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I used to think there was some huge mystery to curves but it's just a matter of spending some time figuring out how they work.
Solar curve for retouching thread
changing tone thread
feel free to link to other useful threads. There were two that showed some neat tricks with the blue and red channels for cross processing but I haven't relocated them yet.
Great idea :-)
Thanks for quoting my post!
I sometimes use arbitrary curves in LAB to get rid of one color all together.
E.g. change color mode to LAB then open up the curves dialog.
Click on the little pencil and go to the channel which contains the color you want to neutralize (a for the Green/Magenta, b for the Blue/Yellow).
Now here comes the trick :-). If you want to eliminate green, switch to the a channel, use the pencil to click on the point 0/-128, shift click on 0/0.
Every shade of green (LAB green looks more like turquoise just in case you're wondering) should turn gray/lose its green shade.
Very useful for restoration work sometimes :-).
Solar curves and the ladder are great examples of curves as well, I love to do both techniques :-)
It's btw. a great idea to save some presets, e.g. neutralizing colors (like I just explained), fixing midpoints, neutralizing the whole image (for the ladder) and maybe some solar curves.
PS: It may be worth noticing, that moving the gamma slider in levels is not the same as moving the midpoint in curves.
various way to achieve cross processing with curves
I have a whole set of Curves which replace Blend Modes. Often you duplicate a layer for an effect and you change its blend mode and then selectively apply the effect by working on the layer mask. Using a curve to perform the same function allows you to replace a full pixel layer with a curve which occupies virtually no memory and has negligable impact on file size and does not slow PS down.
Here is the process to create those curves.
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