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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
In a previous exercise, we applied big whole numbers to the task of enhancing the brightness and contrast of our butterflies here. So for Dark butterfly, just a little bit of a review, I applied a Brightness value of 100 and a Contrast value of 50. And for a Light butterfly, I change the Brightness value to -50 and the Contrast value to 80. Now the only reason I bring that up is because that's not a very common way to work. I did it because I wanted you to be able to follow my directions and get exactly the same results I'm getting, but what you're more likely to do is tweak those numbers not even care about what the numbers are.
All you care about is the results. So, I'm going to show you a few number tweaking tricks that work in many of Photoshop's dialog boxes, very useful techniques. So, I'll stick with Light butterfly.jpg found inside the 07_basic_correct folder. And I'm going to undo my modifications by pressing Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac, but it didn't work. And that may happen to you as you work inside of Photoshop, you expect undo to do something and it doesn't do anything. In which case it's probably gotten sort of confused with the History palette, it's not exactly sure what the last state was.
So, what you need to do is force a back step in history, and you do that by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Z or Command+Option+Z on the Mac. So, you just throw Alt or Option into the mix. Now then what I'm going to do, I have got my original version of the butterfly here, the washed out version. I'm going to press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and I'm going to choose Image>Adjustments> Brightness/Contrast with Alt or Option down. And what that's going to do is revisit my last applied settings, not for this image, but the settings that I applied last of all most recently, which I just so happened to apply to this image which is why I'm working inside of it now.
But there they are, Brightness -50, Contrast 80. Once again, you press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and choose the Color Correction command. This works for a lot of color adjustment functions inside Photoshop. Now, let's say, I want to tweak these values. I could, of course, drag the slider triangles if I want to, but a couple of different ways to work. One is notice if you hover over the name of the value, you get this little cursor with a couple of arrows next to it. That means that you can scrub the value back and forth just by dragging in this region here, and notice that you're tweaking the value by 1 for every pixel that you move.
If you want to tweak the value by increments of 10, you press and hold the Shift key and now notice that I'm applying very fast modifications here with Shift key down as I scrub the value. That works for Contrast as well. Another thing to note here is that if you want to highlight a specific value inside of Photoshop, you can click on it and drag across it like that which is okay. It's a little bit of a pain in the neck compared to just clicking on the option name. So, if you click on the option name, you're going to go ahead and highlight that value as well, and of course, you can press the Tab key to switch back-and-forth between values.
On the Mac, by default, you're just going to switch back-and-forth between the numerical values, so Tab would go just between Contrast and Brightness here. On the PC you're going to tab to other buttons and options like so. If you want to tab backward then you press Shift+Tab like this. And then the other way to work is to use the Arrow keys on your keyboard. So, if I press the Up Arrow key I'm going to raise this value in increments of 1. You can also press and hold the key if you want to in order to raise the value more quickly on the fly.
If you want to lower the value, of course, you would press the Down Arrow key, either press on it or press and hold like this. And then if you want to raise or lower the value in increments of 10 then you press Shift along with an Arrow key. So, I'm going to press Shift+Down Arrow five times in a row from where it was to get back down to -50, and then I'm going to go ahead and tweak this value. I'll press the Up Arrow key, let's say, five times in row in order to get this value to -45 instead of -50. And then I'll tab down to the Contrast value and then I'll press Shift+Down Arrow, let's say, in order to reduce that value from 80 to 70.
And if I decide, this looks better then I'll click OK to apply those values. So, remember that you can scrub directly on an option and you can press the Arrow keys as well to nudge a highlighted value. Also remember, if you want to increase the value or decrease it by increments of 10, then you add the Shift key either to scrubbing or to nudging from the keyboard.
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