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What is a Histogram?

The Levels adjustment is in the form of something called a histogram. A histogram is a way of plotting the distribution of values within a dataset that is at least one hundred years old. Below is a histogram of the height distribution of fifty students:

Levels 01.png

Photoshop Levels histogram looks like this:

Levels 02.png

How to read Levels

Heres how we read it. The Levels below is showing us the even distribution of values of a simple black to white gradient.

Levels 03.png

The Levels below is showing us the clumped distribution of the values of a simple dark gray to light gray gradient.

Levels 04.png

Here is a more realistic example. The histogram is showing us that the the brightest values in the image are only light grey.

Levels 05.png

How to use Levels

As well as displaying data it Levels can also change the values. Here the white and black point sliders have been moved so that they meet the lightest and darkest points of the data. The effect of this move is to ensure that the lightest point of the image is white and its darkest is black.

Levels 06.png


The lightness values of image are normalized when the lightest point is white and the darkest is black. On the whole all images need to be treated in this way. It is easy to do... so easy that