Using Levels

What You'll Do

Making Color and Tonal Adjustments

You can make color adjustments using the Levels dialog box. This feature lets you make modifications across a tonal range, using the composite color channel or individual channels. The Levels dialog box takes the form of a histogram and displays light and dark color values on a linear scale. The plotted data indicates the total number of pixels for a given tonal value.

There is no "ideal" histogram shape. The image's character and tone determine the shape of the histogram. Some images will be lighter and their histogram will be bunched on the right; some will be darker and their histogram will be bunched on the left. When working in the Levels dialog box, three triangular sliders appear beneath the histogram representing shadows, midtones, and highlights. Three text boxes appear for input levels (one box each for the input shadows, midtones, and highlights). Two text boxes appear for output levels (one for output shadows and one for highlights).

Correcting Shadows and Highlights

You can modify the settings for shadows and highlights independently. By moving the output shadows slider to the right, you can decrease contrast and lighten the image on an individual layer. You can decrease contrast and darken an image by moving the output highlights slider to the left in the Levels dialog box.

In this lesson, you'll use levels to make color adjustments.

FIGURE 9

Levels dialog box and Histogram palette

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