Assignment: Creative Curves

Teaching students photoshop is a challenge, especially while trying to get across technical information and cultivate creativity. Today we completed a tech primer in preparation for the assignment “Creative Curves” and I recorded the demonstration. I’ve posted the assignment below for my colleagues as well as the practice lab and accompanying file for anyone who’d like to follow along. Happy image making! -Erika

Download the file joshuatree.jpg or use one of your own. (sorry wordpress won’t post RAW files)



1. To implement the workflow of ACR/Lightroom to make global adjustments and attach IPTC metadata.
2. To become extremely familiar with how to interpret the info palette, histogram and curves dialogue box in Photoshop.
3. To refresh your memory of the various aspects of making local selections and manipulating masks and curve layer adjustments.
4. To output 8x10s with proper icc profiles, tonal and color representations.
5. To experiment more with producing imagery that employs the learned techniques of this module.
6.  To utilize curves to control tonal adjustments and implement monochromatic creative controls.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

1. Choose two “fine art images” from your existing portfolio or capture two new images. These images should relate to one another so as to seem “plucked from a series”. Using techniques learned, you are going to “creatively interpret” the images. See the artists highlighted in the “artists spotlight” for this week for inspiration as well as the student work above.

3. With either the Nikon slide scanner or the Epson flatbed scanners, or using a camera, digitize your images in RGB color. The files should be at least about 10 to 25 megabytes each (large enough to print a 8x at 240-360ppi).

4. Employ the use of global ACR or Lightroom adjustments in the basic panel and then open in Photoshop to apply local curves to correct tonal qualities in an image, dodge/burn selected areas, control contrast and/or create creative enhancements. Feather and paint masks where needed.

5. Create a monochromatic image using TWO of the alternative techniques discussed in class (Color Fill, Black and White, Color Gradient, Cross Process, Cyanotype, Duotone, Split Tone, or other of your discovery) Use selective curves to control ares of the image to make choices about tone. Use masks selectively with curves to manipulate the transitions smoothly.

Turn In: 
– TWO final “photographic” prints that are at least ” 8 x 10″ but not larger than 20 x 24″ with proper output/profiles sent to service bureau.
– Provide a written paragraph describing the work and your process including screen shots. (EXAMPLE)
– Participate in the class critique.

I’ll show the work of many artists relevant to this project in class. Don’t miss these lectures.

-Followed guidielines (has global adjustments, SAM curves + 2 or more alt techniques, (30)
-Technical quality, tonal corrections, selections, burning/dodging, output, (30)
– Creative interpretation, uniqueness, (30)
-Submitted on time, participated in class critiques, screenshot/paragraph (10)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s