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Using the Tone Curve tab

After making adjustments in the Basic tab, the next step is to improve the contrast in the photo. Using the Parametric sliders in the Tone Curve tab, you can adjust the highlights, lights, darks, and shadows separately. Although you could also adjust the curve manually (employing the same techniques as for a Curves adjustment layer in Photoshop), if you don’t click and drag the curve in just the right way, the image could become posterized. For this reason, we encourage you to use the sliders instead. If you use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, the Parametric curve and sliders here will look familiar.

To apply tonal adjustments using the Parametric sliders in the Tone Curve tab

  1. Click the Tone Curve tab, tone_curve.jpg then the nested Parametric tab. AB Behind the curve you’ll see a static display of the current histogram.
  2. Increase the Highlights, Lights (upper midtones), Darks (lower midtones), or Shadows value to lighten that tonal range and thereby raise the corresponding portion of the curve above the diagonal line, C or reduce the value to darken that tonal range and thereby lower that portion of the curve below the straight diagonal line) (AB, next page). If you need to intensify the contrast, try moving the Highlights and Lights sliders in opposite directions.
  3. After adjusting the sliders, you can move the region control (located below the graph) to expand or contract the range of tonal values that each slider adjustment affects. The left region control affects the Shadows slider, the right region control affects the Highlights slider (CD, next page), and the middle region control affects the Lights and Darks sliders. The more a control moves the curve away from the straight diagonal line, the more adjacent tonal ranges are affected; the more a control moves the curve closer to the diagonal line, the fewer adjacent tonal ranges are affected.
  • Except for the Recovery slider, the sliders in the Basic and Tone Curve tabs shouldn’t be pushed to the extreme left or right.
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