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Advanced Curve Adjustments

If you want more control over adding contrast to your images, then let's unlock the power of the Tone Range split sliders. Take a look at this image of Mount Kilimanjaro that I photographed in the morning. I'll walk you through the process from start to finish. I've already made my adjustments to the tone curve, but now we want to use the Tone Range sliders to selectively add more contrast to the image (Figure 4.19).

Figure 4.19

Figure 4.19 The default position of the Tone Range splits is equally divided on the tone curve between shadows (black), darks (red), lights (blue), and highlights (yellow).

The Tone Range split sliders are a great place to fine-tune contrast. If we wanted to add contrast to the midtones, then we would move the two outside sliders into the middle, thus compressing the midtone range and creating more contrast (Figure 4.20). If we move the two outside sliders to the furthest point from the center, then we decrease contrast in the midtone region (Figure 4.21).

Figure 4.20

Figure 4.20 Moving the sliders to the center adds contrast to the midtones.

Figure 4.21

Figure 4.21 Move the sliders outward as indicated by the arrows to decrease midtone contrast.

If we wanted to add contrast to the light and highlight regions, we would move the Tone Range sliders to the right. This increases our shadow region while restricting our highlights region, thus making our image darker and creating more contrast in the highlights (Figure 4.22).

Figure 4.22

Figure 4.22 Moving the sliders to the right will increase our shadow region.

Moving our sliders all the way to the left will increase our highlights region and create contrast in our shadows. Keep in mind, any move to the far right or left might be too much (Figure 4.23), but understanding the basic idea is what matters here.

Figure 4.23

Figure 4.23 Moving the sliders all the way over created way too much contrast in the shadows—not the desired look.

Moving the middle slider to the left and the right slider to the far right allows us to add contrast and detail in our shadow region without blowing out the image. This gives us our desired effect (Figure 4.24); I am now happy with the amount of contrast in the image.

Figure 4.24

Figure 4.24 By experimenting with the Tone Range sliders we're able to add contrast to our shadows and get the desired effect.

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