The Idea Behind Curves

Because the Curves dialog box allows you to adjust every shade of gray in an image independently of the others (256 in all), it works quite a bit differently from the other adjustment tools. To get a clearer picture of what Curves does, let's construct our own Curves dialog box from scratch, using something you're already familiar with: the plain old vanilla bar chart. You know what I'm talking about—those wretched bar charts that can't be avoided in magazines, brochures, television, and pretty much everywhere you look. Now we can finally put one to good use by using it to help us understand Curves.

What if you create a bar chart that indicates how much light your monitor uses to display each color in an image? This bar ...

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