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Adobe Photoshop 2020: The Complete Guide Bootcamp

Lesson 35 of 118

Understanding Curves


Adobe Photoshop 2020: The Complete Guide Bootcamp

Lesson 35 of 118

Understanding Curves


Lesson Info

Understanding Curves

So now let's move on and look at other adjustments that are much more powerful than levels. Levels is very useful, but I think there's something that could be dramatically more useful. And that is, as I work my way down this adjustment menu, I get beyond levels and I find curves. Curves is the ultimate tonal adjustments. You can do things that no other adjustment conduce. And in fact, the other adjustments we use thus far are actually using curves behind the scenes to do the work that they dio. And they're just trying to present you with a simpler screen, a simpler interface to interact with. But if you want full control, you want to use curves. Now. Curves is something that is not easy to learn on your own, but I'll get you toe, understand how it works, and it will take you practice before you are good with it. But the practice, I think, is worth it because you'll get ultimate control over your images. So in curves, let's see how this works Well, if you look at curves, it's a diagonal...

line going across a grid, and at the bottom is a Grady int that has all the brightness levels you could have in your picture. And in fact, most of the time this Grady it will be reversed where black will be on the left. It's only because I have a, um, a grayscale picture that it's reversed. If I take this image and converted Targhee be the vast majority of images we're gonna work on will be RGB in. Therefore, if I go into curves after that, now you see black is on the left. Whereas a moment ago it was reversed. Why is that? Well, when you're working with gray scale, it's thinking about Inc And when you're working in RGB is thinking about light. The two are opposite of each other. Ah, 100% light is the same as 0% Inc and therefore it flips it. It'll make sense in a few moments. So we have that Grady. And at the bottom, then the diagonal line is just telling you how much light would be used to create the shades you see down here. So to create black, this is all the way at the bottom because you would use no light whatsoever to create something this bright. If you go straight up. You'd use this much light compared to the amount you could use, which is all the way to the top. And as you work your way this way, you see the curve above that diagonal line that IHS gets higher and hired. Indicate you'd use mawr and mawr, inm or light. And once you get to white, the curve is all the way at the top because you've maxed it out. You can't get any brighter than white, so you can't go any higher than that, so this would be as high as you could possibly go. The way I think of it is, since it's talking about light, I think about a dimmer switch if you go to your kitchen and you find that one of your, uh lights is on a dimmer, and it's not the kind that's a knob. Instead, it's the kind you push up and down. It's just like curves. If you move that dimmer all the way to the bottom, it turns the lights off in the room is solid black. You can't see a thing and listers windows. Then, as you move the slider up, you add more light into gets brighter. And once you max out, that slider is high as it can go, it's not possible to make the room any brighter without adding some other light source in. In the case of Photoshopped, the brightest we can get is white, so we'll get it all. The way to the top is white, so just think of it as picking one of these shades and then going straight up until you hit the diagonal line, and that tells you how far up the dimmer switch would be. You're not as high as he could possibly go because it's not white. You're not having lights turned off your somewhere in between. All right, then what can I do with this? Well, you can move your mouse on your image. And if you click this little hand icon that's in the lower left, then that means that if I move my mouse over my image, it should think about curbs. And so when I go over my image, you'll see a circle and curbs in. The only thing that circle is doing is it's telling me how much light is in the various areas. I put my mouse on top of. So if you're to go straight down from wherever that circle is appearing and you look at that bar that spans the bottom, it would be sitting directly above the exact shade my mouse is on. So it's just telling me how much light is in each area. Well, this doesn't sound too exciting yet. What if I want to make two of these bars exactly the same brightness level, but I want to leave all the other bars alone. I can do that if I want to take this bar and I want to take this bar, get them to be the exact same brightness level. I could do it very quickly and easily and curves, and then I can take the other bars and get them back, but where they used to be, This is close to that if you know what you're doing, and I haven't described enough yet for you to know what you're doing. But let me turn preview off years before here's after. Do you see those two bars that became identical? It looks like the brightest part of the image is getting a little too Ah, dark. So I have toe adjust that, too. But let's then say instead, I want to do the opposite. I want just those two bars to look more dramatically different from each other than they used to. Well, let's start over here and I want to make this bar brighter. Gotta turn on this little hand, make this bar brighter, make this bar darker. There is a greater difference between the two. I can easily do that. Then I want the other bars to go a little bit back to where they were. Not exactly, but closer. I have control over that kind of stuff, and I have none of that control. When I'm in levels or brightness and contrast, I can't click on my picture and say, Think about this brightness level and do something specific on Lee that brightness level

Class Description

All individual classes that make up this bootcamp are also available here for individual purchase.


  • Develop an understanding of how Photoshop works
  • Create your ideal workspace
  • Configure the essential preference settings
  • Set up Adobe Bridge and Lightroom for optimal integration with Photoshop
  • Navigate multiple images seamlessly


Adobe® Photoshop® 2020 is a feature-rich creative force, perfect for turning raw ideas into audience-wowing images. With Ben Willmore as your guide, you can master it faster than you think and take on a new decade of projects.

Ben takes you step-by-step through Adobe Photoshop 2020 as only he can. With an easy pace and zero technobabble, he demystifies this powerful program and makes you feel confident enough to create anything. This class is part of a fully-updated bundle – complete with 2020 features and more efficient ways to maximize the tools everyone uses most.

Whether you’re a 20-year designer or you’re opening the app for the first time, this is the perfect way to learn and love using Photoshop. From retouching to masking to troubleshooting, Ben unpacks all the essentials and hidden gems, while giving you real-world examples to drive each lesson home. By the end of the class, you’ll feel eager to make serious magic with Photoshop 2020.


  • Beginner, intermediate, and advanced users of Adobe Photoshop.
  • Those who want to gain confidence in Adobe Photoshop and learn new features to help edit photos.
  • Students who’d like to take ordinary images and make them look extraordinary with some image editing or Photoshop fixes.


Adobe Photoshop 2020 (V21)


  1. Introduction To Adobe Photoshop 2020
  2. Bridge vs. Lightroom
  3. Tour of Photoshop Interface
  4. Overview of Bridge Workspace
  5. Overview of Lightroom Workspace
  6. Lightroom Preferences - Saving Documents
  7. How To Use Camera Raw in Adobe Photoshop 2020
  8. Overview of Basic Adjustment Sliders
  9. Developing Raw Images
  10. Editing with the Effects and HLS Tabs
  11. How to Save Images
  12. Using the Transform Tool
  13. Making Selections in Adobe Photoshop 2020
  14. Selection Tools
  15. Combining Selection Tools
  16. Using Automated Selection Tools
  17. Quick Mask Mode
  18. Select Menu Essentials
  19. Using Layers in Adobe Photoshop 2020
  20. Align Active Layers
  21. Creating a New Layer
  22. Creating a Clipping Mask
  23. Using Effects on Layers
  24. Using Adjustment Layers
  25. Using the Shape Tool
  26. Create a Layer Mask Using the Selection Tool
  27. Masking Multiple Images Together
  28. Using Layer Masks to Remove People
  29. Using Layer Masks to Replace Sky
  30. Adding Texture to Images
  31. Layering to Create Realistic Depth
  32. Adjustment Layers in Adobe Photoshop 2020
  33. Optimizing Grayscale with Levels
  34. Adjusting Levels with a Histogram
  35. Understanding Curves
  36. Editing an Image Using Curves
  37. Editing with Shadows/Highlights Adjustment
  38. Dodge and Burn Using Quick Mask Mode
  39. Editing with Blending Modes
  40. Color Theory
  41. Curves for Color
  42. Hue and Saturation Adjustments
  43. Isolating Colors Using Hue/Saturation Adjustment
  44. Match Colors Using Numbers
  45. Adjusting Skin Tones
  46. Retouching Essentials In Adobe Camera Raw
  47. Retouching with the Spot Healing Brush
  48. Retouching with the Clone Stamp
  49. Retouching with the Healing Brush
  50. Retouching Using Multiple Retouching Tools
  51. Extending an Edge with Content Aware
  52. Clone Between Documents
  53. Crop Tool
  54. Frame Tool
  55. Eye Dropper and Color Sampler Tools
  56. Paint Brush Tools
  57. History Brush Tool
  58. Eraser and Gradient Tools
  59. Brush Flow and Opacity Settings
  60. Blur and Shape Tools
  61. Dissolve Mode
  62. Multiply Mode
  63. Screen Mode
  64. Hard Light Mode
  65. Hue, Saturation, and Color Modes
  66. Smart Filters
  67. High Pass Filter
  68. Blur Filter
  69. Filter Gallery
  70. Adaptive Wide Angle Filter
  71. Combing Filters and Features
  72. Select and Mask
  73. Manually Select and Mask
  74. Creating a Clean Background
  75. Changing the Background
  76. Smart Object Overview
  77. Nested Smart Objects
  78. Scale and Warp Smart Objects
  79. Replace Contents
  80. Raw Smart Objects
  81. Multiple Instances of a Smart Object
  82. Creating a Mockup Using Smart Objects
  83. Panoramas
  84. HDR
  85. Focus Stacking
  86. Time-lapse
  87. Light Painting Composite
  88. Remove Moire Patterns
  89. Remove Similar Objects At Once
  90. Remove Objects Across an Entire Image
  91. Replace a Repeating Pattern
  92. Clone from Multiple Areas Using the Clone Source Panel
  93. Remove an Object with a Complex Background
  94. Frequency Separation to Remove Staining and Blemishes
  95. Warping
  96. Liquify
  97. Puppet Warp
  98. Displacement Map
  99. Polar Coordinates
  100. Organize Your Layers
  101. Layer Styles: Bevel and Emboss
  102. Layer Style: Knockout Deep
  103. Blending Options: Blend if
  104. Blending Options: Colorize Black and White Image
  105. Layer Comps
  106. Black-Only Shadows
  107. Create a Content Aware Fill Action
  108. Create a Desaturate Edges Action
  109. Create an Antique Color Action
  110. Create a Contour Map Action
  111. Faux Sunset Action
  112. Photo Credit Action
  113. Create Sharable Actions
  114. Common Troubleshooting Issues Part 1
  115. Common Troubleshooting Issues Part 2
  116. Image Compatibility with Lightroom
  117. Scratch Disk Is Full
  118. Preview Thumbnail



The short lessons makes it easy to find things. Clear explanations, structured content, great examples, handbook plus practice images - this class is worth x10 the price! I have seen many of Ben's classes and I'm so happy you created this one, love it

Madelaine Enochs

Ben's class has been extremely helpful for understanding how everything works in photoshop. I am so grateful for his classes. Easy to understand and thorough. Thank-you Ben!

Alessandro Zugno

In this class Ben Willmore gives an overview of all the tools present in Adobe Photoshop 2020, explaining everything very clearly and with practical examples. This course is useful for any type of photographer who wants to learn the use of Photoshop or improve their post production skills.