Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Because the basic adjustment controls are so significant, I don't think it will suffice to simply show you how they work. What I want to do here is really teach you how you can use them. I am going to be working with two files, the first one is basic_adjustments.tif. And click on that, then press the spacebar key to open this up in a larger view. This is a screen grab of the basic panel. And here I just want to reiterate that these controls start zeroed out. And the way that they work is when you drag to the right, things become brighter.
Drag to the left, things become darker. Okay, we will press spacebar again to exit out of that view. Let's go to this demo file, grayscale.jpg. If we make some changes to this file, it can help us understand these controls in an interesting way. Here let's go ahead and open this up in Camera RAW. To do so, press Command+R on a Mac, or Ctrl+R on Windows. Now we are going to really focus in on these controls here. Okay, well, what about Exposure? Well, if we click and drag this to the right, we can see that we can really make dramatic adjustments to our photograph.
I mean, that's its intense. Drag to the left, the same thing. So the Exposure control, well, it's really powerful. It's going to do a lot. In other words, as you work with this, you may not swing this very far in order to be able to make the changes that you need. It's a powerful tool. To reset it, double-click the Tab and it will go back to zero. Contrast we already know about--drag to the right increases the contrast. Drag to the left and it decreases. What becomes more interesting are Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks.
In order to really focus in on how these work, what I want to do is turn on the Clipping indicators. You can do so by clicking on these icons at the top of the histogram. Currently that's showing me where I have clipping or loss of detail in this grayscale on this file. Well, what is Highlight going to do for me? Well, if we drag this to the right, what's going to happen is we are going to have more clipping in the image. Drag it all the way over, you can see that primarily it's targeting the brighter tones.
If you look at this grayscale, well, it goes to about here. Well, let's then reset that and compare that, say, to whites. I will go ahead and do the same adjustment. This time I will go all the way up to 100. You can see that this one is getting lower in this grayscale. In other words, it's going further into a different tonal region. So again, typically you can think of this Highlights control is one that allows you to recover or to work with the brightest tones. If you have tones which are too bright, drag it to the left.
It will then recover those. Notice there isn't any clipping in this area. The same thing is true with our shadows. We can either brighten those shadows up or we can darken them down. Notice how it affects the rest of the histogram but it really targets those deeper or darker tones. Let's reset these sliders here and then look at whites. Well, whites--we saw how we can either brighten those up or of course we can darken those down. Next we have blacks. Blacks allow us to work on this area of our image.
Again, it's a little bit higher than the other one. It reaches a little bit further. So in a sense, you can think of these controls this way. Highlights and Shadows: they are subtle; they are on the extremes. Whites and Blacks: they are just in a little bit further in regards to the reach--or regards to the area that they are modifying. All right. Well, now that we know a little bit about these controls, let's take a look at how we can apply this to a photograph. And let's do that in the next movie.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
180 Video lessons · 70143 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 91992 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 60245 Viewers
103 Video lessons · 28906 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.