So, I’ve been asked this question twice, which therefore automatically merits a blog post about it. Trust me, that’s how that works. 😉
‘What is Auto Tone?’
Well! First of all, what does it do? Photoshop’s Auto Tone (along with Auto Contrast and Auto Color; all found under the Image menu) can instantly fix colour and contrast problems in your images. The click of a button sends the Photoshop algorithms into action, the whole image is assessed, and from that assessment, Photoshop applies what it has determined is “right” for the image. What’s happening, in reality, is that all that work you did with the Exposure, Contrast, Shadows, Highlights, Whites, and Blacks sliders, along with the White Balance you decided upon, are all being looked at and adjusted again right after you adjusted them. That image you worked hard on and made pinpoint adjustments on is being changed and what you thought was best, Photoshop perhaps didn’t! It’s essentially a fight between what is popular and what is right…
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