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Reviewing Brightness/Contrast

From: Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth

Video: Reviewing Brightness/Contrast

The Brightness/Contrast adjustment is the simplest, most direct way to make an image brighter or darker or to change its contrast. Granted if you're making a serious adjustment to an image, you're going to want to use Curves or even Levels to adjust Brightness and Contrast. But sometimes all you're doing is working with a snapshot or preparing an image for the web, or to attach to an email, and you just want a quick easy way to adjust its brightness or its contrast, and that's when this adjustment comes in handy. You can apply a Brightness/Contrast adjustment either as a direct adjustment from the Image menu, or as an adjustment layer. I'm going to add it as an adjustment layer to this image by going to the Adjustments panel; I'm going to Double-click its tab here, and clicking the first icon in the Adjustments panel, the Brightness/Contrast icon.

Reviewing Brightness/Contrast

The Brightness/Contrast adjustment is the simplest, most direct way to make an image brighter or darker or to change its contrast. Granted if you're making a serious adjustment to an image, you're going to want to use Curves or even Levels to adjust Brightness and Contrast. But sometimes all you're doing is working with a snapshot or preparing an image for the web, or to attach to an email, and you just want a quick easy way to adjust its brightness or its contrast, and that's when this adjustment comes in handy. You can apply a Brightness/Contrast adjustment either as a direct adjustment from the Image menu, or as an adjustment layer. I'm going to add it as an adjustment layer to this image by going to the Adjustments panel; I'm going to Double-click its tab here, and clicking the first icon in the Adjustments panel, the Brightness/Contrast icon.

Now in the Layers panel which I'll Double-click, you can see that there is a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer, and I'll go back to the Adjustments panel by Double-clicking its tab to show you the simple controls for the Brightness/Contrast adjustment. I usually start in this dialog box with the Contrast slider. Many images need a boost to contrast, which you can get by dragging the Contrast slider to the right. And in this case I have already got a pretty contrast-y image. So I'm going to try reducing the contrast by dragging the slider over to the left, and then I'll go up to the Brightness slider and I'll use that to make the entire image a little bit lighter.

So I'll drag the Brightness slider over to the right. If I go down to the eye icon at the bottom of the Adjustments panel, I can see a before and after view, so I'll click the icon, and this is where I started and this is where I am. So just these two simple adjustments have opened up this image and revealed a lot more of the detail in the books. It's also important that in the Histogram, I don't see any clipping, either on the right or on the left, meaning that I'm not losing any shadow or highlight detail. That's because a couple of versions of Photoshop ago, Adobe improved the Brightness/Contrast adjustment, so that it works just on the mid-tones of the image rather than clipping the highlights or the shadows.

Now there's one thing to be careful of when you're using these adjustment, and that is not to check Use Legacy, because that sends the Brightness/Contrast adjustment back to its former behavior, when it really didn't work very well. So for example, if I do check Use Legacy, and then I come in and move the Brightness slider over to where it was just a moment ago at about 80. The result really isn't what I want. What's happened is that instead of extending the mid-tones across the total range, the legacy behavior of this adjustment just pushes the entire histogram over to the right when I brightened the image, and sends the brightest values off to the edge losing detail in the highlights, as you can tell by this spike over here.

So it's important to keep Use Legacy unchecked, when you're using this adjustment. Granted you don't have lots of control over Contrast or Brightness with just these two simple sliders. Certainly not as much as you have with the Curves adjustment or even a Levels adjustment but if you've made a photo that's too dark or light or that's flat and needs more contrast, you can quickly save it from your reject pile, by applying a Basic Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth
Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth

48 video lessons · 16005 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 5m 39s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. Using the exercise files
      59s
    3. Setting up a workspace
      3m 22s
  2. 21m 2s
    1. Creating and editing adjustment layers
      6m 38s
    2. Adjustment layers vs. direct adjustments
      6m 9s
    3. Using the new Adjustments panel
      5m 38s
    4. Reusing adjustment layers
      2m 37s
  3. 39m 57s
    1. Clipping adjustment layers
      4m 36s
    2. Including adjustment layers in a layer group
      3m 13s
    3. Including adjustment layers in a Smart Object
      7m 29s
    4. Using the adjustment layer mask
      5m 43s
    5. Using selections with adjustment layers
      4m 19s
    6. Using the Masks panel with adjustment layers
      8m 30s
    7. Using the Blend If sliders with adjustment layers
      6m 7s
  4. 49m 43s
    1. Reading the Histogram panel
      5m 23s
    2. Using the Levels adjustment for tonal corrections
      7m 42s
    3. Using the Curves adjustment for exposure
      8m 12s
    4. Using the Curves adjustment for contrast
      4m 14s
    5. Making On-Click Curves adjustments
      4m 0s
    6. Applying Shadow/Highlight nondestructively
      7m 59s
    7. Reviewing Brightness/Contrast
      3m 18s
    8. Dealing with exposure
      2m 22s
    9. Using adjustment layers with blend modes
      6m 33s
  5. 54m 36s
    1. Making Vibrance adjustments
      2m 22s
    2. Using Hue/Saturation adjustments
      7m 4s
    3. Understanding color correction
      3m 21s
    4. Using color samplers and the Info panel
      4m 25s
    5. Using Levels eyedroppers for color correction
      5m 54s
    6. Using Levels channels for color correction
      5m 7s
    7. Understanding Curves adjustments for color correction
      7m 21s
    8. Making Color Balance adjustments
      3m 49s
    9. Making Photo Filter adjustments
      3m 6s
    10. Making Variations adjustments
      6m 48s
    11. Using the auto-correction features
      5m 19s
  6. 13m 5s
    1. Using the Dodge and Burn tools
      4m 56s
    2. Dodging and burning nondestructively
      6m 38s
    3. Working with the Red-Eye tool
      1m 31s
  7. 16m 9s
    1. Applying Black & White adjustments
      7m 30s
    2. Making Channel Mixer adjustments
      6m 31s
    3. Understanding the Threshold adjustment
      2m 8s
  8. 25m 23s
    1. Colorizing with Hue/Saturation adjustments
      3m 9s
    2. Tinting with Black & White adjustments
      2m 8s
    3. Making a Gradient Map adjustment
      4m 18s
    4. Applying a Selective Color adjustment
      1m 49s
    5. Using the Replace Color adjustment
      4m 39s
    6. Making Match Color adjustments
      4m 24s
    7. Applying the Equalize adjustment
      4m 56s
  9. 42s
    1. Goodbye
      42s

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