How to Adjust Curves in GIMP

Tuesday, June 21, 2011  at 6:58 AM
 Learn to control the lightness and darkness of different shades.  Welcome to the ninth article in my Photography Editing in GIMP series!

Previous articles:

Article 1: Easy Photography Editing in GIMP
Article 2: How to Crop in GIMP
Article 3:  How to Control Saturation in GIMP
Article 4: How to Control Contrast and Lightness
Article 5: How to Change Color Photos into Black and White
Article 6: How to Level a Horizon
Article 7: How to Correct a Skewed Perspective in GIMP
 Article 8: How to Square All of Your Corners in GIMP

These tutorials use the free photo-editing program GIMP.  I am not being paid to endorse GIMP--I just really like it!

Adjusting Curves is Easy!

Here is how you can go from this:

Thailand Coast by Danalynn C

to this:

Thailand Coast by Danalynn C

Step 1: Open the image in GIMP and, under the Colors tab, click the Curves button.

Thailand Coast by Danalynn C

Step 2: The dialogue box will pop up.  The graph represents how much of your photo has which shades (darks, mediums, lights).  The straight diagonal line represents the starting amount of each shade.

Thailand Coast by Danalynn C

Step 3: When you grab one spot on the line, you are saying that every point in the picture which is that shade will change how you command it.  Drag the spot upwards to lighten that particular tone, drag it downwards to darken it. 

Thailand Coast by Danalynn C

Step 4: You can grab multiple spots on the line without opening a new dialogue box each time.  This is a useful tool for highlighting some mid-tones without blowing out the highlights that already exist, as would happen if you tried to adjust with the Lightness tool.  Instead, just grab the mid-tone area on the line and drag it upwards to the correct lightness.

Thailand Coast by Danalynn C

Step 5: Enjoy your finished photo with the correct curve adjustment!

Thailand Coast by Danalynn C
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