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How the auto commands work

From: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: How the auto commands work

For those of you who sat with the previous exercise, which was all set up for this exercise frankly, I now reward you with this exercise, which is all follow-up from the previous exercise. I'm actually going to show you how these commands Auto Tone, Auto Contrast and Auto Color work. How they look at the existing histograms for an image and make modifications based on those histograms. I have got my Histogram palette, all set up, ready to go. I'm going to move it over to the left-hand side of the screen, get it out of the palette structure for a moment so that we can see each one of our images in full. So I'm going to be starting things off with this guy right here, which is the Auto Tone layer right there, so I'll go ahead and click on it to select it.

How the auto commands work

For those of you who sat with the previous exercise, which was all set up for this exercise frankly, I now reward you with this exercise, which is all follow-up from the previous exercise. I'm actually going to show you how these commands Auto Tone, Auto Contrast and Auto Color work. How they look at the existing histograms for an image and make modifications based on those histograms. I have got my Histogram palette, all set up, ready to go. I'm going to move it over to the left-hand side of the screen, get it out of the palette structure for a moment so that we can see each one of our images in full. So I'm going to be starting things off with this guy right here, which is the Auto Tone layer right there, so I'll go ahead and click on it to select it.

Now, I remind you of the histograms that we have going. Notice that we have a fair gap over in the highlight side of the histogram; bear in mind, where the Histogram is concerned, this is a bar graph of course of all the luminance levels inside of the image as you may recall from Chapter 05 if you watched it, way long ago. Over here on the left-hand side is black and over here on the far right-hand side is white and the other luminance levels are gray value is in between on a channel-by-channel basis. So we don't have much in a way of shadows going on inside this image, so we are going to have to correct for that. So the Histogram is going to get stretched out, every one of these Auto commands is going to stretch out this Histogram to fill in those shadows and increase the contrast. So they all increase the contrast of the image.

But because we have different gaps going on the highlight side of things, a small gap over here and even smaller gap for green, which is why the highlights appears, so very green and a big gap for blue. Because they are different, they are going to be accommodated differently by the various different Auto commands. So we are going to start things off with Auto Tone because it's the first command to appear. I'm going to go up to the Image menu and I'm going to choose Auto Tone and I want you to watch not only what happens to George here, George Hamilton, I presume because he is on money after all. Not only what happens to George, but also what happens to the various histograms that represent George in a fairly statistical manner. So I'll go ahead and choose Auto Tone and notice, all the histograms get stretched.

So the darkest color in each and every channel becomes black and a lightest color in each and every channel becomes white. So each one of the independent histograms is stretched differently, meaning that each one of the channels, red, green and blue is corrected differently. And as a result, we have pretty much made the lightest color white inside of this image. So what was formerly a greenish paper has now become a fairly neutral sort of whitish paper. Also notice that our blacks or dark colors here or shadows have gone from having a fairly greenish tinge associated with them to fairly reddish now. So Auto Tone has a habit of overcompensating for problems inside of the image.

But in our case, these were problems. We needed more contrast where the money is concerned but it was green, actual money; I'm holding a Dollar Bill right here, it's actually greenish just like the original scan. It's just that it lacked contrast, the original version of the image over here lacked contrast and so we need more contrast. So Auto Tone is not what we needed where this image is concerned. Possibly, since all we need is more contrast, Auto Contrast would do a better job, so I'm going to go ahead and click on that Auto Contrast layer right there and I'm going to bring up my Navigator palette because it gives me a little more control other than that bird's eye feature for this specific little diagram that I'm demonstrating to you, and I'll put the Navigator palette out of the way, move the Histogram palette over a little bit so that we can see the Auto Contrast Test layer right there on the left-hand side of the screen.

Now I'm going to go up to the Image menu, watch the histograms, watch them as you watch George and I'm going to apply Auto Contrast. And notice this time that each one of the histograms is compensated to the same degree; in other words, there is a smallest gap left over here on the right side of the red histogram, no gap left over here on the right side of the green histogram and a proportionally large gap left over here on the right side of the blue histogram. As a result, we have maintained the green, so we have a higher degree of contrast but we still have green highlights. So if your color cast was correct and you just need more contrast inside the image, then Auto Contrast is your guy, and notice also that we have stretched the entire composite histogram without affecting the overall color balance. So this is the Control layer right there. Notice that it's a squished histogram in this area but we've got three very distinct peaks of blue, red and green and this is now the Auto Contrast histogram which is stretched over the course of the entire width of the histogram now, but we still have distinct peaks at blue and red and green.

All right, now let's take a look at Auto Color, which is the most complicated of the gang, and by the way, the one that's likely to do you the best job for your standard everyday average image. So I'm going to bring up the Navigator, and I'm going to just move over here to the right a little bit so that we can see the lower right version of George. Hide Navigator, move Histogram over so that we can see him in all of his splendor. Watch the histograms once again. Now, I need to set things up a little bit this time. If you were to select this region, sort of look at the shadow region, you will see that we are seeing a little bit of the shadow region. Notice here at the far left side of this shadow region is showing up as Magenta, showing us that it's a combination of red and blue working together. So that might make you think our shadows are going to be reddish-blue. They are actually in fact green because the lightest color in the shadow is green.

So where the shadows are concerned, they are most bright where green is concerned, and then of course, where the highlights are concerned, they are most bright where green is concerned as well. Now, what Auto Color is going to do is it's going to analyze this highlight information and try to make it as neutral as it can, and then it's going to evaluate the shadow detail here. The shadow information, it may get as neutral as it can, and then it's also going to follow things up by trying to balance out the mid-tones and it does a great job of it. I will go up to Image and I'll choose Auto Color, and now we can see, this is the Auto Colored version of the image and it's neutral across the board. Check that out. So it's even more neutral than Auto Tone is, I'll go ahead and switch up to Auto Tone. Notice that Auto Tone over-corrected the image, it overcompensated by changing my shadows to reddish and it also made the highlights a little bit reddish as well, whereas Auto Color did a great job of just completely making those central highlights neutral, those central shadows neutral and those central mid-tones neutral as well, by which I mean anything that really has strong colors associated with it, like this green over here, that remains colorful. It's just the areas that Auto Color determines ought to be neutral that end up getting neutralized like these highlights right here.

So we end up having something of a gray- scale Dollar Bill and you can see now, this region of shadow pretty much is balanced between red, green and blue. So we are not seeing an awful lot of spikes going on that are either exclusively blue or green or red, and same with the highlights. They are also quite well-balanced. That's very interesting that that's what happens for money. So where money is concerned assuming that you had a scan like we started with, our best bet would be of course Auto Contrast that ends up delivering the most money like money, unless we wanted to get rid of the previous color balance.

Where Auto pools is concerned -- and by the way these are the corrected versions of the pool image from a couple of exercises ago, and I went ahead and named this image Auto pools.psd. Where Auto pools are concerned, it's a little different, it's a little more of a murky equation here because there is just more stuff going on, and so we have very shadowy group of reds going on -- a very light group of greens going on and a very sort of mid-tone group of blues going on. So when we end up switching to Auto Tone, of course, and this is the Auto Tone version of the image right there on the Auto Tone layer of course. I have gone ahead and stretched every single one of these histograms across the entire Histogram palette, across the entire width of the graph, whereas Auto Contrast of course, if I go ahead and turn that on, you can see that it is still imbalanced, the colors are still of the same balance they were in the first place, the entire histogram is stretched. So it's a composite view that gets stretched, and then, Auto Color, the most complicated version but the best correction of the bunch here and let's go ahead and take that Opacity value up to 100%, so we get the best representation of this modification here, and you can see what it's done.

In this case, I do have a lot of colorful spikes going on inside the shadows versus the highlights versus the mid- tones, but bear this in mind. This is what the original version of the image look like inside the Histogram. So predominantly red shadows, this region right here, extremely red, very little green and blue stuff going on whereas inside the highlights, extremely green, less blue and even less red going. We don't get to any red still about right there in the graph in the mid-tone region. So you take a look at the Auto Color and this region now is balanced, where the red, green and blue is concerned. So we have something of a gap over here on the shadow side of the reds, but that's because we have this big galumphing mountain of reds at this location. So it's really trying to balance those colors over this entire region, this is the shadow region that I'm highlighting here, and it is trying to balance the various channels over the entire highlight region as well, and then of course balance the mid-tones in order to come up with this beautifully compensated image right there.

I'll go ahead and move the Histogram palette off-screen so that we can take a look at that final correction that we have already seen of course in all fairness, but still it's just so good, Auto Color does such a great job. So here's how it works. When in doubt, Auto Color is going to do the best job for you. If Auto Color doesn't quite come through the way you wanted to and you have a very distinct color cast going on that you're trying to account for, undo Auto Color, you don't want to apply two of these commands on top of each other, that's not going to work for you. So undo Auto Color and then try Auto Tone instead. If the color balance was already good the way it was and all you wanted to do is increase the contrast, then Auto Contrast is your guy, and that's how those commands work.

In the next exercise, I'm going to show you the mother of those commands, Levels.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

218 video lessons · 23839 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 22m 32s
    1. Welcome to Photoshop CS4 One-on-One Advanced
      1m 43s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 17s
    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 4s
  2. 2h 43m
    1. Highlights, shadows, and midtones
      49s
    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 34s
    10. Previewing clipping
      7m 17s
    11. The futility of output levels
      4m 56s
    12. Channel-by-channel edits
      11m 54s
    13. When levels fail
      4m 34s
    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 18s
    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 56s
    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 23s
    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 2s
    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 19s
    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 33s
    22. Inverting and brightening the background
      5m 14s
    23. Blurring live, editable type
      5m 43s
    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
      58s
    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
      56s
    2. Establishing default formatting attributes
      4m 5s
    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
      53s
    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 51s
    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 42s
  12. 57s
    1. Until next time
      57s

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