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Automatic brightness and contrast

From: Photoshop CC One-on-One: Fundamentals

Video: Automatic brightness and contrast

In this movie, I'll show you how the three Auto commands affect our washed out portrait. And I'll also introduce you to a fourth hidden auto feature that's going to make all the difference, and by the time we're done, we'll have this image fully corrected. Now, notice that I have a bunch of different layers stacked on top of each other. They're all copies of that same image, just so that we can compare the effects. On top, we have the control layer, which I won't modify. I'll just go ahead and turn it off now. Now, I'll click on the auto tone layer.

Automatic brightness and contrast

In this movie, I'll show you how the three Auto commands affect our washed out portrait. And I'll also introduce you to a fourth hidden auto feature that's going to make all the difference, and by the time we're done, we'll have this image fully corrected. Now, notice that I have a bunch of different layers stacked on top of each other. They're all copies of that same image, just so that we can compare the effects. On top, we have the control layer, which I won't modify. I'll just go ahead and turn it off now. Now, I'll click on the auto tone layer.

They all look the same by the way for starters, and I'll go up to the Image menu and choose Auto Tone. And this is that command that makes the darkest color black and align this color white on a channel by channel basis. It can fair well for some images and I'll show you an image that it works great on. But, when the image doesn't have a color cast in the first place as this one doesn't. It's going to introduce a color cast, as we're seeing here. So it ends up giving her a kind of greenish ghoulish look, which is not want we want, so I'll go ahead and turn that layer off.

Then I'll switch to the Auto Contrast layer, go up to the Image menu and choose the Auto Contrast command. This is that one that turns the darkest color black and the lightest color white on the composite bases. So in other words, it does not introduce a color cast, meaning that it doesn't modify the color cast. And since we don't have a color cast in the first place, that suits our image quite nicely. And we get this pretty darn great correction here. I'll go ahead and turn that one off and then I'll click on auto color here inside the Layers panel. Go up to the Image menu and choose the third of the Auto commands, Auto Color, which is as you may recall, attempts to neutralize the midtones. Sometimes, it works out great.

In the case of our image, it really doesn't. We end up getting this sort of blue-ish look. So just to give you a sense, I'll turn on Auto Tone. Auto Tone, we got kind of a green-ish look to the image as you can see here, and then Auto Color, it ends up turning a little bit blue. All right, now for the hidden Auto function. I'll go ahead and turn the Auto Color off and I'll click on this layer auto B/C, which stands for automatic brightness contrast. To get to that one, you go up to the Image menu, choose Adjustments, and then choose the Brightness/Contrast command. And notice that we have a couple of sliders, Brightness and Contrast, pretty darn easy to use.

Although, I'll cover them in more detail in the very next movie. For now, I'm just going to click on this Auto button. And at first, it's going to seem like nothing's happening. But it's because it's computationally intensive and it's trying to gauge what's going on inside the image. But in a moment or two, you will see the image shift on screen, as it has here. Now, if you don't love what you see, because it's a pretty subtle modification in this case, you can adjust the sliders to taste, and I'll show you how to do that, as they say, in the next movie.

But, for now I'm just going to click OK in order to accept that modification because I want you to see that there are certain circumstances under which you might want to combine a couple of auto features together and this image is a perfect example. I'm going to turn off auto B/C, and we'll see down here at the bottom, double auto. And I'll start things out by going up to the Image menu, and choose Auto Contrast in order to apply that effect, because so far, it's the most successful thing we've seen.

And then, I'll go out to the Image menu, choose Adjustments, and choose what is so far the second to most successful option, which is Brightness/Contrast and click on its Auto button there. And wait a few moments for the effect to apply. And you'll know it applies as soon as you see different values show up here. Inside the dialog box, and sure enough, we get yet a different effect. And of everything that I've seen so far, it's my favorite. I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that effect.

And just so you can see the difference, I'll press Ctrl+Z, or Cmd+Z on the Mac. So, you can see, Auto contrasts on its own. And then, if I press Control or Command C again, you can see, this is the effect of combining Auto Contrast along with the Auto button that's included with the Brightness/Contrast command. All right, let me end things by showing you a circumstance under which auto tones works great. So I've got this photograph here that I've shot of this turtle in St. Thomas and I had free-dived down about 40 feet in order to get to this turtle.

And so, as a result, we don't have much in the way of colors. The deeper you get in the water, the more color gets filtered out and the first color to get filtered away is red, and then yellow, and pretty soon you're left with nothing, but greens and blues as we're seeing here. So this qualifies as an image that has a huge color cast. And when you run into an image like this, you want to try out either Auto Tone or Auto Color. I'll start out with Auto Color, because many times it stands the biggest chance of doing a good job.

In this case, it looks okay. Not that great though, so I'll press Ctrl + Z or Cmd + Z on a Mac to undo that change and then I'll go up to the Image menu and try out Auto Tone instead, and we end up getting this effect here. And we can still see some optical reflections going on inside the water. And that's because I have my flash turned on and it's catching some of the bubbles and other stuff inside the water, but otherwise, the turtle looks great. This is the before version, which we started off with and, and you might look at this and think this is an image beyond hope, but it actually turns out to be one of those images that all you have to do is apply a single automatic command.

So there you have it, a few different ways to apply automatic color corrections to photographic images here inside Photoshop.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CC One-on-One: Fundamentals
Photoshop CC One-on-One: Fundamentals

103 video lessons · 22992 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 38m 23s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      1m 51s
    2. Opening from the Windows desktop on Windows 8 (CC 2014) NEW
      6m 16s
    3. Opening from the Windows desktop on Windows 7 or earlier (CC) UPDATED
      5m 48s
    4. Opening from the Macintosh Finder UPDATED
      7m 10s
    5. Opening from Photoshop or Bridge
      3m 52s
    6. Opening an image from Mini Bridge (CC)
      2m 39s
    7. Opening through Camera Raw
      5m 11s
    8. Closing one image and closing all UPDATED
      5m 36s
  2. 52m 47s
    1. Navigating your image
      40s
    2. The dark vs. the light interface UPDATED
      6m 2s
    3. Navigating tabs and windows
      4m 32s
    4. Panels and workspaces
      6m 20s
    5. Zooming incrementally
      6m 22s
    6. Zooming continuously
      2m 43s
    7. Entering a custom zoom value
      2m 25s
    8. Scrolling and panning images
      2m 31s
    9. Rotating and resetting the view
      2m 11s
    10. Cycling between screen modes
      3m 10s
    11. Using the Navigator panel
      3m 38s
    12. Using Retina and HiDPI displays
      4m 3s
    13. Adjusting a few screen preferences UPDATED
      8m 10s
  3. 1h 2m
    1. Digital imaging fundamentals
      1m 45s
    2. Image size and resolution
      6m 34s
    3. The Image Size command
      6m 9s
    4. Common resolution standards
      4m 7s
    5. Upsampling vs. real pixels
      7m 59s
    6. Changing the print size
      8m 15s
    7. Downsampling for print
      5m 14s
    8. Downsampling for email
      6m 22s
    9. The interpolation settings
      6m 40s
    10. Downsampling advice
      5m 5s
    11. Upsampling advice
      4m 15s
  4. 53m 20s
    1. The layered composition
      1m 40s
    2. Introducing the Layers panel
      4m 12s
    3. Adding, scaling, and aligning layers
      5m 27s
    4. Dragging and dropping layers
      4m 36s
    5. Stack, reveal, and rename
      3m 1s
    6. Opacity, history, and blend mode
      6m 5s
    7. Duplicating a selected portion of a layer
      5m 32s
    8. Applying a clipping mask
      3m 58s
    9. Blending inside a clipping mask
      4m 10s
    10. Finishing off your artwork
      3m 13s
    11. Creating a new layer and background
      4m 24s
    12. Layering tips and tricks
      7m 2s
  5. 26m 13s
    1. The art of the save
      54s
    2. Four things to know about saving
      5m 59s
    3. Saving layers to PSD
      6m 34s
    4. Saving print images to TIFF
      4m 48s
    5. Saving an interactive image to PNG
      3m 40s
    6. Saving a flat photo to JPEG
      4m 18s
  6. 32m 16s
    1. Honing in on your image
      1m 43s
    2. The new and improved Crop tool
      4m 35s
    3. Editing your last crop
      6m 29s
    4. Cropping to a specific ratio or size
      5m 57s
    5. Straightening a crooked image
      4m 44s
    6. Filling in missing details UPDATED
      6m 44s
    7. Using the Perspective Crop tool
      2m 4s
  7. 44m 51s
    1. First, there is brightness
      2m 12s
    2. How luminance works
      4m 18s
    3. The three Auto commands
      3m 27s
    4. Automatic brightness and contrast
      6m 5s
    5. The Brightness/Contrast command
      2m 47s
    6. The dynamic adjustment layer
      4m 4s
    7. Editing adjustment layers
      3m 52s
    8. Isolating an adjustment with a layer mask
      3m 31s
    9. Introducing the histogram
      4m 58s
    10. Measuring an adjustment
      3m 34s
    11. Using the Shadows/Highlights command
      6m 3s
  8. 44m 33s
    1. And second, there is color
      1m 31s
    2. Identifying a color cast UPDATED
      3m 34s
    3. Correcting a color cast automatically
      3m 57s
    4. Changing the color balance
      6m 10s
    5. Compensating with Photo Filter
      3m 11s
    6. Adjusting color intensity with Vibrance
      3m 29s
    7. Correcting color casts in Camera Raw
      5m 46s
    8. The Hue/Saturation command
      5m 26s
    9. Summoning colors where none exist
      4m 8s
    10. Making more color with Vibrance
      4m 27s
    11. Making a quick-and-dirty sepia tone
      2m 54s
  9. 55m 46s
    1. Making selective modifications
      1m 10s
    2. The geometric Marquee tools
      6m 1s
    3. Aligning one image element to another
      4m 59s
    4. The freeform Lasso tools
      3m 59s
    5. The Polygonal Lasso tool and Quick Mask
      5m 19s
    6. Cropping one selection inside another UPDATED
      6m 15s
    7. Creating rays of light
      4m 44s
    8. Quick Selection and Similar
      4m 11s
    9. Making it better with Refine Edge
      4m 56s
    10. Integrating image elements
      2m 39s
    11. Magic Wand and Grow
      5m 17s
    12. Refine, integrate, and complete
      6m 16s
  10. 53m 48s
    1. Your best face forward
      1m 0s
    2. Content-Aware Fill UPDATED
      6m 11s
    3. Using the Spot Healing Brush
      5m 36s
    4. The more capable "standard" Healing Brush UPDATED
      5m 55s
    5. Meet the Clone Source panel
      3m 53s
    6. Caps Lock and Fade
      4m 57s
    7. The Dodge and Burn tools UPDATED
      5m 1s
    8. Adjusting color with the Brush tool UPDATED
      6m 35s
    9. Smoothing skin textures UPDATED
      5m 57s
    10. Brightening teeth
      4m 0s
    11. Intensifying eyes UPDATED
      4m 43s
  11. 49s
    1. Until next time
      49s

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