Use Lev­els ad­just­ments in Pho­tos

Ap­ple’s Pho­tos has pow­er­ful tools for mak­ing your pic­tures spec­tac­u­lar. Lesa Snider shows how

Macworld - - Contents -

Pho­tos for Mac sports some se­ri­ously ad­vanced im­age edit­ing con­trols in its Ad­just­ments panel, the most pow­er­ful of which is Lev­els. Amaz­ingly, while a Lev­els ad­just­ment in Pho­to­shop or Pho­to­shop El­e­ments has just three slid­ers, Pho­tos has eight. This gives

you pre­cise con­trol over the bright­ness lev­els of all the tones in your im­age. For ex­am­ple, you can con­trol bright­ness lev­els in just the dark­est shad­ows, just the mid­tones, just the light­est highlights, in the tones that fall be­tween shad­ows and mid­tones, and in the tones that fall be­tween mid­tones and highlights.

To open a Lev­els ad­just­ment for a se­lected im­age, first press the Re­turn key to make sure you’re in Edit mode, then in the list of tools on the right, click Ad­just to open the Ad­just­ments panel. If Lev­els doesn’t ap­pear in the list of Ad­just­ments, click Add at the top right of the list and choose Lev­els from the re­sult­ing menu.

Hover over the Lev­els sec­tion that ap­pears in the list of Ad­just­ments to see the con­trols shown in the im­age be­low. If you click the Auto but­ton, Pho­tos will try its best to im­prove all the bright­ness lev­els in your im­age. If you like what you see, you’re done.

To ad­just the im­age even fur­ther, drag the slid­ers at the bot­tom to the right or left to in­crease or de­crease the bright­ness in each range of tones. To change the range of tones be­ing af­fected by the bot­tom slid­ers, drag the top slid­ers left or right.

When you move the slid­ers, Pho­tos ad­justs the im­age’s tonal val­ues ac­cord­ingly. For ex­am­ple, if you drag the Whites slider left to (an imag­i­nary set­ting of) 85 per­cent, Pho­tos changes all the pix­els that were orig­i­nally 85 per­cent or higher to 100 per­cent (pure white). (Trans­la­tion: They get brighter.) Sim­i­larly, if you move the Blacks slider right to (an imag­i­nary set­ting of) 5 per­cent, Pho­tos dark­ens all the pix­els with a bright­ness level of 5 per­cent or lower to 0 (pure black). Pho­tos also

re­dis­tributes the bright­ness lev­els be­tween 5 per­cent and 85 per­cent, boost­ing the im­age’s over­all con­trast by in­creas­ing its tonal range.

Copy Ad­just­ments onto other images

Whip­ping pic­tures into shape can in­volve a lot of time and slider scoot­ing. If you’ve got a bunch of pic­tures that re­quire the same fixes – for ex­am­ple, they were all shot at the same time with the same light­ing con­di­tions – it would be te­dious to re­peat your ef­forts on ev­ery sin­gle photo.

For­tu­nately, you don’t have to do that. You can sim­ply copy your ad­just­ment set­tings from one photo and paste them onto another. This can be a gi­gan­tic time­saver if you have a slew of images taken un­der the same light­ing con­di­tions.

Ap­ple put a lot of thought into the Copy Ad­just­ments com­mand. Be­cause you only want to copy and paste gen­eral changes – those that af­fect light­ing and colour – that’s all the com­mand does.

In other words, the only stuff that gets copied are the changes you make with the En­hance and Fil­ter tools and the Ad­just­ments panel. Changes you make with the Ro­tate, Crop, Re­touch and Red-Eye tools aren’t in­cluded.

To copy a change from one im­age to another, se­lect your ad­justed im­age (im­age A) and press Re­turn to switch to Edit mode. Then choose Im­age > Copy Ad­just­ments or press Cmd-Alt-C. Then, open the other pic­ture (im­age B) and choose Im­age > Paste Ad­just­ment or press Cmd-Alt-V. When you do, Pho­tos ap­plies the colour and light­ing cor­rec­tions you made to im­age A onto im­age B. (Another way to copy or paste ad­just­ments is to Ctrl-click a photo in Edit mode and choose Copy Ad­just­ments or Paste Ad­just­ments from the menu that ap­pears.)

Un­for­tu­nately, you can only paste changes onto one photo at a time; you can’t se­lect 100 thumb­nails and paste changes onto all of them in one fell swoop. But if you’ve got a bunch of pic­tures to paste ed­its onto, you can speed up the process by open­ing Pho­tos’ thumb­nail browser and us­ing the ar­row keys on your key­board to nav­i­gate through the pic­tures. To see the thumb­nail browser, switch choose View > Show Thumb­nails or press Alt-S. Use the ar­row keys to move from photo to photo and then press Cmd-Alt-V to paste your changes onto each one.

Now that you know how to ad­just bright­ness lev­els in any area of your photo and how to copy ad­just­ments from one photo to many oth­ers, take a break. Breathe. Then come back and ap­ply your new-found ex­per­tise to many pho­tos as you like.

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