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The ON1 Photo Raw levels graph is another name for the histogram. It works similar to the Lightroom Histogram.

The levels graph is a precise representation of the distribution of shadow, midtone, and highlight pixels in your image. The front-most greyish graph, which represents the overall luminance levels, is your key to accurately correcting exposure.

The colored graphs represent the RGB levels and their complementary colors: cyan, magenta, and yellow.

You can also move your mouse around the image and view the RGB value of each pixel or section represented from 0 to 255 on the RGB scale.


Clipping with the Levels Graph

Clipping in ON1 Photo Raw represents pixels that are 100% white or black, meaning there is no detail. This is represented when parts of the levels graph are pushed too far to the left or right.

You can turn on the clipping indicators on the levels graph by clicking on the up arrow. You can also press the keyboard shortcut J + option/alt to turn on the clipping indicators or hold the J key to activate it temporarily. Highlight and shadowing clipping are represented by red and blue overlays, respectively.

ON1 Photo Raw clipping indicators.
Highlight and shadowing clipping in ON1 Photo Raw

Parts of the image should be at or near 100% white and black to have an evenly exposed image. You’ll need to adjust the highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks slider to correct exposure. But this exposure rule doesn’t need to be followed.

Clipping is sometimes acceptable in an image, depending on your artistic touch. You can even have a flatter and softer image where the levels graph doesn’t distribute over the entire tonal range; this is done by moving the contrast slider to the left. It really depends on the photographer, and there is no set rule.

Final Thoughts

Often, I don’t pay attention to the levels graph in ON1 Photo Raw. I prefer to edit my images and correct the exposure by eyeballing them.

However, if you plan to print images, you need to soft proof: color correction for printer and ink to ensure that images are printed accurately.

Vincent Croos
About the Author: Vincent Croos

Hola Parceros,

I’m the founder of Aperlust. I enjoy web development and SEO and am into snowboarding and linguistics. In my spare time, you can find me destroying my opponents in chess across the globe.

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