Welcome to our blog, where we will explore the power and versatility of the CURVES tool for color grading. Whether you are a novice or an experienced photographer or videographer, understanding and mastering this essential tool can elevate your work to new heights. CURVES allows you to manipulate the tones and colors of an image, offering endless creative possibilities and the ability to bring your artistic vision to life. From enhancing contrast and adjusting brightness to creating unique looks and styles, CURVES empowers you to achieve virtually anything with your color grading. Join us as we dive into the intricacies and endless potential of the CURVES tool, unlocking the secrets to truly remarkable and distinctive visuals.
If You Learn How To Use The CURVES Tool For Your Color Grading, You Can Do Almost ANYTHING!
This article is sponsored by Capture One. The brand new version Capture One 22 is available now. So get your 30 day free trial by clicking the link in the description.
All right, here’s the deal in Edmonton where I live, it’s currently minus 28 degrees Celsius, it feels like minus 35 with the wind chill. So I’ve been loving going outside and exploring lately, but I think for this one, we’re gonna stay inside. What is up people, Dunna here, and today we’re gonna be talking about one of the most powerful tools that you can use in your color grading. And I’m talking about video, photo, doesn’t matter. This tool exists in most color grading applications. And of course that is the Curves. Now you might already have a basic understanding of the Curves, but there’s a lot of little hidden gems that most people don’t know about. So in today’s video, we’re gonna talk about what the Curves are, all those little hidden gems that you might not already know. And we’re gonna go through a couple of applications where you might want to use this.
What are Curves?
Okay, so for now I’ve hidden all the other tools so we can just focus on the Curves. This is basically what Curves looks like. It’s gonna be a little bit different depending on which software you’re in, But generally they look similar and they all do the same thing. So it looks like a graph. We’ve got a horizontal axis down here, we’ve got a vertical axis up here, and then we’ve got this line going across the middle. And basically what we’re looking at is input versus output. So what did your photo look like before? And what did it look like after you made changes using the Curves? And the scale goes from zero all the way up to 255, zero being the darkest blacks and 255 being the whitest whites, the bottom left corner being those blacks, Top right corner being 255 on both the horizontal and vertical axis, so that’s whitest whites. I know it sounds a little confusing, but I’ll just show you what it does.
Now, what we’ve got here is a gray scale. So we’ve gone all the way from blackest blacks, All the way up to whitest whites. And one of the things that I like Capture One’s Curves is that as I drag my cursor across here, you can see that orange line showing me the part that I’m currently pointing at. So if there’s something in a photo that I want to know, Oh, how bright is that on the curve scale? I can just point at it and it’ll show me. But basically with Curves, we can make as many points as we want and change things as much as we want. So let’s say this part right here, Some we’re in kind of the lower shadowy areas here, I can make a point and then I can move that up. And then let’s say maybe over here, I wanna move that back down so I can make a curve. Or we can move our black and white point. So this is our black point here. If I start to move that black point up, you’ll notice that the black part starts to get gray but it does affect the whole line. It’s not just the black point all alone. You’ll notice that this middle point here Is now significantly higher than where it started. And if I push that all the way up, we make a straight line across the top, which is going to be 100% white, ’cause literally every point on our curves line is at 255, which again is completely white. If I move that black point the other way, I’m gonna start moving the whole line down below that middle 45 degree angle and things are starting to get darker. I move it all the way over to the right, we get almost a completely black line. It won’t quite let me get rid of all the white. The other way that we can do that is by moving the line from the white point downwards, that’s gonna give us completely black. Or if we move the white point to the left, You’ll see that now the line is going above where it was so we can brighten things up that way. And then of course like I mentioned before, we can make as many points as we want in the middle to start to mess with our curves.
Using Curves in Photo Editing
Pulling up an actual photo So we can see what it looks like, we’ve got a bit of a graph in the back and you get used to reading these graphs to know which parts of the graph are showing you which parts of the photo. But again, you can kind of hover your cursor over it And generally it will show you what you’re looking at. And again, we can move our black point so we can move that up and we start to get this kind of faded thing. Again if I move it all the way up, it just becomes all white. Vice versa I can move my white point around, so make everything brighter, or make everything darker. And then again, we can drag from the middle to make things brighter and darker, but protect the black and white points. And then we can make as many points as we want To really mess with things as we go. And we’ll talk more about how to use this in a minute.
Real quick before we move on, I wanna tell you about this video sponsor Capture One. Capture One is the photo editing software that I’ve been showing you curves on And showing you all these photos on it. And I’ve been using Capture One for about a year now and I’m so happy with the results that I’m getting. It’s super fast. The way that it interprets files from my camera is the most accurate that I’ve seen, so you get the best colors. And on top of that, the tools that they offer in the software make it so flexible and powerful for your editing. In Capture One 22 they’ve added tools like HDR merge, Panorama stitching, auto rotate for batches of images, as well as wireless tethering for Canon cameras, and more. I recently did a whole video on HDR merge and Panorama stitching in Capture One 22 so you can check that out, but I definitely also just recommend that you go down to the link in the description, get your 30 day free trial and try it out for yourself. Huge, thank you to Capture One for supporting the channel.
Understanding Multiple Curves
Now at the top of the curves, you’ll notice that there’s not just this RGB curve, but there’s also Luma, Red, Green, and Blue. So we’ve actually got in this specific case five different curves that we can use. Now, you may have noticed That when I dragged the RGB curve downwards, the colors get a lot more intense. One of the nice things about having the Luma curve, and some programs have the Luma curve and some don’t, but one of the nice things is that you can do that same move And it’ll affect the brightness of the photo without necessarily affecting the color. So when it’s all reset back to neutral like this, if I drag this down, it keeps those colors the same. Whereas if I do the same move with the RGB, see how much more punchy the oranges, and blues And stuff get, you might not necessarily want that. And that works vice versa too. If I bring this up, you’ll notice that it starts to kind of desaturate those colors. They almost get like yellowy. Whereas if I do the same move with the Luma, it pretty much keeps everything where it was colorwise, We still got nice oranges over here.
Frequently Asked Questions – CURVES Tool for Color Grading
1. What is the CURVES tool for color grading?
The CURVES tool is a powerful feature used in various photo and video editing software to adjust the tones and colors of an image or footage. It allows you to manipulate the brightness, contrast, and intensity of different tonal ranges, giving you creative control over your color grading.
2. How can I access the CURVES tool in my editing software?
The method to access the CURVES tool may vary depending on the software you are using. Generally, you can find it in the color grading or color correction section of your editing software. Look for a CURVES panel or a graph-like interface where you can make adjustments.
3. What can I achieve with the CURVES tool?
The CURVES tool provides endless possibilities for color grading. You can enhance the overall look of your images or footage, create a specific mood or atmosphere, correct color imbalances, and even simulate different film stocks or cinematic styles.
4. Are there any limitations to using the CURVES tool?
While the CURVES tool is a versatile tool, it requires practice and experimentation to master. Understanding the relationship between different tonal ranges is essential to achieve desired results. Additionally, it’s important to avoid overdoing adjustments, as it can lead to unrealistic or unnatural-looking images.
5. Are there any resources or tutorials available to learn CURVES color grading?
Yes, there are numerous online resources and tutorials available that can help you learn how to use the CURVES tool effectively. You can find video tutorials on platforms like YouTube or enroll in online courses specifically focusing on color grading techniques.
6. Which editing software supports the CURVES tool?
The CURVES tool is supported by various professional editing software such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, DaVinci Resolve, and many more. Always ensure that you have the latest version of the software to access the most advanced CURVES features.
7. Can I use the CURVES tool for both photo and video editing?
Yes, the CURVES tool is widely used in both photo and video editing. Its functionality remains similar regardless of whether you are working with individual images or footage. However, the interface and options may vary slightly between software dedicated to photos and those for video editing.
I hope you find useful my article If You Learn How To Use The CURVES Tool For Your Color Grading, You Can Do Almost ANYTHING!, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.
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