Overview of the Tone Curve Panel in Lightroom Part 2


In my last post on the Tone Curve panel, I showed you the basic components of the panel, as well as how to edit in the RGB channel.

In this post, we will look at how to use the Red, Green and Blue channels to color balance your image.

We will then look at how you can adjust the Tone Curve after applying a preset.


Click the icon highlighted below to edit the point curve:

Beside the word Channel, press the up/down arrows. By default, you will already be in the RGB channel, which controls all three color channels. Here, you can also select the individual color channels. First, I am selecting the Red channel:

When you click on the curve, you can pull the line in various directions in order to affect the color of each channel. If you pull the line up, towards the top left, you will be adding the color of the channel to your image. If you pull down, to the bottom right, you will be removing color.

For example, in the Red channel, if I pull the curve to the top left, I am adding red to my image. If I pull to the bottom right, I am removing red from my image and adding Cyan (since it is the opposite of Red):

The same applies in the Blue and Green channels, as well. Just remember, pulling up on the curve increases the color of the selected channel, whereas pulling down on the curve decreases the color by adding in the opposite color.


Below is a practical application of one of the many ways you can use the individual color channels to edit your image.

In this image, I felt as though the image, overall, was a bit too red, so I pulled the tone curve down a bit, to the bottom right.

Keep in mind, a little goes a long way when using the tone curve, so in most cases you will not need to adjust the curve very much:

I then pulled up in the Green channel to enhance to tones in the grass:

Finally, I pulled down in the Blue channel. This added yellow to the image (since yellow is the opposite of blue) which compliments the golden backlighting of the image:

As you can see below, the steps I took removed the red cast from the image, cooled the skin tones, and brought more yellow to the backlighting:


In some cases, you may want to adjust the tone curve after applying a preset.

For this example, I have applied Saffron from the Sugar and Spice Collection:

I wanted to tone down the red a bit, so I opened the Red channel in my Tone Curve panel and saw that there was a slight S-curve:

To reduce the red, I moved the points on the curve so that they all lined up on a diagonal, rather than on an S-curve:


 Do you have any questions about what we have discussed here? We love hearing from you! Also, be sure to visit us in our private Pretty Presets Facebook Group!

Check out the first part of this tutorial here:

An Overview of the Tone Curve Panel in Lightroom