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Photoshop Elements 7 for Windows Essential Training
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Using Color Curves


From:

Photoshop Elements 7 for Windows Essential Training

with Jan Kabili

Video: Using Color Curves

The Adjust Color Curves command offers a sophisticated level of control over tone and color. With this command you can individually adjust color and tone in the highlights, the midtones and the shadows of your photo to your liking. It is the command to use when you need more control and fine tuning than you can get with a Levels or a Shadows/Highlights adjustment. I'm working in orchid3.jpg in the 09_ 05_curves subfolder of the Chapter 09 Exercise Files folder. Some photo adjustment commands like Levels and Hue Saturation and other ones are available as adjustment layers. The advantage of adjustment layers is that they don't make changes directly on the photo, but the Color Curves adjustment is available only as a direct adjustment.
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  1. 9m 23s
    1. Welcome
      54s
    2. What is Photoshop Elements?
      6m 59s
    3. Using the example files
      1m 30s
  2. 22m 34s
    1. Understanding the Organizer's catalog system
      3m 17s
    2. Getting photos from files and folders
      5m 41s
    3. Getting photos from a digital camera
      7m 27s
    4. Getting photos from offline media
      3m 7s
    5. Getting photos from a scanner
      3m 2s
  3. 35m 0s
    1. Touring the Organizer interface
      5m 30s
    2. Viewing photos
      2m 19s
    3. Selecting photos
      1m 52s
    4. Rotating photos
      2m 7s
    5. Renaming photos
      1m 57s
    6. Fixing photo dates
      1m 56s
    7. Hiding and deleting photos
      4m 50s
    8. Stacking photos
      7m 33s
    9. Moving files
      4m 1s
    10. Backing up
      2m 55s
  4. 31m 50s
    1. Tagging photos
      8m 38s
    2. Finding photos by tags
      3m 57s
    3. Tagging face photos
      3m 1s
    4. Using albums and Smart Albums
      7m 43s
    5. Finding photos with Text Search
      3m 34s
    6. Finding photos from the Find menu
      2m 57s
    7. Finding photos in the Timeline
      2m 0s
  5. 16m 27s
    1. Reviewing photos in Full Screen view
      5m 28s
    2. Comparing photos
      4m 9s
    3. Using Date view
      2m 54s
    4. Using Map view
      3m 56s
  6. 33m 3s
    1. Automatically fixing photos in the Organizer
      7m 58s
    2. Semi-automatically fixing photos with Quick Fix
      10m 39s
    3. Using the Guided Edit mode
      4m 33s
    4. Fixing group shots automatically
      3m 44s
    5. Removing stray content with the Scene Cleaner
      6m 9s
  7. 57m 41s
    1. Touring the Full Edit interface
      4m 46s
    2. Opening a file
      2m 6s
    3. Creating a blank file
      4m 36s
    4. Using tools
      8m 5s
    5. Setting Edit preferences
      4m 31s
    6. Adjusting Color settings
      5m 18s
    7. Using the Undo History command
      3m 48s
    8. Zooming and navigating
      6m 7s
    9. Resizing photos and adjusting resolution
      8m 23s
    10. Enlarging the canvas
      3m 24s
    11. Saving files
      6m 37s
  8. 13m 36s
    1. Understanding layers
      4m 38s
    2. Working in the Layers palette
      4m 4s
    3. Using layer masks
      4m 54s
  9. 17m 50s
    1. Understanding selections
      1m 15s
    2. Manual selection tools
      6m 20s
    3. Automatic selection tools
      6m 25s
    4. Modifying and saving selections
      3m 50s
  10. 40m 53s
    1. Straightening and cropping
      2m 46s
    2. Using the Shadow/Highlight adjustment
      2m 41s
    3. Adjusting with Levels
      5m 0s
    4. Adjusting with Hue/Saturation
      3m 14s
    5. Using Color Curves
      4m 44s
    6. Removing a color cast
      4m 9s
    7. Correcting skin tone
      2m 20s
    8. Reducing digital noise
      2m 47s
    9. Sharpening photos
      6m 27s
    10. Editing raw photos
      6m 45s
  11. 25m 21s
    1. Using the new Smart Brush tool
      5m 50s
    2. Using the Smart Brush Detail tool
      3m 13s
    3. Dodging and burning
      1m 58s
    4. Healing wrinkles and blemishes
      3m 51s
    5. Removing content
      2m 9s
    6. Using the Red Eye tool
      1m 11s
    7. Using the Whiten Teeth tool
      1m 48s
    8. Using the Blue Skies Tool
      1m 28s
    9. Using the Black/White tool
      1m 13s
    10. Converting color to black and white
      2m 40s
  12. 22m 10s
    1. Applying filters
      6m 21s
    2. Applying effects
      3m 53s
    3. Using layer styles
      5m 13s
    4. Using shapes
      4m 49s
    5. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      1m 54s
  13. 7m 34s
    1. Creating text
      4m 6s
    2. Editing text
      1m 58s
    3. Warping text
      1m 30s
  14. 38m 38s
    1. Making a photo book
      10m 0s
    2. Making a photo collage
      8m 10s
    3. Creating a slideshow
      10m 11s
    4. Making a panorama
      3m 50s
    5. Preparing images for the web
      4m 6s
    6. Using automated actions
      2m 21s
  15. 9m 50s
    1. Using email and Photo Mail
      4m 42s
    2. Printing your photos
      2m 55s
    3. Using Quick Share
      2m 13s
  16. 19m 17s
    1. Signing up for Photoshop.com
      3m 33s
    2. Viewing and sharing your photos online
      6m 0s
    3. Backing up and synchronizing albums online
      6m 28s
    4. Accessing ongoing inspiration from Adobe.com
      3m 16s
  17. 36s
    1. Goodbye
      36s

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Photoshop Elements 7 for Windows Essential Training
6h 41m Beginner Sep 26, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop Elements 7 is packed with features to help amateur photographers with every stage of digital photo processing, from getting organized to sharing projects with family and friends. In Photoshop Elements 7 for Windows Essential Training, Jan Kabili shares workflow techniques for organizing, editing, creating projects, and sharing. She also demonstrates how to enhance photos with this budget-friendly software. Jan explains the latest updates to the Organizer and Editor workspaces, and also covers new features like the Smart Brush tool and Photoshop.com integration. Elements is very well known for its project features, and Jan shows how to create books, collages, panoramas, and more. Example files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Getting photos from a camera, scanner, or files
  • Organizing and finding photos with tags, albums, and Smart Collections
  • Using automatic and guided edit tools for common fixes
  • Mastering Full Edit mode for refining, retouching, and photo editing
  • Adding special effects and text
  • Sharing and backing up images on Photoshop.com
Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop Elements Elements
Author:
Jan Kabili

Using Color Curves

The Adjust Color Curves command offers a sophisticated level of control over tone and color. With this command you can individually adjust color and tone in the highlights, the midtones and the shadows of your photo to your liking. It is the command to use when you need more control and fine tuning than you can get with a Levels or a Shadows/Highlights adjustment. I'm working in orchid3.jpg in the 09_ 05_curves subfolder of the Chapter 09 Exercise Files folder. Some photo adjustment commands like Levels and Hue Saturation and other ones are available as adjustment layers. The advantage of adjustment layers is that they don't make changes directly on the photo, but the Color Curves adjustment is available only as a direct adjustment.

So before I apply Color Curves to this photo, I'm going to preserve the original by making a copy of the photo. I'm going to the Layers palette and I'm going to right-click on the single layer there and I'll just choose Duplicate Layer and say OK. Now I have a background copy to work on. Just in case I don't like my changes, I can always throw away the background copy layer and still see the original photo, which is on the background layer. Now I'm going to open Color Curves by going to the Enhance menu at the top of the screen, down to Adjust Color, and over to Adjust Color Curves. This is a big dialog box. On my screen it covers up my image. If you have extra room on your monitor, I suggest that you click and hold on the Title bar of this dialog box and drag it away from the document window so that you can see your photo behind. That will allow you to preview the changes that you make here, directly in the photo. But because of the resolution at which I'm working in this video, I'll have to preview my changes right here in the Before and After windows, in the Adjust Color Curves dialog box.

The controls for applying a Color Curves adjustment are at the bottom of the dialog box. On the left are some preset styles, which are saved combinations of adjustments to highlights, midtones and shadows. The best way to start in this dialog box is with these preset styles. I m just going to click on the first one and keep my eye on the After box on the right to see if it makes any change. It really does nothing. So I continue down, just cycling through each one of these presets. Darken Highlights, which makes the highlights darker. Default has no effect here, Increase Contrast does affect this image and I like that. So I'm going to keep that one in mind as I scroll down and take a look at what Increase Midtones does, not great, Lighten Shadows, definitely not, and Solarize, no.

So of these presets, the best one for this particular image is Increase Contrast. So I'm going to choose that one, but it's not perfect as you can see. So the next step is to move over to the Adjust sliders on the right where I have a chance to fine-tune these results. These sliders allow you to adjust the highlights, the midtones and the shadows separately. I'm going to start with the shadows because they are really the big problem in the After image here. I'm just going to open up those shadows by dragging the slider to the right, making the shadows a little bit lighter, something like that. As I move this slider or any of the sliders, this graph on the right changes. This is a Curves graph and different points on this line represent different tones in the image. You could adjust the Curves graph manually by clicking and dragging on these anchor points, but Elements simplifies that process for you by giving you these sliders, which affect those same points.

So back to the sliders, I might try improving the midtones in this image. I think the midtones here need a little brightening, so I'm going to click and drag the Midtone Brightness slider over to the right and as I do, you can see that After photo is brightening up and then I play with the Contrast slider too. See what happens if I drag it to the left. It makes the image a little bit more contrasty. So what I'm trying to do here is brighten up the flower but retain the details in it, and also make the background a little more interesting than the dull background in the Before picture. If I didn't like what I have done, I could always go up to the Reset button in the top right and click there. But I'm happy with these changes, so I'm going to click OK to apply the Color Curves adjustment.

If you would like to see the difference between where I started and where I'm now, I'll just make the background copy layer temporarily invisible. This is the adjusted image that you see and that was the original. So I think we have made this image pop a little more and improved it by applying the Adjust Color Curves command. If you have got a photo that needs different tonal adjustments in the shadows, the highlights and the midtones, you will find that Color Curves gives you the control you need to manually adjust each one of those tonal areas separately.

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