Understand Levels (MUST KNOW!)

LEARN ALL ABOUT HOW TO USE LEVELS IN PHOTOSHOP! | In this tutorial, I’ll break it down and show you the ins and outs of using Levels in Photoshop. We’ll talk about contrast and brightness as well as changing color with channels and white balance adjustments as well.

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Tutorial Recording Notes:

Disclaimer: these are the actual notes I used to record this video and are written in a language you may or may not understand. Hopefully, you find them useful or cool.

  1. Open the Levels adjustment
  2. Black point handle, white point handle, and the mid tones
  3. Flood the mids with lightness or darkness depending on where you swing this handle
  4. Boost the black point to increase contrast, boost the white point to increase contrast as well
  5. Black point sits at 0, white at 255. This displays the 256 levels in your typical 8-bit image (zero counting as one of the values)
  6. Hold down Alt/Opt to show clipping as you drag either the white/black point. No something I’m a fan of, but nice to know it’s there.
  7. You can also use the Output sliders to boost the black point (fade) or reduce the white point (dull)
  8. You can adjust the white balance of the photo by using the midpoint gray eyedropper and Levels will make that point you selected exactly gray and “correct” any swings of color should there be a color cast in your image. Tread carefully with this, though. Sometimes you’ll accidentally select the wrong spot and it will make your image look like it’s straight out of a biological disaster.
  9. Use the channels drop down to edit the color in these channels
  10. Red/Cyan – Green/Magenta – Blue/Yellow
  11. Input points go: C/R — M/G — Y/B and the output points are: R/C — G/M — B/Y and the midpoint slider of each color channel infuses the color AWAY FROM WHICH you swing the middle point.
  12. It’s a bit to remember, just know that Red/Cyan, Green/Magenta, and Blue/Yellow all exist and play with the sliders until you see what you like.
  13. You can hit “Auto” if you’re in the mood to foul up your image, you can hold down Alt/Opt when you have fouled up your image to activate the “Reset” button to get order restored.
  14. There are some options for this tool in terms of the algorithm that you use when applying an Auto transformation, but I tend to stay away from all that in general. And by “in general” I mean “all the time”
  15. Show the small differences between the destructive Levels effect and the Adjustment Layer’s dialog boxes.