Before we begin/you ask, I shall state that I use Adobe Photoshop 7.0 and always have. Today I shall teach you something that I only discovered quite recently, and it will be as important to you as I imagine a swiss knife must be to a mercenary, and perhaps what a makeup gun of the future must be like for the lazy girl of the future HAHA (me). Photoshop Curves!
Now, I am probably the furthest you could find that could be called a Photoshop Pro, but I honestly feel like - for the purposes of my photography, anyway - Photoshop Curves and Actions are all I need. Imagine a girl who is about to put on makeup and she has different looks that she likes - smokey eye, dramatic eyeliner, er.. natural, bla bla bla (I am very out of touch with the makeup department fyi LOL). So she wants to test out which look she'll go with for her face that day, and imagine she presses a button and she can instantly try out different looks and even tweak it til she's satisfied. THIS IS WHAT PHOTOSHOP CURVES ARE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY. MAKEUP IS TO FACE AS CURVES ARE TO PHOTOS :D
Just a note:I can't even tell you how integral curves are if you want to really take your photos from mere snapshots to photography. Like I said, though, I'm still really new to this myself and only just started making my own curves and stuff, so I apologise again to any Photoshop pros who may be reading this and scoffing at my ridiculous analogies LMAO.
Photoshop Curves can alter the contrast, tones, colours of a photo.
(Mind you I am using my own descriptive words, I'm sure there are proper jargony words for what I mean but I don't know them and you probably don't either if you're reading this anyway heh)
Photoshop Actions contain Curves within them already, but they can add a world of extra effects like fake sunlight, fake film grain, make it sepia, burn the edges of the photo, put a border around the photo etc etc and even utilise several curves in succession in order to create a certain effect.
Another note: Think of it as the absolute essentials of a girl's makeup kit. That's all she needs to look great, right? But with, say, the help of a makeup artist and HER entire makeup collection, results could be veeerry different.
Often, I find that I am much more satisfied with curves on their own than with actions, which can actually be really annoying and a bit too complex to deal with. Also, when you download Actions that other people have created, they probably using a different version of Photoshop (or using it in a different LANGUAGE - quite a few Actions I've come across are in Spanish or even Arabic haha!) and perhaps 3/10 times the action might be incompatible with your version of Photoshop anyway, rendering it pretty much useless (unless you like the outcome anyway lmao).
Curves, however, I have never had a problem with, and you have the freedom to edit it yourself whereas Actions are sometimes just stupid and more annoying to try tweak.
Anyway, onwards! I present to thee a selection of before and afters (Right click & Open Image in New Tab; the photo will expand to more than twice its size):
Even something as boring and commonplace as a bowl of pasta can become a much nicer picture :D.
SEE WHAT I MEAN??? DO YOU SEE?? How ordinary the photos are before, and how different they can be with just a few clicks of the mouse. It is really that easy. In fact, it is so easy that sometimes I feel quite guilty being proud of something that is so damn effortless to achieve lmao. BUT WHATEVER! I love producing a beautiful photo and simply admiring the tones and colours of a photo - any photo, from anyone. As odd as it may sound.. I love beauty! And I love the fact that I can be something of a conductor, harnessing the 'music' of my camera and Photoshop and just harmonising them together to create something beautiful.
HOLY SHIT JESS SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU HAVE WRITTEN A LEGITIMATE FUCKING ESSAY NOW. ALRIGHT LET'S GEDDIT LET'S GO! (Woo DavidSoComedy)
Like a girl putting makeup on, you must first have your 'makeup', yes? The internet is your shop (except everything is free ?__?). I get probably 50% of my curves from jtrotti (click her UGH you will not be disappointed) and the other 50% just browsing on DeviantArt.com, searched under 'Photoshop Curves'. Let's say I choose this curve pack here. It downloads as a RAR file, which I have to Extract to get the files out etc etc. (Okay please tell me you are computer-literate enough to know how to do all this cause wtf I ceebs printscreening it all)
Anyway, once you have the folder full of Curves there, all you have to do is have your image up and open in Photoshop and follow le steps! (Right click for larger resolution of course!)
If on a PC, CTRL + M TO SAVE TIME!!
Skipped a step here!! Click Load to find the folder that contains the curves!
Open & Double Click..
See how thy colours hath changed
THIS IS WHERE YOU PLAY AROUND WITH IT!
Click anywhere on the diagonal line and move it around to see the kind of effects you get, and keep playing with it until you're happy. Click okay and you'll be left with the final result!
That, ladies and gentlemen, is all it takes.. Mere seconds. NOW GO PLAY!
OKAY HOLY SHIT THIS POST HAS GONE ON FOR LONG ENOUGH :|. Sweet jesus I hope this all makes sense and I hope you guys learnt something!!!!! ^.^" ♥ Please please please leave a comment or Formpring me if I left something out!