- Why use Camera Raw?
- Choosing preferences for opening photos
- Opening photos into Camera Raw
- The Camera Raw tools
- Cropping and straightening photos
- Choosing default workflow settings
- Using the Camera Raw tabs
- Using the Basic tab
- Using the Tone Curve tab
- Using the HSL/Grayscale tab
- Using the Detail tab
- Adding a grain texture
- Using the Adjustment Brush
- Retouching a photo
- Saving and applying Camera Raw settings
- Synchronizing Camera Raw settings
- Converting, opening, and saving Camera Raw files
- Opening and placing photos into Photoshop as Smart Objects
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
- Click the Tone Curve tab, then the nested Parametric tab. A–B Behind the curve you’ll see a static display of the current histogram.
- 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)
(A–B, next page). If you need to intensify the contrast, try moving the Highlights and Lights sliders in opposite directions.
B To reduce the highlights, instead of moving a Tone Curve slider, we clicked the Targeted Adjustment tool, then dragged downward over a highlight area. This lowered the Highlights value (pushed some highlight areas into the upper midtone range) and recovered details, most noticeably in the clouds. Overall, the image contrast is improved.
- 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 (C–D, 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.