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Q1:What is Dynamic Range?
A1: Dynamic Range is a term used to describe the tones in an image—the range of tones from shadows through highlights.
Q2:What is Equalize?
A2: Equalize (found under Image>Adjustments) is an automatic function that redistributes all the pixels in an attempt to give a wider range of brightness values. There are no settings; the command just makes an adjustment based on the existing pixels. This means that sometimes there will be an improvement, while other times you may find the image looks worse than when you started.
Q3:What is Levels compared with Brightness/Contrast?
A3: Levels is a more advanced correction tool for a number of reasons, but mostly because it includes a histogram. The histogram provides a graphic representation of all the pixels in the image and can help determine what kind of adjustment needs to be made. On the other hand, Brightness/Contrast adjusts every pixel and can cause detail to be lost (both are found under Image>Adjustments).
Q4:How do I use Levels?

A4: Take advantage of the histogram to get some feedback on your image and make adjustments accordingly. Press Command-L (PC: Control-L) and in the dialog, if the chart does not extend all the way to the left end (shadows), then you can move the black Input Levels slider to the right until it matches up with the “start” of the chart. If the chart does not extend all the way to the right end (highlights), you can move the white Input Levels slider to the left until it lines up where the highlight part of the chart “starts.”
Q5:What is the Variations command?
A5: Variations (under Image>Adjustments) is a visual tool for adjusting an image. You can look at the original image as compared with the Current Pick as you add color, adjust saturation, change brightness, etc. Because there is only visual feedback, this tool is not as good for preparing images for print.
Q6:Should I use the Auto correction commands?
A6: Although there's nothing wrong with using the automatic correction commands (e.g., Auto Levels, Auto Contrast, etc., all found under Image>Adjustments), it's important to know how to use the “manual” controls too, as it's quite common that the automatic commands don't help or you don't like the results.
Q7:Is there a quick way to bring up an adjustment dialog with the last settings I used? I need to make the same adjustment to a series of images. Is there a way to open a command such as Curves or Levels with the same settings I just used?
A7: Hold down Option (PC: Alt) as you choose the command from the Image>Adjustments submenu, or use the appropriate keyboard shortcut with Option (PC: Alt) thrown in. For example, Command-L (PC: Control-L) opens Levels. Use Command-Option-L (PC: Control-Alt-L) to open the dialog with the last-usedsettings already loaded. Note: If you used an adjustment layer, you can also drag-and-drop an adjustment layer onto another document.
Q8:How do I make a smaller grid in the Curves dialog? When I'm using the Curves dialog, I would like to have a smaller grid to work with to adjust the curves. Is that possible?

A8: Yes, hold down Option (PC: Alt), click anywhere on the grid in the dialog, and it will switch to a tighter grid.
Q9:How do I lighten a portion of an image?
A9: You have several options here. The least flexible way would be to use the Dodge tool (O) to lighten areas by “painting.” Make sure you use a large brush and very low Exposure settings. The next best way would be to make a selection using any selection tool, and then use Levels (Command-L [PC: Control-L]). The most flexible way would be to add a Levels adjustment layer by clicking on the Create New Adjustment Layer pop-up menu at the bottom of the Layers palette, and then mask (by painting with black using the Brush tool [B]) the areas you don't want lightened.
Q10:Is it possible to use Dodge and Burn techniques that can be changed later? I find the Dodge and Burn tools useful to improve images, except for one thing—after I have used them, I cannot go back later and change my mind. Is there any way around that?
A10: Here's a method that simulates the Dodge and Burn tools (O), but on a separate layer than can be altered, deleted, etc. Choose New Layer from the Layers palette's flyout menu. In the resulting New Layer dialog, make sure the Mode pop-up menu is set to Overlay and the checkbox that reads “Fill with Overlay-neutral color [50% gray]” is selected. Now use a soft-edged Brush tool (B) or the Brush tool set to Airbrush (not the Dodge and Burn tools) with very low settings for Opacity. Use black paint where you want to burn (darken) and white where you want to dodge (lighten). The advantages of this technique over the Dodge and Burn tools include the ability to go back and make further adjustments, lower the Opacity of the entire layer, or hide or delete the layer.
Q11:Can I save my settings for Shadow/Highlight? I find that I usually lower the setting in Shadow/Highlight from 50% to around 30%. Is it possible to save that to make it my default setting?

A11: Here's how to change the default settings: Turn on the Show More Options checkbox and many more options will be displayed. At the bottom of the dialog there's a Save As Defaults button—click that button once you have the settings the way you want for your defaults.



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