Could someone explain 'curves' and 'levels' to me?
I keep seeing references to "curves" and "levels" being adjusted in PP..

Could someone please explain what this refers to, and how someone would go about adjusting these...

Comments (6)

Buzzphotos wrote:.

I keep seeing references to "curves" and "levels" being adjusted in PP..

Could someone please explain what this refers to, and how someonewould go about adjusting these..

Here's an article:

'I reject your reality and substitute my own' -Adam Savage..

Comment #1

I'll use curves to brighten a photo. I just create a point in the upper part of the curve and drag up a bit. Curves can also be used to adjust color balance because you can do just the red curve, for example. You see very complex curves with lots of points but often I find that just one or two points can be effective..

With levels you just move some sliders while looking at a histogram. I use levels when there's a gap to the right or left of the histrogram that begs to be closed (so that the data is spread over the entire histogram). If you hold down the ALT key while moving the right-hand slider you can see areas of the image that have blown out which can be very handy..

Anyway, between curves and levels (and the fact that you can work on RGB or just red, green or blue individually) you can get a lot done...

Comment #2

In Photoshop, you can open a photograph and then press some buttons and you'll see a graph with a line running from the lower left to the upper right..

By clicking anywhere you want on this line and tugging the point on which you click up or down or sideways, you change the brightness of the part of the picture represented by the point where you click..

Tug various points around, and you get better shadows and highlights and midtones, maybe..

Photoshop Elements has a similar feature, which, depending on the person using it, is just as good and easier, or a little bit limited..

Curves is a nice thing, but certainly not wirth $600 compared to Photoshop Elements 5, with it's "almost curv es" controls..

Levels is semi-similar..

Again, open a photo in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, and you can get to the levels command..

This provides a different type of graph (a histogram) showing the picture in graph form..

Depending on the version of Elements or Photoshop, you can do different things..

For instance, by dragging on little triangeles under the historgram, you can make the shot brighter, darker, or adjust the mid-tones. By selecting one color channel (red, green, blue) you can make the overall blues, for instance, lighter or darker. or the greens, or the red..

Combine levewls with the color controls like hue and saturation, and the brightness and contrast controls, and you can make vast changes to a photograph's color, contrast, brightneess, etc. using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements..

These things wiork just fine with JPEG files, by the way..


Comment #3

Interesting article with downloadable pdf here....


The greatest of mankind's criminals are those who delude themselves into thinking they have done 'the right thing.'- Rayna Butler..

Comment #4

Curves and levels are similar but not equally powerful..

Control (command) M opens (the curves dialogue box).Control (command) L opens (the levels dialogue box)..

They are similar in that BOTH are used to manipulate the tonal range of the image..

(White point for the terminal limits of light tones and highligths, Black point for the terminal limits of dark tonal seperation. Mid point for the equivilent of 18% gray reflectance..

Curves has up to 9 control points along the tonal range and is interacted with via a graphical representation of tones. Levels has 3 control points and uses a bar slider..

In some situations they produce very similar results. However, curves is much more powerful and able to do more corrections along the curve.Van..

Comment #5

Buzzphotos wrote:.

I keep seeing references to "curves" and "levels" being adjusted in PP..

Could someone please explain what this refers to, and how someonewould go about adjusting these..

Here is a link to a very good introduction to PP with Photoshop. If you click on the folders on the left you can read the chapters on the individual topics. You will find levels and curves under "basic", also under other topics where they typically are applicable:.


Kind regardsKaj member..

Comment #6

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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