Photoshop Autolevels.

Discussion in 'Retouching and Post Processing' started by Andyc, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. Andyc

    Andyc

    853
    Nov 6, 2006
    South Wales UK
    Could anyone give me an explanation for the following?
    Sorry if it's a dumb Newbe question.
    If I take photo's with my D50 set on auto I expect (maybe I am wrong) that the camera will adjust all the settings so that the result is the best you can get in those conditions.
    When I open one of the photo's in photoshop and press the choice "autolevels" the photo changes getting lighter or darker etc.
    So the camera hasn't got the capability to get the best of the conditions and needs a process like photoshop to get the best result?

    Best regards
    Andy
     
  2. Autolevels in PS has nothing to do with what the Auto settings of a camera do.
    Autolevels sets new black and white points individually for each color channel, which can lead to weird results if one channel is under-represented.

    Auto settings of the camera usually concern White Balance, ISO, etc. It cannot do levels on something that is not recorded yet.


    BTW - I never use auto levels because I want control over what is happening to my image. Well, sometimes out of curiosity I do it and meanwhile I can predict what it will do to my image.
    I hardly use anything with the prefix "Auto" at all, except Auto-ISO sometimes.

    Cheers
     
  3. Gale

    Gale

    978
    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    One can always try auto levels. Never know when it "might" work:>))
    Usually not.
    I am with Harry....Auto anything is usually not something I set either.

    I take it you are shooting jpg...
     
  4. Auto levels resets the end points of the histogram for each of the three color channels. This can sometimes lead to unrealistic color balance if one channel is underrepresented in your photograph, as Harry said. Use it with extreme caution (or not at all).
     
  5. Andyc

    Andyc

    853
    Nov 6, 2006
    South Wales UK
    Thanks guys for your responses. Looks like I will ignore the auto buttons and try and get to grips with waves etc.

    Thanks again
    Andy
     
  6. Seneca

    Seneca

    Dec 4, 2006
    Texas!
    Shoot RAW and you can adjust your levels when you post process.
     
  7. Andyc

    Andyc

    853
    Nov 6, 2006
    South Wales UK

    Thanks Seneca. I've never shot raw. I'm not sure of the end result as I've not used Photoshop much. I suppose I have to start sometime though.

    Best regards
    Andy
     
  8. rlacy

    rlacy

    316
    Apr 22, 2007
    San Diego
    I will second the suggestion to shoot raw. This will give you the ultimate flexibiltiy to get your image to look like you want it. It will be non-destructive to your original image and will allow you to adjust exposure, wb, saturation of colors, etc. I think you will enjoy the control this gives you.

    There is nothing like shooting raw and begining to exercise the control you have over this image.

    Best of luck and enjoy!
     
  9. Just to avoid any misconception. Non-destructive means that you can restore an edited RAW file to the original state without loosing information. It does not mean that you can change parameters at will and expect that there will be no deterioration to overall quality (mostly concerns noise).

    Cheers
     
  10. So the camera hasn't got the capability to get the best of the conditions
    Short answer: not always

    and needs a process like photoshop to get the best result?
    Short answer: sometimes

    A digicam typically cannot record the full range of tonal values in
    a scene as the human eye sees it -
    because it's a camera, not a human eye -- lol !!
    BTW, this is nothing new -- film cameras and film can't do this either.
    We can't be disappointed in our cameras
    because they're not real human eyes, right ?? :biggrin:

    So photographers have learned to bring out better tonal values, colours,
    contrasts, saturations and so forth
    by various darkroom techniques (in the "olden" days - j/k :smile:)
    and by various Photoshop techniques these days.

    There's nothing wrong with this - it is simply a matter of how
    You, the Photographer, wish to convey what You saw
    to the Viewer via either an on-screen or a printed image.

    FWIW -- I consider two things mandatory to check
    when processing a digital image:
    (1) Black and White Points Adjustment via Levels Tool
    (2) Midtone Contrast Adjustment via either Levels or Curves Tool

    These two steps frequently improve a photo - especially when it has been taken using auto settings.
    But you gotta read up on how to do these steps judiciously.
    As other posters have pointed out, you can also trash a photo by applying adjustments automatically.

    **** Hope this helps a little !! ****

    BTW, on Nikon digicams the Auto modes do a darned good job under "ordinary" lighting conditions.
    And the D50 is one of the stellar performers in the Nikon lineup for good out-of-camera Auto jpegs.

    If you are a newbie(?), I would suggest making your next step in the
    learning curve to be Program Mode.
    After practice :rolleyes:, you can soon become quite speedy
    at pre-setting your White Balance, Contrast (Tone), Saturation, Sharpening, Hue,
    Metering, Color Space and Exposure Compensations
    to capture the very best view of your photographic subject
    as you see it and as you wish to present it.

    One step at a time - after becoming more comfortable with shooting Program Mode jpegs,
    you might want to try some RAW shooting & editing.
    I only use Photoshop Elements, but all PS apps have quite a nice RAW (NEF) converter plug-in
    so you don't need to buy any expensive software if you already have PS.

    Oops, I see I have rattled on some more - <red face>...better stop now !!

    Cheers -- Andrea B.
    aka "Annedi"
     
  11. Andyc

    Andyc

    853
    Nov 6, 2006
    South Wales UK
    Thanks rlacy,Harry S and annedi.
    Yes I am a newbie trying to get to grips with all that goes on after I have taken the photo. I will do some experimenting in RAW, program mode and Photoshop 6.
    I have lots to learn and am very grateful for all the help I am getting on Nikon Cafe. I hope I don't become too much of a nuisance to the experts here.

    Thanks again,
    Best regards
    Andy
     
  12. Andyc

    Andyc

    853
    Nov 6, 2006
    South Wales UK
    Thanks for the link Peano.

    Andy
     
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