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Old May 27, 2005, 12:26 PM   #1
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OK, I have been using PS CS (not the new CS2) for several months now and love it. My question is about using curves to correct color and specifically choosing the midtone. It's pretty easy to pick 'white' or 'black' in most cases, but I often find I hunt around to find a midtone value to sample that produces the color I want. Is there a trick anyone knows for identifying the best spot(s) for selecting midtone sample?

Any help is greatly appreciated.


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Old May 27, 2005, 3:14 PM   #2
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Hi John.

Firstly, a sure fire way of finding the black and white points is to use a Threshold Adjustment Layer.

Click on 'New fill or adjustment layer' at the bottom of the layers palette and select Threshold. Now move the slider all the way to the left and the image should be all white. Slowly nudge the slider back to the right and the first part of your image that appears is the darkest, (shadow). Click OK to close the threshold box, then select the Color Sampler Tool. it's with the eye dropper tool. Click once on the darkest part of the image and now drag the new threshold layer thumbnail and layer mask to the trash. Your pic will return to normal with a 'marker' no.1 where you clicked the darkest point.

Now repeat this procedure but move the slider to the far right and the image will be all black.Move it back slowly to the left, the first part to appear will be the lightest (highlight), part of your image. Again, click OK to lose the threshold box and click on thelightest part, (that first appeared),with the Color Sampler Tool. Once again trash the threshold layer.

Open curves, click the 'set black point' eyedropper and click oncein the center ofthe no.1 target point. Select the 'set white point' eyedropper and click once in the center of no.2 target.

A lot of the time this corrects your image satisfactorily and it can look like nothing more is needed. But to address your original question, (at last :roll, this method cannot be used to find a midtone (gray point).

What you can try is this. Open the Info palette, click and hold on the top left eye dropper and choose 'Total Ink' from the drop down box. Bring up the curves dialog, click on the set gray point (midtone) eyedropper. Now find somewhere in your image that you think is a Midtone (Gray)and not a shadow or highlight, and as you move the eye dropper over your image look at the value in the info palette. (the top left value), try to find somewhere with a total of 128/128%. When you have found 128 or as near as damn it, click on that part of your image to correct the midtones. If you like what you see...great. If not, try again for a midtone area of 128.

I hope this helps

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