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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.
In Photoshop, Levels is actually quite a powerful tool which allows you to change the overall brightness and contrast and tonal range of your images. And learning how to work with Levels can really help you modify your photographs, either to make enhancements or corrections. What we're going to do here is take a look at how Levels actually works, because this tool is quite important; therefore, let's deconstruct it a little bit. All right. Well, let's work with this slide here, and in order to focus in on the slide, let's press F to go to Full Screen View mode, and then, on a Mac, Command+Plus, on a PC, Ctrl+Plus. Then press the F7 key, which will open up your Layers panel.
And all that I am doing here is really just focusing in on the layers and also the image. Now, you don't have to change your interface in order to work with Levels, but I'm just doing this for demonstration purposes. All right! Well, I'm going to press the Spacebar key and click and drag this off to the left, so I have a little bit of space. And here you'll notice that my layers have a couple of different layers, just some copy, and then I have one gradient or grayscale here and then another gradient underneath. Now, the reason that I've created these two gradients, or grayscales, is that Photoshop is based on this grayscale, from 0 to 55.
And what's really interesting about this is is that if we can create these little grayscales and then modify them, we can deconstruct how Photoshop works, and that's definitely true with Levels. It can help us begin to get a handle on how this tool actually functions. All right. Well, let's go ahead and click in one of these grayscales, and then let's open up Levels, and we'll do so by pressing Command+L on a Mac, Ctrl+L on a PC. Well, over here, you can see I have a Histogram. This is a visual representation of the tones in this photograph.
Underneath this Histogram, I have a black slider, midtones and highlights. And I can drag these sliders in order to change how my image will be displayed. For example, up here in the highlights, or in the whites, you notice that there isn't anything that's pure white. That makes sense, right? This just gets to be a nice shade of gray. There's nothing pure white. Well, if I want pure white up here, what I'm going to do is click and drag this to left. Now, I'm going to exaggerate this, so you can see what's happening here. You notice that now we have a lot of white. Essentially, I've reassigned values, so now what was gray is now white.
And again, I can change this one way or another, have more or less white tones. The same thing is true on the blacks. I'll go ahead and click and drag this to the right. Here, you can see now I have much more deep blacks in this image. In this case, I have so much blacks that all of this is 100% black down here. All right. Well, let's go ahead and swing this back just a little bit. And what I'm going to do is bring in both of these points. And as I do that, you can see that now what I have is more contrast. I have more blacks.
I have more whites, and then I have my mid-tones in this range. Well, I can control this middle range of the grayscale by clicking and dragging the midtone slider. I can either brighten that up, or I can darken it up. So again, I can target that specific area by moving these controls. We can kind of see how that compares to the underlying grayscale down below. All right. Well, now that we know how these sliders work, and how these sliders affect our grayscale, or gradient here, let's begin to translate this into how we will actually work on photographs, and let's do that in the next few movies.
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