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Further modifying Levels in Lab


Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Further modifying Levels in Lab

All right so, there is no denying we have an improved image on our hands right here. It goes by the name, I have gone ahead and saved my progress as a file called Improved master.psd, named for the fact that this is an improved version of the dive master down here. This image is found inside the 16_ adjust_layer folder and just to bring everyone up to speed, even those of you who are already up to speed, forgive me for this, but I'm going to Alt+Click or Option+Click in the background layer. So that went ahead and manufactured the Red channel using this Channel Mixer layer right there.
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  1. 22m 25s
    1. Welcome to Photoshop CS4 One-on-One Advanced
      1m 43s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 9s
    3. Resetting the function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 37s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      6m 5s
  2. 2h 44m
    1. Highlights, shadows, and midtones
    2. Low contrast, bad meter
      5m 57s
    3. Auto tone, contrast, and color
      8m 1s
    4. Cache levels and the Histogram palette
      7m 16s
    5. How the auto commands work
      10m 15s
    6. A first look at Levels
      6m 11s
    7. Target colors and clipping
      9m 6s
    8. Modifying input levels
      9m 44s
    9. Adjusting the gamma value
      7m 35s
    10. Previewing clipping
      7m 18s
    11. The futility of output levels
      4m 56s
    12. Channel-by-channel edits
      11m 54s
    13. When levels fail
      4m 35s
    14. A first look at Curves
      8m 46s
    15. Static Curves layer tricks
      7m 45s
    16. Dynamic Curves layer tricks
      7m 25s
    17. Correcting the composite image
      8m 30s
    18. Neutralizing a color cast
      6m 52s
    19. The Target Adjustment tool in Curves
      8m 29s
    20. Correcting an image in Lab
      10m 7s
    21. The Shadows/Highlights filter
      4m 19s
    22. Radius and tonal width
      8m 11s
  3. 1h 48m
    1. Edge-enhancement tricks
      1m 13s
    2. How sharpening works
      3m 48s
    3. The single-shot sharpeners
      4m 29s
    4. The Unsharp Mask filter
      7m 57s
    5. Understanding the Radius value
      6m 25s
    6. Gauging the best settings
      7m 47s
    7. Previewing how sharpening will print
      3m 37s
    8. Measuring and setting screen resolution
      6m 57s
    9. Tweaking the screen resolution
      4m 28s
    10. Sharpening the luminance data
      8m 23s
    11. USM vs. Smart Sharpen
      4m 23s
    12. Smart Sharpen's Remove settings
      5m 50s
    13. High-resolution sharpening
      6m 16s
    14. When to leave More Accurate off
      3m 48s
    15. When to turn More Accurate on
      4m 24s
    16. The advanced options
      7m 57s
    17. Saving Smart Sharpen settings
      4m 23s
    18. Accounting for camera shake
      7m 7s
    19. Sharpening with the High Pass filter
      9m 8s
  4. 2h 16m
    1. Why would you blur?
      1m 8s
    2. Fading after an undo
      3m 27s
    3. The "bell-shaped" Gaussian Blur
      5m 43s
    4. The linear Box Blur
      3m 6s
    5. Add Noise vs. Median
      4m 50s
    6. Despeckle vs. Dust & Scratches
      6m 31s
    7. Smart Blur vs. Surface Blur
      8m 13s
    8. The Motion Blur filter
      4m 33s
    9. Radial Blur's Spin and Zoom variations
      5m 48s
    10. Mixing filtered effects
      3m 56s
    11. The "Captain Kirk in Love" effect
      5m 4s
    12. Diffusing focus with Blur and Overlay
      8m 50s
    13. Simulating Vaseline and film grain
      8m 2s
    14. Filling a layer with a neutral color
      2m 55s
    15. Old-school contrast reduction
      3m 39s
    16. Three steps to diffused focus
      7m 36s
    17. Averaging skin tones
      9m 45s
    18. Addressing the stubborn patches
      5m 26s
    19. Combining Gaussian Blur and Average
      6m 1s
    20. Blurring surface details
      3m 3s
    21. Smoothing blemishes while matching noise
      8m 6s
    22. Reducing digital noise
      8m 47s
    23. Striking a smooth/sharpen compromise
      4m 36s
    24. Smoothing over JPEG artifacts
      7m 38s
  5. 2h 31m
    1. Independent layers of color adjustment
      1m 7s
    2. Undersea color channels
      4m 2s
    3. Inventing a Red channel with Lab
      8m 20s
    4. Mixing color channels
      6m 55s
    5. Making shadows with Levels
      7m 5s
    6. Applying small color adjustments
      6m 0s
    7. Further modifying Levels in Lab
      8m 50s
    8. Creating a dynamic fill layer
      4m 38s
    9. Brushing and blending color
      4m 42s
    10. Working with "found masks"
      7m 31s
    11. Saturation, sharpen, and crop
      8m 9s
    12. Mixing a monochromatic image
      7m 2s
    13. Masking an adjustment layer
      4m 45s
    14. Working with Opacity and blend modes
      3m 39s
    15. Adding a black-and-white adjustment
      5m 53s
    16. The Target Adjustment tool in black and white
      6m 12s
    17. Tinting a monochrome photo
      3m 20s
    18. Introducing Gradient Map
      4m 17s
    19. Adjusting both color and luminance
      5m 44s
    20. Infusing elements with different colors
      6m 22s
    21. Adjustment layers as creative tools
      4m 34s
    22. Inverting and brightening the background
      5m 14s
    23. Blurring live, editable type
      5m 44s
    24. Hue, saturation, and darkness
      6m 51s
    25. Filling type with a color adjustment
      3m 24s
    26. Using one adjustment to modify another
      3m 21s
    27. Breathing color into the title
      3m 38s
    28. The Hue/Saturation humanoid
      3m 44s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Parametric operations
      1m 23s
    2. The power of blend modes
      6m 16s
    3. Changing the Opacity value
      5m 46s
    4. Opacity vs. Fill Opacity
      4m 37s
    5. Meet the blend modes
      6m 4s
    6. Blend mode shortcuts
      7m 8s
    7. Darken, Multiply, and the Burn modes
      6m 33s
    8. Tempering a Burn effect with Fill
      4m 43s
    9. Saving a blended state
      4m 18s
    10. Lighten, Screen, and the Dodge modes
      8m 22s
    11. Linear Burn = Add minus white
      5m 31s
    12. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 52s
    13. Fill Opacity takes priority
      6m 19s
    14. Difference and exclusion
      5m 21s
    15. Using difference for golden highlights
      4m 2s
    16. The composite (HSL) modes
      6m 8s
    17. The brush-only modes: Behind and Clear
      10m 31s
    18. Layer groups and the Pass Through mode
      8m 54s
  7. 1h 53m
    1. It's all about the presentation
    2. Moving a layer a specific number of pixels
      6m 59s
    3. Adding a pixel mask to a layer
      5m 48s
    4. Editing a layer mask
      7m 19s
    5. Combining layers into a clipping mask
      6m 19s
    6. Introducing the Advanced Blending options
      4m 45s
    7. Using the luminance blending sliders
      7m 26s
    8. Forcing through underlying luminance
      4m 32s
    9. Masking with a path outline
      5m 45s
    10. Refining a mask from the Masks palette
      7m 18s
    11. Creating and modifying a layer group
      3m 29s
    12. Establishing a knockout group
      5m 29s
    13. Fixing last-minute problems
      6m 23s
    14. Introducing layer comps
      6m 40s
    15. Exploring layered states
      6m 43s
    16. Deleting layers and updating comps
      6m 18s
    17. Saving a basic composition
      6m 21s
    18. Assigning and saving appearance attributes
      7m 15s
    19. Layer comps dos and don'ts
      7m 27s
  8. 1h 56m
    1. Type: The great imaging exception
    2. Establishing default formatting attributes
      4m 6s
    3. Saving formatting attributes as a preset
      8m 5s
    4. Making a point text layer
      6m 18s
    5. Editing size and leading
      6m 44s
    6. Working with vector-based text
      6m 12s
    7. Formatting area text
      4m 16s
    8. Creating a layer of area text
      3m 20s
    9. Resizing the text frame
      4m 34s
    10. Changing the anti-aliasing setting
      3m 58s
    11. Obscure but important formatting options
      6m 31s
    12. Text editing tricks and shortcuts
      8m 44s
    13. Creating a cast shadow
      6m 1s
    14. Blurred shadows and beveled text
      7m 16s
    15. Drawing a path outline
      4m 51s
    16. Creating type on a path
      6m 39s
    17. Flipping text across a circle
      3m 18s
    18. Vertical alignment with baseline shift
      4m 16s
    19. Warping text
      4m 57s
    20. Scaling your text to taste
      3m 33s
    21. Applying a custom warp
      6m 24s
    22. Creating an engraved text effect
      5m 11s
  9. 2h 17m
    1. Bending an image to fit your needs
    2. Creating a canvas texture
      6m 48s
    3. Masking objects against a white background
      5m 42s
    4. Scaling an image to fit a composition
      8m 9s
    5. Aligning one layer to fit another
      3m 52s
    6. Changing the Image Interpolation
      8m 10s
    7. Merging faces
      5m 32s
    8. Rotating the first clock hand
      7m 17s
    9. Adding hands and pasting styles
      6m 40s
    10. Series duplication in Photoshop
      4m 35s
    11. Masking objects against a black background
      6m 34s
    12. Skews and perspective distortions
      7m 57s
    13. Envelope-style warps
      9m 2s
    14. Old-school distortion filters
      8m 50s
    15. Introducing the Liquify filter
      4m 9s
    16. Reconstructing an image
      6m 55s
    17. Using the Warp tool
      5m 16s
    18. The Pucker and Bloat tools
      5m 53s
    19. Push, Turbulence, and Twirl
      6m 41s
    20. The Freeze and Thaw mask tools
      5m 45s
    21. Saving and loading a mesh file
      3m 59s
    22. Creating and applying a texture layer
      8m 30s
  10. 1h 28m
    1. Effects vs. styles
      1m 11s
    2. Of layer styles and masks
      4m 37s
    3. Everything about drop shadow
      8m 2s
    4. Adding a directional glow
      4m 39s
    5. Colorizing with Color Overlay
      5m 18s
    6. Stroke and fill opacity
      5m 48s
    7. Creating a multicolor Outer Glow
      9m 22s
    8. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      7m 48s
    9. Contour and Texture
      4m 35s
    10. Simulating liquid reflections
      6m 28s
    11. Saving layer styles
      6m 18s
    12. Applying and appending styles
      4m 36s
    13. Saving and swapping style presets
      3m 16s
    14. The five effect helpers
      3m 47s
    15. Blending the effect before the layer
      5m 1s
    16. Colorizing a signature
      3m 30s
    17. Clipping an effect with a mask
      4m 5s
  11. 1h 50m
    1. Welcome to the digital darkroom
      1m 46s
    2. Opening Camera Raw in the Bridge
      5m 44s
    3. The Camera Raw 5 interface
      4m 39s
    4. Adjusting the white balance
      5m 0s
    5. Finessing and saving changes
      7m 55s
    6. Using the White Balance tool
      2m 43s
    7. Working with the Exposure controls
      7m 34s
    8. Straightening and cropping a raw image
      5m 53s
    9. Applying automatic exposure adjustments
      6m 6s
    10. Exposure warnings
      5m 44s
    11. Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation
      4m 47s
    12. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 33s
    13. Dodging with the Adjustment brush
      9m 24s
    14. Tone Curve adjustments
      6m 54s
    15. Using the Spot Removal tool
      2m 48s
    16. Removing noise and sharpening detail
      4m 5s
    17. Adjusting HSL values
      4m 18s
    18. Adjusting luminance, color by color
      4m 14s
    19. Black and white and split toning
      5m 16s
    20. Camera Raw tips and tricks
      7m 32s
    21. Correcting JPEG and TIFF images
      4m 43s
  12. 57s
    1. Until next time

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
20h 57m Intermediate May 01, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.

Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.

Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.

Topics include:
  • Using blend modes, adjustment layers, and layer styles
  • Organizing a layered composition so it is fluid and editable
  • Creating and editing type in Photoshop
  • Using blur effectively
  • Using adjustment layers to add color
  • Combining layers into a clipping mask
  • Working with Camera Raw
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Further modifying Levels in Lab

All right so, there is no denying we have an improved image on our hands right here. It goes by the name, I have gone ahead and saved my progress as a file called Improved master.psd, named for the fact that this is an improved version of the dive master down here. This image is found inside the 16_ adjust_layer folder and just to bring everyone up to speed, even those of you who are already up to speed, forgive me for this, but I'm going to Alt+Click or Option+Click in the background layer. So that went ahead and manufactured the Red channel using this Channel Mixer layer right there.

Then I added a levels layer in order to improve the contrast. We added a color balance layer just to tweak things slightly and then in order to sway the color of the fins and his sleeve and his mask and so on, we added this Hue/Saturation layer right there. But just because we have a much improved image, there it is before, here it is after, doesn't mean that it's good enough. It still fails to represent the colors that I saw when I shot the image. This is called sort of what we are looking for right here and we are going to achieve this effect by first taking this version of the image, tossing it over to Lab, making a color adjustment, then tossing it back to RGB and doing some hand brush work.

Now another Photoshop expert might look at this, in fact if I wasn't the one responsible for this project, I might look at the scenario and say this is not a best practice. You do not want to build up a series of adjustment layers in RGB, toss it over the Lab at which point you lose your adjustment layers, add another adjustment layer there, toss it back to RGB at which point you lose that adjustment layer and then do some hand brush work, that's crazy. That's not a best practice. But I'll tell you what; there is no better practice, so you would have to just do it. If you know of a better practice, I'm all ears. Otherwise this must be the best practice. There is no arguing with that one, I win.

All right so anyway here is what we are going to do. Improved master.psd, we got it open. I'm going to urge you to go up to the Image menu, choose Mode and then choose Lab Color, at which point, now I was telling you when you switch color models like this, you are going to lose your adjustment layers. You cannot preserve the adjustment layers because what would Channel Mixer mean? We are mixing green and blue in order to create red. What would it be possibly doing in Lab? We are mixing a and b to produce lightness or something ridiculous like that, it would completely go kaffluey on us and we do not want kaffluey.

So what Photoshop is going to say to us if I ever get around to choosing this command, it's going to say changing modes will discard some adjustment layers. Should I change the mode anyway? And you say okay, if you say okay, this shouldn't be a highlighted button because if you say okay look what happens. It goes ahead and throws away all your adjustment layers and leaves you with this horrible image right here, which we have already seen. We can't correct this image, as it is in Lab and expect good results. So go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+ Z to undo that, go back to the Image menu, choose Mode and choose Lab Color and then click on the button that ought to be the default choice right here, Flatten and that will give us the desired effect. We'll now be working from this good version of the image.

Now, you need to make sure that before you choose that command because we did just lose all of our adjustment layers, they got merged together in order to form this flat Lab image here, before you do that, it's a very good idea, I'll go ahead and undo that modification by pressing Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on a Mac to bring back the RGB image and all the adjustment layers. It's a very good idea to go to the File menu, choose the Save As command, save it as something and I have already done this. I have already save it as Improved master.psd but save the image as a layered PSD document.

Then once you have done that, go up to the Image menu, choose Mode and then choose Lab Color, Flatten the image of course, and then at that point you would go back to the File menu and choose Save As again and start a new file make it a layered PSD document as well because we are going to add an adjustment layer right now. All right. Go back to Adjustments now and we are going to add another levels adjustment. When you are working with the flat image, do not add multiple incarnations of a single kind of adjustment layer and then turn around and create another levels adjustment layer on top of it because that would amount to a destructive modification.

And yeah that's exactly what we are doing but we are doing it in a different color model. By the way, you really never want to combine very similar adjustments that are really doing the same kind of modification like you wouldn't throw on a Brightness/ Contrast adjustment layer and then throw on a levels adjustment layer and then throw on a Curves adjustment layer because they are all luminance modifications. All right anyway let's go to levels, working in a different color model, Lab, it does make sense. Alt+Click or Option +Click on that icon there, call it Lab levels or something that's going to make sense for you. Then click OK and now we have got our Lab level sitting there on an independent layer. I want you to go to the Lightness channel, it's already highlighted, you can't modify the composite colors inside Lab, you have to work on the independent channels, that's just the way it is.

So you could update the histogram if you desire to do so. You'll see that it's spikier than it originally was, it's not so quite so smooth. I'm going to give us more highlights and shadows here. So I'm going to bolster the shadows, bolster the highlights, so I'm going to send this value up to 10, the black point value and I'm going to take the white point value down to 225. So I'm going to press Alt+4 or Option+4 to switch to the A channel. I could have also just chosen it from this pop- up menu if I had a mind to. I am going to click in this black point value right here and I'm going to raise it to 40 by pressing Shift+Up Arrow, four times in a row that makes the image greener. Is that a good choice? Not really, but we need to do that in order to increase the saturation of this image, it really wants more saturation.

So we'll also tab over to the white point value and we'll press Shift+Down Arrow four times in a row to lower that value to 215 and that way we are balancing the increase in turquoise here with an increase in pink. But that's not far enough. We need to go still farther. So I'm going to add a little more pink by pressing Shift+Down Arrow, one more time, a fifth time to reduce that value to 205. And that way we are kind of centering our big spike on the gray point right there, which I'm going to leave alone. That Gamma value does not need to be changed. Then I'll press Alt+5 or Option+5 to switch to the b channel as you can see. I'll go ahead and start things off by increasing the amount of blue, by increasing this black point value to 40, by pressing Shift+Up Arrow four times and we are, of course, matching the modification that we applied in the b channel at this point.

Now I'll click in the white point value and I'll press Shift+Down Arrow four times, one, two, three, four, like so. Is that enough? Have we balanced the image properly? I think we could stand some more yellow, so I'm going to press Shift+Down Arrow twice more in order to get this effect here. Now that's too much yellow, we have gone too far with this modification but that's okay, it's going to prepare us for our brush work because then we are going to brush in what is essentially the missing color here which is orange. We are going to make his legs nice and natural, it's going to make his hands, his arm right there nice and natural. It's going to make the coral look natural and everything. We have now created a base image upon which we can build that effect.

All right so, beautiful. Now the thing to do is to go back to the Lightness channel and say you know what, the image is looking a little too dark, the midtones could be brightened, so let's click right there in that Midtone value, here in the lightness channel, press Shift+Up Arrow and then one, two, three, four, five, just the up arrow key in order to increase that Gamma value to 115. Let's go ahead and choose the Save As command just in case you didn't already do it. And I'm going to save this one as Lab master. I've already created this image in advance, but I'm just going to go ahead save over it, click Save and I'll say sure, I'll go ahead and replace that file, I'm feeling daring, I think I did everything the way I needed to do.

Now I'm going to go up to the Image menu and I'm going to choose Mode and I'm going to choose RGB Color. Notice we just saved that. I just want to make this clear. I kind of went through that a little too quickly there. I am going back to the Save As command, we are saving this in the native PSD format right there. As a Copy should be turned off, Layers should be turned-on and so on. All right. Now I'll go up to the Image menu and I'll choose Mode and I'll choose RGB Color in order to switch it back to RGB and at this point, it's going to offer me the option of losing my work if I click OK. Thank you very much Photoshop.

I will go with Flatten instead and that way I keep my work. Gosh! I like that better and that is the RGB version of the image. Then you would go, of course, up here to File, choose Save As again to make sure you didn't wipe out your Lab image, you get where I'm going. That's right. In the next exercise, we'll perform that final step. Actually, there are going to be a few steps after it, almost the final step. In order to achieve this image, it will be the final for this and we are going to this by creating a Solid Fill Layer and brushing it in, you need to do me a favor and stay tuned.

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