- Using Curves adjustment layers for nondestructive editing
- Setting highlights and shadows
- Making area-specific tonal adjustments
- Using masks to control adjustments
- Adjusting color, brightness, and contrast
- Making quick adjustments
- Fine-tuning your curves
Skill Level Advanced
- [Voiceover] Hello and welcome, this is your instructor Taz Tally and welcome to exploring Photoshop: Mastering Curves. Well, you may have chosen this course for any number of reasons. Maybe you've heard about the power of curves, maybe you've heard that a lot of pros like to use it, maybe you've even tried curves and had some success but wanted to know more, but in any case, however you're here, welcome and I'd like to answer the fundamental question, why curves? You know, when we choose an image like this image from Anchor Point, Alaska which is close to where I live and we click on that image and we come up underneath the image in adjustments, we see there are four fundamental tools for controlling the distribution of tone and image, brightness and contrast, levels, curves and exposure, and a lot of people wonder, wow, which one should I use and why and the one that I use pretty much all the time is curves and let me show you why.
Okay, so as you can see here, I have set up underneath my layers panel, exposure, brightness, contrast levels and curves, just want to give you a quick tour, with exposure, we have the ability to adjust the exposure, the offset, the gamma correction, and notice we have the histogram panel over here and when we make an adjustment in any of these tools, we'll see the display over here, adjusted and the point that I want to make here is tools like exposure are pretty basic tools, they don't give you a lot of fine tuning control, when I adjust exposure, that data moves all over the place, lots of data moves in this image and sometimes that's useful and helpful.
Brightness and contract, on the other hand, notice it's pretty similar, you have two controls. You have brightness and you have contrast and you do see changes in distribution of the data but they're just bludgeons basically, they don't give you a lot of fine tune control and levels, we go to levels, things are a little bit better. We have controls of highlight and shadow data and midtone, we even have individual channel controls as well as master channel controls. So, much, much better, much more control, but when we go to my fave which is curves, we have control, not only of highlight and shadow, and we have master channels and individual channels, but we have control of the distribution of tone everywhere along tonal distribution curve that we see here and that's what the curve does, gives us control of tonal data throughout the image.
So, basically, curves is a super controlled tool and not only that, we have all of these other tools that we can use to help us control the distribution of tone and as we'll see color in an image when we're working in Photoshop. So, if you want major control of your image, the most control that you can get, curves is going to be the tool for you. Now, if you're a little intimidated by this tool, because it's not particularly intuitive, hang in there, we'll get you comfortable with it and you'll be a master of curves in no time.