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Photoshop CS5 for Photographers provides comprehensive Photoshop training targeting the needs of photographers. In this course, author Chris Orwig demonstrates the fundamental skills used to enhance digital photos, including managing and correcting color, sharpening, making selections and adjustments, retouching, and printing from Photoshop. In addition to teaching the techniques that enable photographers to refine and publish their photos, the course includes live-action segments that encourage thinking photographically and shooting with Photoshop’s capabilities in mind. Exercise files are included with the course.
As we started to work more on color correcting our photographs, another thing that we can do to add to this is to begin to take a look at how we can correct tone. These different eyedroppers can be really helpful when we need to improve the tone of our photographs. Here, I have this photograph of my friend Mike, while we were snowshoeing and hiking high up in the Sierras. This image has a color shift, and we can see that, right? There was some kind of problem with the color. Well, let's take a look at how we can work with the color and the tone.
One of the things that I want to try to do is to find my blackest and my whitest point in the image. So how I'm going to do this is I'm going to click on the Adjustment Layer icon, and then I'm going to go ahead and choose Threshold. Now what Threshold would do for me is it will give me this levels view of my image, showing me the different Threshold Level. If I click and drag to the left, this is showing my deepest black is right here. Well, I want to set a point to remember that.
So I'll press the I key to grab my Eyedropper tool, hold down the Shift key, and then click on that black area. Next, I'm going to click and drag this to the right to find my brightest white. Here, we can see some of the snow coming in a couple of different areas. Once again, I'll go ahead and hold down the Shift key, and I'm going to sample this area over here in the bottom corner. So you may be thinking okay Chris, what are you doing? Well, again, what we're doing is we're using this Threshold adjustment layer to find where our white point and our black point actually is.
Let's go ahead and turn off the visibility of this layer and take a look at these numbers. Well, for the most part, this information looks pretty good. We can see there is definitely some kind of a color shift in different areas of the image. Let's take a look at how we can now use some of the eyedroppers in order to correct color and tone. Well, next step. Click on the Adjustment layer icon and choose Curves. Well, what I want to do is set my black and white point. So first, I'm going to double -click the Black Eyedropper. Here, I'm going to enter in 5 into my Brightness value.
We have Hue, Saturation, Brightness; Brightness 5% and go ahead and click OK. What we did there is we defined where we want our black point to be. Now we have to set it. We navigate over to this black point here, and we click on that area of the image. We can see that what that did for us is a slight color correction, and it also brought my blacks up just a little bit. Next, double-click the White Eyedropper. Here, for a Brightness amount, we want to enter in 95% Brightness.
And 5 and 95 are general industry standards for white with details and black with detail. We'll go ahead and click OK. Then we'll sample this area down here. All right. Well, so far so good. We're getting our whites and our blacks to a more reasonable space, so that this image can be reproduced. Last step, I'll grab my Midtone Eyedropper, and I'm going to click on something that I know should be neutral. That's then going to fully color correct this image. Now, let's take a look at the overall before and after.
Here we have our before, with that color shift, and then the after. Now while these adjustments may have been pretty subtle, in regards to the tone, they are nonetheless important, because what this can do for us is one, they can help with our color correction, and sometimes they can take care of the color correction altogether. You may not even need to use your Midtone eyedropper. Yet at the same time what they're going to do is make sure that we can actually reproduce or print this image. They're going to make sure that our blacks aren't too deep, or too dark.
They're also going to make sure whites aren't too bright. Then one of the ways that you can start to see how this works is by analyzing these numbers. What's happened here is it brought these numbers a little bit closer together for my blacks. You also notice that it changed their value just a bit. My whites, a little bit more important here, what we can see is it brought these down a little bit, so I have just a bit more detail in my whites, and it also made sure that those whites were neutral. So by taking this more detailed approach, we can do two things at once.
We can work on color and tone.
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