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Figure 6.56 The result of applying an S-curve adjustment.
more control than you could get with the Levels effect. On the
other hand, this may be too much control in some instances.
Another feature that you'll fi nd in both Levels and Curves is the
ability to adjust individual color channels. This is almost like hav-
ing a built-in Color Balance effect. I like the result we achieved
with the fi reworks image. But, it's a little too red for my taste. Let's
fi x that by going to the Channel drop down, and changing this
value from the default RGB, to Red. This gives you a brand new
Curves adjustment (a fresh diagonal line), just for the red color
channel. To reduce the amount of red in this image, I'm going to
click in the center of the curve and drag down slightly. Now our
image looks a little more balanced. Taking away red light also
made the image a little darker, which actually works in our favor
here. If you take the Channel drop down back to RGB, you'll see
that our curve is still here, and is left untouched by what we did
to the red channel (Fig. 6.57).
Now open up the sea lions comp in this project. This con-
tains a layer with a photo I took of some sea lions. I took it from
a long distance with a budget quality lens, while these creatures
were covered by the mist from crashing ocean waves. All of these
things together do not a well-balanced image make. Apply the
Curves effect to this image in the sea lions comp (Fig. 6.58).
Obviously, we need to darken this layer quite a bit. But, if you
try the previous method of darkening (i.e. grabbing the curve and
pulling downwards), you'll notice that you can't quite get it as
dark as it needs to be (Fig. 6.59).
Watch Out for
One of the things
that you should
probably avoid for
realistic photo editing is
having a point on the left
higher on the graph than
a point on the right. That
would make shadow areas
brighter than areas of the
image that were originally
brighter than the shadows.
This usually creates weird,
posterized effects. Great
for aliens and special
effects, but not the best
thing for realistic color
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