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Retouch with Curves In Photoshop

Lesson 2 of 7

How to Set Up with Curves


Retouch with Curves In Photoshop

Lesson 2 of 7

How to Set Up with Curves


Lesson Info

How to Set Up with Curves

what I'm going to do. I wanted to bring an image up on the computer that is going Teoh, just show you basically what we are going to achieve with the image. As you can see, here we have this elderly lady with many hands around I darkened. This would simply using the exposure because now I feel that the hands they look good. You know Andi for that I did that because I want you to have to focus on the face. I'm going to show you how it how it looked. Default. This is the default on its a bit overexposed. But the problem is that you can see since the light was coming from from, you know, obviously from the side. I mean from an angle. It hit first the hand and then it became very, very bright. And we don't want that. We want to sort of equalize it. But also just ovary cries it in a way that to have, like, of the focus. So that's what we're going to do today with curves. Andi. So if I were to open this image just to show you and I'm going to open it is an object. Okay. This is not the curse...

part yet. This is just describing what we are going to do with curves. We have this thing here on you. See, this is just very dark. We got work with this, so I'm just going to go on. Do you like a new smart object? The A copy? Because most of you know that if I were to just copy this smart object, whatever adjustments I would do on any of those is going to translate to the other one. So it's just going to stay the same layer. But by using new, smart, objective copy, I can create a new smart object with the same attributes. But when I go into with the double click and just, you know, get the exposure up a bit like that, say here. I'm not going to be very precise right now because this is just to demonstrate. I'm hitting, okay? And you can see that this is what we have. The difference. So now what I can deal with curves later is the same idea here is applying a mask is what I'm going to do. And we're just a soft brush. I can go bigger than that. I can just, you know, bring the face back. So this is not a rocket science, you know, I just wanted to show like, Oh, this is too bright, so we could just bring that down. But as you can see, this is what we have. We have this equalized image and thes parts are what we are going to look at using curves like if we have, like, an arm that's like over, we are going to bring it down if you can, and it's very over exposed. I'm in. Certain parts are then try to use it first with these raw conversion techniques, many people talked about this that you could probably find some other classes on creative life. We're going to talk about something else, but you probably could follow this. I didn't do it too quickly. So yeah, that's what we're going to talk about now to ask the question why we are using curve and not levels right, because they are almost like the same thing. Except let's bring up a levels. That's why I wanted to open this to have a levels adjustment layer here. As you can see, we have the hissed a gram laid out for us. So, like the darker areas of the image them, it turns in the highlights. We can just track it and through using these little triangles. What we can do is we can modify those certain parts highlights Mitt. Let's try this highlights, obviously mitt tones on duh shadows or basically just blacks and whites and mitt turns. Okay, that would be mawr precise. It's what we can influence with levels. So that's almost like curves. And we can do it, you know, the other way if we need. So let's just get this out the way we have the lady here. If you want more black, I'm just going to, you know, get more black. But if I want less black, there is another slider for that, and I can do this right. This is basically just controlling the blacks. And that's the problem, because levels is just too simple of a tool for using, like precision retouching. Right? You, Maybe you want Teoh Harris. This section of the hissed a gram and you want to modify that section? You can't do that. You can't with a crate, Grady, until you can create triangles. But with with the levels I can't create new triangles, I can only use the existing ones. And that's a problem whenever I have to just modify like highlights. And it happens often because with Brent its you know its advice to have, like, a white point like a to 45. Um, you know, because Max is 2 55 to 45 would be just me just getting this back to 2 45 right? Get respected, not look too wacky because that will be better for printing. And if I have, like these small maneuvers that I have to do, then this is what I do. I just bring up levels. I don't need anything else. But once I have to, like, modify this thing and that thing that that's a whole another ball game. You know, Andi, that's the problem with levels. Obviously, you can go into all the channels here, but you can do that, too, and calves the same problem. Also, if you were to move the black level, that's going to crush your image. If you were to move like this shadow area, that's not going to crush the image if it's like that kind of. I mean, there are instances, but like modifying the blacks versus modifying the shallows, I would go through the shadows most that at times to have like this, you know, to stay within the range that we have created within the rule conversion. So that's why we don't use levels. So now that we are using, like curves, now that we're using cubs, as you can see, we have the same hissed a gram here. Just the only difference is that we have this this line, which is I don't know why this is it here, but it's here. But the same things, like the first year the other triangles way had with levels. We have it down here. So if you want to just control the dark, I mean the yet the blacks just slide this over wherever you want or if you want to. You know the highlights. It's like this wherever you want. Now the problem comes in. When you remember we had this other slider under the in the levels, we had another slider. So to we could elevate the blacks or just turned down the white points, we don't have that here. What we have here is that we need to use this curve. We have to create the car using this line, and we have to modify it. I'm going to show it to you. Like how it works today on I'm going to show it to you how you can create very precise parts of your image, how you can use caps for different reasons. Because you have, like, colors. You have saturation. You have all sorts of things that you could actually potentially, you know, modify with curves that you would not think about. Maybe necessarily. So we will get back to this. But this is why this is more precise and how it is more precise. We will get into that. So now what we are going to do, I'm going to bring in my image that we are going. I mean, I am going to work on this on that today. And once it's done, I'm going to do just a very quick roll conversion. Was this done? We're going to look at, like, a layer structure. You guys who are here you probably remember I opened my set up and it was like groups of groups. I'm just going to talk through them. Not as not to This is how you should do it. But sdo how? Restructure a file when you are working with adjustment layers on when you're working, like on a full retouch, if that makes sense. Okay. So I'm just going to close this Onda. Um, yeah, here are my files and we are going to be working on things. Gentleman's portrait. Yeah, you might assume I had this on the slide. This is like an out take from Inc magazine cover shoot by John Keats. Lee, This is the guy who gave a very high salary for their for his employees. So he's really cool. So as I mentioned, I was going to do very quick. One. I actually, I think I have something here in here, so I'm just going to use that box if you don't have to. You know, remember these because your files are going to be different. I'm going to do that, my set up, and then I'm going to do the walk through. And that's going Teoh, be helpful. Hopefully let just collapse. So this is basically what I have here and This is basically what I advice I advise you to have as a structure when you are working on an image and I'm going to, you know, just walk through here. I have the main image and I have a double like a copy of it because I might want to, like, liquefy or I might want to. Do you know some things that are can't be done with adjustment layers or or with a different layer, like healing on top of that? Because if kind of destructive kind of non district, it's like in the middle. I have a healing layer, and that's what I do. First, I'm going to just heal the image, get rid of all you know, the blemishes that I don't need, and then you can see this Dajun Burn group now dodge and burn means you know, two things you can dodge and burn locally, and you can dodge and burn globally. What I mean by that and this is not actually a universal definition, is what I would say. But how I define it is that local dodging and burning is like getting rid of all those you know, shadows of blemishes. You know, like if you have a bump or like a indentation or anything like that, and then what you want to do is like you want to get rid of the shadows of that thing, and then it's going to disappear. So that's like local dodging and burning is like getting into the image. The global dodging and burning would be using cars, mainly having like what I showed you guys in the think like a researcher class in the damaged part grabbing free hunt. Freehand last little on just having the areas like turned down or just, you know, elevated brightened up. And that's not what I'm doing in the global dodging burn on. Sometimes I missed Miss Mixed It up with like an actual global without a mosque is what I mean without a mosque, mike levels or curves, which can be applied to the whole image. That's what I do now. On top of that, I have almost the same structure here. As you can see, I have a colors and tones Group main. It's it's colors. So whenever I do any coloring and everything that but it's very important to to go and do your coloring on top of your dodging and burning, because when you're dodging burn, it doesn't matter if you're dark, enlightened or you do it locally globally, you What happens is you get like, shift in saturation. You get a shift in color. So because of that, you have to work on top of these things. Not that because you can't go back and modify the previous ones. But because you don't know what you are going to have to like, repair is what I would say, you know, because if you if you're going like you have a very dark shadow and you're trying to get rid of that, sometimes you know you can't use the healing tool for that, and you have to GOP like dodging or burning on that can create like a horrible shift. You can just, you know, repair that now. The 3rd I have, like this help group might help group is like, you know, the feeling when you're sitting in front of your computer, your eyes are getting very tired. You feel like you don't see the difference between things right. You don't see between tones between colors. That's when you know the solar curve and the these other. You know how players come into play the's Help your eyes just like relax a bear thes help you like. You don't have to concentrate that much. However, everyone should try not to rely too much on these help players if you can, because that's just going to make you better at retouching to just identify the problems because these are going Teoh. Help you do that? Yeah, very wacky one. We're going to deal with this. Create that. Yeah, so that that's actually my structure. So anyway, if I do anything here, I still have the background on that, so I could just go back and forth, so that's very quick on, but that would be my structure.

Class Description

Curves is a powerful tool if you know how to use it. In fact, you can retouch an entire image using only adjustment layer curves. 

 In this class Viktor Fejes will show you:

  • The best methods for working in Curves
  • How saturation, hue, and colors work in Curves
  • Dodging and burning with Curves 
After this class, you’ll be able to use this important Adobe® Photoshop® tool with confidence.  

Don't have Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom yet? CreativeLive and Adobe invite you to become a Creative Cloud Photography plan member today and save up to 20% on your first year! Click here for details!  

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015


JIll C.

Viktor describes his method of organizing his Photoshop Layers for all the typical edits that he will apply to an edited portrait. He also clearly demonstrates the power of Curves Layers to make tiny, but useful edits to an image. This is definitely a class I will have to watch over and over to be able to take in all the subtleties of his process. On the sample image, each of the individual edits are hardly noticeable, but the cumulative effect is a dramatic improvement in what appeared to be a very good image to begin with. Mostly what I learned about high-end Retouching is that I have a lot to learn!


Loved the class. Viktor teaches the why behind retouching techniques and encourages students to think about the image before applying techniques. One of the best online classes I've taken in a while.


Getting into one set of Photoshop details (working with curves) to work on Photo details. It's instructive to see how the Professionals think about and work on their output.