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Photoshop Tips (& Other Imaging Software)

Adobe Photoshop Levels-Turn Junk Into Gold By Clicking A Buttonby Robert Kennedy


here is no doubt in my mind; Adobe Photoshop is the greatest Photo editing program in the world. Whether you are a novice or an expert Photoshop is the program for you. Photoshop is used by my children and by the movie making industry. So what exactly can I do with Photoshop? The better question is what can't you do with Photoshop?

Today I would like to talk about the simple little function in Photoshop called 'Levels', the first step to improving the appearance of a photograph. There are 4 basic steps taken to enhance, brighten or retouch photos are Levels, Brightness, Variations, and Saturation, in that order.

"The Levels dialog box lets you correct the tonal range and color balance of an image by adjusting intensity levels of the image's shadows, midtones, and highlights. The Levels histogram serves as a visual guide for adjusting the image's key tones." Adobe's official description of levels Screen example here:

Use levels to set to darkest and lightest points or sharpen the picture. From the top menu select Image, then select Adjustments, then select Levels, or if you are a ctrl key fan click 'ctrl l'. The histogram appears; the sliders at the bottom control brightness and contrast while the sliders above control tonal values. I said we were going to keep it simple so let's use the sliders at the top. They appear as 3 small triangles. Start to play with them. Move them left to right and right to left while watching the changes you are making to the photograph. When you are satisfied the picture appears optimized click OK. Budda boom, you're done. How long did that take?

That was really easy and effective. If you feel adventurous repeat the process above. This time when the levels menu appears double click on the eyedropper and target your tonal areas.

Here's a couple of helpful tips while working with Adobe Photoshop:

  • Click the 'tab key' to clear all tool bars.
  • To save an image for the web click 'cntrl, shift, alt, S'
  • Learn how to use the 'automate' feature and save valuable time.
About the Author Robert is an online leader in graphic design and print. Online since 1999, Robert has spearheaded the success of by providing the finest online graphic design system on the web

Call Of The Wild Photo Comments:

Adobe Photoshop was not my first photo editing program. In that "other" program, I had learned to use Curves to make tonal adjustments, so that's what I used (for years!) when I moved up to Photoshop. Then one day, a co-worker showed me how to set the white and black points using Levels. What a revelation! I still use Curves, occasionally, but I use Levels on every photo I process. -Anita