Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Here, we're going to deepen our understanding of how we can work with curves, and we are working with this image here, and in particular, we're going to focus in on how we can modify tone and also how we can change color. Well, this particular photograph, I captured of my daughter Annika. The image is a bit too flat. It's lacking some contrast. You may also notice there's a little bit of that cool color shift that many times we get in open shade, so let's go ahead and correct that with curves. Let's click on the Curves icon in the Adjustments panel.
In this panel, I want to talk about how you can customize this view. You may notice that mine now has a 10x10 grid, well, by default, you have a 4x4 grid. You can alternate between these two by holding down the Option key on a Mac or Alt key on Windows and clicking. Typically you want to have a 10x10 grid, because it allows you to make more precise adjustments. The next thing I want to highlight here is that if you hover over the edge of the Curves panel, you'll notice that your cursor will change. When it changes, you can click and drag either to make this dialog smaller, or you can extend this in order to make this bigger.
So when you're getting really precise, you may need to make it bigger, other times that might be fine to have this a bit smaller. The next thing I want to highlight is this great tool up here. This tool allows you to select an area of your image and then click and drag to make an adjustment. As I move over the image, you can see it's highlighting the different areas of the photograph. In the skin. It's all basically right here. Well, in order to brighten that up, you just click and drag up. You can see that we can then brighten that up. Now whenever you brighten things, you also might need to darken some shadows, because now this looks a little washed out.
Well, to do that, I'll just click on this curve point and then just click and drag down a little bit, bringing some of that contrast back. Well, now we have some nice contrast. I want to work on the color. Before we do that, though, let's look at our preview. We can click on this Eye icon to see our before and now our after. That's looking much nicer. Next, we'll go to our Curves pulldown menu, and we can tap into these different channels to make color adjustments. Let's go straight to this Blue/Yellow channel.
This channel allows us to either change the image to make it more blue or more yellow. With the Targeted Adjustment tool still selected, let's go ahead and hover over the image and then go ahead and click and drag. Sometimes you'll forget which way to drag, but you can always make a drag and you realize, "Oh, okay. That's wrong. That's blue. I don't want that," and then just drag in the opposite direction. What I do want is a little bit of yellow. Now the trick with warming up an image like this is that if you go too far, you'll need to add some other colors as well.
Let me exaggerate for a moment. When I make this really yellow, do you notice that it becomes kind of yellow-green? So we're going to then need to add another color to kind of work to balance that out. So in other words, here's what we'll do. We'll go ahead and click and drag down just to warm that up a little bit, and then we could go into one of our other color channels. Here, let's go to the Red channel. Next we'll go ahead and click and just drag up just a little teeny bit, adding a touch of red. It's kind of like mixing paint. We're mixing these different colors together until we get a color palette or color look or feel that we like.
After having modified the color, you also might want to go back to the RGB composite view. You may decide, well, now I can brighten this up a little bit more because I'm not so concerned about at looking washed out, because now I have this great color in the image. Let's evaluate our progress. Let's do so by clicking on the Eye icon. Here we have our before. And that's what curves does for your photographs, it takes something that you thought looked good and then it allows and empowers you to make adjustments like this, which will really help your images stand out.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
164 Video lessons · 49738 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 84688 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 54494 Viewers
148 Video lessons · 91578 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.