Photoshop Insider Training: Enhancing Photos
Illustration by Richard Downs

Then versus now: Understanding how the Auto button works


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Photoshop Insider Training: Enhancing Photos

with Bryan O'Neil Hughes

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Video: Then versus now: Understanding how the Auto button works

The opportunity was very clear that we can improve what we offered around Auto. Instead of having a very simple algorithm that just plotted points for black and gray and white, we wanted to offer something more intelligent. So let me show you what we did in Photoshop CS6 to change Auto. Here we have a pretty dark image. I'm shooting into the sun here and it's great because I've got all of the detail in the clouds, but I'm missing a lot of information in the shadows and it's just not very pleasing to the eye. So, a great first step would be to come in here and do an auto Adjustment.
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  1. 7m 53s
    1. Welcome
      2m 29s
    2. Using the exercise files
      42s
    3. What you need to know about Adobe Camera Raw
      4m 42s
  2. 9m 30s
    1. Reinventing the Crop tool
      5m 44s
    2. Using the new Crop tool the old way
      3m 46s
  3. 6m 4s
    1. Then versus now: Understanding how the Auto button works
      2m 55s
    2. Exploring strategies for using Auto
      3m 9s
  4. 6m 37s
    1. Using Curves
      3m 31s
    2. Exploring strategies for using Curves
      3m 6s
  5. 14m 57s
    1. Looking at sharpening
      2m 6s
    2. Understanding Smart Sharpen
      4m 41s
    3. Understanding the role of Smart Objects in a sharpening workflow
      2m 20s
    4. Applying brush-based selective sharpening
      5m 50s
  6. 9m 6s
    1. Understanding the challenges of building blur
      2m 54s
    2. Using Iris Blur to create shallow depth of field
      6m 12s
  7. 8m 20s
    1. The evolving Dodge, Burn, and Sponge tools
      6m 24s
    2. Understanding the role of the graphics tablet
      1m 56s
  8. 12m 33s
    1. Understanding and using Content-Aware Fill
      3m 16s
    2. What to do when Content-Aware Fill doesn't work
      2m 38s
    3. Beyond fill: Content-Aware Patch
      1m 16s
    4. Content-Aware Scale: The feature nobody knows about
      3m 30s
    5. Content-Aware Move: Recomposing photos
      1m 53s
  9. 3m 17s
    1. Exploring what Liquify is really used for
      3m 17s
  10. 12m 1s
    1. Correcting automatically based on lens profiles
      4m 2s
    2. Getting the most out of Adaptive Wide Angle
      4m 47s
    3. Exploring lens distortion and video
      3m 12s
  11. 7m 22s
    1. Using presets new and old
      47s
    2. Surprising yourself with the Color Look Up Adjustment layer
      2m 15s
    3. Using gradient map presets for black-and-white conversions
      2m 31s
    4. Imagining a connected Photoshop
      1m 49s
  12. 15s
    1. Goodbye
      15s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop Insider Training: Enhancing Photos
1h 37m Intermediate Sep 05, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, Photoshop senior product manager Bryan O'Neil Hughes takes you on an insider's tour of the key photo-enhancement features in Adobe Photoshop CS6, providing details on how they work, background into their evolution, and insights into how to use them more effectively.

The course begins with an exploration of Photoshop features that make changes to an entire image: the Crop tool, the Auto button that's present in many adjustment dialog boxes, and the Curves panel options. Next, Bryan explores sharpness and blur. Each has its place in a photograph, and Bryan details how the sharpening and blur features work and how to get the most out of them.

The course also looks at adjusting specific areas of an image with the Dodge, Burn, and Sponge tools, and at the growing array of content-aware features in Photoshop, showing how they work and what to do when they don't work. The course concludes with a tour of the powerful Liquify filter, features for correcting lens distortion, and the world of presets that allow you to apply settings with a single click.

Topics include:
  • Reinventing the Crop tool
  • Rediscovering the Auto button
  • Getting the most out of curves
  • Understanding Smart Sharpen
  • Building blur and softness
  • Working with a graphics tablet
  • Using Content-Aware Fill, Scale, and Move effectively
  • Correcting distortion automatically based on lens profiles
  • Using presets
Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Bryan O'Neil Hughes

Then versus now: Understanding how the Auto button works

The opportunity was very clear that we can improve what we offered around Auto. Instead of having a very simple algorithm that just plotted points for black and gray and white, we wanted to offer something more intelligent. So let me show you what we did in Photoshop CS6 to change Auto. Here we have a pretty dark image. I'm shooting into the sun here and it's great because I've got all of the detail in the clouds, but I'm missing a lot of information in the shadows and it's just not very pleasing to the eye. So, a great first step would be to come in here and do an auto Adjustment.

Now there has never been Auto in Brightness/Contrast. Although Brightness/Contrast is very approachable term, mean something to just about every user, and so it makes sense that we put an Auto button in there. If I click Auto in Brightness/Contrast, I'm going to see a very dramatic change to my image, I've got plus (+) 88 Brightness and minus (-) 49 Contrast and this is an adaptive method. Essentially what we've done is we have hundreds of thousands of images, hundreds of thousands of histograms, and we're comparing your image to images in this database and we're matching the histograms together to come up with a very pleasing result.

And so this is to say that if I were to open 20 images, I would get 20 different results. Now I can take this and tune it a bit if I like, if I want it be a little more contrast, less contrast, little darker, that's really quick and easy. The other place that we've changed this is in Levels, and so if I hit Auto, I get a really pleasing result and a really smooth histogram. Now just to go back in time and show you what used to happen. The problem with the old algorithm is that we were making adjustments per channel and so this would introduce a color cast. Oftentimes if you had someone's face you would see a very different color cast.

And as you can see in the histogram here, you would also drop data, this is a pretty decent example, we're not losing a lot, but in some examples, you would drop a ton of information from the image. So if we look at the tool tip here, Analyze image to Content-Aware Monochromatic Enhancement, that's what's on by default, you get a better result, a cleaner histogram and no color cast. And the last place we put this is in Curves, and I'll be the first to admit that the idea of wrangling a diagonal line to yield a proper exposure is really not a very friendly interface.

This can be a very intimidating part of Photoshop and yet seasoned users know that this is a very powerful way to adjust your image. So we've got that new functionality here as well. If I hit Auto, I'm going to get a really nice result and if you look carefully, we've done something that we didn't do before, we've actually plotted points on the curve here, we've got four points and you can click and drag those and go a little bit further with the result. So, we've really realized that a lot of people use this functionality, there is a ton of room for improvement, and so we've offered changes in each of those places.

If you haven't tried Auto, I definitely encourage you to give it a try and if you are using it, I think you'll see that there are much better results than there ever have been.

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