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In Photoshop CS5 for Photographers: Camera Raw 6, Chris Orwig provides in-depth training on Camera Raw 6, the CS5 component that enables photographers to open and manipulate images in non-destructive and now even more efficient ways. This course covers the benefits of the raw processing, which makes it possible to more precisely control an image's appearance—exposure, shadow and highlight detail, color balance, sharpness, and more—including new workflow procedures and technical concepts and issues. Learn the entire Camera Raw workflow, from opening and resizing, toning and cropping, to sharpening and saving. Exercise files are included with the course.
Here I want to introduce you to the Tone Curve panel. Now we can navigate to this panel either by clicking on the icon up here, or we can press our shortcut. On a Mac, it's Command+Option+2. On Windows, that's Ctrl+Alt+2. That will then take us to the Tone Curve panel. Now for starters, you'll notice that we have two options, either Parametric or Point. Let's start off with Parametric, and let's make some changes to this demo file in order to deconstruct how this actually works. Now you'll notice that we have these different sliders: Highlights, Lights, Darks, and Shadows.
What we can do is click and drag this to either brighten or darken one particular area of our photograph. You can see that as I make that adjustment it primarily affects this area, but of course, there is a little bit of a reach. The interesting thing is that this curve kind of snaps back to the line, and then it protects or saves the rest of the image. Now, if I want to work on another area of the image, say the Shadows, I could go ahead and make an adjustment there, and here you can see how I can control that particular area of the image, or in this case, of the grayscale.
What about those Darks? So again, that's going to be that intermediary area, of course, it's connected to those other points, but in this sense the Parametric Tone Curve provides a little bit of a safety net. We can't really go wild here and make any changes that will affect the image in really drastic or negative ways. Okay. Well, let's reset all of this. We can do so by holding down the Option key on Mac, Alt key on Windows. That will change Cancel to Reset. Let's reset this back to normal. Okay. Well, let's focus in on one area, say the Shadows.
Now, when I make an adjustment to the Shadows area either to brighten or darken it, we can see that that adjustment kind of spikes right about here and then tapers off. I can control that spike area, or the area where it reaches most intensity, and I can do so by clicking and dragging this icon. You can see that as I do that I'm pushing that to the left, or for that matter all the way over here to the right. Essentially, I have the ability to dial in, or control the reach, of this particular adjustment. And I can do the same thing with the other adjustments as well.
For example, go ahead and double-click this little triangle icons to take them back to normal, and we'll make a Highlight adjustment. Well, same thing with the Highlights, I could extend that out this way, or I could push it back over here. I can also do the same with my other adjustments, and here we can see how we can work with our Lights and our Darks, and how it creates for us this nice, fluid line, which in turn has the potential to help us make some tone and exposure improvements to our photographs. All right, once again, let's reset this, hold down Option or Alt and then click on the Cancel button, which now becomes Reset.
Let's go to our Point Curve. Now currently we can see a Curve dialog, which looks very similar to the Curve dialog in Photoshop. To add a point here, there are a couple of different things that we can do. We can either click right on this line and drag up, you can see I'm now brightening the image, just like I would do inside of Photoshop, or I can hover over the image. Hold down the Command key on Mac, Ctrl key on Windows and then click. And when I do that it will then set a point. We can see that point down here. Now, if I want to select one of these points, I can either click on it, as I have done so here and make a change, or click on this one and make a change here.
But there's also a faster way to navigate between the different points that we have here, whether it's our endpoints, or whether it's points that we've actually added to this particular curve. What you can do is press Ctrl+Tab, and that's a same shortcut in both platforms: Windows and Mac. So when I press Ctrl+Tab, you'll see that different points are highlighted. Now, once I've highlighted one of those or targeted a point, I can use my Arrow keys. And here I can click Up or click Down in order to increase or decrease the value of that particular area of my photograph.
Once again, Ctrl+Tab, then I'll go ahead and click and drag up to affect that particular area. It's also worth pointing out that like in curves in Photoshop we can also click on our endpoints and drag this down. I'm going to make an adjustment which is a little bit extreme, but I'm going to do so to illustrate a point. Take a look at the histogram here. Here you can see that what I've done is I've reduced the area where I have these deep blacks over here. In a sense I've brought up my blacks, also my whites, and sometimes these type of adjustments are helpful.
If you have a little bit of an over exposure, you can just bring that down to bring your histograms back into a bit of a better range. All right. You can also remove points by clicking on one and then dragging off to the side, and that will then successfully remove a point, again, clicking and dragging off to the side. And now we're almost back to normal. Let's just go ahead and bring this one back to the top. And now that we know a little bit about the Tone Curve panel, let's see if we can apply some of this knowledge while working on a few images, and we'll do that in the subsequent movies.
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