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Photoshop has long included some Automatic Adjustment options for the levels and curves adjustments. But to be perfectly honest I've rarely found them to be all that helpful. The issues that they attempted to address simply weren't the most common issues that I would run into in my images. With Photoshop CS6 however, there's a new option for an automatic adjustment in levels and curves that I do find quite useful. Let's take a look, I'll go ahead and add a Curves Adjustment Layer. I could add either curves or levels because both include the exact same option, but I'll go ahead and opt for curves, so I'll click on the Add New Adjustment Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Curves from the Popup menu. You'll notice that with Curves, we still have the Auto button available to us, but to take advantage of the new feature, we need to take a look at the Auto options for Curves.
So I'll click on the panel Popup menu at the top right of the Properties panel and then choose Auto options and the same process would apply if you had added a Levels adjustment. When you choose that option, the Auto Color Correction options dialog appears and you'll see the three previous options, Enhance Monochromatic Contrast, Enhance Per Channel Contrast and Find dark and light colors. But the new option is Enhance Brightness and Contrast. You'll notice, that your not able to refine the behavior of this option at all.
It's simply a matter of choosing this option, and then clicking OK, and the adjustment is applied. I'll go ahead and tun off the Visibility for the Curves Adjustment Layer so that we can see the before version of the image and then I'll turn the Curves Adjustment Layer's visibility back on. And you can see that sure enough we have enhanced Brightness and Contrast for the image. You have to navigate a menu to get to a separate dialog to access this control, but once you're there it's actually quite simple to apply. So this new option, to adjust Brightness and Contrast automatically with the Levels and Curves Adjustment gives you a quick and easy way to get started modifying the adjustment, whether it's Levels or Curves, to give you a pretty good basis for your overall Tonal Adjustments.
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