Photo Retouching with Photoshop®
Levels Adjustment - Part 3
This is the third tutorial on using the Photoshop
Levels Adjustment. Like the previous
tutorial, this example explores another way to
use the Levels Adjustment to correct tonal values.
This time we will use the Auto Levels Adjustment feature
then manually adjust the Input Levels to tweak the
automatic adjustment. The "Auto" Levels Adjustment
does not always yield a good result, but sometimes
it is worth a try. Usually, when I do use it, I will
use it in combination with a manual adjustment of some
kind similar to this tutorial.
1. This photo is slightly underexposed. The Auto Levels
Adjustment can be done two ways. One way is by clicking Image > Adjustments > Levels (or Image > Adjust> Levels with
older versions of Photoshop). This way will permanently
alter the pixels.
2. Like the previous
tutorial, we want to add an Adjustment Layer
to make the Levels Adjustment so the pixels will
not be permanently altered. Click Layer > New
Adjustment Layer (or Layer > New > Adjustment
Layer for older versions of Photoshop). Give
the layer a name or accept the default name it gives
you and click the "OK" button.
3. Below is a Flash Video showing you how
to make the Levels adjustment.
First click the "Auto" button. After
the automatic levels adjustment, the photo is still
a little bit dark, so we want to shift the midtones
of the image to lighten them slightly. Drag the small
gray triangle in the center at the bottom of the histogram
between the white and black triangle on either end.
Drag this traingle to the left just slightly. Make
sure the Preview checkbox is checked so you can see
the effect of this adjustment as you make it. After
you have made the adjustment, click the "OK" button.
3. After the Levels Adjustments you can see that the
tonal values are more balanced. Again, the "Auto" Levels
Adjustment does not always yield a good result. In
my experience I rarely use it, but sometimes it produces
miraculous results that I could not do in a million
years with manual adjustments. It is definitely a good
option to keep in mind when photo retouching with Photoshop.