Adobe Photoshop CS comes with an amazing assortment of tools to help you edit your images. The latest version includes a wide range of features to make things easier, but how can you get the most out of it? In this second part of Chapter 5 from Mordy Golding's Adobe Creative Suite,(Sams, 2003, ISBN: 0672325918), you'll learn various ways to adjust your images, whether you're just trying to clean it up or want to try out some interesting effects.
A day will come when a camera will be introduced that can compensate for every possible thing that could go wrong in the fraction of a second it takes to snap a photo. Like the sun going behind the clouds at the just the wrong moment. Like the flash not going on for some reason. Like the bright yellow taxi that just drove by. Like the lights that just went out.
Until that day comes, photos will always need some kind of adjustments made to them so that they reproduce and print the way we want them to. Above that, there are times when we want to purposefully embellish photos, such as give them a specific color cast, or engulf them in shadows.
Photoshop contains a wealth of tools and functions that can help you turn less-than-ideal photos into perfect ones.
For quick fix-me-ups, Photoshop has three "auto" controls that can make adjustments to files: Auto Levels, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color. All three can be found in the Image, Adjustments submenu (see Figure 5.93). Depending on the photo, these controls can either be "ok" or useless. At times you just want a quick edit and that's fine, but for most other tasks, you'll want to read on....
Figure 5.93The Auto Levels, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color commands in the Image, Adjustments submenu.
A step above the auto controls is the Levels command. Press (Command-L) [Ctrl+L] to bring up the Levels dialog. Notice that you are presented with a histogram that shows you the highlight, shadow, and midtone areas of your image (see Figure 5.94). Drag the little triangle sliders to make adjustments.
Figure 5.94The Levels dialog.
You can adjust the black and white points of your image by selecting the black Eyedropper tool in the dialog and then clicking on the darkest area of your photo. Repeat again with the white eyedropper, clicking on the lightest point in your image. The histogram will then update as Photoshop makes the adjustments.
Tip -I often use levels to "tint back," or lighten, images. Drag the black Output Level triangle (lower left) toward the right until you get what you need.
What's great about the Levels dialog is that you can apply these changes to the entire image overall, or you can make adjustments to specific color channels by choosing one from the pop-up (see Figure 5.95). After you're happy with the adjustments you've made, click OK.
Figure 5.95Choosing to edit the levels of the magenta channel only.
This chapter is from Adobe Creative Suite, by Mordy Golding (Sams, 2003, ISBN: 0672325918). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today. Buy this book now.