Many who are yet to use the ‘colour curves’ tool on Photoshop believe that it is a drawing tool. However, the feature is like an improved version of the ‘levels’ tool. Colour curves allow you to target specific tonal regions, such as a shadow, and make it lighter or darker.
There is also slight confusion surrounding ‘colour curves’ and ‘curves’. The latter tool is available for those using the full version of Photoshop and it has more features, such as; being able to work separately on each colour channel. No matter what you use, TorGuard or another safety solution is essential if you’re using any program like this, especially in a business capacity.
This article will inform you on how to use Photoshop Element’s colour curves tool effectively…
The first thing you need to do is open your photo and make a duplicate layer. In Elements you cannot use an adjustment layer for colour curves as you’d be able to in the full Photoshop version. Thus the best solution is to add a duplicate layer. To add this press Ctrl and J. Next open the adjust colour curves dialog box. Go to enhance, then click on adjust colour, and finally adjust colour curves.
The next thing you need to do is select a preset for colour curves. Navigate to the lower left window and scroll through the list. Select the preset which is the best match for what you want the image to look like. The dialog box should give you a good idea of what your photo is going to look like. However, if you want to see a full preview then merely drag the dialog box to one side. You will be able to see the photo in its full before you decide whether to make any changes or not. Once you are satisfied click ok.
You can make further adjustments using your computer if you are not completely satisfied with how the image looks. Use the slider in order to do this. You can adjust the following; adjust highlights, midtone brightness, midtone contrast, and adjust shadows. A small change on one of these sliders can make a big difference. You can easily reset to original settings. Thus if you end up making the picture look worse you can undo your changes.
Let’s elaborate a little bit further one what each of these sliders does...
- Adjust highlights – This allows you to darken or lighten a photo; move left for darker and right for lighter.
- Midtone brightness – This slider is for the middle range of colours. Again, for darker move the slider to the left and for a lighter range move the slider to the right.
- Midtone contrast – Move the slider to the left if you want the contrast to be lowered and to the right to increase it.
- Adjust shadows – Move the slider to the left to darken the shadow and to the right if you wish to lighten it.
Click ok when you are happy and you are good to go. If you follow this step-by-step guide then you should have no trouble using one of the most popular Photoshop Elements tools; colour curves.