Set Highlight and Shadow Values Using Curves Panel

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

Using the Curves panel in Adobe Photoshop Creative Suites 5, you can fix an image created in less-than-perfect lighting. After you find the lightest and darkest points in an image, you can set their values.

1Select the Click and Drag button.

The eyedropper tools activate.

2Double-click the Set White Point eyedropper, the white eyedropper on the left side of the Curves panel.

When you double-click the Set White Point eyedropper, the Color Picker dialog box appears.

3Enter values for the lightest point in your image and click OK.

You can type 5 in the Cyan text box, 3 in the Magenta text box, and 3 in the Yellow text box. Leave the Black text box at 0 (zero). These are generic values for a lightest point.

The Black value helps to correct most images for print and online.

4When you receive an alert message asking if you want to save the new target colors as defaults, click Yes.

You can always change the default values if these don’t suit you.

5With the Set White Point eyedropper still selected, click the color sampler you dropped on the image, indicating the lightest point in the image.

This sets the highlight point.

6Double-click the Set Black Point eyedropper.

The Color Picker dialog box appears.

7Enter values for the darkest point in your image and click OK.

You can type 65 in the Cyan text box, 53 in the Magenta text box, 51 in the Yellow text box, and 95 in the Black text box. These are generic values for a darkest point.

As with the highlight value, the Black value is a generic value that works for most print and online images.

8With the Set Black Point eyedropper still selected, click the color sampler you dropped on the image, indicating the darkest point in the image.

This sets the shadow point.