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During this hour, we looked at a multitude of ways to adjust an image’s brightness and color, starting with Variations and ending up with a highly customizable way of converting a color photo to a black-and-white one. The Variations dialog is easy to use, enabling you to make seat-of-the pants corrections without worrying about numbers or channels or anything else technical. Other, more specific commands such as Curves and Color Balance give you precise control over every aspect of the brightness and color in your images. You can use the skills you’ve learned in this hour to make your pictures look more like the real world—or to make them look out of this world, with purple skies and orange grass.

The tools and commands covered in this hour will come in handy every time you use Photoshop. Some of them overlap in function; for example, most of the time you can use either Levels or Curves to achieve the same result. So practice, develop your own favorite techniques, and prepare yourself for a quantum leap in the quality of your photos.

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