1. Create a Curves adjustment layer.

To do so, click the Create New Adjustment or Fill Layer button from the Layers palette and then choose Curves, as shown in Figure 10-19.

Figure 10-19: Creating a Curves adjustment layer.

2. Increase the number of grid lines to provide a more precise grid.

Press and hold the Alt key (the Option key on the Mac) while clicking inside the Curves grid to increase the number of grid lines, as shown in Figure 10-20.

3. Make tonal adjustments by clicking the curve line and dragging it to the desired grid point, or by clicking Auto.

Drag the curve upward and left to brighten, downward and right to darken. Experiment with creating adjustments for shadows, midtones, and highlights.

Figure 10-21 demonstrates how the Auto curves feature can improve color in shadows, midtones, and highlights.

Figure 10-20: Using the Curves adjustment window.

Before

Before

After

Figure 10-21: Using the Curves adjustment layer to improve this underexposed image.

After

Figure 10-21: Using the Curves adjustment layer to improve this underexposed image.

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