Feb 9, 2005

Adobe Photoshop levels-Turn junk into gold by clicking a button

by: Robert Kennedy
There is no doubt in my mind; Adobe 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: http://www.weprintcolors.com/screens/screen_ps_levels.htm

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 http://www.weprintcolor.com by providing the finest online graphic design system on the web.