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About Tonal Correction

Tonal correction tends to be one of the least understood (and therefore most intimidating) features of Photoshop Elements. Mention levels and histograms and white points to even seasoned graphics professionals, and you’ll see a number of eyes begin to glaze over. That’s a shame, because there’s really no special magic involved, and once understood, tonal correction can be one of the simplest and most instantly gratifying steps you can take to improving an image.

In plain terms (and whether you’re working with a grayscale or color image) correcting tonal range simply comes down to adjusting brightness and contrast. Photoshop Elements offers several ways to make automatic brightness and contrast adjustments (see “Adjusting Levels Automatically” later in this chapter) but the most precise and intuitive method is by way of the Levels dialog box; and the heart of the Levels dialog box is the histogram.


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