way. We have the white point slider here, which we can use to brighten highlights. We have the black point slider over here on the left-hand side to darken shadows, and then we have the midtone slider here to adjust midtones. Pretty cool.
I'm going to go ahead and delete this, throw this in the trashcan And my personal favorite, the curves effect. And this one's a little bit more complex. They've designed it more and more in recent years to look like levels, so it's a little bit less intimidating. We have here again the white slider, the highlights slider. You can drag in to brighten the highlights. And we have the left-hand black slider to darken the shadows. Do the same thing there. And then we have this curve that represents our shadows to highlights, and as we click in a certain point, just like the histogram here indicates, as we click over to the right, we're going to be adjusting the highlights. So if I click and then drag upwards, upwards brightens things so I'm going to be brightening this area of highlights.
If I drag it down, we're going to be darkening this area of highlights. So, typically, what we do in curves. A very common way to use curves. Is we click on the right side and drag upwards to brighten the highlights. Then we go to the left side of the curve. And we click down to darken the shadows. And this increases the contrast in the image. So I actually think I want a little bit more brightness in the midtones. So what I could do is take this point, click on it, and drag it to the left, and click and drag up. And that brightens the mid-tones as well as those highlights. I also might, not want to darken the shadows quite that much, so I can click and drag upwards on this, just a little bit.
And that looks about good. So it definitely takes some adapting to get used to this idea of a curve and how it works. But as long as you remember the basic idea is that the highlights are on the right-hand side, the shadows are on the left, and that raising the curve brightens things and lowering the curve darkens them. And that this little what they call the S curve where we brighten the highlights and darken the shadows is probably the most common thing that you do in Curves, then this becomes a very handy effect. Again, in a lot of these adjustment layers as we're adjusting these, we have this little eye icon right here at the bottom, and this is kind of a shortcut for the eye icon in the Layers panel.
So as we click this eye to see the before and the after, we can see that this adjustment's actually pretty good. So I'm going to actually drag this down, and throw this away. And one final other exposure adjustment is obviously the exposure effect. Personally, I don't use this one very often, but a lot of people, especially photographers, if you're used to these controls from photography, like exposure, it's just like opening and closing your aperture. So we could drag it to the right here to increase the exposure, drag it to the left to decrease the exposure as well. I kind of like a little bit more controls, I like the histogram, of levels and curves, so I find myself using those more often. But that's just me, but the moral of the story is that we have multiple ways of adjusting exposure in Photoshop.
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