Inverse Curve Technique for Painting Light In Photoshop Video

Inverse Curve Technique for Painting Light In Photoshop Video

Written by: Jules Mercado (Mixtapepsds)

The inverse curve technique is a method used in Photoshop for painting light to enhance highlights and bring attention to specific areas of an image. This technique involves using a curves adjustment layer to control the highlights selectively. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1: Open Your Image

  1. Open Photoshop:
    • Launch Adobe Photoshop and open the image you want to work on.

2: Add a Curves Adjustment Layer

  1. Curves Adjustment Layer:
    • Go to the Layers panel and click on the “New Adjustment Layer” icon. Choose “Curves” from the menu.
  2. Inverse the Curve:
    • In the Curves Properties panel, create an inverse S-curve. Click on the diagonal line and add two points. Drag the point in the middle downward and the points on the sides upward. This increases the contrast in the highlights.

3: Masking

  1. Apply a Layer Mask:
    • With the Curves adjustment layer selected, click on the layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. This adds a layer mask to the curves adjustment.
  2. Fill Layer Mask with Black:
    • Press Ctrl + I (Windows) or Command + I (Mac) to invert the layer mask, making it black. This effectively hides the impact of the curves adjustment.

4: Paint with White

  1. Select Brush Tool:
    • Select the Brush Tool (B) from the toolbar.
  2. Set Foreground Color to White:
    • Ensure that your foreground color is set to white.
  3. Adjust Brush Settings:
    • Adjust the brush settings, including size, hardness, and opacity, based on the areas you want to highlight. A soft-edged brush is often used for a gradual transition.
  4. Paint on the Layer Mask:
    • Begin painting on the layer mask over the areas where you want to enhance the highlights. The white brush reveals the effect of the curves adjustment selectively.

5: Fine-Tune and Experiment

  1. Opacity Adjustment:
    • Adjust the opacity of the Curves adjustment layer to control the overall intensity of the effect.
  2. Refine Edges:
    • Use a soft brush with lower opacity to refine the transition between the highlighted and non-highlighted areas. This helps create a more natural look.

6: Evaluate and Save

  1. Evaluate the Result:
    • Zoom out and evaluate the overall impact of the painted light on your image.
  2. Save Your Work:
    • Save your Photoshop document with layers intact (PSD) for future edits.


  • Experiment with Blend Modes:
    • Try changing the blend mode of the Curves adjustment layer to Screen or Overlay for different effects.
  • Adjust Color Channels:
    • If you want to enhance specific color highlights, use individual color channels within the Curves adjustment.
  • Use Multiple Adjustments:
    • Combine the inverse curve technique with other adjustment layers for a more comprehensive enhancement.

The inverse curve technique is a versatile method for selectively painting light in Photoshop, providing control over highlights and adding a dynamic touch to your images.

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Inverse Curve Technique for Painting Light In Photoshop
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