Photos © 2003 Darryl C. Nicholas, All Rights Reserved
Of all the new tools in Photoshop
CS, the one that I have heard the least about is the Shadow/Highlight
tool. And, yet, for photographers, it is an extremely useful tool. Think
of it as an alternate method for the Curves tool, one that often gives
people trouble. The Shadow/Highlight tool appears to be much easier
to understand and use, while producing a lot (not all) of the same type
of results as the Curves tool.
Notice in #1, the picture has been badly underexposed. Poor Huckleberry
(my daughter's cat) can hardly be seen. In #2 I have gone to Image
to Adjustments to Shadow/Highlight. That will bring up the adjustment
window shown in #3. At the top of the window are the controls for adjusting
the Shadows; Highlights are adjusted in the middle; and there are other
adjustments at the bottom of the window.
In this case, I have pulled
the slider bars to a setting of 70 percent for both the Amount and Tonal
Width. The Radius is set at 30 percent. As you start dragging these slider
bars, you will see immediate results in the picture as long as Preview
is checked. The tool is really very easy to use. Just start dragging the
slider bars back and forth until the picture looks good.
Image #4 shows what Huckleberry looks like after the corrections were
made. This tool is so easy to use. And, it does a great job. No experience
required! Just drag the slider bars back and forth a bit. When things
look good, stop!
The Shadow/Highlight tool works equally well with black and white pictures
that are badly faded. With a faded picture you will use the Highlight
portion of the tool to do most of the work.
Image #5 shows a badly faded
picture. I don't know if it was originally sepia toned or if it
just turned brown with age. In either event, the picture is in pretty
poor condition. The first thing that I did was to convert the picture
to a true Grayscale image. See #6. The brown tones in the original were
produced by years of fading, resulting in uneven, or non-uniform brown
tones. These uneven levels of the color "brown" would be unevenly
restored if I tried using the Shadow/Highlight tool on it. I can always
return the image to a "sepia"-toned picture later if that
is what I want by using the Hue/Saturation tool.
Next, as with the picture of Huckleberry earlier, go to Image to Adjustments
to Shadow/Highlight (see #2). In the adjustment window (#7) I have set
the Shadows slider bars to 55 percent, which is a sort of nominal setting.
The real corrections are performed with the Highlights slider bars. Notice
that I have set them to 51 and 30 percent with the Radius set to 150 percent.
It was also necessary to tweak the Brightness and Midtone Contrast settings
at the bottom of the window. And, just look at the great results in #8.
By easily dragging a few slider bars back and forth you can quickly produce
a full tonal scale black and white picture out of that old, faded original.
Of course, there are lots
of scratches and dirt in the upper right-hand area of the picture that
still need to be cleaned up using regular restoration techniques. But,
the Shadow/Highlight tool has done excellent work with the overall image.
And, it took only seconds!
For more information on digital imaging, you might want to visit my website