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Using the auto-correction features

From: Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth

Video: Using the auto-correction features

When you are in a hurry and looking for a quick fix, the idea of Auto Correction options is really nice. But there are some downsides to Auto Correction. In Photoshop, there are three Auto-Correction commands located here under the Image menu. Here is Auto Tone, Auto Contrast and Auto Color. The problem with applying these commands from here is that they are commands that work directly on the Image layer, so they are not nondestructive and you really don't have any control over what they are going to do on a particular image. So all you can do is just try them out.

Using the auto-correction features

When you are in a hurry and looking for a quick fix, the idea of Auto Correction options is really nice. But there are some downsides to Auto Correction. In Photoshop, there are three Auto-Correction commands located here under the Image menu. Here is Auto Tone, Auto Contrast and Auto Color. The problem with applying these commands from here is that they are commands that work directly on the Image layer, so they are not nondestructive and you really don't have any control over what they are going to do on a particular image. So all you can do is just try them out.

Take a look at this image and you will see it has a slight warm color cast that I would like to correct. So I'll try these Auto Options, Auto Tone might work and it does get rid of a little bit of the color cast, but it's still kind of warming, it's not exactly what I had in mind. So I'm going to press Command+Z, that's Ctrl+Z on a PC and try these others. There is Auto Contrast, which generally doesn't affect color cast. It's just Photoshop's attempt to increase contrast. So I'll undo that one with Command+Z or Ctrl+Z and I'll try the last one, Auto Color, which often is the best bet if you are trying to remove a color cast.

So as you can see in this case, it really does get rid of that gold or warm color cast but it makes it a little bland. It's just really gray now. So I'm going to undo that, Command+Z or Ctrl+Z. If you do want to use any of those Auto Correction commands, I suggest that what you do is use them as an adjustment layer rather than as a direct adjustment from the Image menu. Here is how you can do that. You can go to the Adjustments panel and you can add either a Curves or a Levels adjustment layer. Either one has an Auto button in it. Before you click that Auto button to apply an Auto Correction, I strongly suggest that you go up to the panel menu on the Adjustments panel group, click there and choose Auto Options. That opens the Auto Color Correction Options and there are a lot of big words in this box, but basically these are the algorithms that define the three Auto Correction commands that I just showed you.

Enhance Monochromatic Contrast is just like Auto Contrast. So watch the image as I select that and you will see that just like Auto Contrast, this command increases contrast but doesn't really affect a color cast. It's called Monochromatic Contrast because what it's doing is applying the same adjustments to all three color channels. Then there is Enhance Per Channel Contrast, which is the same as Auto Tone and it is applying adjustments to each channel individually. Now sometimes this one works, but sometimes it even introduces another color cast and you never know till you try it.

If you are going to use Enhance Per Channel Contrast, I suggest you give Snap Neutral Midtones a try with it because that will help neutralize any color cast in the Midtones. And then there is Find Dark and Light Colors and that one, when you have Snap Neutral Midtones checked, is just like Auto Color. So in this case we have that kind of grayish result. If you do use one of these Auto Color Correction Options and it manages to remove a color cast as this one has done, you can fine-tune the way that the image looks. So in this case, for example, I like the fact that the color cast is gone but it's too gray. What it's doing is trying to set the midtones to this middle gray that's here in the Midtones box.

So I'm going to click there and change that. Instead of this absolute middle gray, I'm going to select a little bit warmer tone. I'll go to this Spectrum slider and I'll move it up toward the warm tones and then I'll move my cursor over a little bit here and notice that as I did that, I got a little bit of yellow back in the image. I could go even further, maybe something like that. I think it looks kind of nice and I'll click OK and you can see that midtone gray is now changed to a little bit warmer gray.

I can save these as my default settings and I might do that if I had a bunch of other images that I had shot in the same light and the same place and I wanted to apply these as the default for that Auto button in the Levels or Curves dialog box. I am going to click OK though without saving defaults this time and I'm asked if I want to save that new warm gray as the target color for the Midtones and I won't bother this time, but again that would come in handy if you were applying Auto Correction to more than one image. So I'm going to click No. So if you had saved those defaults and you open another image, then you could click the Auto Correct button here and it would apply those defaults to the next image.

So one advantage of working this way is that you have all that control over how those Auto Correction methods work and another advantage is if you look in the Layers panel, you have those Auto Corrections on a Levels adjustment layer. And so like any adjustment layer, you can go back in and tweak them, you can make the layer temporarily invisible, you can change the blend mode, you can lower the Opacity and if you don't want that correction at all, you can change your mind and take the adjustment layer and drag it to the Trash and it's gone.

So that's a work around for using Auto Correction options, but using them in a way that gives you the control you need to get the nondestructive results that you want.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

48 video lessons · 16034 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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