The Curves Filter is a very powerful tool in Photo RAW 2020. Curves allow you to modify your shadows, midtones, and highlights with great ease. Here are some creative ways that you can use the Tone Curve to incorporate style and flair into your photos.
BeginnerON1 Photo RAWIntermediate / AdvancedEditTip of the WeekLegacyEffectsDylan KoteckiON1 Photo RAW 2020
26 comments on “Creative Ways to Use the Tone Curve”
On January 8, 2020 at 6:23 pm Don L wrote:
Question… I tried you use of luminosity blend…. and then I made the same adjustment to the tone curve but instead of using the blend option I applied a luminosity mask. The result is not the same… can you explain why there is a difference? Thanks
On January 9, 2020 at 10:01 am Dylan Kotecki replied:
A luminosity mask is going to apply your filter or adjustment to the brightest areas in your photograph – the areas with the most luminance. The Luminosity Blend mode will blend your adjustment or filter into your image by applying it strictly to the luminance tones. It will still apply the entire filter or adjustment to your shot but it will blend it. The Luminosity Mask is going to mask out parts of your filter or adjustment where there isn’t any light.
On February 10, 2020 at 6:59 pm Clark Lingenfelter replied:
Yes, but what are luminance tones? I understand luminosity masks and luminance but don’t understand what you mean by tones
On January 8, 2020 at 11:39 pm David Price wrote:
Thank you for a very clear explanation of how the Curves filter works. I will look forward to being able to apply some of these lessons.
Best wishes David Price
On January 9, 2020 at 10:01 am Dylan Kotecki replied:
Thanks for watching David! 🙂
On January 10, 2020 at 10:11 am Terry Barber wrote:
Thank you for teaching us about of the curves regarding luminosity. I have been gradually learning curves and their uses. I think there must be if not endless way to using it with apply to, masking and others. Please if it is possible continue to teach us more in this area. Thank you.
On January 10, 2020 at 3:25 pm Merle Becker wrote:
Great video Dylan – very helpful starting with the nuts and bolts and then building to the “extras.” I have been playing with the curves but boy does this video make a difference – laughing at myself and some of the attempts tried right now but not going to share those!! Thanks Much – Merle
On January 10, 2020 at 4:53 pm Julie Boyle wrote:
Thanks Dylan. As usual a very informative video. Your explanation and demonstration is so easy to understand.
On January 16, 2020 at 3:32 am Robert Benyon wrote:
Great ideas, particular the idea of using curves before B/W conversion! I find that ON1 standard profile in Develop can easily burn out intense reds often found in flowers and loses details therein. I often drag down the red channel highlights in the curves to correct this.
On February 10, 2020 at 6:59 pm David Clark wrote:
Nice video, very helpful. Can you please explain the difference between making adjustments to blacks shadows midtones and highlights and whites using curves versus using the sliders for those things in the basic tone adjustments panel. I have the impression that the curve and the sliders pretty much do the same thing, except maybe you have more fine-tuning control with curves than sliders. Am I on the right track or not?
On February 11, 2020 at 10:37 am Dylan Kotecki replied:
Using those sliders are going to target those specific tones in the image. i.e. Midtones slider will target midtones. If you look at the Tone Curve, it’s straight at first. When you pull up or down on a point in the line in the Curve it will create a, for the lack of a better word, curve. Because you’re curving the adjustment it’s pulling up on different tones as well. For example, if you pull up on your midtones in the curve without placing points on the curve to protect specific tones, it will pull up the highlights and shadows as well because they are apart of the line. When you “curve” adjustments, you’re incorporating the adjustments in a different way than you would with the sliders because you can modify the peak and lows of each tone. You can also modify the RGB channels individually with the same power. If you want to protect specific tones, drop points on those tonalities. For example if you want to protect the midtones, drop a point on the middle of the line. This will hold your midtones down while you modify other tones. I hope that makes sense, that was a lot in one message!
On February 18, 2020 at 10:14 am David Clark replied:
Thank you, Dylan. That’s actually very clear. I’ve never understood the difference between sliders and curves before.
On February 11, 2020 at 12:42 am Bengt Cederman wrote:
Very nice and informative video, I learnt a lot by watching your videos. I like the tempo you use when going in between the different settings, you make it really easy to understand.
I wonder though, is there any pros or cons in which order you use the the Curve Filter in the filter stack?
On February 11, 2020 at 10:39 am Dylan Kotecki replied:
Thanks Bengt! Yes! Let’s say you have a midtone boos on a Tone Curve and it’s below a Sun Flare Filter… That midtone boost won’t be modifying the Filters below it. If you dragged that Tone Curve below the Sun Flare Filter in the Filter Stack, it would boost the midtones in the Sun Flare Filter. Depending on which filter you are using and how you are using the Effects Tab, the order of filters can play a huge role in your look.
On February 11, 2020 at 8:08 am Elizabeth Girardeau wrote:
I really enjoyed this clear and concise video on using the Curves filter. I have never really used this filter before that much and actually did not understand how versatile it is. I will certainly be using it more in the future. Thanks for this video.
On February 11, 2020 at 8:16 am Frank Klasic wrote:
Excellent mini lesson! Very enjoyable and to the point. Good Lesson Dylan.
On February 11, 2020 at 10:40 am Dylan Kotecki wrote:
Thanks for watching, everybody!! I hope it’s helped to clear up some of the confusion associated with the Tone Curve. 🙂
On February 11, 2020 at 11:39 am Jens Cramer wrote:
Great help. Thank you so much. As far as I have seen, the best explanation. Again, thank you.
On February 11, 2020 at 1:38 pm Gregston Gooding wrote:
Thanks for the clear and concise video on the possible creative uses of the Tone Curve filter. The use of the Tone Curve before B/W conversion was very informative.
On March 12, 2020 at 3:48 am Herbert Schlatt wrote:
Thank you very much for the concise explanation.
However, for some versions of ON1 and as I proposed for a future update some time ago, I would love to see the histogram underneath to identify the area and amount of the change. In addition to this function an eyedropper tool would be very helpful as well.
On March 12, 2020 at 5:47 am Brian Bochicchio wrote:
Great video all around. I hadn’t thought of using curves creatively. Just as a correction tool.
On March 12, 2020 at 6:32 am Jacques Pirnay wrote:
Hi Dylan, Thanks a lot for this very informative video.
Would be great if you could do an in depth one on Blending modes: why use them and when typically… together with 5 or 6 good examples everybody could learn from.
On March 13, 2020 at 9:12 am Patrick Smith replied:
Dylan actually created a Blend modes mini course you can find here:
On March 12, 2020 at 12:33 pm Nickolas Haramis wrote:
Hi Dylan, I enjoyed the ride: both up and down the curve and particularly the luminance curve adjustment to boot. Looking forward to your next lesson.
On June 8, 2020 at 7:47 am Martin Philipps wrote:
but PLEASE, not the ‘reds’ and ‘blues’ are changed by the curve, but the RED CHANNEL or BLUE CHANNEL. That is a big difference.
On October 8, 2021 at 10:56 pm mary farwell wrote:
Hi Dylan. Please can you tell me if i can download this video. so that i can re read and practice