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In Photoshop Lightroom 3 Essential Training, author Chris Orwig provides a comprehensive look at Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3, the popular photo-asset management, enhancement, and publishing program. The course covers indispensable techniques such as importing, processing, and organizing images in the Library, correcting and adjusting images in the Develop module, and creating slideshows, web galleries, and print picture packages. In addition to exploring all of Lightroom 3's capabilities, this course is rich with creative tips and expert advice on photographic workflow. Exercise files accompany the course.
Here I want to take a couple minutes exploring how we can work with the Tone Curve panel which is located inside of the Develop module. Here you'll notice that we are working with this file grayscale.psd and a lot of times it's helpful to work with a simple grayscale file and apply adjustments to it, so that we kind of deconstruct or reverse engineer how these adjustments actually work and how we can effectively work with these controls. Well one of the things that you'll notice right from the get go is that the Tone Curve panel is pretty interesting. It divides up our adjustments into different regions.
Here we have our Shadows, our Darks, our Lights, and also our Highlights. Now we can make changes with by simply clicking and dragging, or we can also make the same change by using the slider here. Well you may notice that when you make an adjustment there's a grayed out area, and it limits your adjustments to that area. Think of that grayed out area or that little shadow as a safety net and saying, hey this is how far you can modify the highlights. Now as we make changes and as we look at the grayscale, we notice primarily we are affecting the upper range of this grayscale.
Now what limits how far this adjustment reaches or what limits how far we can go? Well by default this particular type of curve has its built-in adjustment, but in addition these different quadrants also control how far we could go. For example, let's do something drastic. Let me go ahead and click and drag this point over. Well here you can see the shadow area for my Highlights is now much bigger. It's a much broader reaching adjustment. So as I make that change, you can see I am affecting much more of the photograph.
So we can control these adjustments in some pretty unique ways. Now to reset these points, double-click them. That will then take those back to the default settings. Well what about the Regions? Well, you can reset those by double- clicking the triangle icons or if you have made some various adjustments, you can also hold down Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, and then click on Reset Region to take this all back to normal. Now another way that we can make adjustments is we can use the Target Adjustment tool. To use that tool, simply click on it, hover over your image and then click and drag up or down in order to affect that particular area of the photograph, and here you can see I am making unique modifications to those different areas.
Well how then can we preview what we have done? Well all that we need to do is to click on this flip switch. There is before, and then there is after. Okay, well let's go ahead and reset these adjustments. We will do that by holding down Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows. We will click on Reset the Region. All right, well there is also something else that we can use here, which is actually really quite interesting and quite powerful. What you can do is click on this icon down below. That will then take this to a very different type of a curve.
You will notice that it looks like we still have these quadrants in the background. We have the histogram showing up there. We can make many more adjustments. For example, we can work here on the Highlights, and I am just going to set points as I go. You will notice that I am setting points in a much more freeform way and I can adjust specific areas and make really drastic adjustments, in the same way that we can set specific points and make drastic adjustments with curves in Photoshop. In other words, this gives us the flexibility and control that we need in order to make adjustments that are much stronger, much less limited than in our previous view.
Now in this case, let's say that what you want to do is you want to work on one of these points. Well you can click on that and then drag it to the edge in order to remove that. Notice that I am dragging these points off here and I am just clicking and dragging those to the edge of the frame in order to remove those points. Well to add them we can simply click in an area and then drag one way or another. We can also add points by using the Target Adjustment tool and here is where things get interesting. We can simply click to set different points here and as we click to set those points, we can then go back and forth and modify just a specific area of the photograph.
Notice how I am just affecting that area of the image and then this area here. Again, so I have a very distinct and different type of an adjustment. We also have a few presets that we can use as well. If you go over to Point Curve, here we can choose Linear to bring this back to a straight line, or we can use Medium Contrast, a subtle little S curve, or Strong Contrast. Now the nice thing about this is we can take this and then even push this a little bit further if we want to. I will go ahead and modify those points just like that. All right, well so far so good. Let's evaluate.
Here we have it before and then now after. If ever you want to switch back to the other type of functionality, all that you need to do is to simply click on this icon that will then go back and here what we can do is continue on make changes and in this case, we will go ahead and make changes one way or another. So again, the nice thing about this is that we can continually modify this and we can choose which type of curve works best for us. And keep in mind that you can do all those things that you could do in Photoshop in regards to moving these points, the endpoints, adding points, and also modifying real specific areas of our photographs.
All right, well now that we have been introduced to the Tone Curve panel, let's go ahead and take a look at how we can use this in a photograph, and we will do that in the next movie.
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