View histograms and pixel values

  1. Photoshop User Guide
  2. Introduction to Photoshop
    1. Dream it. Make it.
    2. What's new in Photoshop
    3. Edit your first photo
    4. Create documents
    5. Photoshop | Common Questions
    6. Photoshop system requirements
    7. Migrate presets, actions, and settings
    8. Get to know Photoshop
  3. Photoshop and Adobe services
    1. Photoshop and Adobe Stock
    2. Creative Cloud Libraries
    3. Creative Cloud Libraries in Photoshop
    4. Grid and guides
    5. Creating actions
    6. Undo and history
    7. Default keyboard shortcuts
    8. Touch capabilities and customizable workspaces
    9. Use the Touch Bar with Photoshop
    10. Use the Capture in-app extension in Photoshop
  4. Photoshop on the iPad
    1. Photoshop on the iPad | Common questions
    2. Get to know the workspace
    3. System requirements | Photoshop on the iPad
    4. Create, open, and export cloud documents
    5. Add photos
    6. Work with layers
    7. Draw and paint with brushes
    8. Make selections and add masks
    9. Retouch your composites
    10. Work with adjustment layers
    11. Adjust the tonality of your composite with Curves
    12. Apply transform operations
    13. Crop and rotate your composites
    14. Rotate, pan, zoom, and reset the canvas
    15. Work with Type layers
    16. Work with Photoshop and Lightroom
    17. Get missing fonts in Photoshop on the iPad
    18. Japanese Text in Photoshop on the iPad
    19. Manage app settings
    20. Touch shortcuts and gestures
    21. Keyboard shortcuts
    22. System requirements 1.x | Photoshop on the iPad
    23. System requirements 2.x | Photoshop on the iPad
    24. Edit your image size
    25. Livestream as you create in Photoshop on the iPad
    26. Correct imperfections with the Healing Brush
    27. Create brushes in Capture and use them in Photoshop
  5. Photoshop on the web
    1. Photoshop on the web | Common questions    
    2. Introduction to the workspace
    3. System requirements | Photoshop on the web
    4. Keyboard shortcuts | Photoshop on the web
    5. Supported file types | Photoshop on the web
    6. Open and work with cloud documents
    7. Collaborate with stakeholders
    8. Apply limited edits to your cloud documents
  6. Cloud documents
    1. Photoshop cloud documents | Common questions
    2. Photoshop cloud documents | Workflow questions
    3. Manage and work with cloud documents in Photoshop
    4. Upgrade cloud storage for Photoshop
    5. Unable to create or save a cloud document
    6. Solve Photoshop cloud document errors
    7. Collect cloud document sync logs
    8. Share access and edit your cloud documents
  7. Workspace
    1. Workspace basics
    2. Create documents
    3. Use the Touch Bar with Photoshop
    4. Microsoft Dial support in Photoshop
    5. Tool galleries
    6. Performance preferences
    7. Use tools
    8. Touch gestures
    9. Touch capabilities and customizable workspaces
    10. Technology previews
    11. Metadata and notes
    12. Quickly share your creations
    13. Place Photoshop images in other applications
    14. Preferences
    15. Default keyboard shortcuts
    16. Rulers
    17. Show or hide non-printing Extras
    18. Specify columns for an image
    19. Undo and history
    20. Panels and menus
    21. Place files
    22. Position elements with snapping
    23. Position with the Ruler tool
    24. Presets
    25. Customize keyboard shortcuts
    26. Grid and guides
  8. Web, screen, and app design
    1. Photoshop for design
    2. Artboards
    3. Export files in Photoshop
    4. Device Preview
    5. Copy CSS from layers
    6. Slice web pages
    7. HTML options for slices
    8. Modify slice layout
    9. Work with web graphics
    10. Create web photo galleries
  9. Image and color basics
    1. How to resize images
    2. Work with raster and vector images
    3. Image size and resolution
    4. Acquire images from cameras and scanners
    5. Create, open, and import images
    6. View images
    7. Invalid JPEG Marker error | Opening images
    8. Viewing multiple images
    9. Customize color pickers and swatches
    10. High dynamic range images
    11. Match colors in your image
    12. Convert between color modes
    13. Color modes
    14. Erase parts of an image
    15. Blending modes
    16. Choose colors
    17. Customize indexed color tables
    18. Image information
    19. Distort filters are unavailable
    20. About color
    21. Color and monochrome adjustments using channels
    22. Choose colors in the Color and Swatches panels
    23. Sample
    24. Color mode or Image mode
    25. Color cast
    26. Add a conditional mode change to an action
    27. Add swatches from HTML CSS and SVG
    28. Bit depth and preferences
  10. Layers
    1. Layer basics
    2. Nondestructive editing
    3. Create and manage layers and groups
    4. Select, group, and link layers
    5. Place images into frames
    6. Layer opacity and blending
    7. Mask layers
    8. Apply Smart Filters
    9. Layer comps
    10. Move, stack, and lock layers
    11. Mask layers with vector masks
    12. Manage layers and groups
    13. Layer effects and styles
    14. Edit layer masks
    15. Extract assets
    16. Reveal layers with clipping masks
    17. Generate image assets from layers
    18. Work with Smart Objects
    19. Blending modes
    20. Combine multiple images into a group portrait
    21. Combine images with Auto-Blend Layers
    22. Align and distribute layers
    23. Copy CSS from layers
    24. Load selections from a layer or layer mask's boundaries
    25. Knockout to reveal content from other layers
    26. Layer
    27. Flattening
    28. Composite
    29. Background
  11. Selections
    1. Select and Mask workspace
    2. Make quick selections
    3. Get started with selections
    4. Select with the marquee tools
    5. Select with the lasso tools
    6. Select a color range in an image
    7. Adjust pixel selections
    8. Convert between paths and selection borders
    9. Channel basics
    10. Move, copy, and delete selected pixels
    11. Create a temporary quick mask
    12. Save selections and alpha channel masks
    13. Select the image areas in focus
    14. Duplicate, split, and merge channels
    15. Channel calculations
    16. Selection
    17. Bounding box
  12. Image adjustments
    1. Perspective warp
    2. Reduce camera shake blurring
    3. Healing brush examples
    4. Export color lookup tables
    5. Adjust image sharpness and blur
    6. Understand color adjustments
    7. Apply a Brightness/Contrast adjustment
    8. Adjust shadow and highlight detail
    9. Levels adjustment
    10. Adjust hue and saturation
    11. Adjust vibrance
    12. Adjust color saturation in image areas
    13. Make quick tonal adjustments
    14. Apply special color effects to images
    15. Enhance your image with color balance adjustments
    16. High dynamic range images
    17. View histograms and pixel values
    18. Match colors in your image
    19. How to crop and straighten photos
    20. Convert a color image to black and white
    21. Adjustment and fill layers
    22. Curves adjustment
    23. Blending modes
    24. Target images for press
    25. Adjust color and tone with Levels and Curves eyedroppers
    26. Adjust HDR exposure and toning
    27. Filter
    28. Blur
    29. Dodge or burn image areas
    30. Make selective color adjustments
    31. Replace object colors
  13. Adobe Camera Raw
    1. Camera Raw system requirements
    2. What's new in Camera Raw
    3. Introduction to Camera Raw
    4. Create panoramas
    5. Supported lenses
    6. Vignette, grain, and dehaze effects in Camera Raw
    7. Default keyboard shortcuts
    8. Automatic perspective correction in Camera Raw
    9. How to make non-destructive edits in Camera Raw
    10. Radial Filter in Camera Raw
    11. Manage Camera Raw settings
    12. Open, process, and save images in Camera Raw
    13. Repair images with the Enhanced Spot Removal tool in Camera Raw
    14. Rotate, crop, and adjust images
    15. Adjust color rendering in Camera Raw
    16. Feature summary | Adobe Camera Raw | 2018 releases
    17. New features summary
    18. Process versions in Camera Raw
    19. Make local adjustments in Camera Raw
  14. Image repair and restoration
    1. Remove objects from your photos with Content-Aware Fill
    2. Content-Aware Patch and Move
    3. Retouch and repair photos
    4. Correct image distortion and noise
    5. Basic troubleshooting steps to fix most issues
  15. Image transformations
    1. Transform objects
    2. Adjust crop, rotation, and canvas size
    3. How to crop and straighten photos
    4. Create and edit panoramic images
    5. Warp images, shapes, and paths
    6. Vanishing Point
    7. Use the Liquify filter
    8. Content-aware scaling
    9. Transform images, shapes, and paths
    10. Warp
    11. Transform
    12. Panorama
  16. Drawing and painting
    1. Paint symmetrical patterns
    2. Draw rectangles and modify stroke options
    3. About drawing
    4. Draw and edit shapes
    5. Painting tools
    6. Create and modify brushes
    7. Blending modes
    8. Add color to paths
    9. Edit paths
    10. Paint with the Mixer Brush
    11. Brush presets
    12. Gradients
    13. Fill and stroke selections, layers, and paths
    14. Draw with the Pen tools
    15. Create patterns
    16. Generate a pattern using the Pattern Maker
    17. Manage paths
    18. Manage pattern libraries and presets
    19. Draw or paint with a graphics tablet
    20. Create textured brushes
    21. Add dynamic elements to brushes
    22. Gradient
    23. Paint stylized strokes with the Art History Brush
    24. Paint with a pattern
    25. Sync presets on multiple devices
  17. Text
    1. Work with OpenType SVG fonts
    2. Format characters
    3. Format paragraphs
    4. How to create type effects
    5. Edit text
    6. Line and character spacing
    7. Arabic and Hebrew type
    8. Fonts
    9. Troubleshoot fonts
    10. Asian type
    11. Create type
    12. Text Engine error using Type tool in Photoshop | Windows 8
    13. World-Ready composer for Asian Scripts
    14. How to add and edit text in Photoshop
  18. Video and animation
    1. Video editing in Photoshop
    2. Edit video and animation layers
    3. Video and animation overview
    4. Preview video and animations
    5. Paint frames in video layers
    6. Import video files and image sequences
    7. Create frame animations
    8. Creative Cloud 3D Animation (Preview)
    9. Create timeline animations
    10. Create images for video
  19. Filters and effects
    1. Use the Liquify filter
    2. Use the Blur Gallery
    3. Filter basics
    4. Filter effects reference
    5. Add Lighting Effects
    6. Use the Adaptive Wide Angle filter
    7. Use the Oil Paint filter
    8. Layer effects and styles
    9. Apply specific filters
    10. Smudge image areas
  20. Saving and exporting
    1. Save files in graphics formats
    2. Save your files in Photoshop
    3. File formats
    4. Save and export video and animations
    5. Save PDF files
    6. Digimarc copyright protection
  21. Printing
    1. Print 3D objects
    2. Print from Photoshop
    3. Print with color management
    4. Contact Sheets and PDF Presentations
    5. Print photos in a picture package layout
    6. Print spot colors
    7. Duotones
    8. Print images to a commercial printing press
    9. Improve color prints from Photoshop
    10. Troubleshoot printing problems | Photoshop
  22. Automation
    1. Creating actions
    2. Create data-driven graphics
    3. Scripting
    4. Process a batch of files
    5. Play and manage actions
    6. Add conditional actions
    7. About actions and the Actions panel
    8. Record tools in actions
    9. Add a conditional mode change to an action
    10. Photoshop UI toolkit for plug-ins and scripts
  23. 3D and technical imaging
    1. Creative Cloud 3D Animation (Preview)
    2. Print 3D objects
    3. 3D painting
    4. 3D panel enhancements | Photoshop
    5. Essential 3D concepts and tools
    6. 3D rendering and saving
    7. Create 3D objects and animations
    8. Image stacks
    9. 3D workflow
    10. Measurement
    11. DICOM files
    12. Photoshop and MATLAB
    13. Count objects in an image
    14. Combine and convert 3D objects
    15. 3D texture editing
    16. Adjust HDR exposure and toning
    17. 3D panel settings
  24. Color Management
    1. Understanding color management
    2. Keeping colors consistent
    3. Color settings
    4. Work with color profiles
    5. Color-managing documents for online viewing
    6. Color-managing documents when printing
    7. Color-managing imported images
    8. Proofing colors

About histograms

A histogram illustrates how pixels in an image are distributed by graphing the number of pixels at each color intensity level. The histogram shows detail in the shadows (shown in the left part of the histogram), midtones (shown in the middle), and highlights (shown in the right part) A histogram can help you determine whether an image has enough detail to make a good correction.

The histogram also gives a quick picture of the tonal range of the image, or the image key type. A low‑key image has detail concentrated in the shadows. A high‑key image has detail concentrated in the highlights. And, an average-key image has detail concentrated in the midtones. An image with full tonal range has some pixels in all areas. Identifying the tonal range helps determine appropriate tonal corrections.

Photoshop Histogram examples
How to read a histogram

A. Overexposed photo B. Properly exposed photo with full tonality C. Underexposed photo 

The Histogram panel offers many options for viewing tonal and color information about an image. By default, the histogram displays the tonal range of the entire image. To display histogram data for a portion of the image, first select that portion.

Note:

You can view an image histogram as an overlay in the Curves dialog box by selecting the histogram option under Curve Display Options, and in the Curves Properties panel, or by choosing Curve Display Options from the panel menu, then Histogram.  

Histogram panel overview

  1. Choose Window > Histogram or click the Histogram tab to open the Histogram panel. By default, the Histogram panel opens in Compact View with no controls or statistics, but you can adjust the view.
    Photoshop Histogram panel -- expanded view
    Histogram panel (Expanded view)

    A. Channel menu B. panel menu C. Uncached Refresh button D. Cached Data Warning icon E. Statistics 

Adjust the view of the Histogram panel

  1. Choose a view from the Histogram panel menu.

    Expanded View

    Displays the histogram with statistics. It also displays: controls for choosing the channel represented by the histogram, viewing options in the Histogram panel, refreshing the histogram to display uncached data, and choosing a specific layer in a multilayered document.

    Compact View

    Displays a histogram with no controls or statistics. The histogram represents the entire image.

    All Channels View

    Displays individual histograms of the channels in addition to all the options of the Expanded View. The individual histograms do not include alpha channels, spot channels, or masks.

    Photoshop Histogram panel with channels in color
    Histogram panel with all channels displayed in color and statistics hidden

View a specific channel in the histogram

If you chose the Expanded View or All Channels View of the Histogram panel, you can choose a setting from the Channel menu. Photoshop remembers the channel setting if you switch from either Expanded View or All Channels View back to Compact View.

  • Choose an individual channel to display a histogram of the channel, including color channels, alpha channels, and spot channels.
  • Depending on the color mode of the image, choose RGB, CMYK, or Composite to view a composite histogram of all the channels.
  • If the image is RGB or CMYK, choose Luminosity to display a histogram representing the luminance or intensity values of the composite channel.
  • If the image is RGB or CMYK, choose Colors to display a composite histogram of the individual color channels in color. This option is the default view for RGB and CMYK images when you first choose Expanded View or All Channels View.

    In the All Channels View, choosing from the Channels menu affects only the topmost histogram in the panel.

View channel histograms in color

  1. From the Histogram panel, do one of the following:
    • In the All Channels View, choose Show Channels In Color from the panel menu.

    • In Expanded View or All Channels View, choose an individual channel from the Channel menu and choose Show Channels In Color from the panel menu. If you switch to Compact View, the channel continues to be shown in color.

    • In Expanded View or All Channels View, choose Colors from the Channel menu to show a composite histogram of the channels in color. If you switch to Compact View, the composite histogram continues to be shown in color.

View histogram statistics

By default, the Histogram panel displays statistics in the Expanded View and All Channels View.

  1. Choose Show Statistics from the Histogram panel menu.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To view information about a specific pixel value, place the pointer in the histogram.

    • To view information about a range of values, drag in the histogram to highlight the range.

    The panel displays the following statistical information below the histogram:

    Mean

    Represents the average intensity value.

    Std Dev (Standard deviation)

    Represents how widely intensity values vary.

    Median

    Shows the middle value in the range of intensity values.

    Pixels

    Represents the total number of pixels used to calculate the histogram.

    Level

    Displays the intensity level of the area underneath the pointer.

    Count

    Shows the total number of pixels corresponding to the intensity level underneath the pointer.

    Percentile

    Displays the cumulative number of pixels at or below the level underneath the pointer. This value is expressed as a percentage of all the pixels in the image, from 0% at the far left to 100% at the far right.

    Cache Level

    Shows the current image cache used to create the histogram. When the cache level is higher than 1, the histogram is displayed faster. In this case, the histogram is derived from a representative sampling of pixels in the image (based on the magnification). The original image is cache level 1. At each level above level 1, four adjacent pixels are averaged to arrive at a single pixel value. So, each level is half the dimensions (has 1/4 the number of pixels) of the lower level. When Photoshop makes a quick approximation, it can use one of the upper levels. Click the Uncached Refresh button to redraw the histogram using the actual image layer.

View the histogram for a multilayered document

  1. Choose Expanded View from the Histogram panel menu.
  2. Choose a setting from the Source menu. (The Source menu is not available for single-layered documents.)

    Entire Image

    Displays a histogram of the entire image, including all layers.

    Selected Layer

    Displays a histogram of the layer that’s selected in the Layers panel.

    Adjustment Composite

    Displays a histogram of an adjustment layer selected in the Layers panel, including all the layers below the adjustment layer.

Preview histogram adjustments

You can preview the effect on the histogram of any color and tonal adjustments.

  1. Select the Preview option in the dialog boxes of any color or tonal adjustment command.

    When Preview is selected, the Histogram panel shows how the adjustment affects the histogram.

    Note:

    When making adjustments using the Adjustments panel, changes are automatically reflected in the Histogram panel.

    Photoshop Histogram adjustment preview
    Preview of histogram adjustment in the Histogram panel

    A. Original histogram B. Adjusted histogram C. Shadows D. Midtones E. Highlights 

Refresh the histogram display

When a histogram is read from a cache instead of the current state of the document, the Cached Data Warning icon  appears in the Histogram panel. Histograms based on the image cache are displayed faster and are based on a representative sampling of pixels in the image. You can set the maximum cache level (from 2 to 8) in the Performance preference.

Note:

A higher cache level setting will increase the redraw speed for large, multi-layer files, but requires additional usage of system RAM. If RAM is limited or you work mainly with smaller images, use lower cache level settings

  1. To refresh the histogram so that it displays all of the pixels of the original image in its current state, do one of the following:
    • Double-click anywhere in the histogram.

    • Click the Cached Data Warning icon .

    • Click the Uncached Refresh button .

    • Choose Uncached Refresh from the Histogram panel menu.

    For information about cache level, see Histogram panel overview.

View color values in an image

You can use the Info panel to see the color value of pixels as you make color corrections. When you work with the Properties panel, the Info panel displays two sets of color values for the pixels under the pointer. The value in the left column is the original color value. The value in the right column is the color value after the adjustment is made.

Photoshop colors values in an image
Using Levels and Info panel to neutralize the tone of an image

You can view the color of a single location using the Eyedropper tool . You can also use up to four Color Samplers  to display color information for one or more locations in the image. These samplers are saved in the image, so you can refer to them repeatedly as you work, even if you close and reopen the image.

Photoshop Color samplers and Info panel
Color samplers and Info panel

  1. Choose Window > Info to open the Info panel.
  2. Select (then Shift-click) the Eyedropper tool  or Color Sampler tool  , and if necessary, choose a sample size in the options bar. Point Sample reads the value of a single pixel, other options read the average of a pixel area.
  3. If you selected the Color Sampler tool  , place up to four color samplers on the image. Click where you want to place a sampler.

View color information while adjusting color

You can view color information for specific pixels in the image while adjusting color in the Properties panel.

  1. Add an adjustment using the Adjustments panel.
  2. Make adjustments in the Properties panel. As you make adjustments, view the before and after color values in the Info panel. Move the pointer over the image to view color values at the pointer location.

    Note:

    If you are using a command from the Image > Adjustments menu, the Eyedropper tool is activated (and other tools temporarily disabled) when you move the pointer over the image. You still have access to the scroll controls and to the Hand and Zoom tools using keyboard shortcuts.

  3. If you’ve placed color samplers on the image, the color values under the color samplers appear in the lower half of the Info panel. To add new color samplers, select the Color Sampler tool and click in the image, or select the Eyedropper tool and Shift-click in the image.

Adjusting color samplers

Once you’ve added a color sampler, you can move or delete it, hide it, or change the color sampler information displayed in the Info panel.

Move or delete a color sampler

  1. Select the Color Sampler tool  .
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To move a color sampler, drag the sampler to the new location.

    • To delete a color sampler, drag the sampler out of the document window. Alternatively, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) until the pointer becomes a scissors and click the sampler.

    • To delete all color samplers, click Clear in the options bar.

    • To delete a color sampler while an adjustment dialog box is open, hold down Alt+Shift (Windows) or Option+Shift (Mac OS), and click the sampler.

Hide or show color samplers in an image

  1. Choose View > Extras. A check mark indicates that color samplers are visible.

Change the display of color sampler information in the Info panel

  • To display or hide color sampler information in the Info panel, choose Color Samplers from the panel menu. A check mark indicates that the color sampler information is visible.
  • To change the color space in which a color sampler displays values, move the pointer onto the color sampler icon  in the Info panel. Then, hold down the mouse button, and choose another color space from the menu.
Adobe logo

Sign in to your account