Hello there! It’s Tuesday, so I’m back to gatecrash the blog again! This week, it’s all about Auto Tone!
So, I’ve been asked this question twice, which therefore automatically merits a blog post about it. Trust me, that’s how that works. ;)
‘What is Auto Tone?’
Well! First of all, what does it do? Photoshop’s Auto Tone (along with Auto Contrast and Auto Color; all found under the Image menu) can instantly fix colour and contrast problems in your images. The click of a button sends the Photoshop algorithms into action, the whole image is assessed, and from that assessment, Photoshop applies what it has determined is “right” for the image. What’s happening, in reality, is that all that work you did with the Exposure, Contrast, Shadows, Highlights, Whites, and Blacks sliders, along with the White Balance you decided upon, are all being looked at and adjusted again right after you adjusted them. That image you worked hard on and made pinpoint adjustments on is being changed and what you thought was best, Photoshop perhaps didn’t! It’s essentially a fight between what is popular and what is right, so here’s what it’s actually doing: –
Auto Tone samples the entire image and assesses the colour values individually. It goes into the Red layer, sets the darkest pixel as black, sets the lightest pixel as white, and redistributes all the other values in between the two. It then does the same for the Green layer, then finally for the Blue layer. Each colour has been dealt with alone, and the result is a combination of the three. Each now has its contrast adjusted, essentially, and the result when you’ve changed each of these layers and combined them can often be quite dramatic because we now have a totally different combination of colours.
For the sake of perspective, and for not leaving them out, here’s how Auto Contrast and Auto Color work, too: –
Auto Contrast samples the three colour values combined rather than splitting them apart, still adjusting the darkest pixel and lightest pixel, and still redistributing a bit in between. The result should, hopefully, be that any colours that needed a little extra punch now have it.
Auto Color starts off the same as Auto Tone in that it splits up the colours and sets the darkest pixel to black and the lightest pixel to white, but rather than redistributing that remainder, it makes an attempt at getting the colours right rather than just spreading it all out. What it does, instead of redistributing the colours, is it neutralises the midtones a little to correct any unwanted colour cast and emphasises that boost in contrast.
So now that we know that, we can further understand why I said, “it’s a fight between what is popular and what is right.” Take a look at what’s popular. It often has crushed tones, blacks that aren’t black, or a range of contrast so slim that in terms of “picture perfection,” it won’t be winning any contests. However, in terms of popularity, it’s scored #1. Here’s an example: –
This is a shot of mine taken practically from the hip. I was in Santa Monica with Peter Treadway and Stephanie Richer, just as the sun was dipping down, when I quickly snapped the palm trees (a rarity for me) in silhouette. The first shot is how I set the sliders, setting the image for myself at what I deemed to be pleasing and the more “popular” edit.
This second one is what happened to the image when I hit Auto Tone (Mac: CMD+SHIFT+L; Windows: CTRL+SHIFT+L, if you’re interested).
Now, I like my edit, obviously. But, what has happened with Auto Tone isn’t wrong, it’s actually a far better representation of what should be going on there in terms of the colours and tones present at that time on that day. Here are the two intermingled for a good comparison: –
So, the conclusion is this: I’ve explained Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color, so hopefully you understand them if you didn’t before. It’s often seen as a bit of a cop-out button, purely because it has the word “Auto” in it, suggesting that the creative flow is taken away from the creative, but it’s actually a metric ton of useful because of this: –
Set everything up the way you want it, then hit Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, Auto Color, or all three, and check out the result. What you actually end up with should be a considered version taking all you’ve seen into account, knowing what’s popular and what’s right! That’s my tip, you can have that for your back pocket, and I hope you all have a great week!
If you’ve been to the Photoshop World Conference, you probably recognize Adobe VP Winston Hendrickson from the many times he’s delivered Adobe’s opening keynote presentation to kick off the conference. That’s Winston above during the keynote in 2013, but even if you didn’t recognize him, you’ve felt his input, his influence, and his vision every time you launched Photoshop or Lightroom.
Winston was Adobe’s Vice President of Engineering for Photoshop and Lightroom, and he was the perfect person to be in that role because he used and loved those programs as much as we do. He was a brilliant sports photographer — a far better one than I’ll ever be — and he used Lightroom and Photoshop every day for his photography work. He was a true champion of the end user because he actually was an end user. He “got” us in a way I’ll bet few execs in America today could ever do.
He would fight for the new features, and improvements and speed boosts — the same ones we all wanted, and his drive, and his team, have made so many of those requests a reality over the years. I loved that when we sat down and talked about things that needed to be added or addressed or fixed in Photoshop or Lightroom, he didn’t defend them; he didn’t excuse them — instead he set out to fix them or to add them, and he had the power and will to do it, and the team that could make it happen. He was the kind of guy you wanted behind such important products, and him being in that role really made a difference.
I was heartbroken to learn this weekend that after waging such a brave battle against an incredibly tough form of cancer, he passed away. He faced that fight with an attitude, strength, courage, and sense of humor throughout that was truly inspiring to everyone around him. His passing caught us all by surprise because his on-going coverage and witty writing style (on his CaringBridge blog) made you feel certain that any day this would be behind him, and he’d be back on the sidelines at a Falcons game, or up on stage at a Photoshop World. My heart sank when I read the news. One of my heroes at Adobe, and one of my dear friends and sidelines buddy was gone. He’s younger than me and gone far, far too soon.
I could tell you so many stories about what an awesome person Winston was. How he stayed up crazy late on the phone giving me advice when I really needed it, or how we’d talk for hours about football gear and settings and lenses (and how I tried to tell him how much he’d regret hand-holding a 200-400mm for an entire NFL game). I could tell you great stories about how he genuinely looked out for Adobe customers, how he even looked out for friends and colleagues, and how much he loved his wife and family, and how proud he was of his daughter’s softball skills and how much he loved traveling with her team.
Anyone who knew him could tell you how humble, funny, laid back, and down to earth, he was. He could make anybody feel comfortable around him, and if you met him for five minutes, you felt like you had known him forever. No pretense. Not an ounce of “bragging” in him. When you were with him, you lost all sense that you were with one of the top minds in our industry. He was just “one of the guys,” and I loved that about him. I could fill pages with stories about him, and our times together, but instead, as a tribute to Winston, I’d like to share a very special story. It’s about what Winston told me was one of the greatest days of his life, and I was blessed to be a small part of it, and watch it all unfold.
Our story starts in Atlanta A few years back, at a Photoshop World Conference in Atlanta, some friends of mine from the Atlanta Falcons NFL team were at the conference, and I had told them what a lights-out sport shooter Winston was (thanks to his many years of shooting his daughter’s college softball team. His timing and technique were pro level). Well, I got the opportunity to introduce them at the conference, and my friend Michael Benford (Creative Director of the Falcons, seen next to Winston in the shot above) invited Winston to come shoot a Falcons NFL game on the sidelines.
Well, he was thrilled at the opportunity, and he also made the most of it — shooting like a pro and garnering an open invitation to shoot for the Falcons any time, and sure enough, he wound up covering a number of games for them, in Atlanta and on the road, too.
When we’d be shooting a Falcons game together, in-between plays we’d talk about big picture Photoshop and Lightroom stuff, and I was always bending his ear about feature requests, or things our members would like to see added under the hood, and we’d wind up just talking about everything from cameras to cars, too. We laughed a lot, shot a lot of pictures, but when he shared his Picks after the shoot, I was always amazed at his timing and how many “keepers” he got during the game. He nailed a lot of shots I totally missed. Winston was really talented, and he could have been shooting on assignment for any sports wire service, newspaper, or magazine. He was that good.
I learned something about Winston I never knew One night over dinner, this Californian revealed something I never knew — he had been a lifelong Dolphins fan. I think saying “fan” is underplaying it a bit. He was a raging Dolphins fanatic! Despite not being from Miami, or even Florida, the Dolphins were the team he grew up following and loving, and he knew every player, every stat, and every piece of trivia from the Dolphins famous 1972 miracle undefeated season. Well, as luck would have it, my buddy Rob Foldy shoots for the Dolphins, and he had invited me to come down sometime and shoot a game with the Dolphins photo crew (Surf, Jon, Brandon, and Jeff). After dinner I called Rob and asked if there was any way that Winston could join me for that sideline shoot. After a few calls, Rob got it approved (Rob already knew Winston from meeting him at a few Bucs games he covered for the Falcons down here in Tampa, so he was already “buds” with Winston, and more than happy to make it all happen).
Game Day in Miami The night before, Winston treated Rob, the Dolphins photo crew, and me to a wonderful dinner near the stadium and we basically closed the place – staying up late talking football and photography, until they nearly threw us out. Winston was super psyched (to say the least), and the great guys on the Dolphins crew were nearly as excited to see someone so tickled about this opportunity. Just one of those great nights you don’t forget, but this was only the beginning.
We got to the stadium early Winston couldn’t even make it from the parking lot to the stadium without stopping every 50 yards to get another picture of Hard Rock Stadium. He was all grins, and we kept busting his chops as sports guys are known to do when one of the guys can’t stop smiling from ear to ear. We get inside the stadium, and the Dolphin’s guys and Rob give us a tour of the newly renovated stadium (and it was pretty sweet). We’re getting a tour of one of the VIP clubs (which this early before the game, was practically empty) when up steps Dolphins Hall of Famer, Larry Little to welcome us (and yes, he was wearing his Hall of Fame jacket). Winston recognized him immediately, and the two stood there sharing stories for 20 solid minutes. Larry was so gracious and kind, and funny, and I think if we hadn’t dragged Winston away, we probably would have missed kick off. As we were finally walking away, Winston looks over at me, and says, “I can’t believe I just met Larry Little. I can’t believe it! He was so nice! I can’t believe what just happened!” He was on cloud nine.
It was a perfect day — perfect weather — we’re at the stadium nice and early, and he just met one of his childhood heroes. It can’t get better than this, right? ;-)
A Field of Dreams Winston, Rob and I headed up high into the stands to take some shots of the still empty stadium from up high (that’s one of Winston’s shots above). Then we headed down to the field as soon as some of the Dolphin’s players started to take the field for warmups. After a few minutes, the stadium is open; fans are starting to stream in, and they’re cranking the music down on the field. There’s a buzz — an electricity in the air, and there’s Winston, in the middle of “Dolphin-land” and he looks like a kid in a candy store. Huge grin; he’s taking some shots of the Dolphins warming up, and one of the Dolphin’s photo crew comes up; taps Winston on the shoulder and says, “Want to take a photo with the coach?”
We turn around, and behind us, just a few feet away on the sidelines, sitting in a golf cart is the one and only Don Shula – the legendary Dolphin’s Coach — and yes, the coach of that miracle 1972 Dolphin’s team. Winston was speechless (for about two seconds) as they walked him over to meet “The Coach” and Winston and Don chatted for a few minutes about the old team, and today’s game, and then I got this photo of them together. This was truly a magic moment, and I was just thrilled to be there to see it.
When they parted, and Winston walked back over to me, he laughed and said, “I just met Don Shula.” Then he stood there with the biggest smile. I don’t think even for a second that Winston thought he might meet Shula in person, but he did, on the sidelines of a Dolphin’s game he was getting to shoot. It doesn’t get better than that! Actually, it does.
While Winston is still reeling from meeting Shula, one of the guys comes up again and says, ‘Hey, want to meet Dan Marino? He’s right here.” Winston turns around, and there is Marino — Dolphin’s Hall of Famer QB and another of Winston’s heroes. That look on Winston’s face says it all.
Dolphins game time Before you knew it, it was game time. We covered the player intros (through the smoke and fire), and then it was kickoff, and we all went to our different positions on the field and started shooting. Because it was “that kind of day” for Winston, of course, the Dolphins won. Winston once again shot “lights out,” and he shared his Picks from the game over at his SmugMug page. I captured a few for you below so you can get a sense of what a talented shooter he truly was, and why teams were so happy to have him shooting for them on their sidelines.
I knew Winston would want a few pics of him shooting on a day like this, so in between plays I’d grab a shot or two, and I wanted to share them with you here (below).
After the game, as we’re packing up, and he can’t stop grinning from ear to ear, I asked him “So, how was your day.” He just laughed, “It was OK.” As we’re walking out to the car, he thanked me again and again for helping him get this opportunity, and he said, without a doubt, it was absolutely one of the best days of his life. I know a lot of people say something like that, but in this case, I believed him. However, I was just blessed to be there and to have seen it happen, but it was Rob Foldy and the gracious crew of the Dolphins that truly brought Winston such a magical day.
I will always miss Winston. He was just one hell of a guy. A friend and mentor — immensely talented and humble to a fault. You can ask anybody who knew him, inside Adobe or on the sidelines — he was a Hall of Famer in his own right. He was one of the greats.
It’s my annual tradition to kick off the New Year with a look back at the best posts of the previous year.
Today we’re honoring my picks for “Best Guest Posts of 2017”
2017 was a stellar year for Guest bloggers. I thought 2016 was incredible, but I think 2017 actually took it up a big notch, and the follow guests shared so much wisdom; so many great images; and they informed and inspired us at a level that was really something special.
Here are my picks for “The Best Guest Blog Posts of 2017” (in no particular order):
She answered one of her most-asked questions; which lenses does she use in her newborn, child and family photography, but she did it in such a wonderful way, with such beautiful examples, that just calling it a post about lenses does it a disservice. In short; she rocked it! Read it right here.
Steve Brazill Steve’s an awesome concert photographer, but his post about “The Heart of Photography” is something every photographer should read. This is really good stuff. Read it here.
Jeremy Cowart Every year Jeremy delivers one of the best guest posts. Every year. This is no different, but his post is, and it’s a very eye-opening look into commercial photography – one I have read anywhere else. It’s funny and sad, but real and so worthwhile. Read it here.
Matthew Simmons His post A Loose Collection Of Thoughts From An Emerging Photographer is much more than that. Read it here.
Wayne Johns Great insights, stunning images, and there’s inspiration and wisdom around every corner in this post. So well done. Read it here.
Kaylee Greer I think she had the most comments of any guest post of the year (again, and with good reason. It’s a brilliant story, packed with fantastic images wrapped in a story of how important personal projects can be, and the doors they can open. This is an awesome post! Read it here.
Justin Van Leeuwen This is a personal project story with a twist. One that will bring a tear to your eye, and totally make your day. Great photos, and so well written. Read it here.
Rob’s post was freakin’ awesome – it’s called “10 Years of Lightroom Help Desk Advice” and his post should go in the Lightroom training Hall of Fame (if there was such a thing, and maybe there should be, but until then, there’s this). Read it here.
Pratik Naik His post “The Hidden Blessing and Stigma of Failing” is another one that goes into the “a must read for every photographer.” This should be required reading in business school. Heck, it should be required reading in high school. Very well done (and of course, superbly retouched images). Read it here.
Chip Litherland I’ve been a fan of Chip’s work for many years, and his graphic style and strong colors always pull me in, but his post “10 Ways to Help Clients Find You” is incredibly well written, and worth its weight in gold (if it weighed a whole bunch more). So well done, and wonderful images as always. Read it here.
Dave Black One of my all time heroes of sports photography answers viewers questions about his portfolio and Instagram images. It doesn’t get much better than that! Really good stuff! Read it here.
Gavin Hoey His post, “Small Studio, Big Potential” has the ability to change the way you feel about having your own in-home studio. A really great, practical, fun post from top to bottom. You’ll learn a lot. Read it here.
Austin Burke Austin goes beyond the camera and lenses to share what’s in his “little black bag” for making professional food imagery. This is the stuff you don’t read about, but it’s the stuff that makes a big difference. This is awesome! Read it here.
Moose Peterson Moose is another guest who winds up in the “best of” category each year, and his post this year is truly one of the inspirational pieces of the year. Incredible images, and such good advice – advice that goes beyond just photography. Read it here. You’ll be glad you did.
There’s an incredible amount of knowledge, passion, inspiration and soul shared in these posts. I’m so grateful to all the photographers and Photoshop experts who shared their thoughts, teaching and ideas through my blog, and of course big thanks and high-five to the awesome Brad Moore for wrangling, managing and producing them all. It’s a lot of work, and he runs it all like a boss.
Hope you enjoyed this look back. On Friday we’ll be looking at the best images of the year — hope you’ll join me for that.
You see this technique a lot in graphics on Twitter and on Facebook — it’s where you create an image and place it so it looks like its inside an iPhone or iPad screen (or any screen for that matter – laptop, TV, you name it). What’s nice about this is: you keep the proper perspective and you learn a quick screen reflection trick, too. Plus I share a few really helpful keyboard shortcuts a long the way. Check it out below.
Hope you found that helpful.
Next week’s blogging schedule: Scroll down to the next post for the all-important news about my holiday blogging schedule, and how it will turn your life upside down (hey, it could happen). ;-)
Here’s wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas, and my best wishes for a safe, happy and healthy 2018. :)
All my best,
P.S.Thanks for reading all my P.S.’s this year. :)
Hi, gang. I was inspired to do this trick after I saw it used yesterday by B&H Photo in a graphic for a lens they were tweeting about. As soon as I saw it, I thought, “Hey, I’ve been teaching that technique for years” and then I realized, it’s probably been too many years. LOL!! Anyway, here ya go (there’s lot of little mini-tricks within this tutorial — everything from how to get the original drop shadow back, and a reflection effect, and more. In short; there’s more there than just faking a studio lighting look).
Hope you found that helpful.
Can you learn Photoshop in just one hour? Yes. How do I know? Because people are ready doing it, and they’re loving it! I have a brand new course called “Learn Photoshop in One Hour” and it’s one of my highest-rated courses of the year. People are raving about it (even people who already know Photoshop are giving it love). So, if you’ve got an hour, you can learn Photoshop and change your world. Check out the official course trailer below. It’s just 49-seconds.
Got a quick and easy Photoshop tutorial, that also works in Lightroom, and it’s how to get rid of those nasty purple, magenta, or green color fringe that appears around the edges of object in your image (this problem is a common lens issue called Chromatic Aberration). Here’s how to fix it quick and easy.
Hope you found that helpful. :)
Tomorrow Night You’re Invited to an “Artist’s Talk” with one incredible photographer: Stephen Wallace He’s the latest winner to have his own solo show at “The Gallery at KelbyOne” (here’s more info on the gallery). Well, after Stephen’s wine and cheese reception tomorrow night, we’ll be going into our theater for an intimate chat about Stephen’s work, his life as a physician/attorney, and his techniques, and you’re invited. His travel photography is pretty amazing — really that next-level stuff, and you will love getting a chance to see his hear, and hear his story.
Who: Photographer Stephen Wallace and host Larry Becker What: A chat with the photographer about his images Where:Here’s the link to watch it live online (it’s free and open to everyone) When: Tomorrow, Saturday December 9th, 2017 at 8:00 PM ET Why: To take someone from our KelbyOne community and share their wonderful work with a worldwide audience
NOTE:If you’re a KelbyOne member and would like to join us in person for the free wine/cheese reception tomorrow night at 7PM at our headquarters just outside Tampa, Florida, click here to grab one of the last remaining spots, and then I’ll see you tomorrow night.