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In Photoshop CS6 for Photographers, author, photographer, and teacher Chris Orwig explores Photoshop from the perspective of the photographer.
The course details the features and techniques behind enhancing and retouching photos, preparing them for print and online publishing, and much more. Chris demonstrates how to make basic edits in Camera Raw, develop and save color profiles, work with layers and selections, tone and sharpen, and retouch images while retaining their natural character.
Chris also shares some creative tips and project ideas, such as converting a photo to black-and-white and enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks. The course also covers workflow details, such as organizing images in Bridge and Mini Bridge, optimizing Photoshop preferences, and calibrating your monitor.
In this movie, we're going to dig into the wonderful world of working with Levels. Levels are really powerful, and they allow us to have great control when it comes to modifying color and tone in our pictures. And here in this first movie, I want to work with the few different images and take a look at how we can use these controls and also how we can use some auto settings in order to help our images so that they look even better. We'll start off with this photograph here, and let's click on the icon to open up our Levels adjustment.
You can find that icon in the top row here. We'll click on that, and there you can see in the Properties panel we have options for our Levels controls. Well, what exactly are these controls? Well, when you look at them you'll notice you have a black point, a midtone, and also a highlight point. You can click and drag these, and by doing so you can see the images becoming darker. You can also control the midpoint. You can either brighten or darken the overall photograph or work on those highlights.
If you drag this too far, well, I lose detail. So these controls, well, they have a lot of power. They allow us to make some pretty big and bold adjustments. And what I want to take a look at in this first movie are some of these auto adjustments. With this picture, it looks like it's lacking a little bit of life or snap. Well, if you click on the Auto button, it will apply an auto adjustment to try to correct your photograph, whether it's underexposed or just needs a little boost. You can then click on this Eye icon. Here it is. Here's that before and then after.
This photograph looks so much better already. We can then further customize these controls by changing their overall settings as well. Well, let's jump to another image to see how this will work in a different scenario. In this case, once again we have a photograph that's lacking a little bit of snap. We'll click on the Levels icon and go straight to the Auto button. What this will do then is it essentially decreased our exposure a bit. This image was overexposed, whereas the previous image, it needed a little bit of contrast.
So what Auto is doing is it's analyzing that photograph. It's trying to see what the problem is, and then it's going to introduce some adjustments in order to try to fix it. Well, let's look at one more photograph. This one here, perhaps a picture which is even a bit more complicated. It's underexposed this time. Here, we'll click on the Levels icon; I'll start off by clicking on the Auto button. Now when I do that, it brightens up the overall image, I have more detail there, but I need more contrast, more presence. I need something.
So we can then use these sliders after we've modified that with the Auto button. And what I want to do with this image is I want to bring back some of the density. I went a bit too far. It brightened it up too much. So now just by simply moving my black point slider, I brought this image to a nice spot. Let's click on the Eye icon to see the before and after. Here's before, and now here's after. By using the Auto button or just by using your sliders, you can modify the overall tone, which in turn also affects the overall color of your photograph.
And so far we've been looking at how we can apply adjustments in a pretty global way. Yet let's say that we want to get a bit more specific, we want to modify tone but we also want to modify color. Well, let's take a look at how we can do that in the next movie.
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