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Now that we know a little bit about the Point Tone Curve, let's explore how we can apply what we know to a photograph. Here we have a picture that I captured in Sayulita, Mexico, and I really like the light. I like how it's cascading down these stairs, and I had to stick my camera through a fence in order to capture this image, and I want to explore how we can work with the Point Curve in order to improve this image. Well, to do that, let's navigate to the Develop module. Let's open up the Tone Curve panel and then let's click on the Point Curve icon. Well, here we can see that the Point Curve which has been applied is this medium contrast.
Well, let's crank this up a bit and here we will go to Strong Contrast. We'll see even a larger S-curve here. Let's say that we really like this contrast that we brought in, but we don't quite like how dark a few areas are, and we're also concerned that we might be losing some detail here. Well, in order to check for loss of detail, I am going to press the J key. The J key will turn on my Clipping Indicator. In this case, whatever colors are highlighted here show me that I have a problem area in the shadows and also the highlights. Well, here on the Point Curve I can correct these really easily.
What I can do is go down to my Shadow Point and I will just click and drag this up a little bit, correcting that area, bringing up those blacks, so they're a little bit brighter. What about the highlights? Well, the same thing. I could either click on this White point and drag down, or I could grab the Target Adjustment tool, go over the problem area which is this white area here, and then just drag down a little bit. You can see how that color is now disappearing. Now the great thing about this is we can then modify other areas of our photograph as well. We can make our way through the image and click and drag one way or another, brightening or darkening different areas of the photograph, or we can also click on the curve and make adjustments that way as well.
The fun thing about this is we can customize the way an image looks simply by dragging across these points or dragging up and down on these points in order to change the overall look and feel of the photograph. Here what I'm going to do is just look to try to add a few points or modify a few points in order to give this a little bit of a different look. I need a bit more of a brightening effect there in some of the darker areas and just bringing in a little bit more light there. Let's look at the before and after. Here it is, before and then after.
A pretty subtle adjustment, yet nonetheless, we were able to use this Point Curve to make some really significant improvements to the photograph. We can do this with other images as well. Click on the first image in the set. Now, with this photograph, what I want to do is not only correct the image, correct the highlights there, but also enhance it. So here I will grab the Target Adjustment tool. I will hover over that problem area, then click and drag down. All right! Well next, I can work on some of these other areas. In particular I want to bring up this area here.
So I will go ahead and click and drag down or up depending on how I want to change this. Now, as I change this, one of the things that you notice is that it looks a little strange. You see that edges are a little bit strange there. One of the reasons is because there are a lot of points surrounding this. To remove a point, click and drag it off of the line here, so that we don't have that. Now as I make those changes, they look a little bit more natural. Again, just darkening up some of those areas. Giving a little bit more of a boost to that tone there in that area of the photograph.
I can also go up to my whites there and bring some of the detail back down here and just make my way through this photograph, looking to make a few changes here in regards to the way this image looks. All right! Well, let's evaluate how we've done? Here is our before and then our after, changing the overall tonality which in turn also changes the color of a photograph. Now, the whole point here is just to begin to illustrate how we can use this Point Curve in order to work on real specific areas of our photograph.
What we can do is take all that we know about curves from working with curves in Photoshop and we can now apply that in this nondestructive raw processing context of Lightroom 3.
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