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Levels equivalent in Lightroom

Community Beginner ,
Oct 27, 2011

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Hi Guys,

does anybody know if ther's a Photoshop Levels equivalent in Lightroom? I really mean a Levels tool, not a curves/simil curves option, but something to set white/black point accurately like in photoshop.

Thanks for your help!

Cristiano

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by ssprengel | Adobe Community Professional

In a word, No. Obviously you can use the WB-eyedropper in LR to function similarly to the graypoint eyedropper in PS, but otherwise:

I use Auto Tone to see where LR wants to set my black-point with the Blacks slider, and you can turn on the dark-clip/white-clip indicator triangles in the histogram to see where things are being pushed beyond the black and white clip-points as you play with the other toning sliders, but because LR is non-destructive and more than one slider can be adjusted to affect the black and white points, there would any number of toning slider values that LR could use to satisfy a black-point-set or white-point-set operation like you can do in PS so it doesn’t try. This is left up to the user. AutoTone is the closest LR has to an operation that sets all values simultaneously, but you cannot choose what portions of the picture to use to do this nor know exactly what it is doing.

If you are talking about using the black and white-point eyedroppers to set the color-balance at the low and high ends, then I have often wanted a way to set the split-toning sliders via eyedroppers, which is almost impossible to do, now.

Back when ACR was the only game in town, a suggested procedure for setting toning sliders was to set the blacks slider to determine your black-point, then set the exposure slider to determine your white-clipping and then use the brightness and contrast sliders to affect more the midtones, although they also will push things beyond the black and white clipping points. One thing that makes this suggested procedure more difficult in LR is that the histogram in ACR is determined by the output colorspace you have set and the shipping indicators match what the output will be, but in LR the histogram reflects the internal working colorspace of LR, so something showing as not clipped in LR’s histogram might actually be clipped in the output image when you set the colorspace in the Export panel and there’s no way to proof this beforehand. I hope LR 4 will have something to help with output-colorspace feedback but people have been wanting this since LR 1 and so far it’s been too difficult to decide what to do.

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Levels equivalent in Lightroom

Community Beginner ,
Oct 27, 2011

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Hi Guys,

does anybody know if ther's a Photoshop Levels equivalent in Lightroom? I really mean a Levels tool, not a curves/simil curves option, but something to set white/black point accurately like in photoshop.

Thanks for your help!

Cristiano

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by ssprengel | Adobe Community Professional

In a word, No. Obviously you can use the WB-eyedropper in LR to function similarly to the graypoint eyedropper in PS, but otherwise:

I use Auto Tone to see where LR wants to set my black-point with the Blacks slider, and you can turn on the dark-clip/white-clip indicator triangles in the histogram to see where things are being pushed beyond the black and white clip-points as you play with the other toning sliders, but because LR is non-destructive and more than one slider can be adjusted to affect the black and white points, there would any number of toning slider values that LR could use to satisfy a black-point-set or white-point-set operation like you can do in PS so it doesn’t try. This is left up to the user. AutoTone is the closest LR has to an operation that sets all values simultaneously, but you cannot choose what portions of the picture to use to do this nor know exactly what it is doing.

If you are talking about using the black and white-point eyedroppers to set the color-balance at the low and high ends, then I have often wanted a way to set the split-toning sliders via eyedroppers, which is almost impossible to do, now.

Back when ACR was the only game in town, a suggested procedure for setting toning sliders was to set the blacks slider to determine your black-point, then set the exposure slider to determine your white-clipping and then use the brightness and contrast sliders to affect more the midtones, although they also will push things beyond the black and white clipping points. One thing that makes this suggested procedure more difficult in LR is that the histogram in ACR is determined by the output colorspace you have set and the shipping indicators match what the output will be, but in LR the histogram reflects the internal working colorspace of LR, so something showing as not clipped in LR’s histogram might actually be clipped in the output image when you set the colorspace in the Export panel and there’s no way to proof this beforehand. I hope LR 4 will have something to help with output-colorspace feedback but people have been wanting this since LR 1 and so far it’s been too difficult to decide what to do.

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Oct 27, 2011 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 27, 2011

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In a word, No. Obviously you can use the WB-eyedropper in LR to function similarly to the graypoint eyedropper in PS, but otherwise:

I use Auto Tone to see where LR wants to set my black-point with the Blacks slider, and you can turn on the dark-clip/white-clip indicator triangles in the histogram to see where things are being pushed beyond the black and white clip-points as you play with the other toning sliders, but because LR is non-destructive and more than one slider can be adjusted to affect the black and white points, there would any number of toning slider values that LR could use to satisfy a black-point-set or white-point-set operation like you can do in PS so it doesn’t try. This is left up to the user. AutoTone is the closest LR has to an operation that sets all values simultaneously, but you cannot choose what portions of the picture to use to do this nor know exactly what it is doing.

If you are talking about using the black and white-point eyedroppers to set the color-balance at the low and high ends, then I have often wanted a way to set the split-toning sliders via eyedroppers, which is almost impossible to do, now.

Back when ACR was the only game in town, a suggested procedure for setting toning sliders was to set the blacks slider to determine your black-point, then set the exposure slider to determine your white-clipping and then use the brightness and contrast sliders to affect more the midtones, although they also will push things beyond the black and white clipping points. One thing that makes this suggested procedure more difficult in LR is that the histogram in ACR is determined by the output colorspace you have set and the shipping indicators match what the output will be, but in LR the histogram reflects the internal working colorspace of LR, so something showing as not clipped in LR’s histogram might actually be clipped in the output image when you set the colorspace in the Export panel and there’s no way to proof this beforehand. I hope LR 4 will have something to help with output-colorspace feedback but people have been wanting this since LR 1 and so far it’s been too difficult to decide what to do.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 27, 2011

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Hi!

Thank you for your answer. It confirms my feelings/understanding.

I am wandering around after I tried Capture NX2 for my Nikon files and - as I love Lightroom definitely more that NX2 - I am now in the middle of a very hard decision. And this is causing a hard work in comparing some of the tools I use more in my editing process.

Let's hope for some improvements on this side too for version 4!

Thanks!

Cristiano

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People's Champ ,
Oct 27, 2011

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No, there is no Levels tool in LR.

But there is an option in the curve tool that you can use to mimic some of the features of a levels tool.

In the Develop Module below the sliders of the Curve tool and to the right of the words "Point Curve" there is a small icon of a curve. Click on it and the sliders will disappear. But also the possibilities of your curve will have changed: you can now drag the left point (the darks) of the curve vertically up to set a black point of say 5%, And you can drag the right point (the lights) vertically down to set a white point of say 95%. You still can tweak the curve to increase the contrast if you wish.

WW

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Oct 27, 2011 4
Community Beginner ,
Oct 27, 2011

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Hi WW,

thank you, a good suggestion. I didn't noticed that option.

Not quite a Levels control but worth to know that!

Thanks

Cristiano

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Oct 27, 2011 0
Participant ,
Jan 10, 2019

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web-weaver  wrote

No, there is no Levels tool in LR.

But there is an option in the curve tool that you can use to mimic some of the features of a levels tool.

In the Develop Module below the sliders of the Curve tool and to the right of the words "Point Curve" there is a small icon of a curve. Click on it and the sliders will disappear. But also the possibilities of your curve will have changed: you can now drag the left point (the darks) of the curve vertically up to set a black point of say 5%, And you can drag the right point (the lights) vertically down to set a white point of say 95%. You still can tweak the curve to increase the contrast if you wish.

WW

You just really helped me out today...from seven years in the past. Good-on-ya!

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Jan 10, 2019 0
Advocate ,
Oct 27, 2011

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Cristiano_Palazzini wrote:

Hi Guys,

does anybody know if ther's a Photoshop Levels equivalent in Lightroom? I really mean a Levels tool, not a curves/simil curves option, but something to set white/black point accurately like in photoshop.

Thanks for your help!

Cristiano

Well, the Exposure slider sets the white point, the Blacks slider sets the black point, and the Brightness slider is equivalent to the gamma point. What more do you want?

Bob Frost

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Oct 27, 2011 0
Community Beginner ,
Oct 27, 2011

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Hi Bob,

Thank you for you answer....

Well, Exposure, Black and Brightness do not really works the same way that the Levels in Photoshop.

The impact on the image is different....I am not able to tell you exactly how but, try it yourself.

Thanks anyway

Cristiano

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 27, 2011

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Well, Exposure, Black and Brightness do not really works the same way that the Levels in Photoshop.

The impact on the image is different....I am not able to tell you exactly how but, try it yourself.

I think what you are seeing is the difference in LR's histogram display when compared to PS's histogram display. Ssprengel pointed this out in his post:

One thing that makes this suggested procedure more difficult in LR is that the histogram in ACR is determined by the output color space you have set and the shipping indicators match what the output will be, but in LR the histogram reflects the internal working color space of LR, so something showing as not clipped in LR’s histogram might actually be clipped in the output image when you set the color space in the Export panel and there’s no way to proof this beforehand.

So the 'Level' controls in PS appear to have a different affect on the image file's histogram. As ssprengel also points out it would be nice if Adobe allowed "proofing" the image in LR with the export color space profile (i.e. sRGB).

Try exporting a RAW image file to TIFF file format, ProPhoto RGB, and 16 bit. Open the TIFF copy in both LR and PS and try the 'Levels' adjustments in PS versus LR's Exposure, Blacks, and Brightness controls. The histograms and controls should function more similar. As ssprengel said, PS’s histogram is going to provide a more accurate indication of clipping in narrower gamut color spaces compared to LR’s Melissa RGB histogram.

http://www.lightroomforums.net/showthread.php?12472-Histograms-in-Lightroom-and-Photoshop-don-t-matc...

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Oct 27, 2011 0
Mentor ,
Oct 27, 2011

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Cristiano_Palazzini wrote:


Well, Exposure, Black and Brightness do not really works the same way that the Levels in Photoshop.

The impact on the image is different....I am not able to tell you exactly how but, try it yourself.

White point in levels is a direct, hard clip.  In Lightroom, it has a bit of roll-off logic for the highlights a bit like film does.

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Oct 27, 2011 0
LEGEND ,
Oct 27, 2011

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Cristiano_Palazzini wrote:

Well, Exposure, Black and Brightness do not really works the same way that the Levels in Photoshop.

The impact on the image is different....I am not able to tell you exactly how but, try it yourself.

The imact on the image is bound to be different because ACR/LR is designed primarily as a raw processing engine and has to deal with linear encoded raw captures. The Levels command in Photoshop works on gamma encoded images, so it's really and apples/oranges difference.

You would be better off consentraiting on developing a better understanding of LR's toolset and not try to force fit an understanding of a tool from Photoshop. What you do in Levels in Photoshop will always be different, not better or worse, just different. Everything you can do in levels (except deal with individual channes) can be done in LR, just done a slightly different way.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 27, 2011

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The imact on the image is bound to be different because ACR/LR is designed primarily as a raw processing engine and has to deal with linear encoded raw captures. The Levels command in Photoshop works on gamma encoded images, so it's really and apples/oranges difference.

This is not the case when processing JPEG of TIFF images with a normal 2.2 Gamma sRGB profile. The OP has a valid complaint and as ssprengel pointed out LR is currently unable to display an accurate histogram for sRGB profiled images, or resultant histogram when exporting to sRGB. I agree it isn't necessary (or desireable) for LR's controls to have the same behavior as PS's 'Levels' and 'Curves' controls. But an accurate histogram display using the file's or target destination's color profile would be very helpful (and desireable). This will allow detecting clipping that may result in the exported image.

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LEGEND ,
Oct 27, 2011

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trshaner wrote:

But an accurate histogram display using the file's or target destination's color profile would be very helpful (and desireable). This will allow detecting clipping that may result in the exported image.

That's an entirely different issue (and discussion)...

Also note that even in the case of JPEG/TIFF images, the adjustments are carried out in the ACR/LR processing pipeline which is; linear ProPhoto RGB colors in 16 bit. So again ACR/LR is dealing with linear applied adjustments not adjustments to gamma encoded images.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 28, 2011

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I believe much of what the OP is complaining about is in fact due to the inacurrate histogram display in LR for non-linear gamma images such as sRGB (native or export destination profile). The Levels control in PS is typically used to set clipping levels and I assume the OP is seeing differences in the PS histogram when compared to LR's histogram:

"Well, Exposure, Black and Brightness do not really works the same way that the Levels in Photoshop.

The impact on the image is different....I am not able to tell you exactly how but, try it yourself."

Perhaps the OP can provide a more detailed description of what he means by, "do not really work the same."

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Oct 28, 2011 0
New Here ,
Aug 13, 2020

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Can you not do what you need to do in Lightoom and export it Photosh ?, I have only just started to use Lighroom Cassic after years of Photoshop, mostly becuase of th film preset importation and batch processing ( cant find if you can batch process in Photoshop).

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Aug 13, 2020 0