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Learn how to restore an image after adjusting Levels in this Adobe Photoshop CS2 Advanced training video.
Tags:adjusting,adobe,adobe photoshop,adobe photoshop cs2,image,level,levels,macromedia,restore,total training
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Now if you know anything about working with destructive commands inside of Photoshop, that is, applying flat color adjustments like this here, or applying paint stokes or applying filters or any other destructive modifications, the last thing you want to do is apply the same command multiple times in a row and yet that's exactly what we are going to do.
Again, by way of demonstration, I am going to go Image>Adjustments>Levels and I am going to do another ridiculous output levels modification here, so we are just left with nothing inside this image. I am now saying that the lightest value inside this image is 126 where 0 was concerned. So in other words, what would have been shadows are becoming 126? So I am just scrunching, scrunching, scrunching the colors inside this image and I am going to click OK once again. So I have just obliterated this image.
Now if I were an 8 Bit/Channel mode, the only way to get back all the colors inside this image would be to go ahead and choose the Undo command or back step inside the History Palette in order to regain the original colors inside the image. I could also revert the image. But I would not be able to just use the Levels command to get those colors back; however, because I am in the 16 Bit/Channel mode, I can.
Now let me just show. I will just go ahead and convert this image now back to the 8 Bit/Channel mode. I will go to the Mode Menu and I will choose 8 Bit/Channel or I could press Shift+F3 with my keyboard shortcut there. Now I will press Command+L or Ctrl+L on a PC and I will expand the dynamic range once again by affecting the Input Levels value. Look how narrow my histogram is, it's down to about two colors here at this point.
So I will make the first Input Levels value very, very dark, so I can get my shadows back. I will make the last Input Levels value very, very light, so I can get my highlights back. Look how wretched this look, my image is just shot. Then I will go ahead and click OK. I don't have anything there anymore, I messed up my image for good. My only option really is to go to the File Menu and choose the Revert command in order to get my original colors back. Check this out, I will go ahead and undo that latest modification. I will actually press Command+Option+Z or Ctrl+Alt+Z in order to back step a couple of times here, so I get back to the 16 Bit/Channel mode.
Now I will go up to the Image Menu, I will choose Adjustments, and I will choose Levels, or I can press Command+L, of course. I am going to expand the color range once again to a much larger range. That doesn't look like it's doing me any good in the background here, but the previews from the Levels dialog box inside the 16 Bit/Channel mode can be deceptive. So just go ahead and click OK. I am pretty sure I did the right thing here, 131, 136, looks good to me. I will click OK and I did get back some of the colors inside the image. Look at that, we can now make out the image.
I didn't go far enough though, so I will just go ahead and choose the Levels command again. So I will press Command+L or Ctrl+L on a PC, I will bring up my black value here. So I am saying anything that's of Brightness value of 109 or darker becomes black. Anything that's of Brightness value of 127 or lighter becomes white. Now look at that image. It looks like there is terrible banding going on, all kinds of posterization going on. That's why I say the preview inside the 16 Bit/Channel mode can be deceptive when you are inside the Levels dialog box, you won't know for sure until you clicked OK and look how smooth that is.
So you would never do such a thing. I actually have lost some colors inside the image because I went so overboard. You would never do such a thing but it's amazing what 16 Bits/Channel can retain inside of the image, how much protection it affords you. So, the moral of the story is, if you can get away with murder like this inside 16 Bit/Channel mode, then when you are applying more deliberate adjustments to an image, you can rest assure that your image will not be destroyed in the process.