How to use Curves

In this series of Photoshop classes Karl takes a closer look at some of the most essential Photoshop tools, going into detail about what they are and how to use them.

Curves are a powerful Photoshop tool that allow you to make luminosity and colour changes by adjusting points throughout the image’s tonal range. They can be used in a number of different ways; from increasing or decreasing contrast to correcting colour using the Red, Green and Blue channels in an image. They can also be used to set the black, white and grey points within an image.

In this first class Karl focuses on how to use curves and why they’re so useful. You’ll learn basics such as creating and removing points and adjusting colour and contrast as well as more advanced techniques such as creating and saving presets, setting black, white and grey points and even how to create your own curve. He also provides a simple example demonstrating how you could expect to use curves when retouching and adjusting an image.

This Photoshop class covers the following:

  • What is curves in Photoshop
  • Curves vs curves adjustments
  • Adding / Removing points on a curves
  • How to Increase / Decrease contrast using curves
  • Adjusting colour using curves
  • Cross curves
  • Setting Black / White points on a curve
  • Creating and saving curve presets
  • Creating custom curves
  • Isolating a luminosity value

If you have any questions about this class, please post in the comment section below.

Key concepts

Creating adjustment curves.

Creating curves using Photoshop.

Making contrast adjustments.

Curves contrast adjustment example.

Curves can be used to make contrast adjustments to an image.

Using curves to make colour adjustments.

Curves colour adjustment example.

Curves can also be used for making colour adjustments in the different RGB channels.

Saving & using presets.

Curve preset examples

There is the option to load and save curve presets.


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