The curves command helps you to give some contrast to an otherwise washed out image and also change the contrast in the image overall between the midtones, the brightness and the uh shadows. And we have two ways to apply this operation. We can apply it destructively to the image by choosing the image menu, adjustments and curves and when I say that I mean if I make an adjustment and I'm just gonna do something at, at random here and click OK the image is damaged. I mean really 00:00:27] can't go back, we can't adjust it in any other way. So let's go ahead and undo that and apply a smarter way to use curves which is using an adjustment layer. So I'm gonna go ahead and expand this out a little and show you we have this little symbol and when I choose curves from here it will add in my layers a layer that I can turn off and I can always double click on this icon to return to this 00:00:46 ] dialog box which is really a great way to work. Now let's get back to this. Let's start off with this area here, first of all this is where the curves magic happens. This line is straight right now but it will become a curve in a moment. In the background we have a histogram and we can always change the direction that the pixels will go in as far as the input and output. Normally its on light where the light pixels appear and to the right. And sometimes we want to work in this way. So your gonna have the dark pixels up here and over and normally this is when your working with printers. Ok, now having said that we can also turn off the histogram if we like to and we can also change the size of the grid. We also have some presets available such as strong contrast. Now before I enable this let me move this over a little bit and show you. Strong contrast will add points to the curve automatically for me and gives you a nice traditional S curve. An S curve is really what you want to go for to get some nice contrast in your images, you don't want to go too far or too low unless you are really going for a special effect to really ghost out the image or blow it out in some way. Now in the curve dialog box we see we have two regions here. Up here is normally and let me go ahead and turn this back on light, are where the light pixels are gonna go. So when we push our pixels up this way we are making the image lighter and when we push this way we are making the image darker. Now let's go ahead and say that I want to make the shirt area whiter and I want to make the shadows darker. So what I can do to set a point on my curve is I can command or control click in the shirt and a point is placed here for me. So let's say I want to make the shirt whiter, I'll push this pixel up and it will lighten that area. Likewise I could push it down to darken it. What we can also do is command or control click in a dark region and once again we can pull that up to lighten it or push it down to darken it and then we can add a point in the middle to adjust the midtones. So you can make the image lighter or darker depending on which way you pull. If you don't want one of these points simply select it and hit the backspace or delete key to get rid of it. We can also if you want to find out what's going on in our image by simply moving our mouse around like this and I'm simply clicking and dragging my mouse in the image itself and I am watching the actual point represented on the curve. And that's really handy when you want to manually put your own point there instead of command or control clicking. So the curves dialog box is a handy way to get some contrast in an image that is normally washed out and it's a great tool when you want to correct images.
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