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Photoshop CS4 offers an abundance of helpful shortcuts and hidden tricks that allow designers and photographers to get more done in less time. In Photoshop CS4 Power Shortcuts, Michael Ninness reveals hundreds of tips to boost productivity, including the top 20 power shortcuts every Photoshop user must know. He covers strategies for better document and panel management, and offers techniques for becoming quicker and more nimble when using layers, adjustment layers, and layer masks. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download the keyboard shortcut guide from the Exercise Files tab.
Now, Photoshop has had three Auto- Adjustment commands for quite some time. It's Auto-Levels, Auto-Contrast and Auto- Color and you can see-- well, they call Auto-Levels Auto-Tone now. But there are these three Auto commands and they have three representative shortcuts as well. So if we do Auto-Tone, which is Command +Shift+L or Ctrl+Shift+L, it basically does a Levels adjustment where it brings the White Triangle in or the Black Triangle in to where the Tones actually begin in large quantity. So here is before and there is after. I'm just doing Undo to toggle back and forth.
If I go to this image here, the Auto- Color image, and do Command+Shift+B or Ctrl+Shift+B, that's the Auto-Color command and the Auto-Color command is attempting to eliminate the color cast that might be on an image, and in this case, there was definitely a blue cast. So if I undo that, Command+Z and then undo again, Command+Z, Command+Z, Ctrl+Z, Ctrl+Z, you can toggle back and forth. You can see it did a fairly good job of removing the colorcast. Now the Auto-Tone commands or the Auto- Adjustments, there is the third one, Auto-Contrast, Command+Option+Shift+L or Ctrl+Alt+Shift+L. All these are great.
They are very quick tools to use when you are in a hurry. But there is one little catch. They are destructive. Meaning, they actually apply to the layer that you run them on, because they are under the Image menu. If I go over to the Layer menu to New Adjustment Layer, I don't see the auto commands here. Where are they? Well, they are buried. You can actually use the Auto-Adjustment commands as adjustment layers. Here is how you do it. Let's go to the Curves or Levels adjustment layer, doesn't matter which one. They both have this option available. We'll just go with Curves for now, and you will look and you will see there is an Auto button here. If I click the Auto button, that's pretty much the same thing as Auto-Tone. So I'm going to undo that.
If you hold down the Option key or Alt key on Windows and then click on the Auto button, you bring up this secret dialog box, which is the Auto Color Correction Options. There are three different algorithms. They just happen to match to the same commands that I just showed you in the Image menu. So this first one is Auto-Contrast, this second one is Auto-Tone and this third one is Auto-Color and what's cool about this is that you can click through these different radio buttons and decide which one works best for your particular image. Plus, there is one more option that you get by going through the secret dialog box. You get the option to Snap Neutral Midtones as well.
So to remove any color cast in the neutral midtones. So I'm just going to go through here and decide which one looks best for this particular image and I think it's going to be this one, Enhance Per Channel Contrast and Snap Neutral Midtones. When I click OK, you will see it's non-destructive. It is an adjustment layer. It can be turned on, it can be turned off. It can be masked, its blend mode can be changed, you can change the Opacity, everything you can do to an adjustment layer. You now have this for the Auto-Correction commands as well. If we go over to the Auto-Color document here where we have this big colorcast. Let's do this again. Again, I'll choose Curves and to get to the secret back door, you will hold down the Option key or Alt on Windows, click the Auto button in the Adjustments panel. That brings up that secret dialog box.
Again, you can step through these three different options turning on Snap Neutral Midtones until you figure out which one looks best. Again, just so happens that,this image works with Enhance Per Channel Contrast like the other images as well. Click OK and there you have it, the Auto Commands as adjustment layers.
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