September SIG Notes and a bit more

You can view these notes online at and also download them as a pdf.

What are we doing?

Hello everyone!

The September meeting is a bit different from what we have been doing. We have three guests presenters and yours truly:

  • Pat – using Photoshop to create a lighting effect from a street lamp.
  • Barbara – using the curves tool in Photoshop Elements.
  • Yvonne – How to use Photoshop to develop a family tree.
  • Bill – using the curves tool in Photoshop.

Using the Curves tool in Photoshop

Photoshop has two tools that are very frightening and confusing to both new and intermediate users. These are the pen tool and the Curves adjustment layer tool. Today’s bit from me will be a quick look at the Curves tool. The Pen tool will be done at a later date.

This is the image that we will be working with today. for those of you that are thinking I am getting really good at taking photos, I have to reveal that I was just lucky in waving the camera around the flowers on the back verandah. The bee just happened to stay still long enough to gently press the shutter.


Click on image to see in full screen glory. What a hairy little beastie he is.

Here is the basic curves tool from Photoshop:

Image 3 -  bee on flower

Click to see full size image.


You can use the Curves tool to adjust the overall contrast, adjust local contrast and to make colour corrections.

Adjusting the contrast
(1) Start off by seeing what you get with the presets. This may give you the starting point for further adjustments.

Image 4 - curves PresetsJPG

Presets in the curves tool give you a starting point.

There are different zones in the tool that represent tones that may be shadows, midtones or highlights.

(2) By clicking and dragging the curve up or down we are able to lighten or darken  the overall or local tones. Here I have added three points at 25, 50 and 75% on the curve. By dragging down at 25%, I have lightened the shadows and by dragging up at 75%, I have darkened the highlights. now I have this.

Image 6 - setting three points for an S curve.

This was just a short introduction to the curves tool for adjusting the contrast of an image. It may also be used to adjust the colours .

Colour adjustment with the curves tool.
The separate channels of red, blue and green can be used to change the appearance of your image. I’ll use the cross process preset as an example.
(3) Select the Cross Process (RGB) preset. Notice how you now have a separate curve for each colour channel.

Image 7 - Using the cross process preset.

Click on image for full size view.

(4) Use one channel at a time and drag the key points (25, 50, 75%) up and down a bit and see what the effect is.

(5) Cycle through the blending modes to see what happens for a creative effect.

With the curves tool, a little bit really does go a long way. You can have more control of the curve by using the direction arrows instead of your mouse.

Want to find out more?
More information on using the layer adjustment curves tool may be found at:

October PS/PE Challenge

The bad news is that I am running out of ideas to try for a monthly challenge. The good news is that there are any number of ideas from the internet to choose from.

So the October Photoshop Challenge is to create your own version of Placing Multiple Images In Text With Photoshop from this website –

Here is the example from the website:



Your challenge is to create something similar using the letters AUSOM and your own images to fill out the letters.

Please send your  jpg image/s to me at (

What are we doing in October?

These are the suggestions so far that I have remembered.

  1. How to use and abuse channels in PS/PE.
  2. What use is the adjustment brush tool in Adobe Camera Raw? All will be revealed!
  3. Any more suggestions? Please let me know.

That’s all, folks!

After the SIG – September 14,2014

Here are the notes from Barbara and Yvonne for the parts of the SIG that they presented.

From Barbara:

Curves and Photoshop Elements.

Do you want to lighten a dark scene, boost contrast and colour, check for clipped pixels or make a variety of colour shifts? In Photoshop CS you would probably reach for the Curves adjustment, but there is no Curves option in PE, is there? Correct! But there are a number of options that will give similar results.

1. Are there blown out areas (clipped pixels) ?

The Levels dialog (and in recent versions of Photoshop, the Curves dialog as well) has an excellent built-in clipping warning. Just hold down the Alt key as you drag the highlight slider (A), and it shows you exactly what’s blown out.



2. Lighten or Darken? Change contrast?

Create a Levels Adjustment layer and set new white and black points by dragging the sliders, or use the pipettes (B) to click on areas in the image that should be black or white. Use the Channel drop down (C) to work on one colour at a time.




Work in a duplicate layer. Go to Enhance > Adjust Colour > Adjust Colour Curves. Select the Style you want (D), then fine tune by adjusting the sliders (E). (If you want to leave the colour saturation unchanged, change the Blend Mode of the Curves Adjustment layer to Luminosity (F).)

To adjust a specific area in the image select it with one of the selection tools, then adjust curves.

3. If you still want “Curves” as in Photoshop CS ….

A plug in from “elements plus” will give curves adjustments in PE. See video


TIP: If a dialogue box does not have a reset button (rare in newer versions of PE) hold down the Option key whilst clicking on Cancel.  (e.g. Brightness/Contrast)

From Yvonne

Removing an object from a photo using the healing brush tool.

Here is the image that Yvonne started with:

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 9.33.57 PMThe challenge here was to remove not only the telephone pole, but the wires and shadow as well.

Yvonne then showed us how to use the Healing Brush tool to do just that over just a few minutes. Here is the final photo. Woo hoo!

Skeirke--How good is that?

What happened to Pat? Well, we ran out of time. But this just means that there will be more time to hear from Pat in October.


About woldham

Concise! Retired and loving it!
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