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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
Welcome to the chapter on Levels. Now before we begin to work with Levels, I want to deconstruct how Levels work. You will notice here that I have a couple of different grayscales. I'm going to open up Levels dialog and I want to begin to modify some of these controls so we can understand how they work. Well for starters, you will notice I have some Presets. I can control different channels, in this case I'm viewing the composite RGB Channel. And then I have my Input levels. I have a black slider, a gray slider and a white slider and then I have this grayscale down below, kind of showing which area I'm going to work on.
If I click and drag my black slider over to the right, I'm pushing the black tones over to the right. I'm increasing the density, the darkness of the image. I'll go ahead and drag that over to the left. Now, on the other hand I have my midtones, I can brighten up some of the darker tones or I can darken up some of the more midtones and I'll bring that back to one to reset that. Now my highlights, same thing. Click and drag that to the left, I'm brightening up more of the image, click and drag to the right to reset it back to normal. What about these Presets? Well, I have a couple of different presets. Let's go ahead and increase the Contrast. Well that's kind of interesting, what happened there? Well, my blacks became blacker, my whites became whiter and all that happened here was the white point was brought down and the black point was brought up. I'm going to exaggerate that so you can see this even further so we can see that now, yes, we do have more contrast, more white, more black, midtones are still in the middle.
Okay, well let's click Cancel. I want to take a look at how this looks like when we apply this to a layer with color on it. Well in this case, I'm going to go ahead and increase my blacks. Now as I do that, one of the things you are going to notice is that this color right here becomes a little bit more saturated so that we are actually going to have a little bit more increase in our color, kind of a punch so to speak. So we can use Levels to increase contrast yet as we increase contrast that's also going to increase overall color saturation. So keep in mind that we can use Levels to modify color and tone, and we are going to start to do that in the next few movies.
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