An image.

There are several components in this window:

• In the upper-left corner, you'll find thumbnail images of your original image paired with a preview with the changes you've made applied. As you apply corrections, the Current Pick thumbnail will change.

• Immediately underneath is another panel with the current pick surrounded by six different versions, each biased toward a different color: green, yellow, red, magenta, blue, and cyan. These show what your current pick would look like with that type of correction added. You can click on any of them to apply that correction to the current pick.

• To the right of this ring around is a panel with three sample images: the current pick in the center with a lighter version above and a darker version below.

• In the upper-right corner of this window is a group of controls that modify how the other samples are displayed. I'll describe these controls shortly.

3. If the Midtone button is not depressed, click on it. You also want the pointer in the Fine. . .Coarse scale to

This documentiscreatedwith trial versionofCHM2PDFPilot 2.16.100.-pose of each of these controls is as follows:

• The radio buttons determine whether the correction options are applied to the shadows, midtones, or highlights of the image, or only to saturation characteristics. You may make adjustments for each of these separately.

• The Fine. . .Coarse scale determines the increment used for each of the variations displayed in the two lower panels. If you select a finer increment, the differences between the current pick and each of the options will be much smaller. A coarser increment will provide much grosser changes with each variation. You may need these to correct an original that is badly off-color. Since fine increments are difficult to detect on-screen, and coarse increments are often too drastic for tight control, I recommend keeping the pointer in the center of the scale.

• The Show Clipping box tells the program to show you in neon colors which areas will be converted to pure white or pure black if you apply a particular adjustment to highlight or shadow areas (midtones aren't clipped).

• You may load or save the adjustments you've made in a session so they can be applied to the image at any later time. You can use this option to create a file of settings that can be used with several similarly balanced images, thereby correcting all of them efficiently.

4. Our image is too cyan so the More Red thumbnail will look better. Click on it to apply that correction to the current pick. In fact, we needed to click twice, since the original image is very cyan.

5. The image is also too light. Click on the Darker thumbnail.

6. Click on the OK button in the upper right of the dialog box when finished.

In this example, we worked only with the midtones. In most cases, the shadows, midtones, and highlights will need roughly the same amount of correction. In others, though, the shadows or highlights may have picked up a color cast of their own (say, reflected from an object off-camera). Variations lets you correct these separately if you need to.

More often, though, you'll use the Shadow-Midtone-Highlights option to improve the appearance of images that have too-dark shadows or washed-out highlights. Where any image editor's Brightness/Contrast controls generally affect all the colors equally, this procedure lets you lighten shadows (bringing out more detail) or darken highlights (keeping them from becoming washed out) without affecting other portions of the image. The technique also lets you avoid nasty histograms and gamma curves.

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