Making Over Contrast in an Image

The Levels and Curves dialog boxes can be used to give the contrast of an image a dramatic makeover. Here's how:

1 Open, the Trees_Reflection.tif image.

You can download this image from the Web site associated with this book.

Note the very low contrast in this image. Low contrast per se doesn't make for a bad image — in fact, it's right for the image's original mood. But what happens if we make over this image with a higher-contrast look?

2 Choose ImageoDuplicate to make a duplicate copy.

The original image had a nice feel to it, so we don't want to lose that forever. Worth repeating: Always work on a copy.

3 Choose the Eyedropper tool from the toolbox and set its sample size to 3 by 3 Average in the Eyedropper tool's Options bar.

You'll again want to use the Eyedropper tool to sample color values.

4 Choose ImageoAdjustmentso Levels, to call up the Levels dialog box and then Choose Windows': Info to bring up the Info palette.

Note that the Shadow slider in the Levels dialog box is set way to the left of the actual shadow data in the histogram. This setting shows why the image has such low contrast.

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