Mastering Curves: Adjusting Tonality By Ben Willmore

2 hr 5 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

Just as layers are the most powerful feature in Photoshop, curves are the most powerful adjustment. So powerful, in fact, that many adjustments you normally use (such as brightness and contrast, levels, and color balance) are actually simplified versions of curves. With that in mind, if you can master curves, you can master adjustments – and Ben Willmore will show you how.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

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Meet your instructor

Ben Willmore


Photoshop Hall of Famer, Ben Willmore, has taught over 100,000 Photoshop users on five continents. His bestselling books, DVDs, and hit seminars have established Ben as one of America's favorite Photoshop instructors, and he is often a standing-room-only speaker at design and photography conferences throughout the world. He writes for num...

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  1. Profile photo of cd32919 cd32919

    Excellent teaching style, very informative and easily understood.

  2. Profile photo of Jeanette Frizzell Jeanette Frizzell

    Back again to view another of your courses. Learned so much and very interesting well put together.

    Really enjoy your teaching. Well put together and have learned so much. Thank you. Will be back to view color in curves. Amazing

  3. Profile photo of Hector Rodriguez Hector Rodriguez

    One of the most valuable courses I’ve taken here. I always wonder how curves worked. I’m glad I took this class. Keep it up Ben.

  4. Profile photo of AusDoug AusDoug

    This was a really great course. The instructor presents the information in a logical, helpful and entertaining way. I’m making the transition from editing in Lightroom to editing in Photoshop and this course really increases my knowledge and confidence. Highly recommended. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  5. Profile photo of Your-SunshineGirl Your-SunshineGirl

    Awesome lesson, just simply awesome. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  6. Profile photo of intrigma intrigma

    Absolutely amazing! The highly graphic way things are being explained is hard to forget. This course adds so much understanding to what I am doing with images in Photoshop. Thank you! And can’t wait to learn more… —- Yes, please post my feedback

  7. Profile photo of lucienr lucienr

    Very good course. Good teacher. I have learned a lot about curves. Thanks ! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of pahmih pahmih

    Excellent course. Clear, logical, well presented. I’ve been working with curves for years and didn’t realize how little I knew about this valuable tool. Well done. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of Paul Veilleux Paul Veilleux

    Probably one of the best tutorials on Kelby Training. Ben takes a very complex subject, i.e., curves, and deconstructs it in a methodical way that anyone can follow. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of dzman8900 dzman8900

    Ben’s course is among the very best on Kelby Training. Not only is he very knowledgeable, he explains the concepts in a way that makes them easy to understand. Thanks Ben —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of Gr8Scot Gr8Scot

    Just like Ben’s course on color correction (with curves), this course gives someone a great understanding of what’s happening when you edit an image. This course and Ben’s course on color correction are definitely my 2 favorite courses. I really want to know what is going on when I edit and what I can really do to make changes to my images in Photoshop. These courses gave me that understanding. Just to be clear though, these courses are not for very casual image editing, but anyone wanting to go beyond basic editing would benefit from this and the color correction class. Thanks very much Ben. The classes were great and very easy to follow! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  12. Profile photo of blixt99 blixt99

    Excellent explanation of the difficult to understand Curves adjustments for non-professionals, like me. Ben clearly knows his subject and shows how to use the functionality of Curves in an easily understandable way. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  13. Profile photo of DiaLynn725 DiaLynn725

    I really loved this course! Ben explained curves perfectly and made it all seem so simple. I’ll definitely be checking out his other courses!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  14. Profile photo of Susan Liberto Susan Liberto

    Ben sure knows his curves! I had no idea there was so much to learn about Curves! Hes a great teacher. I need to rewatch. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  15. Profile photo of Nader Nader

    great work. good instructor —- Yes, please post my feedback

  16. Profile photo of Felix Felix

    Great course, I fully understand curves…finally! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  17. Profile photo of Pedro Guardiola Pedro Guardiola

    Este capitulo de curvas es simplemente excelente, la metodología y ejemplos de Ben, dejan todo muy claro e incluso se ve mas fácil. Muchas gracias buen trabajo. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  18. Profile photo of gra10cie gra10cie

    I liked this course and totally enjoyed Ben Willmore, he is very easy to understand. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  19. Profile photo of Flashsplash Flashsplash

    For months I have been struggling with curves, so i got stuck to a trial and error method.
    This video is so instrumental ann well explained that in no time I got the swing of it.
    If I only would have know this earlier, it would have made my live much easier.
    To conclude; I can only say thank you for this explanation. It was clear and down to the point. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  20. Profile photo of rwooldri rwooldri

    Ben Willmore is the best instructor I’ve watched so far. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  21. Profile photo of R. Dennis Burr R. Dennis Burr

    Very well explained and demonstrated…..thanks Ben.

  22. Profile photo of Joel Guindon Joel Guindon

    Very easy to follow, instructor is amazing. Great course. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  23. Profile photo of PhotogJohnB PhotogJohnB

    I used to think that I knew how to use curves. After watching this course, I realized how wrong I was! This was an EXCELLENT course for learning how to use/apply curves. Ben does an incredible job explaining the material so the novices like myself understand the concepts of curves. I really liked the fact that Ben stuck to the course subject, and didn’t go off on tangents trying to explain, for example, the details of making selctions, etc. After watching this course, I’m excited to go off and try to apply the concepts to my own pictures. Well done, Ben!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  24. Profile photo of virginianyc virginianyc

    Very good. Clear. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  25. Profile photo of kathbow kathbow

    Thank you. I have always found Curves daunting……now I understand! Great teacher. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  26. Profile photo of kenblumenthal kenblumenthal

    Great course-one of my favorites! Great job of making a potentially difficult topic logical and understandable. Thanks!!!!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  27. Profile photo of Ming-Kong Liu Ming-Kong Liu

    Ben, The best course in Kelby training. You seems to have a through knowledge of “curves”. But having the knowledge and trying to pass that knowledge to others, is another ball game. You have mastery in both and I throughly enjoyed reviewing over and over again. We need more video like these. Thanks a lot. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  28. Profile photo of Dennis Kretzschmar Dennis Kretzschmar

    Brilliant. I was lucky enough to jag a 24hr freebie and got to view various interesting videos. All very enjoyable and informative however Ben’s curve lessons …. well presented. You done good dude! :) —- Yes, please post my feedback

  29. Profile photo of KKvam KKvam

    Since I will be at PSW in a couple weeks, you just got one more attendee for your classes there. Anyone who can make curves that simple and straight forward is worth listening to. Thanks! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  30. Profile photo of Clay Begrin Clay Begrin

    I watched a few different videos that were instructed by Ben Wilmore. I really liked the way Ben explained the different video tutorials. He was very easy to understand and his directions were very simple to understand. The tone of his voice along with his verbal delivery made it enjoybale listening to him explain things. Great instructor (at least for these video tutorials). —- Yes, please post my feedback

  31. Profile photo of suzannamars suzannamars

    This course is a must for all those using Photoshop. It is full of excellent tips and advice, easy-to-follow examples, and a great pace and segment breakdown that allows you to absorb at your own rate. Highly recommended! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  32. Profile photo of Charles306 Charles306

    I thought Ben did an excellent job; he thoroughly explained everything he was doing and repeated the more complex steps multiple times so they are more clear. Excellent Job!! I learned a tremendous amount and will use his techniques many times going forward. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  33. Profile photo of William Parker William Parker

    I’ve always been intimidated by the notion of curves, but after watching this course, multiple times, I can see the precision of curves. Ben’s explanations and the way he patiently repeats different concepts, with different pictures, really helped me. Thanks. I’m looking forward to color curves course after I practice tonal curves for a while (and re-watch this course again). —- Yes, please post my feedback

  34. Profile photo of rcapilli rcapilli

    This is a great tutorial!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  35. Profile photo of docali docali

    Great course:) Now, i am able to deal with curves!
    Get Ben back for more courses. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  36. Profile photo of Julio Barillas Julio Barillas

    One of the best Photoshop courses ever. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  37. Profile photo of greenfrog greenfrog

    I’m a novice at PS , and so am availing myself of the training videos as much as possible. While there are numerous instructors (people who know this material well) there aren’t as many who can explain concepts easily to people who don’t. I think Mr Wilmore is definitely one who can. The guy’s a born teacher. Often , people who are experts at something assume a level of knowledge on the part of the student that he may not have. Mr. Wilmore explains and points out things that many would assume one already knows. I have watched his two courses several times and find him easy to follow , informative, and straight to the point. I am hoping to see more courses by Mr Wilmore in the future. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  38. Profile photo of lightartkrueger lightartkrueger

    It´s one of the best video-trainings . Thank you. I hope we´ll see more of you on kelbytraining! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  39. Profile photo of anco anco

    What a valuable course! I’ve really enjoyed the concise and time-saving teaching. I can recommend this class to every PS user to understand what PS can do to improve any picture. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  40. Profile photo of dawson54 dawson54

    Fantastic! I’d always looked upon Curves as a great way to screw up an image, and had used the relatively simpler Levels control instead. You have de-mystified Curves and given me a whole new perspective on Photoshop. Many thanks! —- No, I’d keep it between us

  41. Profile photo of nrg2go nrg2go

    Ben explained curves in a very easy to understand format and with greater success than any other lesson on curves I’ve taken. Thanks Ben. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  42. Profile photo of Doublewoods Doublewoods


    This and the other Mastering Curve lectures are the most helpful and practical ones among the all the lectures in Certainly, I have to watch many times and practice on my own photos for me to get good control of these skills. Thanks!

    Yuan Lin —- Yes, please post my feedback

  43. Profile photo of robbiexp01 robbiexp01

    Excellent course and instruction given by Ben Gilmore. Obviously knows his subject and is very experienced.

    I was very excited when I noticed that images were available to use along with the course but then was absolutely deflacted when I downloaded the zip file and found there were no images inside the zip file. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  44. Profile photo of Mark Glick Mark Glick

    This course was excellent. Not only did I learn a lot, but he was a fantastic teacher. He did an incredible job making the concepts simple and easy to understand —- Yes, please post my feedback

  45. Profile photo of 1090297 1090297

    Simply brilliant!!
    Very explanatory and lots of different style pictures were used to illustrate all kind of points.
    It took the guesswork and fear away from using curves.
    I think I will start using curves all the time from now on.
    Thanks Ben, you kept my interest throughout the course.
    Dimitri —- Yes, please post my feedback

  46. Profile photo of nikkor nikkor

    Ben is a fantastic teacher! Excellent course! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  47. Profile photo of Winter Winter

    Thank you for this course. Ben did an amazing job presenting it. I now understand curves; I mean I really understand them now. I have played around with curves for about a year, but never quite got the results I wanted in my images and certainly did not understand why. Now, after I watched and tried the lessons and tips he presented, it works and it finally makes sense to me. I watched all the lessons and gained great information from each one. Each video built upon the previous one which resulted in understanding the complex examples towards the end. They were my favorite along with the additional tips video. I think the analogy of curves being like a dimmer switch was brilliant. Because of that and the way the videos were presented it all makes sense to me now. Thank you so much.
    I can’t wait to get into the color adjustment lessons with curves.
    —- Yes, please post my feedback

  48. Profile photo of darrenrichards darrenrichards

    I really enjoyed both of Ben’s courses on curves, really useful info and excellently presented. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  49. Profile photo of rhondamills rhondamills

    This course, along with its sister course on color correction, provides some of the most meaningful content available on the subject of Photoshop image processing. If you’re looking to render more beautiful, powerful images, listen to everything Bill Willmore has to say. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  50. Profile photo of ekernm ekernm

    I finally understand curves! Awesome course and taught at just the right pace. I look forward to the next session above curves and color. Thanks Ben! —- No, I’d keep it between us

  51. Profile photo of Barbara Horler Barbara Horler

    Fantastic course! Ben is a great instructor – can’t wait to take more of his workshops. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  52. Profile photo of burgerfeet burgerfeet

    Very well explained!!! Have learned so much, quickly and easily through these videos. Thanks very much…..Andrew, Bridgend, South Wales, UK —- Yes, please post my feedback

  53. Profile photo of dianne583 dianne583

    Fantastic, I will use the things I learned every time I edit an image. Thanks Ben —- Yes, please post my feedback

  54. Profile photo of billbuckleyphoto billbuckleyphoto

    This course was superb. Ben Willmore is articulate and explains things exceedingly well without throwing in a lot of superfluous information. Learned a huge amount, specifically how little potential of curves I was using…despite using it all the time. Please have more tutorial by him. How about an in-depth one on masking?
    Thanks for the excellent course. —- Yes, please post my feedback —- Yes, please post my feedback

  55. Profile photo of Laurie Schmidt Laurie Schmidt

    Thank you, I’m finally understanding curves. The instructors does a wonderful job of simplifying the concept, yet shows the power of the tool. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  56. Profile photo of 830834 830834

    Ben’s class was one of the best I have take here. He explains things in a way that makes it easy to understand and even though I just finished it a few days ago, I have used his quick techniques several times. His other course on color correction fits right in with the techniques here also. More classes from Ben please! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  57. Profile photo of Natalie Baig Natalie Baig

    Excellent teacher, makes everything very clear, and shows logical steps. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  58. Profile photo of Benoit Jansen-Reynaud Benoit Jansen-Reynaud

    Ben is absolutely fantastic…. Great instructor….. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  59. Profile photo of Steve Hinds Steve Hinds

    Ben is far and away the best instructor I have viewed a course from on Kelby Training. He keeps it simple and is very clear in expalining a concept. His voice level is consistent and he has a voice tone that makes him easy to understand. Something that is very important to me because I am hearing impaired. Another thing I like about Ben is he talks to you, not down to you, hey he simply has every quality any instructor at any level should have.

  60. Profile photo of Dan Topham Dan Topham

    What a great course. This is the best course I have seen on the subject of curves. Ben gives a very in depth and concise view of the curves adjustments. He also sticks closely to the subject at hand. This is a great learning tool.. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  61. Profile photo of Warren_Light Warren_Light

    Your clear and comprehensive explanations are deeply appreciated. Thanks, excellent job Ben! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  62. Profile photo of kchiodi kchiodi

    Another wonderful course from Kelby training.
    Ben’s clarity, thoroughness and consistency in his explanations is perfectly helpful and illuminating.
    Thank you so much. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  63. Profile photo of jonmcguffin jonmcguffin

    Wow, Ben Wilmore has done a really fantastic job of presenting the curves adjustment to the user in a very simple and easy to understand way. I now feel 100x more comfortable with this tool based on this course. Thank you Ben and if anybody out there is considering taking this course, I think it’s a must for any serious Photoshop/Lightroom user. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  64. Profile photo of Shakir Cassimode Shakir Cassimode

    Wow! Ben is a great instructor. Very clear with great explanation of what he is doing making it easy to understand. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  65. Profile photo of

    I have been using Photoshop and curves for years. This course has brought me to a new level in using Photoshop and accelerated my post production with much better results. Everyone who uses Photoshop should check this out. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  66. Profile photo of suniludupa suniludupa

    FANTASTIC! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  67. Profile photo of Ann Morris Ann Morris

    After many different courses and years of playing with Curves, I’m very pleased to finally have found a training session that really explains it in a way that is meaningful and easy to understand. Thank you. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  68. Profile photo of Carol Clay Carol Clay

    I watched Ben’s course on color correction and loved it – this course is just as excellent. Ben makes it so easy to understand. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  69. Profile photo of Allun Hamblett Allun Hamblett

    Excellent course and instructor. Learned a lot about curves that allows me to apply the adjustments with some degree of confidence. Looking forward to moving onto Ben’s next lesson regarding color. BTW, Ben mentioned that you could follow along with his sample pictures. They do not seem to be posted …. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  70. Profile photo of Doug Dillon Doug Dillon

    I really enjoyed Ben’s course on curves!!!! I enjoy using curves and Ben made it so clear on how effective it is to use. His teaching technique is really good and I learned a number of points I didn’t realize and better ways to use curves. Thanks to Ben and Kelby Training!!! I look forward to more courses from Ben!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  71. Profile photo of chuckriley chuckriley

    Even though I don’t use Photoshop yet, I thought this course was one of the best I’ve seen so far. Tone curves are no longer a big mystery. Well done. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  72. Profile photo of Russ Elkins Russ Elkins

    One of the most valuable courses I’ve taken here.
    Ben is an excellent teacher. He sticks to the subject.

    Russ Elkins —- Yes, please post my feedback

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