Adjusting Color with Curves and Levels in Photoshop


10 Tips for Photoshop Beginners


Lesson Info

Adjusting Color with Curves and Levels in Photoshop

Okay, five use curves and levels to color images. This is huge curves and levels are are so good, and a lot of people they use curves and levels in a very simple way, mostly to make things lighter and darker, which is which is great on you can also affect colors with curves and levels and that's how I wind up coloring my images most of the time. Ok, so let's, go ahead and show you curves and levels, so we're going to start off with our levels because honestly, I use levels more than curbs. They do basically the same thing, it's just a preference. Whichever dialogue makes more sense to you, I recommend using that one levels makes sense to me. They're really easy to use that's what we're going to spend the majority of the time here, that we're going to show you how levels compares. Well, so sorry how curves compare so what we do here in our levels adjustment layer, we've got a few different siders, we've got our input cider here at the top, and then we've got our output cider there at th...

e bottom, so we're input slider if I grab this dark point and bring this darker, what it's going to do is it's going to take all of my information? This is a history graham, which represents basically what's going on in my image the dark pixels here are over on the left the light pixels are on the right so dark to light so when I move this point over from the left to the right what it's doing is it's taking all of these all of this information and it's turning it into black basically so if I continue to bring this over to the right all of this information is now turned into black and the rest of the information that I have very compressed and that's why it looks so compressed it's just you know not a better word for it on the other side is our light so if I take this and move this fromthe right to the left it's turning everything all this information that's over here into white ok in the middle it's going to push towards dark or towards light but it's going to keep my white point and dark point the same which is great so that's how we're working with our input levels now output levels are different if we take our dark point and bring this to the right you can see it's not making my image any darker what this is actually doing is defining the darkest place in my image so now the darkest place to my image is not going to be black okay, now you can see it is black if I bring this over here, the darkest point in my image is going to be right in line with here it's going to be a pretty light gray okay, we can bring this over here we can lighten up the dark side my image I could do the same thing with the lights the lightest point of my image now is it's allowed to be white? But if I bring this right over here there is no white in my image. The lightest point to my image is right over here at about a fifty percent great so we can use these in combination with each other let's say I would bring my black point up from the left to the right, okay, but I don't want it to be black. Maybe I wanted to be a very dark gray, so I still have a little bit of what's called clipping going on aa lot of this information like this tire the detail in that tire we can pretty much make disappear if we bring us in far enough, but it still doesn't have to be super dark. Now you're going to start to see a lot of compression maybe you don't want your images to look like this and I don't blame you because it's a little bit overdone, but somewhere right around here you might find that you do like the balance let's, just turn this later often on so you can see that before and the after there, maybe you decide you do want the balance to be able to clip a little a bit of those blacks as well as take away some of the contrast. So everything we've done up into this point is with white and black now let's, jump into curves. I'm gonna show you how they how they compare there, the white in the black we're going to go to our adjustment layer and go to curves. Same type of deal here if I take this point and I dragged this up, it's going to make my darks a little bit lighter just like the output levels with the levels, I'll take this point and drag it down, it's going to make my white point a little bit darker, just like we did with the levels. If I take this to the left it's going to make my whites everything to the right of this, okay, let's just set that there, it's going to take everything to the right of this and it's going to make it white if I take this point and drug into the left started to the right it's going to take everything to the left and make it black. Okay we can also click right here in the middle up and down and that's basically the same thing as if I have this levels it's the same thing is doing this so several kind of see how curves and levels they do basically the same thing it's just kind of whatever format you like all right so we are going to just some color now let's go to our different colors we have red, green and blue so our red channel if I decide to put more red in my image we can do this within our curves take it out it's a little bit of sayin okay let's go to our green channel if I take this out it's going to add magenta if I put more green screen green and magenta are opposite blue is opposite of yellow so if I pull this to the right we're going to add more yellow that to our image pulled two left we're gonna have more blue to the image ok, now this is great that's actually cem went a little too far there all right there we go that's actually pretty nice coloring on this image I think it works for the sum of let's really dark purpose just layer so having a little bit of that blue and a little bit of science into the image it works especially on the right may be on the left I don't want it to be there not a big deal we'll just use our later mask I'll paint black here on the layer mass on the left so now we've got some red and some blue you know what? That's a little bit too much every go. All right, so we've got some coloring in the image using a curves adjustment layer so let's, go back in here. All right? This is levels just been there, but they're basically saying we're going toe undo this and now we're going to go back into our blue channel. We're going to show you guys one more thing you can do, like across processing idea. So instead of using this guy here in the middle to adjust my mid tones, we're gonna change the input and the output levels of our blue channel. So if I click here and I dragged this left what it's going to do is it's going to put some blues into my shadows? I click here and doing this to the right and it's going to put some yellows into my highlights. So basically we've got a really nice cross process look let's just look at the before and the after with that so here's our before straight out of camera looks totally normal here's the after with a little bit across process on it gives it a little bit kind of the artistic type of image and I tend to like this this type of coloring for images quite a bit of the time, so all these things can be done using both curves and levels. So the next time you go into color your image, you don't have to use you saturation, you don't have to use complicated techniques, get to know your curves and your levels, and you're going to be good to go. All right, you could even change. You know what we played with the color of her way played with the color her lips earlier, let's just do the same thing. We're gonna go back in here gonna reset this and I want to say, you know what? I'd like a little bit more blue in her lips. Here we go. All right, let's hit command I on that layer mask. All right, then we're just gonna paint white on the layer mask right over top of her lips. All right, quote. And if it doesn't look exactly how you wanted to in this case, it did not look exactly like I wanted to. So just go in here and a judge isis once more and you'll be good to go. All right, that's actually really cool gives it like a really nice blue highlight on on lips there so it's like that before and the after very cool. So curves and levels you can use to lighten and darkened things down. But you can also affect colors with kirsten levels.

Class Description

Photoshop can be daunting for beginners and it is hard to know where to start. In this 90-minute Photoshop class, you’ll learn 10 actionable tips that will help you get the most out of Photoshop so you can start editing today.

Aaron Nace will start at the beginning. You’ll learn how to organize your files so you’ll always know where to find them. You’ll also learn about color settings, layers, masking and groups. Aaron will cover the commonly used tools in Photoshop and even teach you keyboard shortcuts so you’ll know how to work quickly and efficiently.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014.2.2


Patricia Green

This was a very informative course, and perfect for a beginner. I came from Paint Shop Pro and so I knew some terminology and some of what might be possible with what tools, but Photoshop is a big new world for me, so this beginner course was just what I needed. Great instructor who is knowledgable and has a good sense of humor. I would recommend this class to beginners.