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Adjusting Curves

Lesson 32 from: Photoshop for Beginners: Essential Training

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

32. Adjusting Curves

Curves give you more precise control of the tonal range in an image. Mark explains what curves are and how to adjust them.


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Class Introduction


Introducing Photoshop


The Class Materials


How To Open Files


Using The Home Screen


Exploring The Interface


Getting Additional Help


Understanding Workspaces


Lesson Info

Adjusting Curves

we've changed our history Graham or our exposure values using the levels dialog box. But what if we want a little bit more control? Well we can use curves and so let's dive into Photoshop. I've opened wanna dot jpeg that's an image we're very familiar with and so let's use some curves to make adjustments on this image. The first thing I'm gonna do as always, is to take this background layer and unlock it so we can manipulate that. Then I'm gonna go down here and make an adjustment layer and I'm gonna choose choose curves and of course curves just like levels gives you a hissed a gram. Now this hissed a gram matches our image. We have a ton of dark pixels on this history Graham here is showing us that we have tons of dark, that's this background wanda's hair. Most of the image is in the dark areas, we have a little bit of mid tones, that's her skin and then some light areas and that is her shirt but not a lot. And so what we can do is we can adjust some things. So let's say that we want...

these dark tones to be a little bit brighter. So what we can do is we can choose a point on the hist, a gram. So right about here and then we can increase that. So what we're saying is we're going to take this input so that's this level right here And so from right to left that's the input level. So we're saying right around here at 60. So those are dark tones, we want to increase their luminosity, we want to make them brighter by bringing this up. So I'm just clicking and dragging so that's pretty good. But you'll notice that we have this curve this line here. So when I add this point I'm bringing up these levels but it's also bringing up all of the levels behind it and above it in this nice gentle curve. But what if I want to change something? So I think that the skin tones here there now too bright. When I change the dark tones, I change the bright tones and I only want to change the dark tones. So what I can do is up here, I've got this little tool, it's a little click and drag scrubby tool. It's like a little finger moving back and forth. I can go over here and say where is this this value and see I've got a little dot on my screen so it puts a dot over here, it's saying this is the value that I want to choose. So I click on that and then I can go over here and I can say you know what, take those values down? Just a bit so it's very, very subtle but I've made the dark tones a little bit brighter and I have restored the bright tones. I might want to say you know what, there's some really dark tones over here. Where are they? Oh they're right about here so I can drag that down a little bit and I can start adding points to this. And so instead of the levels dialog box where I had something to adjust the absolute white and the absolute black and then drag the mid tones between that with curves. I can make adjustments all along the history graham and change those values back and forth. It's a really powerful tool and not only can you do all of the values here on across all the colors but you can go into individual colors. So maybe you say you know what? There's too much blue in the shadows so I can go in here and drag this down and take some of that blew out. It's very subtle but you notice that we just color corrected the image by going into one color channel and dragging those values down. Or maybe I wanted to be color corrected to look a little bit blue in those values. I can do that. I can say I want blue in the darks but not in the brights and making a nice curve there to do all kinds of things. Curves are really powerful things. So it's a great tool that you can use to do all kinds of effects to your image.

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Ratings and Reviews


Mark did a great job at explaining things and going over them multiple times throughout the lessons. My only issue was that sometimes it went a little faster than I could keep up and I needed to rewind it a bit and start again. But from someone who has never worked in photoshop before I 100% recommend this class to anyone trying to learn.

Terri Schwartz

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