Photoshop Tutorial – Tonal Range, Levels and Curves
This video is available Free for Everyone.
Running Time: 10 minutes
This is an Adobe Photoshop Video tutorial that explains Tonal Range, and the difference between Levels and Curves. While each of these topics is technically different, they each work with the same basic principals, so I thought it would be helpful to understand them, if I covered them all at the same time. Before you seriously get started working with RAW Files, you need to understand Tonal Range, and how the different Sliders affect different aspects of the image.
Between Absolute Black, and Absolute White, are shades of Grey. 8-Bit images have 256 Shades of Grey, and 16-Bit images have 65,536 Shades of Grey. The Tonal Range of an image is comprised of Absolute Black, all the shades of grey, to the Absolute White.
The combined Tonal Range of an RGB 8-Bit image, is 256 x 256 x 256 which is 16.7 Million Colors.
The combined Tonal Range of an RGB 16-Bit image, is 65,536 x 65,536 x 65,536 which is Trillions of Colors, conceptually.
To learn more about 8-Bit vs. 16-Bit Depth, follow the link.
In Short, Levels will compress the Tonal Range of an image. By moving the starting points of Absolute Black, and Abosolute White, you will visually create contrast within the image. On the down side, you are clipping off parts of available data. You are effectively throwing away data. Levels are limited to 0 (Black), 1.00 (MidTones), and 255 (White).
To learn more about Levels in detail, follow the link.
While Curves can also be made to create contrast, and still clip off data, it has more flexibility. Rather than being limited to Black, MidTone, and White, you can also alter the 3/4 and 1/4 Tones. In this case, rather than clipping data, we are simply compressing parts of it, and still retaining the Absolute Blacks and Whites.
To learn more about Curves in detail, follow the link.
This Adobe Photoshop Tutorial answers the question: How to use Tonal Range, and the difference between Levels and Curves. If you would like to learn more about Photo Enhancement from a Professional Retoucher, I offer a Photoshop Basic Course, as well as a Photoshop Intermediate Course. Please contact me today, and I will be able to add you to the schedule too. If you would just like to watch online videos, The Art of Retouching Studio offers many Photoshop Tutorials for Beginners and Advanced users.