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Before we edit our images we need to evaluate our images and the Histogram panel is a very useful tool for evaluating the color in our images. Here is my Histogram panel right here, if you don't see it, you'll find under the Window menu. The Histogram panel is a bar chart essentially of the brightness values in our image going from the Shadows on the left to the Highlights on the right. In the case of this particular image we see that most of the information is clumped within the Midtone region.
Currently, we are seeing a histogram in color, so we are seeing our red, our green and our blue. This is an RGB image that we're working with, and where the green and the blue overlap we see cyan, where the red and green overlap, we have a little trace of yellow in the right-hand corner, and where the blue and the red overlap we have some magenta. Where all three colors overlap we have gray. I actually prefer to see my histograms not in color, but as an RGB which just shows me the shape of the histogram and this tells me that I have a spike on the end here where I've got some clipped shadows and over here in the Highlight area.
That's looking good, we're not losing any information. While there is no way that a histogram should look, there is no right way for a histogram to look; generally speaking, we want to avoid spikes at either end. As well as being able to see the histogram in color or just as a chart of brightness values, we can see the individual histograms for our three different channels, that are Red, Green and Blue and we can also see what's called the Luminosity histogram, which is basically the same shape, but does not contain the spike in this case in the Shadow area.
And that's because the Luminosity channel shows us the way we perceive the brightness values and because our eyes are more sensitive to green than they are to red and blue light. If we take a look at the Green channel we see that this one does not spike where as the red and the blue both do. So the Luminosity channel is biased towards green. While that's very useful, I'm going to switch back to RGB, because when we come to actually work with the Histogram channel in conjunction with using a Levels adjustment, when we make changes using the Levels adjustment and we see how those changes affect the histogram.
The Levels adjustment is using this channel, the RGB, so we want the two to be in sync. As I said, there is not a right way for a histogram to look, if we have a very dark image not surprisingly, most of the information is clumped over towards the Shadow side of the scale and if we have a bright image the opposite is true. I just want underscore that we are not actually going to do anything with the histogram except evaluate the Brightness values and the color distribution within our image. But when we come to actually work with our adjustment tools, we will put a histogram somewhere on our screen where we can conveniently see it and see the changes that we're making corresponding to the changing shape of the histogram.
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