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Most of the adjustments that you will make in the Camera Raw window will be here in the Basic tab, but there a number of other tabs here. I would like to show you this second tab, the Tone Curve tab, which also can be useful. When I click on this tab, I see something that looks an awful lot like Curves in Photoshop proper and in fact, the Tone Curve tab offers two different ways to apply curves to an image here in Camera Raw. I am going to click on the Point tab first. This is very similar to the Curves dialog box.
It starts out with a medium contrast curve, which has a slight S curve to it. And I could come in here and grab anyone of these points and drag on it to alter the curve and as I do, I am changing primarily the contrast in tones in this image. Alternatively, I can choose another preset from this menu. So I could choose Strong Contrast, for example, and get yet another curve with another result in the image. Or I could come up to the Preset menu and choose Linear and this takes away all the adjustments to the basic curve.
I have done that because I want to show you what's under the Parametric tab and whatever changes I make in the Point tab are cumulative to what I would do in the Parametric tab. So now I am back at ground zero and I can go to the Parametric tab and show you how easy it is to adjust curves from here. Instead of adding points and dragging on the curve itself, I can simply use these sliders to adjust the curve. So if I want to increase contrast by increasing the lights and decreasing the darks, I would start with the Lights slider and drag it to the right, and that increases the three-quarter tone highlights in this image.
And then I go to the Darks slider and drag to the left and that would decrease the three-quarter tone darks in the image. Where the curve is steep, the contrast is increasing and if I go up to the Preview checkbox and turn it off, and then on, you can see the effect that creating this curve have had on the image. In the Parametric tab, I also have the option to move these sliders here to change the area of the curve that each one of the four sliders at the bottom of the panel will affect.
The Tone Curve panel and its Parametric tab and in its Point tab offers some really useful options for creating curves and doing it without a lot of pain.
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