Learn to love Lev­els

Mas­ter one of the most pow­er­ful tools in Pho­to­shop and dis­cover how to cor­rect colours and en­hance tones

Digital Camera World - - FOOL SCHOOL -

The Lev­els com­mand has long been one of the most use­ful tonal tools on of­fer in Pho­to­shop. Not only can you use it to lighten or darken an im­age, you can also cor­rect colour casts, in­crease con­trast, fix ex­po­sure, and in­tro­duce colour shifts. It’s worth not­ing that if you shoot in raw, it’s best to make as many tonal ed­its as you can in Cam­era Raw be­fore open­ing the im­age into Pho­to­shop. But if you need to al­ter tones once your im­age is open, Lev­els of­fers a fine de­gree of con­trol.

There are two ways you can ap­ply Lev­els to your photo: ei­ther di­rectly to your pixel layer (Im­age > Ad­just­ments > Lev­els, or Cmd/Ctrl+L), or as an Ad­just­ment Layer (Layer > New Ad­just­ment Layer > Lev­els). The lat­ter gives you more con­trol, as it keeps the ad­just­ment in­de­pen­dent from ev­ery­thing else and ed­itable at any time.

Ad­just­ment Lay­ers work by af­fect­ing all the lay­ers be­low them. This means you can build up the ef­fect over sev­eral lay­ers: we’ve used sep­a­rate Lev­els lay­ers here to cor­rect colours, dodge and burn, and add con­trast.

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