Alright, now what makes the Curves Command, the Curves Dialog Box so unique here in Photoshop is the fact that it has two luminance scales or two luminance axis if you will. So we have the luminance scale running across the bottom of our histogram, of course and then earlier on I had mentioned that we have this vertical luminance scale as well. So here's what I'm going to do and again, I want to try and keep this as straightforward as I can for you. This luminance curve, this diagonal line that intersects the entire histogram, what I can actually do is I can plot points along it. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to bring my cursor right over top of the dead center of this luminance curve, right in the dead center of histogram and I'm going to single click with this fella. Now, what's interesting to note is the input and output fields on both scales, on both axis, both read 128. They're both 156 divided by 2, right, which gives us 128 so we're in the dead center here. Now, what's interesting is I can drag this point up and down inside the, inside the histogram, inside the Curves Dialog Box here and what's interesting is the input value hasn't changed while I actually goofed it by one luminance level but it's pretty much the same. But the output has changed. So essentially what I've done is I've remapped the luminance values at this point. I'm making them lighter. So if I drag up, I'm making any pixels that fall at this luminance level, I'm increasing their luminance or I could drag this. down, hence the term curves, by the way and I can make any pixels at this luminance level darker. So essentially anything that's sitting at 126 right now, I'm remapping now to be 65 in terms of the luminance values. Again, that scale from zero to 255, right? So it's kind of neat. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to bring this. back to the center point or roughly into the center point and what I can do now is I could plot a. here if I wanted to and these are going to be my highlights and then I also want to plot a point down here for my shadows, so I'm going to click right here and the now essentially what I can do is I can control my luminance values much more accurately. So I could say alright, take the highlights in this image and make them darker. But do so without affecting any of the other pixels inside my image or said another way, any other luminance levels inside my image. So I'm not affecting the midtones, I'm not affecting my shadows. I'm only editing, I'm only impacting my highlights here, if that makes sense. So it's a way of isolating your colors if you will, or your luminance levels, if that makes sense. So a lot of this is again in the eye of the beholder. You can have a lot of fun with this. You can add as many points along this curve as you want. You can really go crazy. In fact, you can create some really wild and bizarre effects if you really wanted and you can also get rid of points here simply by dragging them off of the curve, just kind of yanking them right off. In fact, I could go all the way back to where you and I had started with just one point in the dead center of the image, if I wanted to. So again, just a different way to work if I want. Now, what's interesting to note as well and here's another neat trick you can use, is let's say for example I want to manipulate the luminance levels or the pixels inside the foreground of my image here. Well, what I can do is I can actually drag with my cursor inside the image and if you look back over inside the Curves Dialog Box, you'll see a little beach ball following me around on that luminance curve. So in other words, these pixels here inside my image, inside the foreground center if you will, are plotted way up in the top-right corner of my curves. So if I want to edit these guys, what I could do is I could Command click with my cursor there inside my image and that automatically creates a point, a plot point if you will, on my luminance curve inside the Curves Dialog Box. Pretty cool. So again, I could come into, let's say the leaves, sort of the foliage if you will and kind of see where these guys are being plotted out inside my image, maybe down into this area here, hold down Command or of course Control on the Windows side, single click and now I get a plot point down towards, almost into the shadow areas of my image. So you have a lot more control over what's happening inside your image. Of course, all of this being said, everything that we've talked about up until this point has been a destructive method. In other words, again, once I click on OK inside my Curves Dialog Box, I'm committed. There's no way to go back. So I think it's high time that we have a look at color correcting your photos in a non-destructive manner.
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