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TEAM LinG - Live, Informative, Non-cost and Genuine !
Chapter 7
Adjusting Your Picture™s
Brightness, Contrast, and Color
In This Chapter
Improving your photos with a single click
Comprehending the complex Paint Shop Pro dialog boxes
Spot-correcting lighting problems
Adjusting overall lighting issues
Bringing your picture™s colors to life
Fun with colors




W hen William does his own laundry ” which, thankfully, isn™t often ”
the colors in his clothing all run together. Pure white socks become a
dull gray, bright red shirts lighten to a washed-out pink, and we don™t discuss
what happens to his underwear.

But, if you hadn™t seen the way William™s shirts looked originally, you may
not realize that anything was wrong. You may think that his shirt was supposed
to be an ugly pink and that he had chosen to wear gray socks. Eventually,
William™s wife, Gini, would sigh and do his laundry for him, at which point you
would be amazed at how much better William looks when someone compe-
tent cleans him up.

Photos are much like William in that their colors are usually a little off by
default. Although some photos are obviously miscolored, like being too
bright or too murky, almost all pictures benefit visibly from a good color
adjustment. With very little effort, you can make the colors in your picture
“pop” and turn an ordinary photo into a portrait-quality image.

The secrets to brightening your family™s dirty laundry lie within Paint Shop
Pro. Be warned that not all remedies are intuitive. The remedy for what you
may call a brightness problem, for example, may turn out to be something
called lightness, or both lightness and contrast.



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116 Part II: Prettying Up Photographs

Some photographs are tinted a specific hue, where everything is a shade of
sea blue. If that™s the case, we consider the photo to be almost unusable,
which is why we show you how to fix that image in Chapter 6, in the section
about color-correcting photos, which deals with fixing broken photos. After
you have chased the blues away, come on back to see how to improve it even
further.




The One Step Photo Fix
If you™re in a hurry and don™t want to read the rest of this chapter, here™s some
good news: You don™t have to! Paint Shop Pro has a one-click solution that
solves many common color problems, and it™s called the One Step Photo Fix.

On the Photo toolbar, at the top, you should see a drop-down menu that says
Enhance Photo; select it and choose One Step Photo Fix. (If for some reason
you don™t see it, choose View➪Toolbars➪Photo.) Paint Shop Pro then adjusts
your picture™s color, sharpens the image, fixes the contrast and clarifies it,
does an Edge-Preserving Smooth for good measure, and then tops off your
gas tank. (Okay, we™re just kidding about that last one.)

Be warned, however, that the One Step Photo Fix isn™t a universal solution.
For one thing, it doesn™t fix photographs that have obvious flaws, like red eye
and scratches. (To fix those problems, refer to Chapter 6.) Also, sometimes
pictures have specific problem areas, like underexposed shadowy places
underneath a tree or a single wall that™s too bright. To spot-fix problems like
that, you need to use the Backlighting and Fill Flash tools, as shown later in
this chapter.

Lastly, much like baking store-bought chocolate chip cookie dough, the One
Step Photo Fix isn™t quite as good as doing it by hand ” it tends to err on the
light side, which creates slightly washed-out photos. But, if you™re pressed for
time, it can be a lifesaver.

If you don™t like the results of the Photo Fix, read on! Sometimes, you just
have to roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty to create the vibrant picture
that your friends deserve to see.




Understanding the Paint
Shop Pro Dialog Boxes
All the dialog boxes for color adjustments have similar controls, and some-
times they can be confusing. So, it can™t hurt to walk you through it first. The

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Chapter 7: Adjusting Your Picture™s Brightness, Contrast, and Color

Brightness/Contrast dialog box, as shown in Figure 7-1, provides an example.
Note that the slider shown in the figure appears only when you click and hold
down the mouse button on the larger down arrow at the far right end of a
value box.


Click and drag here
Zoom in or out. to move about the image.




Figure 7-1:
Making
William
brighter. The
Brightness/
Contrast
Randomize image.
dialog box
Proof image in main screen.
shows
Always proof image
controls in main screen
typical of all
adjustments.


Value box Slider



Making color adjustments
You have several ways to adjust settings in the dialog boxes:

In adjusting value boxes, you may type a value, click the associated up
and down arrows, click in the value box, and press the up- and down-
arrow keys on the keyboard or click and hold the larger down arrow to
the right of the box and drag the slider that appears.
Some adjustments appear as sliders: Drag sliders to the left or right or
up or down. Dragging varies an associated value (number) that appears
in a text box to the right of each slider. Dragging left or down reduces
that value, and dragging right or up increases it. Alternatively, click a
slider and then press the up- and down-arrow keys on the keyboard to
increase or decrease its value by one.
To give precise values, double-click in the box where the value appears
and type a new value.




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118 Part II: Prettying Up Photographs

To take a chance and see what happens, click the Randomize Parameters
button. Your new settings are chosen at random.
To reset adjustments to their original (default) levels, click the Reset to
Default button (refer to Figure 7-1).

After you make an adjustment, click OK to apply it to your image. Before you
apply it, however, use the proofing or previewing tools that we describe in
the following section.

Changes are rarely final in Paint Shop Pro because you can undo them by
pressing Ctrl+Z or clicking the History palette (see Chapter 18).



Proofing or previewing your adjustments
All the color adjustment dialog boxes let you see the effect of your adjust-
ments in the main image window, a feature called proofing. The change isn™t
permanent until you click the OK button. If you cancel out of the dialog box,
the change doesn™t occur. You have two ways to proof:

Click the Proof button, the one with the eye icon, after every adjustment.
If you find yourself clicking the Proof button too often, try using Auto
Proof. Click the Auto Proof button, the creepy eyeball with a padlock,
as shown in Figure 7-1. Paint Shop Pro now shows the effect of your
changes in the main image window every time you make a change.
For large images, however, you may find this proofing method slow.

The dialog boxes for commands on the Adjust menu also have preview win-
dows that let you see the effect of your adjustments without the long wait
that proofing sometimes entails. Here™s how to preview your changes:

To zoom in or out within the preview windows, click the Zoom In button
(marked with a +) or Zoom Out button (with a “), as shown in Figure 7-1.
To move the image in the preview window so that you can see a new
area, drag the image in either window.
To quickly move to a new area of the image, click the Navigate button, as
shown in Figure 7-1, and keep the mouse button depressed. A small ver-
sion of the entire image is displayed, with a rectangle representing the
preview area. Drag the rectangle to the area you want to preview and
then release the mouse button.

Like most Paint Shop Pro effects, every color adjustment we cover in this
chapter can be applied to a specific area within an image, which allows you




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Chapter 7: Adjusting Your Picture™s Brightness, Contrast, and Color

to lighten a darkened entryway or make Uncle Vania™s shirt color more vibrant.
Here are a few points to keep in mind about that phenomenon:

If you have made a selection, only the selected area is affected by your
adjustments. For a complete rundown on the selection process, check
out Chapter 3.
If you™re using multiple layers in your image, commands on the Adjust
menu affect only the selected layer.
If you™re using multiple layers in your image, consider using an adjust-
ment layer so that you can affect color across multiple layers.
If a feature doesn™t appear to be working, check to see whether you have
selected an area or have made a particular layer active. If you have, the
tool is working only within that selection, or layer, and not necessarily in
the area you™re trying to change. Read all about selections and layers in
Part III.




Correcting Trouble Spots
Quite often, the problem with a picture is that only part of it is wrong, particu-
larly in outside snapshots, when bright sunlight comes into play. A picture
taken entirely in sunshine isn™t a problem ” although when you have some
people sitting in the shade and others standing in the sunshine, digital cam-
eras have to choose between one of the two lighting styles.

Your camera may decide to optimize for the people standing in the sun ” in
which case the sun people look normal and the folks in the shade are lost in
shadow. Or, your camera may highlight the people in the shade, in which
case the folks standing in the sun look overly white and washed out.

If this happens, Paint Shop Pro has two tools to correct these common
errors: the Backlighting Filter and the Fill Flash Filter.

Despite the fact that the Fill Flash Filter and the Backlighting Filter do largely
opposite things, nothing is stopping you from using both of them on the same
image. That trick works better than you may think.



Shedding light on shadows
Technically speaking, when a picture has an area that™s too murky to see
because it didn™t get enough light, that phenomenon is called underexposure.
To correct the underexposed segments of your photo, choose Adjust➪Photo
Fix➪Fill Flash. The Fill Flash Filter dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 7-2.


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120 Part II: Prettying Up Photographs




Figure 7-2:
The interior
of William™s
garage is
too dark in
this picture,
but Fill Flash
helps to
illuminate
things.



The Fill Flash filter attempts to re-create your image as though it had been
taken with a stronger flash bulb. Appropriately, it has one setting: Strength.
A larger strength setting means that the shadowy portions of your picture are
more visible, although it has a hidden cost: The rest of your image is bright-
ened, sometimes resulting in artificially bright colors outside the underex-
posed area.

You can select a specific area of your image ” in Figure 7-2, the garage inte-
rior would be a good bet ” and have the Fill Flash filter apply its artificial
flashbulb to only that portion of your picture. For details on how to select the
right parts, refer to Chapter 3.

Preview your image with the Proof button. If everything looks all right,
click OK.



Reducing glare and overexposure
Sometimes, a flash reflects off a white wall and pours too much light into
the room. When that happens, not only is everyone way paler than they need
to be, but you also have pools of glare (also known as ugly white smears)
everywhere.

To help you compensate for this lighting overload, Paint Shop Pro offers the
Backlighting Filter, as shown in Figure 7-3. The Backlighting Filter attempts to
even out the amount of light in the photo and usually darkens it.

Like the Fill Flash Filter, the Backlighting Filter has one setting: Strength. Higher
strength values reduce the glare and also make your image darker and more
shadowed. Experiment to find the value that works for you, and then click OK.



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Chapter 7: Adjusting Your Picture™s Brightness, Contrast, and Color


Figure 7-3:
The room is
amazingly
white,
thanks to
the flash
bouncing off
William™s
thumb,
although the
Backlighting
Filter should
help the
image.



If someone™s skin has glare spots so white that they don™t even show up as
skin colored, the best the Backlighting Filter can do is make that skin an
unhealthy charcoal gray. In that case, you may want to use the Smudge Tool
or the Clone Brush to copy a healthy skin color into the glare spot. Chapter 8
shows you how.




Correcting Lighting Color
Despite automatic flashes, lighting is still one of the prime photographic prob-
lems. Your flash fails to go off, the room is lit by incandescent or fluorescent
light, the sunset casts an orange light, the forest reflects green, or the swim-
ming pool reflects blue. Many of these problems go away almost magically
with the Paint Shop Pro Automatic Color Balance effect.

Choose Adjust➪Color Balance➪Automatic Color Balance. The Automatic
Color Balance dialog box makes the scene (refer to Figure 7-1).

Adjust the slider left or right in the grandiosely named Illuminant Temperature
area, or edit the value in the Temperature text box. Dragging the slider left (to
a lower Temperature value) makes the color of your photo visually warmer,
or more orange. (Yes, lower temperature makes color warmer.) Dragging right
makes the color visually cooler, or bluer. Notice that the Temperature scale is
labeled with various light sources, such as Sunlight; position the slider at a
given label to simulate that light source.

Adjust the Strength value higher for greater effect ” generally, a brighter pic-
ture. Adjust it down for the opposite effect.


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122 Part II: Prettying Up Photographs

You want to check the Remove Color Cast option whenever a picture is pre-
dominantly one color ” for example, when both your wife and the back
porch are tinged ever-so-slightly with green. Paint Shop Pro then analyzes
the image to try to find what the dominant color is and then attempts to
mute that color to bring out the other hues.

This feature works well for subtle color changes ” but, if your spouse is as
blue as a Smurf, you™re better off using the Manual Color Correction tool, as
described in Chapter 6, in the section about color-correcting photos.

The temperature thing is about the illumination term color temperature,
which refers to the temperature of an incandescent light source. A lower-
temperature light source generally gives a warmer (more orange) light. You
can see the effect in a fireplace or barbecue; as the fire dies down, it gives off
a more orange glow.




Bringing Your Picture™s Colors to Life
One problem in showing you how to improve your colors is that unless
you™re a professional photographer, most of the photos you enhance don™t
look that bad to start with. Most people don™t look at the images on their digi-
tal camera and mutter, “Wow, this picture could use more saturation and
increased coloration in the midtones.” But, after you have laundered your
image™s colors, you may be surprised at how much better your pictures look.

To help you understand the problem, the color section of this book has
before-and-after pictures taken of William™s wife, Gini. Go ahead and look.
Notice how the preenhanced picture of Gini isn™t notably awful ” you would
probably just shrug if someone showed it to you ” but the enhanced image
is much more vibrant and alive.

That™s how you want your photos to look.

Sadly, that™s not as simple as saying “Fix the colors.” Color is a catchall term
that describes the three elements of luminance and shade that combine to
create a color™s “look:”

Hue: Hue is the base shade of color, the element that differentiates one
color from another. Hue is the core setting that makes something blue or
red or turquoise.
Paradoxically, hue isn™t that important in the scheme of things. Hue con-
trols only the base color of an object in your image; it doesn™t account for
the two other color-related elements that stack on top of it. Put another




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Chapter 7: Adjusting Your Picture™s Brightness, Contrast, and Color

way, although the essential hue can be “red,” adding more brightness can

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