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There's another key difference when you're using the Curves adjustment layer versus the Curves dialog and that has to do with how you set curve points on the actual grid. Let's go take a look at Image > Adjustment > Curves to see the old school method when we have the dialog box open, right. When you put your mouse outside the dialog, you get the eyedropper but as you mouse around, you don't actually see anything happening on the Curve graph itself. You need to click and hold. As you drag with the mouse down, you actually see what we call the dancing donut on the graph to kind of represent what pixel tonal value is directly into your cursor and whether that falls on the graph. That just shows you where the curve point would be if you were to actually click over here to represent that tone.
To actually get a curve point to show up on the graph, based on where you're hovering over, you hold down the Command key on the Mac or the Ctrl key on Windows and click and that drops a point down on the graph ready for you to manipulate. You can of course start using your arrow keys to go up or down or left and right to adjust that curve point. All right. So that's the dialog method. To do it in the adjustment layer, since it's not modal any more. It's a slightly different technique. So we're going to click the Curves adjustment layer at the top of the Adjustments panel here. There is my graph and curve again. If you're seeing a larger grid on your curve, that's because I've Option- clicked or Alt-clicked it to toggle back and forth between a finer grid. So you can do that too.
Here with the Targeted Adjustment tool, we'll click on the tool that gives you the finger here. Now you'll notice that as I mouse around, I don't have to hold the button down, I'm just moving the mouse. So I get the dancing donut live here. So that's one difference there. Then to click a point on the graph, I don't have to hold down any modifier keys. You just click. So if I want to put a point here, just click and there's the point on the graph. If I want to put a click in the midtone let's say I'll click there. If I want a point in the highlight, let's say in the white of her eye, I'll click there. So it just lets me add the points just by directly clicking with that tool from the Adjustment panel. So couple differences there between the dialog versus the Adjustment panel.
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