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Photoshop CS4's adjustment features offer unparalleled opportunities to correct and manipulate images. In Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth, Jan Kabili explains how to use all the major Photoshop adjustment features. She shares the best techniques for adjusting image quality, and shows how to use the new Adjustments panel to streamline a photo correction workflow. Jan also demonstrates multiple ways to eliminate color casts, and explains how to use the new On-Image Curves control to adjust brightness and color. This course offers a detailed look at the techniques photographers and designers use to master image adjustments in Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.
Several of the color correction methods that I'm going to show you in this chapter, including the use of Levels and Curves and Color Balance, work along with Color Samplers and the Info panel. So I'd like to show you what those are and how to apply color samplers. A Color Sampler is basically just a marker that I can place somewhere on my image, so that I can keep track of that point of the image and the color values at that location, while I'm doing color correction. I'll often want to put a Color Sampler on an area that represents the brightest whites in the image, the darkest shadows in the image, and the midtones in the image. To add three Color Samplers like that to this image, I'm going to start by going over to the Eyedropper tool in the toolbox, and clicking there and holding, and from the flyout menu I'll choose the Color Sampler tool.
I'm also going to open my Info panel. Because I'm in the Color and Tone workspace, the Info panel is here with my Histogram panel, and to bring it to the foreground, I'll just click on the Info tab. If your Info panel isn't on the screen, then just go up to the Window menu and down to Info. I'm going to set a Color Sampler, and then I'll show you how it looks on the Info panel. First, I want to set a sampler on the brightest whites in the image. To find out exactly where that is, I can just look at the image and see where the brightest brights are or I could temporarily apply a Levels adjustment layer and use the Threshold view there.
So to show you how that goes I'm going to click on the Levels adjustment layer icon, here in the Adjustments panel. I'll remind you that you can go to the white Input Levels slider, and hold down the Option key on a Mac, the Alt key on a PC. Then drag slightly to the left, and you'll start to see areas of color, and eventually, white areas appear in this Threshold view. Those are representing the brightest points in the image. So now I can see some places that I might want to set my Color Sampler for the highlights. I'm going to move that slider back over to the right, because I really don't want to set the white point. I was just using this as a guide to figure out where to set my Highlight Color Sampler.
With the Color Sampler tool, I'll move into the image over one of those bright areas, one of these onions, for example, and I'm going to set a Color Sampler right at the tip of that Eyedropper icon. To set the Color Sampler, I'm going to hold down the Shift key on my keyboard and click. There is a small Target icon representing Color Sampler number 1. By the way, you can also set a Color Sampler using the Eyedropper tool as you hold down the Shift key. Now take a look at the Info panel. The color values for our Color Sampler number 1 are located here in the bottom-left quadrant. You can see it says number 1 and there is a little picture of a Color Sampler.
This is showing me the RGB values or the Red, Green and Blue values for the pixels under the Color Sampler. There are two sets of numbers here. The three numbers on the left represents the current RGB color value at that point, and the three numbers on the left, the adjusted color values. And those will change as I correct the image. Keep your eye on this upper-left quadrant too. As I move my cursor into the image, I'll be able to see the current and corrected color values of whatever pixels are under my cursor at the moment.
Now to set Color Samplers for the dark values and the midtones in the image, I'll just do the same thing. To find the darkest darks in the image, I could use the black Input Levels slider holding down the Option or Alt key as I drag it to the right. But in this case, I don't need to because I can see right away where the darkest area is. It's here inside the fireplace. So I'm going to hold down the Shift key and click there to set Color Sampler number 2. Finally, I'll set a Color Sampler on the midtone area that should be a neutral gray in the corrected image.
Now this is often a little bit hard to find. If you happened to have a gray object in the photograph, then it's easy. But in this case, for example, I'll just have to be subjective about what I think should be neutral gray. So, I'm going to assume that this shadow on the wall should be a neutral gray. So I'll hold down the Shift key and I'll click there to set Color Sampler number 3 to represent the midtones in the image. As you can see in the Info panel, there is now a quadrant for Color Samplers number 2 and 3 as well as the first Color Sampler. In the next movie, I'm going to show you how you can use these Color Samplers to take the color cast out of the highlights and the midtones and the shadows in this particular image, using the Eyedroppers in the Levels Adjustment panel.
So please stay tuned for that movie.
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