One of Photoshop's Most Underrated Tools That You're Probably Using Wrong

Some of the most important tools in Photoshop are still not being fully taken advantage of by many photographers. Are you still shying away from using this most popular and powerful tool?

Educator and Photographer Jim Welninski is back once again with another insightful video on what the curves tool actually does and why it's so important to the editing process. While the curves tool may not be the sexiest topic out there, you'll find very few professional photo editors who don't swear by it and use it daily.

Welninski goes into great detail on how to use this tool and explains what many of the buttons and settings actually do. Even though I have used this tool for many years, there were still some features mentioned in the video that I had no idea existed. Dragging points away from the curves window to delete them and being able to toggle between previous states of curve adjustments were just two tricks mentioned that I have added to my editing arsenal.

The video goes on to explain how to adjust individual color channels when it comes to grading the tone of photographs and for just this section alone, it's well worth a watch. Even though this video shows the curves tool in action in Adobe's Photoshop, the universal concepts mentioned in the video can be easily transferred to whatever editing program you use. It's no coincidence that all the big photo editors include the curves tool in their programs. It really is one of the most important tools a photographer can get to grips with.

Are you a fan of the curves tool or do you shy away from using it? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Log in or register to post comments

12 Comments

Wes Jones's picture

Great video. Never realized how little I knew about using curves.

If this is new or interesting, I’d suggest checking out some concept art for production tutorials. These base level functions become very powerful within a larger workflow- not that they aren’t useful on their own.

user-156929's picture

I'm not sure if I should be happy to have already known everything in the video or aggravated, I spent 18:49 finding that out.
Also, I thought Bob Ross died!? ;-)

Leigh Smith's picture

I played it double speed, so it only took me 9:24.5 to find out this was basic info. lol

Curves Tool is the ultimate LUT generator.

Tim Gallo's picture

what the curves tool actually does and why it's so important to the editing process

here is your title. stop implying that somebody does something wrong.

Spy Black's picture

The curves tool is a crippled little box by virtue of Adobe STILL keeping it so small to this day and age. Back in the 90s I had a plug-in curves tool (who's name escapes me now) that I could scale up to any size, and would fill up my second monitor if I so pleased (which I did). It displayed ALL the channels PLUS combined simultaneously, and you could edit back and forth at will. The large size box allowed discrete adjustment of each of all 256 8-bit steps if you so desired! Although I'm primarily a levels guy today, why the fuck we still have to deal with this tiny little curves box is beyond me.

revo nevo's picture

I'm would say I'm a photoshop beginer compared to some people but I was not using curves tool wrong and that video did not demistify anything.

user-156929's picture

I'm not sure when I'd use it but that was very interesting!

Leigh Smith's picture

Fstoppers, your clickbate is pissing everyone off. None of us are using curves "wrong". The title should read "A beginner look at he curves tool".
You're about to loose your audience.

Interesting video below, on the horizontal curve