Improving Contrast using the SCurve

The slight "S" form of this curve improves (i.e., increases) image contrast in the midtones and usually makes additional increases in saturation redundant. You can also reduce image contrast by applying an S-curve with the opposite curvature.

Always activate the Preview option when making corrections to your images (figure 4-24 ®). This allows you to view the effects your changes will have without actually changing the image data.

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Figure 4-24: A slight increase in contrast using a moderate S-curve
Figure 4-25: The original image is on the left. The image on the right shows the subtle) effects of applying the S-curve.

Applying an S-curve can cause color shifts, but you can counteract this effect by applying the Edit r Fade tool immediately after applying the S-curve in Luminosity mode (figure 4-26) or by applying the S-curve in Luminosity mode on an adjustment layer (section 7.3, page 251). The Fade tool effects the last correction that was applied to the image. Mode settings are explained in section 7.2.2, page 250.

You can show or hide the Curves histogram and the diagonal baseline (from bottom left to top right in the curves diagram) using the checkboxes in the Curves display options (figure 4-23). Potential clipping is displayed by checking the Show Clipping checkbox.

Figure 4-26: The Fade tool reduces the effect of the last image adjustment.

Figure 4-26: The Fade tool reduces the effect of the last image adjustment.

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