How to use Color Curves in Photoshop

How to use Color Curves in PhotoshopCurves tool in Photoshop is perhaps the most powerful and flexible image transformation. Since photographers effectively paint with light (read article about Technique for Light Painting Photography).

They use curves to practice because it affects light's two primary influences: tones and contrast. Tonal curves are also what give different film types their unique character, so understanding how they work allows one to mimic any film — without ever having to retake the photograph.

Below is step by step video tutorial for Simple Color Curve in Photoshop.


Curves control can also be used to neutralize a color cast.  Two methods are discussed here.  The first method uses the eyedroppers on the Curves dialog box.  The second uses the individual color channels on the Curves dialog box.  I find either one easier to use if I first have created light, dark and mid tone targets in the image.  Targeting these areas is discussed on the Finding Lightest and Darkest Areas page.

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