Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the histogram, part of Photoshop CS6 for Photographers: Camera Raw 7.
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In this movie, I want to focus in on another important aspect of the Camera Raw interface and that is the Histogram. And we're going to focus in on how we can start paying attention to the Histogram. And also, I want to share a few techniques with you that you can use in order to turn on what are called Clipping Indicators. These indicators help us highlight when we have a problem with the tonal values in our photographs. Alright, well for starters, you can see that the Histogram is a visualization of the colors and the tones in our pictures.
If we go ahead and make a change to the Exposure say, we'll see that it will re-map those tones. If we push this too far, you can see that it's actually pushing these tones out of range. Here we've over-exposed the image. Well, we don't necessarily know how far we've over-exposed this photograph, so what you can do is you can turn on the Clipping Indicator by clicking on this little triangle icon here. All of a sudden, we see all of these areas of our photograph which are highlighted red, that's a warning indicator, telling us we have some sort of a problem.
Well, now with this view turned on, I can then decrease my Exposure in order to correct the exposure so I don't have as much of loss of detail in those areas. I can also use other sliders, say like the Highlight sliders to bring back detail into important parts of the photograph. In that Clipping Indicator, it showed me those problematic or those problem areas. We also have an indicator for our Shadows. You can click on this triangle icon and what that will do is it will show us the areas in our Shadows where we have these problems.
Let me exaggerate the problem so you can see this more clearly. Here we can see where this is blue; the blue color is telling me, I have loss of detail there. In other words, that is 100% black. Well that's not going to print very well, so I need to make a correction. Again, we can use these sliders in order to make this correction. There's also another way that we can work with these Clipping Indicators and that is by way of a few shortcuts. If you press the U key, it will toggle on or off your Shadow Clipping Indicator.
If you press the O key that will toggle on or off your Highlight Indicator. And that can be really helpful, because sometimes what you may want to do is make an adjustment and then just press those keys, here I'll go ahead and make a few adjustments, then press U and O at the same time, that will turn on my Clipping Indicator, so I can then make the needed adjustments and then I can correct the photograph so that it will reproduce well in regards to perhaps creating a print of this picture. Alright, well, how else can we work with these Clipping Indicators? Well, let's turn the indicators off in the Histogram.
To do that, press U and also O. Next I want to highlight is how we can access that same information when using our controls. To do that, press Opt on a Mac or Alt on Windows and then click-and-drag the Exposure slider. Here you can see in this view, it's showing me the areas where I have clipping. Wherever you see white like this area here, it's showing you that you have the most problem in that area. You can also use this with other sliders here as well and you can see that as you change these amounts, it's going to change this view.
Go down to your Blacks sliders and again we'll see we have this problem. And again here wherever you see complete black that's showing you where you have the biggest problem say in these areas here. And by having this perspective, basically it's just another way to access this information and then to be able to make any needed adjustments, so that you have better color and tone in regards to the overall way that you've processed your image. So why is all of this important? Well that's all really important because it's kind of a safety check.
A lot of times when we work in Camera Raw, we're making adjustments so that our photographs look great according to the way that we see them. Yet sometimes, some of these adjustments can push an image in a way that we lose detail in the Highlights or the Shadows. Well, this is going to then lead to other problems as we start to work on our photographs. So in order to ensure that we have good detail in our Highlights and also our Shadows, we can use any of these techniques. Let's review. We can either click on these icons by simply clicking on the triangle icons inside of the Histogram, or we can turn those on by way of a shortcut.
Remember it's the U key for the Shadows, it's the O key for the Highlights. Another way that you can access that type of clipping information is by holding down the Opt key and a Mac or Alt key on Windows and then clicking on one of your Basic panel sliders and here you can see we now have that view of the areas where we have problems. Now, because I think these particular techniques are really valuable, I recommend that you jot some notes down about them, because I think that as you get better at working in Camera Raw, you'll definitely want to integrate these into your workflow.
- Comparing the raw, JPG, and TIFF formats
- Converting or saving to the DNG format
- Enhancing color and tone
- Cropping and composing
- Sharpening and noise reduction
- Using the Camera Raw histogram
- Batch editing
- Correcting for under- and overexposure
- Retouching blemishes
- Making lens corrections
- Calibrating your camera
- Speeding up your workflow with actions