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The Curves adjustment in Adobe Photoshop has a reputation for being challenging for some photographers. In this workshop, Photoshop expert Tim Grey takes you step by step through every aspect of the Curves adjustment, helping you truly understand the concepts behind it so that you can quickly and easily maximize tonal range, optimize contrast, and enhance your photos' color balance. Note: This course was recorded in Photoshop CS5, but was created with users of both Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS4 in mind.
Back in the days of film photography, cross processing was sometimes an accident and sometimes an intentional aesthetic effect applied to a particular roll of film. With curves, as you will see in this lesson, you can achieve the same basic look for any digital photo. I've added my curves adjustment and in this case I'll go ahead and get started by using a preset that's included with Photoshop. So clicking the presets pop up on the adjustments panel, I'll choose cross process. As you can see, the effect is somewhat dramatic and it basically looks like an incorrect color balance adjustment. I can continue to fine tune the effect by adjusting the individual channels as I see fit.
So I'll click the popup for my channels and choose green to get started. This is obviously having a significant effect in the image but I might want to make it a little more dramatic, for example, adding more green to the mid-tones. I can then continue to adjust any of the other anchor points on the green curve in order to optimize the appearance in the image. And then of course I can switch to the other color channels to find tune the effect there. Shifting the amount of red versus cian and blue versus yellow, green versus magenta along various tonal values within the image. Using curves you can accomplish a cross processing effect for any image. Whether you start with a preset that is included with Photoshop or simply strike out on your own in search of the best solution the emphasis should be on producing the creative effect that you feel best suits the contents of a given image.
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