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Applying the Equalize adjustment

From: Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth

Video: Applying the Equalize adjustment

In this movie, I'm going to show you a few adjustments that aren't used very often, but are worth knowing about. And those are the Equalize adjustment, the Posterize adjustment and the Invert adjustment. The Equalize adjustment is a direct adjustment, so I don't want to do it on my Background layer, instead I'll make a copy of my Background layer by Ctrl-clicking on that layer on a Mac or Right-clicking on a PC and choosing Duplicate Layer. And I'll click OK. So the first thing, I'm going to do is to Equalize the tonal values in this photograph, and what that means is that if you look at the histogram here in the Histogram panel, you can see that most of the tones are to the left of middle gray. That's why the image looks a little flat.

Applying the Equalize adjustment

In this movie, I'm going to show you a few adjustments that aren't used very often, but are worth knowing about. And those are the Equalize adjustment, the Posterize adjustment and the Invert adjustment. The Equalize adjustment is a direct adjustment, so I don't want to do it on my Background layer, instead I'll make a copy of my Background layer by Ctrl-clicking on that layer on a Mac or Right-clicking on a PC and choosing Duplicate Layer. And I'll click OK. So the first thing, I'm going to do is to Equalize the tonal values in this photograph, and what that means is that if you look at the histogram here in the Histogram panel, you can see that most of the tones are to the left of middle gray. That's why the image looks a little flat.

A quick way to move the tones across the tonal field here is to use the Equalize command. Now there are better and more precise ways to do this as I've shown you in other movies. For example, using the Levels input sliders or using Curves. That Equalize can come in handy as a quick way to do this in some cases particularly, if you are making a kind of decorative graphic image as I'll be making here. So to apply the Equalize command, I'll just come up to the Image menu and I'll go down to Adjustments, and I'll find Equalize there at the bottom of the Adjustments menu. Taking a look at the Histogram, you can see that the midtones have now been spread out across the tonal range and there is the concentration of tones in the highlights over here, and the dark areas over here. And that's giving the image quite a bit of pop or contrast as well as more saturation in the colors.

Now, I'm going to go onto another adjustment, the Posterize adjustment. This I can add, as an adjustment layer but before I do, I'd like to isolate some of the image from this adjustment. I'd like to keep the model's face and arm with their photographic quality rather than posterizing them. So, I'm going to select everything except the face and arm. Actually, I've already done that and if you are following along, you can load that selection. By going to the Select menu and choosing Load Selection. And then in the Load Selection dialog box, go into the Channel menu and choosing selection and choosing OK. Now, I'm ready to add my Posterize adjustment layer, so I'll go to the Adjustments panel and I'm going to click the Posterize icon.

You can see the new Posterize adjustment layer down here, in the Layers panel and notice that there is some black on that layer thumbnail. I'll Option-click on the thumbnail, that's Alt-click on the PC so you can see the parts of the image that are being protected from this Posterize adjustment. I'll Option or Alt-click again on that thumbnail to go back to see the document. What Posterize does is limit the brightness levels available in each one of the color channels. If I were to take the Levels slider, and go all the way to the left where there are only 2 Levels, the only colors available would be red, blue, green, yellow, cyan, magenta, and white and black. And so the image has this real graphic quality.

As I move Levels over to the right, you can see some of the photographic quality come back. And if I go all the way over to this way, I have my plain photograph. I think, I'm going to take it back to about 4 Levels and one way to do that is just to click in the Levels field here and type 4. The next thing I'm going to do is add another kind of adjustment layer and that's an Invert adjustment layer. Before I do, I again want to load that selection to protect the model's face and arm. One way to load a selection, if it's already been used in a layer mask, is to hold down the Command key on a Mac or the Ctrl key on a PC and click on that layer mask thumbnail on the Posterize adjustment layer. And that brings back that adjustment.

Remember, everything except the model's face and arm is now selected. So when I Invert, I'll be inverting everything else in the image. I'm going to go back to the icon view of the Adjustments panel by clicking the green arrow here at the bottom of the Adjustments panel. And in the Adjustments panel icon view, I'll go up to the Invert icon right here and click it. And that adds this Invert adjustment layer. And what this layer is doing is looking at the brightness value of every pixel and inverting those brightness values. And as a result, the colors look to be the opposite of those that I saw a moment ago.

So, let me turn that layer on and off for just a moment by clicking the eye icon. As you can see, where there were yellows and oranges, there are now blues and greens. With the Invert adjustment layer selected here in the Layers panel, I'd like you to see what happens when I lower the Opacity slider. If I take Opacity all away from 100% to 0, I go back to my original view because I've re-inverted the colors. And if I put Opacity at 50% by typing it in there, actually I see none of the image because I'm right in the middle between the positive and negative brightness values for all the colors.

So that's kind of interesting, but I'm going to go back to 100% Opacity now. And I finished making this decorative image. It's not the most beautiful image in the world, but I hope that it's given you an idea of what the Equalize, the Posterize, and Invert adjustments will do for you.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth
Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth

48 video lessons · 15991 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 39s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. Using the exercise files
      59s
    3. Setting up a workspace
      3m 22s
  2. 21m 2s
    1. Creating and editing adjustment layers
      6m 38s
    2. Adjustment layers vs. direct adjustments
      6m 9s
    3. Using the new Adjustments panel
      5m 38s
    4. Reusing adjustment layers
      2m 37s
  3. 39m 57s
    1. Clipping adjustment layers
      4m 36s
    2. Including adjustment layers in a layer group
      3m 13s
    3. Including adjustment layers in a Smart Object
      7m 29s
    4. Using the adjustment layer mask
      5m 43s
    5. Using selections with adjustment layers
      4m 19s
    6. Using the Masks panel with adjustment layers
      8m 30s
    7. Using the Blend If sliders with adjustment layers
      6m 7s
  4. 49m 43s
    1. Reading the Histogram panel
      5m 23s
    2. Using the Levels adjustment for tonal corrections
      7m 42s
    3. Using the Curves adjustment for exposure
      8m 12s
    4. Using the Curves adjustment for contrast
      4m 14s
    5. Making On-Click Curves adjustments
      4m 0s
    6. Applying Shadow/Highlight nondestructively
      7m 59s
    7. Reviewing Brightness/Contrast
      3m 18s
    8. Dealing with exposure
      2m 22s
    9. Using adjustment layers with blend modes
      6m 33s
  5. 54m 36s
    1. Making Vibrance adjustments
      2m 22s
    2. Using Hue/Saturation adjustments
      7m 4s
    3. Understanding color correction
      3m 21s
    4. Using color samplers and the Info panel
      4m 25s
    5. Using Levels eyedroppers for color correction
      5m 54s
    6. Using Levels channels for color correction
      5m 7s
    7. Understanding Curves adjustments for color correction
      7m 21s
    8. Making Color Balance adjustments
      3m 49s
    9. Making Photo Filter adjustments
      3m 6s
    10. Making Variations adjustments
      6m 48s
    11. Using the auto-correction features
      5m 19s
  6. 13m 5s
    1. Using the Dodge and Burn tools
      4m 56s
    2. Dodging and burning nondestructively
      6m 38s
    3. Working with the Red-Eye tool
      1m 31s
  7. 16m 9s
    1. Applying Black & White adjustments
      7m 30s
    2. Making Channel Mixer adjustments
      6m 31s
    3. Understanding the Threshold adjustment
      2m 8s
  8. 25m 23s
    1. Colorizing with Hue/Saturation adjustments
      3m 9s
    2. Tinting with Black & White adjustments
      2m 8s
    3. Making a Gradient Map adjustment
      4m 18s
    4. Applying a Selective Color adjustment
      1m 49s
    5. Using the Replace Color adjustment
      4m 39s
    6. Making Match Color adjustments
      4m 24s
    7. Applying the Equalize adjustment
      4m 56s
  9. 42s
    1. Goodbye
      42s

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