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Levels is a fundamental adjustment, present in all versions of Photoshop. It is used to quickly adjust the contrast and tone of an image.

The inclusion of a Levels-like tool usually sets an image editor in a class above others. Compared to Brightness/Contrast—often the only adjustment available in lesser image editors—Levels offers more precise control over the resulting dynamic range, as well as a way to independently alter the tone of the image.

Though not as realistic or precise as an Exposure adjustment, Levels is a quick way to touch up dim or overblown photos. Like the Curves adjustment, the total number of gray levels may decrease, causing banding at the extreme.

ControlsEdit

Input barEdit

Input black
A black triangle indicating which gray level will be mapped to Output black; all values below this will be clipped.
Input midtone
Also known as gamma, a gray triangle indicating the gray level that will be mapped halfway between Output black and Output white; all other input values will be mapped according to a simple spline curve.
Input white
A white triangle indicating which gray level will be mapped to Output white; all values above this will be clipped.

The input sliders can expand the contrast in an image, while the gamma slider can adjust tone.

Output barEdit

Output black
A black triangle indicating the darkest resulting gray value (up to black).
Output white
A white triangle indicating the lightest resulting gray value (up to white).

The two output sliders serve to constrain the resulting contrast, even permitting all colors to be mapped to a single gray value if so desired.

For most purposes, these sliders can be left alone, unless a particular range of grays should be excluded.

See alsoEdit

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