Photoshop Creative Effects Workshop
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Using Curves presets for creative effects


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Photoshop Creative Effects Workshop

with Tim Grey

Video: Using Curves presets for creative effects

The Curves Adjustment has a reputation for being difficult to learn, and part of that stems from the incredible power and flexibility, available with Curves. Fortunately, there are a variety of presets in Curves that make it easy to apply a creative effect. And you can always refine the results by digging deeper into the Curves Adjustment. Let's get started. I'll go ahead and add a Curves Adjustment layer by clicking on the Create New Adjustment layer button. The half black, half white circle at the bottom of the Layers panel. And then choosing curves. This will add a Curves Adjustment layer and also provide me with the curves adjustments, on the Adjustments panel.

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop Creative Effects Workshop
2h 19m Intermediate Apr 30, 2011

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Digital photographers using Adobe Photoshop sometimes get so caught up in working efficiently and mastering complex techniques that they can forget photography is at heart a creative endeavor. In this course photographer and author Tim Grey encourages you to explore how you can leverage the power of Photoshop to express your creative vision. Learn how to apply various creative effects related to tonality, color, artistic filters, creative borders, image montages, and much more. Along the way, see every detail of how these effects are achieved so you can adapt them to suit your own purposes. The course concludes with a series of projects that involve the use of multiple creative effects for a single image. Note: This course was recorded in Photoshop CS5, but was created with users of both Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS4 in mind.

Topics include:
  • Safely experimenting with creativity
  • Creating a black-and-white effect
  • Using Curves presets for creative effects
  • Applying a vignette
  • Using the Filter Gallery
  • Applying a Gradient Map adjustment
  • Creating a multiple exposure effect
  • Hand-painting an image
  • Creative projects
Subjects:
Photography video2brain
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Tim Grey

Using Curves presets for creative effects

The Curves Adjustment has a reputation for being difficult to learn, and part of that stems from the incredible power and flexibility, available with Curves. Fortunately, there are a variety of presets in Curves that make it easy to apply a creative effect. And you can always refine the results by digging deeper into the Curves Adjustment. Let's get started. I'll go ahead and add a Curves Adjustment layer by clicking on the Create New Adjustment layer button. The half black, half white circle at the bottom of the Layers panel. And then choosing curves. This will add a Curves Adjustment layer and also provide me with the curves adjustments, on the Adjustments panel.

I could certainly adjust the curve directly, but I want to take a look at some of the pre-sets that will enable me to get started more easily using Curves. I'll go ahead and click the popup at the top of the Adjustments panel for Curves. And let's just take a look at Strong Contrast, for example. This pre-set will give me an S curve with a relatively steep center point, which increases midton contrast relatively significantly. Perhaps, not the most creative effect but an effect that is very easy to apply, nevertheless.

Of course, there are more creative options available with Curves. I'll go ahead click the pop up once again, and let's take a look at Cross Process, for example. You'll notice that this gives the image a little bit of green to cyan type of color cast. And this is intended to simulate the appearance of an effect that can be achieved when processing film in a wet dark room. I'll go ahead and click my pop up again. And we can take a look at the negative option. This will create an inverted version of the image. You can see that areas that had been yellow become blue, because blue is the opposite color of yellow. And areas that were white become black, areas that were black become white, etcetera.

This certainly presents an interesting look at the image, but we can take things a step further with another negative option, and that would be the color negative option. This is intended to simulate the appearance of a color negative, a piece of negative film. And so you'll see a lot more oranges, for example, in the result. And that obviously creates an artificial and interesting color effect within the image. Of course, we also have other options available. And one of those is to reduce the opacity of the effect. I'll go ahead and point at the word opacity, and Click and Drag to the left to take advantage of the scrubby slider's capability.

And you'll notice that the effect is softening up. It's getting weaker. If I take this down to about a 50% value, I'll actually have a combination of the original image and the color-negative effect. Half of one and half of the other, blended together. If I take the opacity all the way down to zero percent, we'll see the original image. So I can refine the overall effect in the image, by changing the amount of blending between these two options. So somewhere in here it's starting to look rather interesting for example. Not exactly an image that looks like a photograph anymore, but an interesting interpretation of that image, nevertheless.

I can also refine my curve. For example, if I wanted to change the influence of a particular color, I can click my RGB pop-up and choose a particular color. I'll go ahead and adjust the blue channel for example, and I can change the balance between blue and yellow, which obviously will alter the colors within the image. The point is that I have quite a bit of control over the final effect. Even with just a modest understanding of how the Curves Adjustment works, you can apply some interesting, creative effects to your image, and even begin to refine them to suit your own personal tastes.

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