PrintingThe following method works on any digital image. Some digital images work well withthe 3-click method while some images work better with a 2-click method. Experiencewill dictate which method is best for a particular image.
PrintingSelect Threshold from the bottom of the Layers Panelby clicking on the half black, half clear icon.This is the inﬁnitely editable Threshold AdjustmentLayer.This is good.
PrintingMake sure you can see the Info Palette. Drag the Threshold’s slider all the wayleft and slowly drag back towards the center. When the black areas begin toappear, stop. With the Color Sampler Tool selected, click on this area.What are the values in the Info Panel?
PrintingDrag the slider all the way to the right and slowly drag back towards the center.When white areas begin to appear, stop. Click on this area. Note the numbers inthe Info palette. These pixel values are 254-255.After you click OK, turn off the Threshold Adjustment Layer in the Layers Panel.
Printing Setting target shadow and highlight values Shadows HighlightsOpen the Curves Adjustment Layer the same way you opened the Threshold Adjustment Layer.One at a time double-click each of the 3 eyedropper tools. The Target Shadow and Target HighlightColor dialog boxes open. In the RGB boxes and with the Shadow Eyedropper active, input 13 forthe shadows. Click OK. Do the same for the highlight numbers. Input 247. These numbers will varyfor different printer, paper and ink combinations. In this example the percentages are 5% and 97%.Middle gray is pre-set to 128. Do not change this number.Notice how the circle changes its’ position on the scale at the far left of the large red box.
PrintingWhen you have completed this step, click OK. Click Yes if you also get this dialog box.Look and you will see the Curves Adjustment Layer ﬂoating above your ThresholdAdjustment Layer and Background in the Layers Panel.
PrintingSet the layer’s Blend Mode to Difference.
PrintingBoth adjustment layers off. Difference and Background layers on. Wax on. Wax off.Black is in reality middle gray because of how the Difference Blend Mode functions. Thegray pixels in the Difference layer cancel out the gray pixels in the Background layerthat are in registration with each other. Black is the result. Or close to it.This is a way to identify where the middle grays are in an image. With the EyedropperTool selected, (3x3 or 5x5) click on one or two target areas to set the point. Use the InfoPanel to monitor the targets. Try to get as close to equal as possible in all threechannels. This is important.
PrintingTurn off the Difference layer and turn Curves on.Threshold can be deleted.Re-open Curves by double-clicking its’ thumbnail icon.
Printing Highlight Mid-Tone ShadowSelect the shadow eyedropper and click on point one. Select the highlight eyedropperand click point two. Repeat for the middle eyedropper.That’s it. 3-click color at its’ ﬁnest. Experienced users can set the shadow and highlightendpoints by eye. If an image contains gray, skip the Difference Blend Mode layer stepsand click on the gray area with the middle eyedropper tool.
PrintingAn optional step with the Curves Adjustment Layer: select the mid point at the centerof the diagonal line. In the Input box type 128 if it’s not already set. Reducing theOutput number will darken the image. Increasing the Output number will lighten theimage. This is determined by taste and experience.I move in increments of ten. I’m usually ten up or ten down. Highlight the small blacksquare by clicking on it. Hold down the shift key (while pressing the up or down arrowkey) to move the point in increments of ten.
Adding NoiseThe Histogram may look like this after 3-click color. This is called penciling orcombing. Click the refresh button to updatethe Histogram. This button will disappearafter refreshing.Gaps represent missing information. Whilethe ﬁle may appear OK on screen, bandingor posterization will most likely show up inprint. To prevent this, add noise (randompixels) to the ﬁle on a separate layer. Michael E. Stern PHOTOGRAPHY EDUCATION CONSULTING CyberStern.com