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Enhancing color with curves

From: Photoshop CS4 for Photographers

Video: Enhancing color with curves

In this movie, we are going to be talking about how we can enhance our color with creative use of Curves. We'll be working on this file truck.jpg, so let's go ahead and double-click that to open it in Photoshop. Press F to go to Full Screen View mode and then Spacebar to reposition the image. Now what I'm going to do here is I'm going to go ahead and click on the Curves Adjustments Layer icon and I'll now add a Curves Adjustment and I'm interested in increasing the color saturation and the color contrast. Now, so far we have looked at how we can do that. Let us take a look at our before and after by clicking on the Eye icon. There is before, there is after. Okay, that is kind of interesting but it did not quite go far enough for me. Well, how can we get more out of this image? How can we add some more interesting color to this photograph? Well let's go ahead and go to our Red channel. We are going to do that by way of shortcut because we want to start picking those up. It is Option+3 on a Mac/Alt+3 on a PC.

Enhancing color with curves

In this movie, we are going to be talking about how we can enhance our color with creative use of Curves. We'll be working on this file truck.jpg, so let's go ahead and double-click that to open it in Photoshop. Press F to go to Full Screen View mode and then Spacebar to reposition the image. Now what I'm going to do here is I'm going to go ahead and click on the Curves Adjustments Layer icon and I'll now add a Curves Adjustment and I'm interested in increasing the color saturation and the color contrast. Now, so far we have looked at how we can do that. Let us take a look at our before and after by clicking on the Eye icon. There is before, there is after. Okay, that is kind of interesting but it did not quite go far enough for me. Well, how can we get more out of this image? How can we add some more interesting color to this photograph? Well let's go ahead and go to our Red channel. We are going to do that by way of shortcut because we want to start picking those up. It is Option+3 on a Mac/Alt+3 on a PC.

I'm going to bring some of the reds up into my highlights and then some of the cyans down into my shadows. So now I have this interesting combination where I added a little bit of Red and I also add a little bit of Cyan. Here is my before and then after. So far, okay interesting. Now press Option+4 on a Mac/Alt+4 on a PC. Greens, we're going to do a little bit of that as well. Little bit. Bring up the greens, bring in some magenta there and then finally Option+5 on a Mac/ Alt+5 on a PC. I want to bring just a touch of blue there. We have a lot of blues so we do not need to do too much of that.

Then bring in some yellow. Okay now we are really starting to customize our color here in some pretty interesting ways. Let's take a look at our before and after. Well here is before and after. All right, the color has really started to sing except I want to take this even further. So I'll click in the Background layer and I want to work on this light. The lights are little bit too bright for me and I want to modify the color. So I'll press W to select the Quick Select tool and I want to add to this so I'm going to go ahead and click and paint across this light here. And the Quick Select tool is a phenomenal tool because it allows you to, as the name implies, select things quickly. Anyways, so I got the Quick Select tool here and I'm making my selection around the light, hold down the Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC and undo a few little problem areas. That is pretty good. Next I'm going to create a new Curves Adjustments.

So I'll click on the Curves Adjustments Layer icon, here is what I want to do with this one. I want to darken this light, it is too bright. Actually I want to bring down the white point even. All right, now that is much darker, I like that. Next thing I'm going to do is jump all the way to the Blue, Yellow channel. That is Option+5 on a Mac/Alt+ 5 on a PC and I'm going to go ahead and make this nice and orange looking, look at that. And I'll go back to the Red Cyan channel, that is Option+3 on a Mac /Alt+3 on a PC and I'm going to try to bring in a little bit of cyan into those darker tones and then a little bit of red into some of the brighter tones. All right, pretty interesting.

Now let's go ahead and stack this one on top because that was our second adjustment. Now when I do that, on there is such a little bit less drastic. Now here is my before and after. If I bring it underneath that other adjustment then it is pretty strong and then it is deepening those tones in some pretty interesting ways. Yet in my opinion, it is a little bit too strong here so I lower my Opacity, I'm just looking to add a little bit of visual interest to that. Before, we thought that will look good. Now we are like, okay. Now you are talking, that is looking better, before and after, great. So let's look at our overall before and after. Here is before and then after. All right, we are so far so good.

Let us click in the Background layer, grab your Quick Select tool and what we are going to do is just select this lower portion of the image here and now that we have that lower portion, we are going to make one more curves adjustment. Click on the Adjustment Layer icon to create a new curves adjustment and here we want to go to a couple of different channels. Starting RGB, I just want to darken that up, just a little bit here and I'll go to that Blue Yellow channel and in that Blue Yellow channel, I'm just going to look to add just a touch of yellow here. And I want to add it up high and a little bit down low. Now when I did that it became a touch green so I'm going to go to my Green Magenta channel, I'm going to modify that overall green amount here. Just look into modify this, have a little bit of fun. Now that's looks pretty interesting. Now let's look at our before and after. Here is before and then after.

It is nothing else, just darkening that makes a little bit more sense, so that it makes this image have a little bit more of motion. Little bit too strong so I'm going to change your opacity. Rather clicking on the slider here, I'll press 7 on the keyboard, takes that to an opacity level of 70%. One final adjustment, click in the Background Layer, Quick Select tool, this time we are just going to select the light there and go ahead and grab that, click on the Adjustment Layer icon for Curves. And now what I'm interesting in doing is just darkening that light up, just a touch. Now, there is not a lot of detail there so I'm not going to be able to darken up that too much, but I do want to try to get just a little bit more detail there. And I'm going to that Red Cyan channel, grab my target Adjustment tool, Hover over that, click and drag that up. And try to remove a little bit of that cyan color that we saw on that. And let us take a look at that adjustment. Here is our before and after. Again, just a subtle modification to the image.

Now let's take a look at our overall before and after. We can do that by holding down the Option key on a Mac/ Alt key on a PC and then clicking on the Background Layer, Eye icon, here is our before and here is how we slowly built up the visual interest and we will see it really come together with this top most layer on and in there are different adjustments on those different specific areas. Now my whole intent here was to get you to begin to have vision for how you can enhance the color of your images. And do not settle for thinking it looks good but for experimenting a little bit. Now a lot of times, once you have come to this point of experimentation you are like, is this really good, have I gone too far? Well here is what I would like to do. I'll double-click the tab for Adjustments. I'll click in my Bottom Curves Adjustment and then Shift-click in the top Curves Adjustment and then press Command+G on a Mac/Control+G on a PC to group those. And I'm going to call this 'enhance color and tone'.

Next I'm going to turn this Eye icon on and off and then I'm going to lower the Opacity of this just a touch, just to bring it back. Bring back some of the original and again I can then control and find the sweet spot for all these different adjustments. Because a lot of times, when you start working with color, it's really easy to go too far. Now at this particular image, do I need to bring it back? No, I kind of like it cranked up because I'm just having some fun with color and I'm trying to take this image to this real super vibrant place. All right, well that wraps up our conversation about how we can enhance color with Curves.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 for Photographers
Photoshop CS4 for Photographers

228 video lessons · 36639 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 28s
    1. Introduction
      2m 43s
    2. Using the exercise files
      45s
  2. 19m 32s
    1. Taking visual snapshots
      2m 33s
    2. What's new in the Photoshop CS4 menus
      1m 24s
    3. The importance of the 30-minute blink
      2m 38s
    4. Isolation
      3m 32s
    5. Taking notes
      2m 29s
    6. Creative memorization
      2m 16s
    7. Verbalize, human, fun
      1m 18s
    8. Lessons from a legend: Douglas Kirkland
      2m 10s
    9. Resources and links
      1m 12s
  3. 30m 42s
    1. Is Photoshop CS4 worth it?
      2m 50s
    2. Seeing the new Tools panel
      3m 22s
    3. Working with the Application bar
      2m 51s
    4. Navigating with the Hand and Zoom tools
      4m 27s
    5. Rotating with the new Rotate View tool
      2m 0s
    6. New ways of arranging documents
      5m 41s
    7. Working with the panels
      2m 34s
    8. Customizing your workspace
      2m 11s
    9. Creating custom keyboard shortcuts
      3m 12s
    10. Creating custom menus
      1m 34s
  4. 39m 36s
    1. Choosing your Color settings
      5m 4s
    2. Setting Image Interpolation preferences
      3m 1s
    3. Zoom preferences
      2m 40s
    4. Interface preferences
      7m 46s
    5. File-handling preferences
      2m 33s
    6. Performance preferences: Memory
      5m 40s
    7. Performance preferences: Cursor
      5m 46s
    8. Performance preferences: Transparency and Gamut
      4m 44s
    9. Reviewing the other preferences
      2m 22s
  5. 21m 14s
    1. Bit Depth 101
      4m 34s
    2. Introducing image size
      2m 47s
    3. Image Resize overview
      7m 54s
    4. Resizing by cropping
      3m 33s
    5. Straightening
      2m 26s
  6. 10m 10s
    1. Introducing color management
      2m 3s
    2. Monitor calibration basics
      2m 43s
    3. Advanced monitor calibration
      2m 36s
    4. Creating a neutral work environment
      2m 48s
  7. 11m 17s
    1. Using Photoshop, Bridge, and Lightroom together
      2m 20s
    2. Bridge as a digital light box
      1m 19s
    3. General Bridge preferences
      2m 49s
    4. Thumbnail Bridge preferences
      1m 38s
    5. Advanced and Cache Bridge preferences
      3m 11s
  8. 28m 1s
    1. Creative tip 1: Discarding, the great selection technique
      4m 6s
    2. Introducing the Bridge interface
      3m 27s
    3. Getting photos from your camera
      4m 14s
    4. Choosing a workspace
      4m 16s
    5. Customizing the workspace and the Synchronized window
      4m 10s
    6. Using Bridge to rate and sort
      4m 3s
    7. Sorting with filters
      3m 45s
  9. 33m 53s
    1. Previewing multiple files
      5m 6s
    2. The Bridge Review mode
      7m 4s
    3. The Bridge Full Screen mode
      3m 8s
    4. Bridge slideshows
      4m 25s
    5. Stacking images
      3m 24s
    6. Renaming and batch-renaming
      4m 11s
    7. Adding favorites
      1m 58s
    8. Grouping images with Collections
      4m 37s
  10. 15m 3s
    1. Setting up metadata
      3m 34s
    2. Customizing the workspace for metadata
      2m 20s
    3. Creating a metadata template to add a copyright notice
      3m 55s
    4. Keywording images
      3m 33s
    5. Filtering images based on metadata
      1m 41s
  11. 9m 54s
    1. Recording an action
      2m 16s
    2. Batch-processing an action
      2m 11s
    3. Simplifying repetitive steps using the Image Processor
      2m 21s
    4. Opening multiple images as layers
      3m 6s
  12. 1h 13m
    1. What is Camera Raw?
      2m 47s
    2. Understanding the Camera Raw preferences
      3m 15s
    3. Opening files in Camera Raw
      5m 23s
    4. The Camera Raw interface and essential controls
      5m 13s
    5. White Balance, Straighten, and Tone
      3m 2s
    6. Crop, Rotate, and Vignette
      5m 6s
    7. Improving color and tone
      4m 45s
    8. Saturation vs. Vibrance
      4m 46s
    9. Converting an image to black and white
      4m 7s
    10. Split-toning an image
      3m 32s
    11. Working with tone subjectively
      5m 56s
    12. Adjustment Brush essentials
      3m 19s
    13. Using the Adjustment Brush
      7m 24s
    14. Working with the Graduated filter
      4m 6s
    15. Sharpening and noise reduction
      6m 10s
    16. Working with multiple images
      4m 45s
  13. 38m 42s
    1. Creative tip 2: Worth the risk
      2m 30s
    2. Introducing layers
      2m 53s
    3. Working with layers
      2m 21s
    4. Working with History and the History Brush
      4m 1s
    5. Aligning layers
      1m 56s
    6. Organizing layers
      4m 17s
    7. Layer style effects
      4m 21s
    8. Creating a clipping mask
      4m 27s
    9. Creating a reflection of an image
      2m 37s
    10. Targeting and moving layers
      5m 36s
    11. Reviewing layers shortcuts
      3m 43s
  14. 31m 31s
    1. Introducing masking
      2m 8s
    2. Creating a simple layer mask
      3m 51s
    3. Masking shortcuts
      3m 25s
    4. Using Color Range to create a detailed mask
      3m 48s
    5. Creating a layer mask with Color Range
      5m 5s
    6. Masking and brightening eyes
      3m 35s
    7. Masking and selective sharpening
      2m 58s
    8. The Quick Mask mode
      6m 41s
  15. 24m 15s
    1. Creating a custom border with masking
      5m 41s
    2. Using pre-built borders
      7m 6s
    3. Exploring sample image frames
      4m 59s
    4. Frame plugin highlight: Photoframe
      6m 29s
  16. 51m 47s
    1. Creating a mask with the Quick Selection tool
      5m 39s
    2. Working with the Quick Selection tool
      4m 12s
    3. Creating color range selections
      4m 46s
    4. Advanced selection enhancements
      5m 1s
    5. Using the Magic Wand
      2m 33s
    6. Using the Lasso tool
      5m 37s
    7. Pen and path shortcuts
      5m 20s
    8. Understanding paths
      4m 7s
    9. Creating path selections
      6m 3s
    10. The Magnetic Lasso tool and paths
      8m 29s
  17. 21m 10s
    1. Introducing the Adjustments panel
      2m 26s
    2. Brightness and contrast
      3m 39s
    3. Understanding the difference between Vibrance and Saturation
      2m 55s
    4. Using the Target Adjustment tool
      4m 9s
    5. Hue/Saturation adjustments and masking
      3m 15s
    6. Hue/Saturation blending with Shadow/Highlight
      4m 46s
  18. 17m 45s
    1. Introducing levels
      1m 58s
    2. Enhancing color and tone with levels
      3m 3s
    3. Modifying color with levels
      3m 47s
    4. Levels and masking
      3m 13s
    5. Using levels and masking to get the most out of adjustments
      5m 44s
  19. 40m 58s
    1. Demystifying curves
      6m 52s
    2. Using curves for contrast and tone
      3m 33s
    3. Midtones and advanced blending
      2m 50s
    4. Curves and general Hue/Saturation
      2m 54s
    5. Enhancing color with curves
      6m 18s
    6. Curves, color, masking, and tone
      5m 10s
    7. Curves and masking
      4m 54s
    8. Creative tip 3: Using curves for publication
      5m 14s
    9. Using, modifying, and saving curves presets
      3m 13s
  20. 24m 7s
    1. Creative tip 4: Ordinary ingredients = extraordinary results
      2m 23s
    2. Introducing blend modes
      5m 36s
    3. Blend modes visualized
      6m 48s
    4. Blending multiple images
      6m 9s
    5. Blend modes shortcuts
      3m 11s
  21. 42m 57s
    1. Correcting color with eyedroppers
      4m 37s
    2. Advanced color correction with eyedroppers
      2m 27s
    3. Color correction with Camera Raw
      3m 3s
    4. Performing difficult color correction with Camera Raw
      3m 1s
    5. Performing easier color correction with a color chart
      2m 31s
    6. Color-correcting skin by the numbers
      3m 42s
    7. Color-correcting by the numbers
      4m 10s
    8. Color correction: Studio shot
      3m 6s
    9. Color correction: Light skin tone
      3m 6s
    10. Color correction: Dark skin tone
      3m 44s
    11. Color correction: Multiple skin tones
      6m 40s
    12. Color correction plugin highlight: SkinTune 2
      2m 50s
  22. 44m 44s
    1. Replacing color with Hue/Saturation
      3m 2s
    2. Replacing a color
      5m 6s
    3. Modifying color with Selective Color
      3m 5s
    4. Color focus
      5m 59s
    5. Experimenting with cool and warm colors
      5m 18s
    6. Enhancing a portrait with sunset colors
      5m 16s
    7. Enhancing a landscape with sunrise colors
      5m 19s
    8. Enhancing a color group shot
      3m 17s
    9. Using photo filters with black-and-white photos
      3m 14s
    10. Using photo filters with color photos
      5m 8s
  23. 22m 3s
    1. Introducing the Burn and Dodge tools
      2m 56s
    2. Using the Burn and Dodge tools
      3m 47s
    3. Darkening corners with the Soft Light blend mode
      3m 0s
    4. Adding contrast to the highlights
      2m 30s
    5. Darkening a portion of an image
      2m 45s
    6. Correcting bright and dark tones
      3m 56s
    7. Reducing highlights with the Multiply blend mode
      3m 9s
  24. 19m 30s
    1. Creative tip 5: Seeing beyond the color - your gear is good enough
      4m 58s
    2. Introducing black-and-white conversion
      3m 37s
    3. Portrait black-and-white conversion
      3m 31s
    4. Landscape black-and-white conversion
      2m 40s
    5. Adding grain and tone to a black-and-white image
      4m 44s
  25. 11m 16s
    1. Introducing Smart Filters
      2m 36s
    2. Applying Smart Filters
      3m 21s
    3. Blending and masking Smart Filters
      5m 19s
  26. 19m 38s
    1. Noise reduction with Surface Blur
      4m 36s
    2. The Noise Reduction filter
      2m 54s
    3. Advanced noise reduction with Channels
      5m 32s
    4. Advanced noise reduction with the Dfine plugin
      6m 36s
  27. 33m 29s
    1. The Dust and Scratches Filter
      3m 57s
    2. Using masking to remove dust and scratches
      5m 10s
    3. Introducing the trio of healing tools
      6m 18s
    4. Using the Healing and Clone Stamp tools
      4m 21s
    5. Using the Patch tool
      7m 40s
    6. Cleaning up an image with what's there
      6m 3s
  28. 58m 58s
    1. Creative tip 6: A beautiful mistake
      2m 51s
    2. Cleaning up a background
      3m 21s
    3. Removing blemishes
      4m 19s
    4. Cleaning up backgrounds and blemishes
      3m 46s
    5. Brightening eyes
      3m 12s
    6. Changing eye color
      4m 55s
    7. Darkening the edge of an eye
      1m 32s
    8. Adding makeup
      2m 25s
    9. Correcting distortion
      2m 19s
    10. Reducing eye wrinkles
      4m 4s
    11. Adding height and reducing wrinkles
      7m 55s
    12. Whitening teeth
      4m 6s
    13. Whitening teeth using Quick Mask
      3m 39s
    14. Softening skin
      5m 5s
    15. Removing red-eye
      2m 21s
    16. The next steps in retouching
      3m 8s
  29. 38m 35s
    1. Introducing Smart Sharpen
      3m 23s
    2. Smart Sharpen demystified
      4m 10s
    3. Smart Sharpen and masking
      8m 46s
    4. Using the Unsharpen Mask filter
      5m 19s
    5. Black-and-white High Pass sharpening
      8m 2s
    6. Color High Pass sharpening
      3m 27s
    7. Sharpening and tone
      5m 28s
  30. 28m 38s
    1. Resizing for email and the web
      3m 1s
    2. Image size considerations
      2m 54s
    3. Preparing files for the web
      4m 37s
    4. Sharpening for the web
      2m 12s
    5. Correcting color for the web
      3m 10s
    6. The Save for Web dialog
      3m 51s
    7. Creating a web gallery
      6m 21s
    8. Sharing your photos online
      2m 32s
  31. 23m 33s
    1. Creating contact sheets
      4m 19s
    2. Presenting your photos as a PDF slideshow
      2m 55s
    3. Desktop printing recommendations
      1m 40s
    4. Preparing to print
      5m 53s
    5. Using Soft Proof to pre-visualize printing
      3m 46s
    6. Using the Print dialog
      3m 31s
    7. Print settings
      1m 29s
  32. 23s
    1. Goodbye
      23s

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