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Learn Photography

Photoshop Elements > Levels >

Color Correction > Channels Method >

1 - Stop Here?

The next section describes how to use channels in a Levels adjustment layer to correct color.

Don't use it!

Why?

With a Levels adjustment layer, when you change one color, you're also changing its complementary color.

For example, if you reduce red, it's complementary color, cyan, will increase.

Wouldn't it be better to adjust one color, and not have that color's complementary color change as well?

If you use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, you can adjust colors individually.

For example, with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, if you adjust red, cyan is not adjusted.

Go to Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Method.

Here are examples showing the advantage of using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer versus a Levels adjustment layer.

Using a Levels Adjustment Layer

Here's a photograph without any color correction.

The sign is red, it's cyan behind the sign, and the awning at the bottom is blue.

q

Original

When cyan is added, the background becomes more cyan.

But, the color of the red sign is muted.

q

Cyan Added,

Red Reduced, Too

Using a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer

If you use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, instead, you're able to change each of the six colors independently.

You can change red, without affecting cyan, for example.

Here's the photograph, again, without any color correction.

q

Original

Below, red was reduced using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.

The cyan background, and blue awning, were not affected.

q

Red Reduced,

No Change in Cyan

Why use a Levels adjustment layer for color correction?

With a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, you can adjust the six colors individually.

If you agree, don't bother reading the next section.

Instead, make color corrections using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.

Go to Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Method.