A standard tool in photo editing software is the ability to effect contrast, tone and colour by playing with the ‘Curves’ setting – they’re a quick and versatile way of editing photos and best of all they’re a doddle to learn.
When you’re using Curves in Photoshop it’s best to use an Adjustment Layer; that way you can go back and make changes whenever you like.
With curves your starting point will always be a straight line. Click on this line and drag the little handles either up or down to alter the image – this will change the shape of the line to a curve [insert 'a-ha' moment here]!
We’re just concerned with the basics here so the only bit of this curves panel we’ll be playing with is the diagonal line in the main square. (If at any time you want to go back and start again, use the drop-down at the top to revert to ‘default’).
Very basically curves will do this:
If you’re still a bit baffled, take a look at the ‘Presets’ they’re a great way to study what’s possible to achieve with this technique.
Once you’ve got to grips with this why not check out Photoshop next-steps – Curves
Coming soon: Advanced Photshop – Curves