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Explaining the histogram with a practical example

From: Inkjet Printing for Photographers

Video: Explaining the histogram with a practical example

Ben: All right, Amber! You have gone and you have made three really exceptional images here. I think, like so much of the work here, anyone who looks at this is going to say "that's a high school student?" These are just fantastic. I took your images as you gave them to me and I did these prints. So we have got this lovely shot of these hands on this wooden door. We have got Haley--is this just? Amber: She is behind the window and then she is looking out. I am on the other side of the window. It's a reflection of the scenery behind me.

Explaining the histogram with a practical example

Ben: All right, Amber! You have gone and you have made three really exceptional images here. I think, like so much of the work here, anyone who looks at this is going to say "that's a high school student?" These are just fantastic. I took your images as you gave them to me and I did these prints. So we have got this lovely shot of these hands on this wooden door. We have got Haley--is this just? Amber: She is behind the window and then she is looking out. I am on the other side of the window. It's a reflection of the scenery behind me.

Ben: Okay, so there is not compositing here. Ben: You actually shot that. Amber: That's all on camera. Ben: Okay. And then Haley is still stalking you, breaking into the abandoned house you had of Haley. Amber: Well, I'm the one with the camera, so I think I am stalking her, but yeah that's--. Ben: Okay, good point, all right! So what do you think of these prints? Amber: I love them. I mean, that's why I sent them to the print. Ben: Okay, I had given you some thing to fix before and you did a great job of fixing them. And asking what you think about them is obviously a loaded question because I brought you over here to do something with them. So I would offer to you, let's talk about this hands picture.

Black-and-white prints of course are all about brightness. They are all about light and shadow, and we want them to have all this nice luminance gray, and then you have got a lot of that here. This particular image, it's great, the light that you have put on here, and you have plainly done a lot of work with some vignetting and dodging and burning. We have got a lot of nice texture in here. the hands themselves are great. Whose hands are those? Amber: Those are Lucy's hands. They are originally Ashley's, but she had sparkly nail polish on. Ben: Okay, that's good. Louis wears a completely different nail polish I think. All Right! They look great, but you are about 10% short of where you need to be, in terms of the tonal adjustment that you make, and I would ask you to look right here.

His fingernail right here is really, really white. There is no ink there. That's just paper. That's what white should look like in this image. And it's not what we have in all of these other white bits. Amber: Yeah. Ben: We don't need this to go to complete white, but if white is all the way over here, these other secular highlights should be at least that bright, and if they are that bright, Ben: it's going to brighten up some of these tones. Amber: Right. Ben: That's going to allow us to get more texture on here. It's going to just give the image a little more punch. As good as this looks, it looks a little muddy and blah to me.

And it's an easy thing to miss when the image first comes out of the printer, because your eye will look at it and make sense of it and so on and so forth. But once you realize there is actually more to be had there, there is a very different image you can get. So let's go in here and look at what you did. Let's analyze this image by the numbers. Looking at it onscreen obviously doesn't tell us very much, so I am going to go in here and add a levels adjustment layer. So as we look at the histogram right over here, what are you seeing? Amber: There is a very sharp spike out there, which is probably that little spot on his nail.

Ben: It's probably this right here. Amber: Oh, yeah, the window too. Amber: And there is just so flat line. It's not a lot of white until the middle, around the grays. Ben: Yeah, so thinking of it that way, do you have an idea of a different white point adjustment? Now, technically, you are okay. You are saying, well, I have got my white over at the right edge of my data. Well, the right edge of your data is this thing. The bulk of your data, all of this stuff, really doesn't start till in here. So make another adjustment. See if you can get something else going.

Yeah, coming into there is making a difference. Are you thinking a midpoint adjustment? Amber: Maybe. Ben: Okay. Amber: Kind of bring some of it back. Ben: Good because as you move the white point over, you are running the risk of brightening up the blacks and washing those out. And I think it's smart to do that. You did that right. You did that with the midpoint adjustment because if you had done the blacks, then everything is going to plunge back down. All right! So what are we getting now? We are getting--turn off the eyeball. Let's see a before and after. So there is before. There is after.

And it's very slight and it's very subtle, but I think it's a huge change that's going to make a big difference. We could now start looking for how do you introduce any overexposure, has this gone out, have these gone out. Turn it off again. I want to look at this pinky right here. Yeah, we have lost some detail there. Ben: So, we are not going to be able to get around this with a single global adjustment. We are going to need to do some localized adjustments. We will look at those in a little bit. Let's move on to some of these other images and see where they stand.

This picture of Haley reflected in the window, why don't you pull that out? So same thing. Make a Levels Adjustment layer. Okay, this one is a little trickier. This is where you had it set, and again, you did the right thing. You found the right edge of your data. But there is this little area along here that's all roughly the same amount of data, and that's probably all of these tones in her hand, these bright tones over here, maybe a little bit in here.

As far as the rest of the image goes, the bulk of the image, most of it, the data doesn't start until right in here. So let's see what happens if you move the white point over to there. Yeah, right into there. Now, obviously, we have lost her hand. This is gone. But turn that adjustment layer off: before, after. If you notice in there, there is not a lot of differentiation between these tones and these tones. Overall it's a lot of middle-gray tones. With this Levels Adjustment layer on, this has gone brighter.

Again, we are going to have to do some localized things to fix all that. We will come back to that. Let's move on to the next image. And let's just do the same thing here. Pull up the levels. And again -- Amber: About the sharp spike right there. Ben: Right, and that's going to be, very good. So where do you think we ought to go with this one? Amber: Probably about there, because that's all plateaued. Ben: I think you are right. Ben: Exactly and that's exactly the word. Thank you! I was looking for that word. Where you see those plateaus, you are looking at a bunch of little tones that aren't as significant as these big piles of tones. And let's see a before and after again.

Okay. Again real, real subtle, but we have just picked up some extra stuff in there that's going to give it a little more punch. So even if these highlights get brighter, it just means there is more highlights from here coming into her, and that may or may not be a problem. So you were real close on all of these edits. Again, you were just like 10% off, and it's an easy mistake to make. You were--it's kind of heartbreaking to have to tell you, because you were doing exactly the right thing. You were going over to the edge of the histogram. It just turns out that the edge of the histogram is not actually right for the bulk of the image data.

We need to define the significant data and move white and black to there. And as you pointed out, there is a plateau of insignificant data that you needed to go away from. So now the next thing is to get some masks in place to ensure that we haven't introduced new problems into the things that you just fixed.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Inkjet Printing for Photographers
Inkjet Printing for Photographers

68 video lessons · 13370 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 9m 18s
    1. Welcome
      1m 50s
    2. Exploring why we print
      4m 3s
    3. Understanding what you need for this course
      3m 25s
  2. 13m 29s
    1. Why inkjet printing?
      4m 36s
    2. Understanding ink types: Dye vs. pigment
      4m 26s
    3. Discussing considerations for black and white
      1m 48s
    4. Reviewing the features
      2m 39s
  3. 1h 1m
    1. Printing and your workflow
      3m 3s
    2. Printing black-and-white photos
      6m 49s
    3. Understanding the histogram
      7m 37s
    4. Understanding what localized adjustments are used for
      2m 38s
    5. Explaining the histogram with a practical example
      6m 51s
    6. Making a localized adjustment in a practical example
      5m 30s
    7. Evaluating a localized adjustment in a practical example
      2m 29s
    8. Refining a localized adjustment for effect
      13m 36s
    9. Making a gradient adjustment
      6m 47s
    10. Paying attention to viewing conditions
      4m 49s
    11. Summing up
      1m 50s
  4. 54m 36s
    1. Understanding pixels, printer dots, and resolution
      2m 44s
    2. Understanding resolution
      2m 33s
    3. Defining resampling and interpolation
      3m 41s
    4. Understanding where resizing fits into your workflow
      2m 12s
    5. Defining native printer resolution
      2m 39s
    6. Understanding the relationship between viewing distance and print size
      2m 1s
    7. Reducing image size in Photoshop
      9m 11s
    8. Cropping to a specific size and resolution using Canvas Size
      4m 34s
    9. Cropping to a specific size and resolution using the Crop tool
      5m 15s
    10. Enlarging an image in Photoshop
      7m 7s
    11. Creating a triptych
      3m 55s
    12. Creating a triptych using Automator on a Mac
      4m 5s
    13. Exploring the aesthetics of print size
      4m 39s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding how sharpening works
      3m 18s
    2. Sharpening in JPEG mode
      1m 26s
    3. Exploring sharpening workflows
      3m 47s
    4. Sharpening in Camera Raw
      6m 17s
    5. Looking at noise reduction
      1m 46s
    6. Sharpening output with Smart Sharpen
      11m 52s
    7. Understanding selective sharpening
      4m 25s
    8. Sharpening through an edge mask
      7m 17s
    9. Reviewing high-pass sharpening
      4m 30s
    10. Applying aggressive sharpening
      8m 53s
    11. Exploring advanced sharpening techniques
      9m 7s
    12. Exploring the Print dialog
      11m 35s
    13. Proofing at smaller sizes
      3m 3s
  6. 53m 9s
    1. Exploring how color works
      2m 5s
    2. Reviewing color models
      2m 56s
    3. Defining gamut and color space
      9m 55s
    4. Reviewing when colors go out of gamut
      4m 54s
    5. Configuring Photoshop's color settings
      5m 47s
    6. Changing color space in Camera Raw
      4m 7s
    7. Working in an advanced color space
      6m 13s
    8. Assigning a color space in Photoshop
      2m 20s
    9. Correcting a color image
      9m 17s
    10. Printing a color image
      3m 30s
    11. Evaluating the print
      2m 5s
  7. 34m 46s
    1. What is color management?
      4m 16s
    2. Profiling a monitor
      8m 45s
    3. Evaluating a monitor profile
      4m 37s
    4. Exploring paper profiles
      5m 17s
    5. Understanding soft proofing
      11m 51s
  8. 24m 33s
    1. Understanding how paper quality affects the appearance of black in prints
      3m 26s
    2. Looking at third-party papers
      3m 46s
    3. Looking at paper finish
      3m 44s
    4. Understanding paper traits
      6m 31s
    5. Discussing paper choice and presentation
      7m 6s
  9. 23m 18s
    1. Printing a black-and-white image
      11m 45s
    2. Printing a color image
      11m 33s
  10. 1m 16s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 16s

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