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Lightroom 4 -The new RGB Curve

The curves panel got a big update with the release of Lightroom 4.  On the outside it looks the same.  But on the inside it is all spruced up!  Hidden inside is an RGB curve that can help with color correcting!

If you have ever used a curves adjustment layer in Photoshop then this will look familiar to you and if you haven't I am here to give you a basic tutorial of what this new tool does.

 

This is the Tone Curve Panel.  It does everything that it used to do.  BUT now, if you click on the square in the bottom right, the Panel changes a little bit.  You'll now see the words "Channel: RBG."  This new curve that appears is called a point curve!

What is a Point Curve?

With the point curve you can lighten or darken areas of your photo much like you can in the default curve.  The only difference is that wherever you click on the curve, a point will appear.  You can also use the Lightroom 4 Targeted Adjustment Tool to visually choose which areas to lighten or darken by hovering over the photo and dragging the tool up (to lighten) or down (to darken.)  If you want to remove points that you have already placed on the curve, just double-click on the point.

How to use this to color correct?

If you click on the words "RGB" you'll see a drop down menu that allows you to choose red, green, or blue.  By clicking on one of these colors, you'll be able to increase or decrease the amount of that color in your photo.  This is where we can make color adjustments to our photo.

By clicking on the curve and dragging up, you increase the amount of that color in the photo.  And by clicking on the curve and dragging down you decrease the amount of that color in the photo.  You can also think of this as adding in the neutralizing color.  For instance, when you drag the RED curve down, the red will decrease and the photo will start to become green.  Green neutralizes red.  The opposite applies for the Green curve.  Red neutralizes green.  When you drag the Blue curve down the blue decrease and the photo will begin to turn yellow.  Yellow neutralizes blue.  Moving it even a little bit will make dramatic color changes.

Color correcting a portrait with these curves will require a LIGHT hand.  You can use the targeted adjustment tool here as well.  So if you have an area of the photo that you’d like to decrease the color in, you can use the tool to target that area.

In the following photo, I wanted to decrease the little bit of ruddy redness in my son's cheeks.  I selected the targeted adjustment tool and hovered over the area on his lower cheeks and chin where I wanted to decrease the red.  I clicked and dragged the tool down ever so slightly.

You can get much more creative with these curves for landscape or sunset photos where bold and colorful are desirable.

With the addition of the RGB curve, you can now color correct using the HSL panel, the RGB curve, or Color Correcting in Lightroom using the brush tool and selecting a specific color to paint on.  I LOVE having options!  Don’t you?

Hi!! I am Gayle. I am a wife to my handsome husband and mom to 4 beautiful kids. In my spare time, I am a photographer and blogger at Mom and Camera. I have a passion for sharing my love of photography with others. I teach local photography classes and regularly share photography tips and tricks on my blog. I hang out there a lot—I’d love you to stop by and visit!

 

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