Learning Curves

Discussion in 'Photoshop Challenges' started by MarcusM, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. MarcusM

    MarcusM TPF Noob!

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    I think this is the best place for this. I just recently watched a good tutorial on using Curves in PS. It was pretty enlightening because I didn't realize the full potential before, but I think I'm a lot closer now. I wanted to get feedback on these shots. I just did a Unsharp Mask and Curves. With these shots though, I am unable to get ideal results using the standard "S" curve, is that correct?

    I want to remove the "haze" and really bring out the sky and clouds like I saw it. These are my edits, but I think they're coming out too dark. Please let me know how they look, if I'm getting the full potential, and also feel free to reedit the originals and let me know what you did. Thanks!

    Original 1:
    [​IMG]

    Edit
    [​IMG]

    Original 2:
    [​IMG]

    Edit:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    Mmm, maybe. I dunno without actually trying it. But there are 5 tools in PhotoShop that I group together in my brain that achieve the same kinds of results with more or less sophistication and control.

    1. Curves
      http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=Photoshop Curves tutorial&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

    2. Levels
      http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=safari&rls=en-us&q=Photoshop Levels tutorial&btnG=Search

    3. Brightness/Contrast
      http://www.google.com/search?client...rightness/Contrast tutorial&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

    4. Shadow/Highlight
      http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...otoshop Shadow/Highlight tutorial&btnG=Search

    5. Exposure
      http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=safari&rls=en-us&q=Photoshop Exposure tutorial&btnG=Search

    Three of these tools are also present in CameraRAW. Shadow/Highlight in CameraRAW is slightly cruder but with more band divisions four instead of two.

    The more overlooked of the five is probably Shadows/Highlights and at the same time perhaps the most intuitively powerful. Curves would be a close second or maybe at the same rank but not as intuitive for most I think. With levels people often forget that the mid level slider is present and works. :) Output settings seem to ignored as well but that might be good in lots of cases.

    Shadow/Highlights (as well as Curves actually) can also be used to great affect on the "Lightness" channel of a 16-bit LAB image by selecting Mode->Lab and then in the layers panel clicking on the Channels tab, selecting "Lightness" as the active edit chnnel and clicking back on the visibility for the "Lab" channel view status, before opening your Shadow/Highlights tool.

    They don't look that bad for the first adjustment. Remember that you can repeat adjustments and use all five of the tools mentioned above in combination to either correct or enhance the results of the others.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  3. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Marcus,

    Wow, the edits are killer. Like you said, maybe a bit dark and the sky a bit light. Try maybe just dodging a bit in the foreground to lighter it up, and burn some of the area at, and just above the top of the clouds.

    If they're dark, it's not much. Here I just dodged along the top of the fence to separate the rail from what's behind it. I set the dodge tool brush size to cover the vegetation and 9% and swiped the shadows and midtones to separate them. I think I might have gone a bit light on the left, but it seems to bring out the right by doing so.

    [​IMG]

    Under the cloud is about perfect. Whatever you did works. Above the cloud I used the burn tool at 24% and swiped the light areas once over the shadows and then midtones, then increased the brush size and burned the entire area highlights. It seemed to bring out the blue in the sky some.

    BTW- I set my dodge and burn tool brushes to hardness = 0

    This one I just burned the highlights over a few times above and below the clouds. Then swiped the highlights in the clouds with the dodge tool.

    [​IMG]

    Again, nice shots to work with. You've brought them out well!
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  4. janetm1000

    janetm1000 TPF Noob!

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    markus, before i signed on just now, i was lurking for a while and saw that link. i was going to try the tutorials, but forgot about it, and i cant seem to find it now. would you mind reposting that link?

    sorry, i have no suggestions. i'm sure i have nothing to teach you as a complete rookie...
     
  5. kellylindseyphotography

    kellylindseyphotography TPF Noob!

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    I think your right, they are too dark in the foreground.

    Try doing a "curves adjustment layer". And focus your eyes on the area you want adjusted. Lets say your going for the forground. Make a curves adjustment layer and don't worry about what it does to your background. Bring the middle to 145ish, and then bring your brightness slider at the top in some and the bottom slider in some. All to taste.

    After that, click on the layer and use your eraser tool and erase the adjusments made to the background. You can try a 50% opacity brush to gently erase what you've done or if you know that its absolutely wrong, use 100% and create a new layer for the background entirely.

    I hope that made sense.

    ETA that you should always make your curves adjustment in a new layer. Why? Because anytime you make an adjusment you want to be able to erase back areas that the adjustment does something that you don't want it to do. Such as a curves adjusment might cause something white in your picture to blow out... easy fix when your working in layers and can just erase that white spot to its previous state. Same with dark/black areas. Curves can damage them and you need to know how to repair.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  6. MarcusM

    MarcusM TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for those links Bifurcator, I will check them all out.

    Thanks for the edits and tips abraxas, I will definitely try the dodge and burn tools and play with these more.

    Actually Bifurcator posted the link to the same tutorial I watched, well, it's a link to a Google search which includes the tutorial. Here is a direct link to the tutorial on YouTube. Is this the one you were asking about?



    Thanks, good insight. I will try playing with the Curves adjustment layer on these as well.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014
  7. janetm1000

    janetm1000 TPF Noob!

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    yup, that was the link! thanks a lot!!
     

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