Curves



Curves are probably the most powerful image adjustment tool available in Paint Shop Pro and they are also the least understood and most intimidating adjustment.

The pre-set adjustments in Paint Shop do a good job of image modification but if you want your prized images to look fabulous then you need to understand how to work with curves.

Once you understand how the dialogue works you can make all manner of really great adjustments to your images and you will probably forget all about the Express Lab!

Then curves are the right platform for your journey into creativity.  And when you've seen what this page can do for you, explore toning where yet another aspect of curve adjustment is explored.

The Curve Dialogue


This is the Curves Adjustment Layer Dialogue in Paint Shop Pro X3 (it's the same in other versions of the program but they are not quite as pretty around the edges)  ...


curves paint shop pro


There is a nice straight line that goes from the bottom left to the top right and is a graphical representation of the full range of brightness from 0 (black with no detail on the bottom left) to 255 (pure white with no detail on the top right).

Roughly speaking, the bottom third of the line is the shadow detail (the red portion of the line), the middle third are the midtones (the green area of the line) and the top right third the highlights (the blue portion of the line).  

In addition - everything below the line is darker than at the line and everything above the line is lighter.

Confusing?  Just play with the curve and it will all become clear.

So - if you move a spot on the line up then that area of brightness will get lighter and if you move it down it will get darker.

Sample Curves Adjustments


Master


curves-master swatch
curves dialogue
There is no change or modification when the curve dialogue is not adjusted.  The curve is at a nice uniform 45 degree angle.

curves master image




Increased Contrast

increased contrast swatch curves The typical "S" curve that lightens the highlights and darkens the shadows.

The highlight part has been moved up slightly (into the lighter area) and the shadow area has been moved down (into the darker area).



increased contrast image




Decreased Contrast

decreased contrast swatch curves decrease contrast Decreased Contrast adjustment causes the image to look "flat and lifeless" because the image lacks the discrimination between the tones.

The highlight portion has been made darker by moving the curve down and the shadow area has been lightened by moving the curve upward.


curves decreased contrast




Early Start

early start contrast swatch curves early start With the early start adjustment the curve starts "before" the graph square as shown - the shadows are lightened; the midtones lengthened; the highlights are unchanged.

The tends to decrease the overall contrast because the slope of the line is much flatter than normal.

curves early start image




Early Finish

curves early finish curves early finish curve With the early finish adjustment the line hits the top of the graph square before the RHS - shadows unchanged; midtones remain the same; highlights lengthened.

The adjustment increases contrast because the slope of the line is steep..

curves early finish image




Negative

curves negative swatch curves diaolgue negative The shape of the curve is reversed - so dark becomes light; light becomes dark; colours become their opposites on the colour wheel.

curves negative image




V Curve

curves v swatch curves dialogue v With this adjustment the shadows are reversed (dark become light), the mid tones are darkened and the highlights stay pretty much the same.


curves image v




Inverted V

curves inverted v contrast swatch curves inverted v
This curve maintains the shadow area, lightens the mid tones and darkens the highlights.


curves image inverted v



Solarisation

curves-swatch solarisation curves dialogue solarisation With the dramatic solarisation curve the shadows are the right way round; the midtones are reversed; the highlights are the right way round

curves solarisation image




Pseudo Solarisation

curves-swatch pseudosolarisation curves dialogue pseudo solarisation This increases the contrast of the image as the slopes are very steep. 

There is much distortion of the colours. The deepest shadows have their contrast increased; the lightest midtones are reversed;  the darker midtones have their contrast increased; the brightest highlights are reversed


curves pseudo solarisation




Inverted Pseudo Solarisation

curves-swatch inverted pseudosolarisation curves dialogue inverted pseudo solarisation Effectively the image is a reversal in tone of pseudosolarisation.

Again it increases the contrast of the image as the slopes are very steep.  There is much distortion of the colours.  The deepest shadows are reversed; the lightest midtones have their contrast increased;  the darker midtones are reversed; the brightest highlights have their contrast increased 


curves inverted pseudo solarisation




Nine Point

curves-swatch 9 point curves dialogue 9 point The effects here are really very exaggerated.  Each of the tone ranges can be considered as a solarisation on its own.  This produces greater colour distortion; there is more contrast in each tonal range; the image begins to take on a line effect as specific tones are highlighted or turned into shadow. 

As you increase the number of points on the curve, the the greater the line effect becomes


curves 9 point image




Cross Process


In terms on historical importance crossed curves is a visit to the 70s and 80s when E6 and C41 processing became widespread across the manufacturers and whilst Kodak was trying to perfect the colour print.

We liked the effect and then of course we processed E6 film in C41 and the rest as they say is history.


curves red Red Channel
curves green Green Channel
curves blue Blue Channel


curves-swatch cross process curves cross process image



Alt Cross Process

curves alt cross red Red Channel
curves alt cross green Green Channel
curves alt cross blue Blue Channel


curves swatch alt cross process curves alt cross process image



The tutorial on Toning Images also uses the curves adjustment technique with the Red, Green and Blue channels.





Page Links


Increased Contrast

Decreased Contrast

Early Start

Early Finish

Negative

V Curve

Inverted V

Solarisation

Pseudo Solarisation

Inverted Pseudo Solarisation

Nine Point

Cross Process

Alt Cross Process









Enjoy This Site?
Then why not use the button below, to add us to your favorite bookmarking service?



Copyright© 2009-2011.