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Auto tone, contrast, and color

From: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Auto tone, contrast, and color

In this exercise, we are now going to apply the three children of the blessed union of Levels and Curves, and those children go by the names, Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color. I must say not names that I ever considered for my own children, but they are commands and commands are special people. Now we are going to see how these commands just make mincemeat of the problems with this image right here, which is a good thing. We want to make mincemeat of problems. I do want to show you something else. I'm working wide screen, notice that. For those of you who are with me in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One Fundamentals, that gargantuan 12 chapter series that started you on your way, we are going wide-screen now that we are in the advanced series. But we are still not wide enough to accommodate this image and the palettes. So I need to press Shift+Tab to bring my palettes back, so I can see my Layers palette.

Auto tone, contrast, and color

In this exercise, we are now going to apply the three children of the blessed union of Levels and Curves, and those children go by the names, Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color. I must say not names that I ever considered for my own children, but they are commands and commands are special people. Now we are going to see how these commands just make mincemeat of the problems with this image right here, which is a good thing. We want to make mincemeat of problems. I do want to show you something else. I'm working wide screen, notice that. For those of you who are with me in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One Fundamentals, that gargantuan 12 chapter series that started you on your way, we are going wide-screen now that we are in the advanced series. But we are still not wide enough to accommodate this image and the palettes. So I need to press Shift+Tab to bring my palettes back, so I can see my Layers palette.

Notice that I have layers setup for Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color, so you can do your thing, but first I want you to switch over to the Channels palette right there. This is an RGB image, Red, Green, Blue, and that just figures because I captured it with a digital camera, the Olympus Stylus 1030 SW as I was telling you, and digital cameras have a habit of capturing RGB images, 99.999% of the time, or percent of cameras I should say will capture RGB images. There are a few exceptions out there. But we do have this RGB image and that means it's made of a channel of Red information, a channel of Green information, and channel of Blue information, and all three of these channels are essentially independent grayscale images.

And so if I click on Red, we can see that we have a dark red channel, not surprising because the image is very bright. Where Green and Blue are concerned, we have a Green and Blue color cast going right here. So the odd man out, if you have Green plus Blue, you are getting Cyan, the opposite of Cyan is Red. So Red is out of favor where Luminance is concerned inside this image, so it's dark. In other words, that's one way of saying dark I suppose. And then Green, very bright, overly-bright. So we have a lot of Highlights to work with but very little on the way of Shadows. I mean, basically no shadow detail, just Midtones and Highlights. And then same with blue, we do get a little darker in the shadow detail, but only slightly.

It's normal for channels to deliver different information. So for one channel to be bright where another channel is dark, that's fine. But for the channels to be this widely out of sync with each other, that's bad. Where we have basically no Highlights of any merit inside the Red channel, just Shadows and Midtones, and no Shadows inside of the Green channel, just Highlights and Midtones, that's a bad thing. And so we have problems on a channel by channel basis. Each channel is different. That is something that the Auto commands and Levels and Curves can take care of beautifully.

So the other commands like Brightness /Contrast, those functions, they are really looking at the full composite image whereas Levels and Curves are capable of taking a look at each channel independently, which is a great thing. It makes them that much more powerful. So what do we do? Let's go back to Layers. I just want you to see the wackiness that is this image. I am going to go over here to Auto Tone, and I'm going to click on that layer and I'm going to turn it on, so it's active, and then I'm going to go up to the Image menu and choose the Auto Tone command. Notice that it has a keyboard shortcut, no reason on earth to memorize these shortcuts, you're just not going to be applying these commands often enough to warrant keyboard shortcuts at all. So just choose the command, but I do want to say this first. If you have used Photoshop CS3 and you are wondering Auto Tone, that's a new command, that never existed before. It's just a rename. It used to be called Auto Levels, now it's called Auto Tone. It functions identically. So no difference compared with the old version of the command.

I am going to choose Auto Tone, and I get this. Look at that. Amazing, this is before and this is after. It was capable of fixing the image that beautifully that's stellar. We just went from a cloudy day, not only did it take care of the bad metering, that wasn't inherent, there is a function of me breaking the camera, it also kind of cleared up the date and made the weather better, which is fantastic of course. Now let's try Auto Contrast, really this is what you do. You just try them out. See how they function. And so all I did was I just took the exact same image and duplicated it three times onto independent layers. All right, so I'm going to go to Auto Contrast, turn it on and select it.

I am going up to the Image menu and I'll choose Auto Contrast, and in case you are wondering why am I applying static color adjustments instead of applying adjustment layers, that's because these guys aren't easily applied. It is possible to apply them as adjustment layers but it's not easy to do, and that's kind of pointless and sort of an absurd thing to apply, something so simple that really doesn't have any control associated with it as an adjustment layer. I am going to go ahead and apply Auto Contrast now to the static pixels, and it looks like this, so not much happened there. A very subtle change. This is before and this is after. Now you may wonder, well, is there some reason that these commands are in this order? Auto Tone first, and Auto Contrast, and Auto Color? Because Auto Contrast seems to do less than Auto Tone, and you will see Auto Color does more, so why isn't it Auto Contrast first, then Auto Tone, and then Auto Color? That would make more sense.

They are arranged in the order in which they happened inside of Photoshop. So Auto Levels occurred first. I think it was Photoshop 2.5 and then Auto Contrast came around, and I believe, I want to say it's Photoshop 5.5 but it may have been 5, and then Auto Color came around in Photoshop 7. So this is before the whole CS thing, and that's the reason they have just sort of sat there in the same order they appeared inside the software. Auto Tone will compensate for color cast, Auto Contrast will fix the contrast of the image, but it will not compensate for color cast. So it doesn't do a very good job where this image is concerned. Let's now take a look at Auto Color, turn it on, this is the Auto Color layer version of the image, and then I'm going to go out to the Image menu and choose Auto Color, and bang, that does a beautiful job. So not only did it correct the contrast, it also corrected the color cast, and it tried to neutralize the grays inside the image. So I'm going to turn off this Auto Contrast layer because it's no good.

It was not a good adjustment; and I just want to compare Auto Color to Auto Tone here. So I'll turn off Auto Color. There is Auto Tone in the background, looks good. Photoshop did manage to not only compensate for the contrast but also the color cast of the image, however it left the neutral areas, the areas that should be colorless grays. In other words, it left them somewhat bluish-green, whereas Auto Color was capable of making them neutral grays as we are seeing right there, and basically, making the scene every bit as good as it should be.

Now if you feel like, gosh, some sort of mix of Auto Color and Auto Tone would be nice, then because you set things up on independent layers as I have for you actually in advance, then you could go ahead and reduce the opacity of Auto Color. For example, I could say, you know what, let's change the Opacity value to say 75%, and press the Enter key in order to accept that modification, and just a slight interaction, so 75% Auto Color mixed with the remaining 25% Auto Tone gets us this beautifully mixed image here.

So I'm going to show you before and after by Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking on the eyeball in front of the Background layer. So this is before, this is the original image, it was that bad, absurdly horrible this image was, I tell you, and now if I Alt+Click or Option+Click and then eyeball again, this is how good it is. I'm going to Shift+ Tab away those palettes. So again, this is before, I did that by reverting, by pressing F12, this is the after version of the image. Thanks to three little children, three little incredibly powerful children that when they work, if you apply them to the right kind of problem in the first place, work brilliantly well. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how those commands function, just so that you have a sense of what's going on under the hood. Stay tuned!

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

218 video lessons · 23873 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 22m 32s
    1. Welcome to Photoshop CS4 One-on-One Advanced
      1m 43s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 17s
    3. Resetting the function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 37s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      6m 4s
  2. 2h 43m
    1. Highlights, shadows, and midtones
      49s
    2. Low contrast, bad meter
      5m 57s
    3. Auto tone, contrast, and color
      8m 1s
    4. Cache levels and the Histogram palette
      7m 16s
    5. How the auto commands work
      10m 15s
    6. A first look at Levels
      6m 11s
    7. Target colors and clipping
      9m 6s
    8. Modifying input levels
      9m 44s
    9. Adjusting the gamma value
      7m 34s
    10. Previewing clipping
      7m 17s
    11. The futility of output levels
      4m 56s
    12. Channel-by-channel edits
      11m 54s
    13. When levels fail
      4m 34s
    14. A first look at Curves
      8m 46s
    15. Static Curves layer tricks
      7m 45s
    16. Dynamic Curves layer tricks
      7m 25s
    17. Correcting the composite image
      8m 30s
    18. Neutralizing a color cast
      6m 52s
    19. The Target Adjustment tool in Curves
      8m 29s
    20. Correcting an image in Lab
      10m 7s
    21. The Shadows/Highlights filter
      4m 18s
    22. Radius and tonal width
      8m 11s
  3. 1h 48m
    1. Edge-enhancement tricks
      1m 13s
    2. How sharpening works
      3m 48s
    3. The single-shot sharpeners
      4m 29s
    4. The Unsharp Mask filter
      7m 57s
    5. Understanding the Radius value
      6m 25s
    6. Gauging the best settings
      7m 47s
    7. Previewing how sharpening will print
      3m 37s
    8. Measuring and setting screen resolution
      6m 56s
    9. Tweaking the screen resolution
      4m 28s
    10. Sharpening the luminance data
      8m 23s
    11. USM vs. Smart Sharpen
      4m 23s
    12. Smart Sharpen's Remove settings
      5m 50s
    13. High-resolution sharpening
      6m 16s
    14. When to leave More Accurate off
      3m 48s
    15. When to turn More Accurate on
      4m 23s
    16. The advanced options
      7m 57s
    17. Saving Smart Sharpen settings
      4m 23s
    18. Accounting for camera shake
      7m 7s
    19. Sharpening with the High Pass filter
      9m 8s
  4. 2h 16m
    1. Why would you blur?
      1m 8s
    2. Fading after an undo
      3m 27s
    3. The "bell-shaped" Gaussian Blur
      5m 43s
    4. The linear Box Blur
      3m 6s
    5. Add Noise vs. Median
      4m 50s
    6. Despeckle vs. Dust & Scratches
      6m 31s
    7. Smart Blur vs. Surface Blur
      8m 13s
    8. The Motion Blur filter
      4m 33s
    9. Radial Blur's Spin and Zoom variations
      5m 48s
    10. Mixing filtered effects
      3m 56s
    11. The "Captain Kirk in Love" effect
      5m 4s
    12. Diffusing focus with Blur and Overlay
      8m 50s
    13. Simulating Vaseline and film grain
      8m 2s
    14. Filling a layer with a neutral color
      2m 55s
    15. Old-school contrast reduction
      3m 39s
    16. Three steps to diffused focus
      7m 36s
    17. Averaging skin tones
      9m 45s
    18. Addressing the stubborn patches
      5m 26s
    19. Combining Gaussian Blur and Average
      6m 1s
    20. Blurring surface details
      3m 2s
    21. Smoothing blemishes while matching noise
      8m 6s
    22. Reducing digital noise
      8m 47s
    23. Striking a smooth/sharpen compromise
      4m 36s
    24. Smoothing over JPEG artifacts
      7m 38s
  5. 2h 31m
    1. Independent layers of color adjustment
      1m 7s
    2. Undersea color channels
      4m 2s
    3. Inventing a Red channel with Lab
      8m 20s
    4. Mixing color channels
      6m 55s
    5. Making shadows with Levels
      7m 5s
    6. Applying small color adjustments
      6m 0s
    7. Further modifying Levels in Lab
      8m 50s
    8. Creating a dynamic fill layer
      4m 38s
    9. Brushing and blending color
      4m 42s
    10. Working with "found masks"
      7m 31s
    11. Saturation, sharpen, and crop
      8m 9s
    12. Mixing a monochromatic image
      7m 2s
    13. Masking an adjustment layer
      4m 45s
    14. Working with Opacity and blend modes
      3m 39s
    15. Adding a black-and-white adjustment
      5m 53s
    16. The Target Adjustment tool in black and white
      6m 12s
    17. Tinting a monochrome photo
      3m 19s
    18. Introducing Gradient Map
      4m 17s
    19. Adjusting both color and luminance
      5m 44s
    20. Infusing elements with different colors
      6m 22s
    21. Adjustment layers as creative tools
      4m 33s
    22. Inverting and brightening the background
      5m 14s
    23. Blurring live, editable type
      5m 43s
    24. Hue, saturation, and darkness
      6m 51s
    25. Filling type with a color adjustment
      3m 24s
    26. Using one adjustment to modify another
      3m 21s
    27. Breathing color into the title
      3m 38s
    28. The Hue/Saturation humanoid
      3m 44s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Parametric operations
      1m 23s
    2. The power of blend modes
      6m 16s
    3. Changing the Opacity value
      5m 46s
    4. Opacity vs. Fill Opacity
      4m 37s
    5. Meet the blend modes
      6m 4s
    6. Blend mode shortcuts
      7m 8s
    7. Darken, Multiply, and the Burn modes
      6m 33s
    8. Tempering a Burn effect with Fill
      4m 43s
    9. Saving a blended state
      4m 18s
    10. Lighten, Screen, and the Dodge modes
      8m 22s
    11. Linear Burn = Add minus white
      5m 31s
    12. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 52s
    13. Fill Opacity takes priority
      6m 19s
    14. Difference and exclusion
      5m 21s
    15. Using difference for golden highlights
      4m 2s
    16. The composite (HSL) modes
      6m 8s
    17. The brush-only modes: Behind and Clear
      10m 31s
    18. Layer groups and the Pass Through mode
      8m 54s
  7. 1h 53m
    1. It's all about the presentation
      58s
    2. Moving a layer a specific number of pixels
      6m 59s
    3. Adding a pixel mask to a layer
      5m 48s
    4. Editing a layer mask
      7m 19s
    5. Combining layers into a clipping mask
      6m 19s
    6. Introducing the Advanced Blending options
      4m 45s
    7. Using the luminance blending sliders
      7m 26s
    8. Forcing through underlying luminance
      4m 32s
    9. Masking with a path outline
      5m 45s
    10. Refining a mask from the Masks palette
      7m 18s
    11. Creating and modifying a layer group
      3m 29s
    12. Establishing a knockout group
      5m 29s
    13. Fixing last-minute problems
      6m 23s
    14. Introducing layer comps
      6m 40s
    15. Exploring layered states
      6m 43s
    16. Deleting layers and updating comps
      6m 18s
    17. Saving a basic composition
      6m 21s
    18. Assigning and saving appearance attributes
      7m 15s
    19. Layer comps dos and don'ts
      7m 27s
  8. 1h 56m
    1. Type: The great imaging exception
      56s
    2. Establishing default formatting attributes
      4m 5s
    3. Saving formatting attributes as a preset
      8m 5s
    4. Making a point text layer
      6m 18s
    5. Editing size and leading
      6m 44s
    6. Working with vector-based text
      6m 12s
    7. Formatting area text
      4m 16s
    8. Creating a layer of area text
      3m 20s
    9. Resizing the text frame
      4m 34s
    10. Changing the anti-aliasing setting
      3m 58s
    11. Obscure but important formatting options
      6m 31s
    12. Text editing tricks and shortcuts
      8m 44s
    13. Creating a cast shadow
      6m 1s
    14. Blurred shadows and beveled text
      7m 16s
    15. Drawing a path outline
      4m 51s
    16. Creating type on a path
      6m 39s
    17. Flipping text across a circle
      3m 18s
    18. Vertical alignment with baseline shift
      4m 16s
    19. Warping text
      4m 57s
    20. Scaling your text to taste
      3m 33s
    21. Applying a custom warp
      6m 24s
    22. Creating an engraved text effect
      5m 11s
  9. 2h 17m
    1. Bending an image to fit your needs
      53s
    2. Creating a canvas texture
      6m 48s
    3. Masking objects against a white background
      5m 42s
    4. Scaling an image to fit a composition
      8m 9s
    5. Aligning one layer to fit another
      3m 51s
    6. Changing the Image Interpolation
      8m 10s
    7. Merging faces
      5m 32s
    8. Rotating the first clock hand
      7m 17s
    9. Adding hands and pasting styles
      6m 40s
    10. Series duplication in Photoshop
      4m 35s
    11. Masking objects against a black background
      6m 34s
    12. Skews and perspective distortions
      7m 57s
    13. Envelope-style warps
      9m 2s
    14. Old-school distortion filters
      8m 50s
    15. Introducing the Liquify filter
      4m 9s
    16. Reconstructing an image
      6m 55s
    17. Using the Warp tool
      5m 16s
    18. The Pucker and Bloat tools
      5m 53s
    19. Push, Turbulence, and Twirl
      6m 41s
    20. The Freeze and Thaw mask tools
      5m 45s
    21. Saving and loading a mesh file
      3m 59s
    22. Creating and applying a texture layer
      8m 30s
  10. 1h 28m
    1. Effects vs. styles
      1m 11s
    2. Of layer styles and masks
      4m 37s
    3. Everything about drop shadow
      8m 2s
    4. Adding a directional glow
      4m 39s
    5. Colorizing with Color Overlay
      5m 18s
    6. Stroke and fill opacity
      5m 48s
    7. Creating a multicolor Outer Glow
      9m 22s
    8. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      7m 48s
    9. Contour and Texture
      4m 35s
    10. Simulating liquid reflections
      6m 28s
    11. Saving layer styles
      6m 18s
    12. Applying and appending styles
      4m 36s
    13. Saving and swapping style presets
      3m 16s
    14. The five effect helpers
      3m 47s
    15. Blending the effect before the layer
      5m 1s
    16. Colorizing a signature
      3m 30s
    17. Clipping an effect with a mask
      4m 5s
  11. 1h 50m
    1. Welcome to the digital darkroom
      1m 46s
    2. Opening Camera Raw in the Bridge
      5m 44s
    3. The Camera Raw 5 interface
      4m 39s
    4. Adjusting the white balance
      5m 0s
    5. Finessing and saving changes
      7m 55s
    6. Using the White Balance tool
      2m 43s
    7. Working with the Exposure controls
      7m 34s
    8. Straightening and cropping a raw image
      5m 53s
    9. Applying automatic exposure adjustments
      6m 6s
    10. Exposure warnings
      5m 44s
    11. Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation
      4m 47s
    12. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 33s
    13. Dodging with the Adjustment brush
      9m 24s
    14. Tone Curve adjustments
      6m 54s
    15. Using the Spot Removal tool
      2m 48s
    16. Removing noise and sharpening detail
      4m 5s
    17. Adjusting HSL values
      4m 18s
    18. Adjusting luminance, color by color
      4m 14s
    19. Black and white and split toning
      5m 16s
    20. Camera Raw tips and tricks
      7m 32s
    21. Correcting JPEG and TIFF images
      4m 42s
  12. 57s
    1. Until next time
      57s

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