Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

Photoshop Curves Workshop
Watching:

The S curve


From:

Photoshop Curves Workshop

with Tim Grey

Video: The S curve

Even if you've never used curves before, if you had any exposure to Photo Shop,you've probably heard of the S curve. The thruth is, an S curve will improve just about any image because it enhances the overall contrast and contrast is generally perceived as a good thing for a photo. The s curve is named because it resembles the letter s, albeit an s that has been straightened out quite a bit. Let's go ahead and create an s curve, and then examine exactly what is happening to the image as a result. In most cases, when I'm applying a general s curve, I'll start by adding an anchor point about 20% of the way in from the black point.

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
Please wait...
Photoshop Curves Workshop
1h 46m Intermediate Dec 10, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

The Curves adjustment in Adobe Photoshop has a reputation for being challenging for some photographers. In this workshop, Photoshop expert Tim Grey takes you step by step through every aspect of the Curves adjustment, helping you truly understand the concepts behind it so that you can quickly and easily maximize tonal range, optimize contrast, and enhance your photos' color balance. Note: This course was recorded in Photoshop CS5, but was created with users of both Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS4 in mind.

Topics include:
  • Reading a curve
  • Creating a Curves adjustment
  • Working with the Adjustments panel
  • Using presets and eyedroppers
  • Adding and adjusting anchor points
  • Using the Luminosity blend mode
  • Curves for color
  • Creativity with Curves
Subjects:
Photography video2brain
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Tim Grey

The S curve

Even if you've never used curves before, if you had any exposure to Photo Shop,you've probably heard of the S curve. The thruth is, an S curve will improve just about any image because it enhances the overall contrast and contrast is generally perceived as a good thing for a photo. The s curve is named because it resembles the letter s, albeit an s that has been straightened out quite a bit. Let's go ahead and create an s curve, and then examine exactly what is happening to the image as a result. In most cases, when I'm applying a general s curve, I'll start by adding an anchor point about 20% of the way in from the black point.

I'll simply click and drag downward at that point, to darken up mostly the shadow areas of the image. I'll then move to 20% in from the white point, and click and drag upward, in order to brighten the brighter areas of the image. It's obvious just from looking at the image that contrast has been increased. The darks are a little darker, and the brights are a little brighter. Let's take a look at exactly what's happening within the curve. The mid-tone region, the central area of the curve has been increased in steepness, which means we're increasing contrast for those mid-tones. But then the curve tapers off and actually the end points of the curve, the highlight range and the shadow range, are less steep than the original curve. That means we've actually reduced contrast in the darkest shadows and the brightest highlights.

You wouldn't normally think that you want to reduce contrast, and really, I don't think of this as reducing contrast in any area of the image. Rather, I think of it as tapering off my increase in contrast so that we're not sacrificing shadow or highlight detail in the process. This is one of the things that makes curves tremendously better then the levels adjustment. With levels the only way we can increase contrast is to bring in the black or white points. Bring those black or white points in too far, and you're losing detail in the image.

With an S curve, we can increase contrast without sacrificing any inforamtion at all. Nearly every image I have ever adjusted in Photoshop gets some form of an s curve applied to it. Quite simply, just about any photograph will benefit from at leas a slight increase in mid-tone contrast. And the s curve provides that mid-tone contrast, without a loss of highlight or shadow detail. The s curve really is a beautiful thing that can add to the beauty of your photos.

There are currently no FAQs about Photoshop Curves Workshop.

Share a link to this course
Please wait... Please wait...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Photoshop Curves Workshop.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Welcome to the redesigned course page.

We’ve moved some things around, and now you can



Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked