How many of you use the Target Adjustment Tool (TAT)? It is one of those wonderful little tools that can hide from you. So let’s have some fun and see what kind of mess we can make… the goal is not to create art, but play around and see how the tool works, and maybe something cool will develop. Of course usually the end result is quite ugly, but your learning more by playing outside the lines than playing it safe. So try to see what is the most unusual and wacky tone curve you can make just by using the TAT… it will teach you a lot.
starting picture… just something to play with

Grabbing the TAT

You will find the TAT on the Tone curve and also the HSL, Colorand B&W panels. Just click on the little icon in the top left. Now wherever you click inside the image, if you drag up it will lighten and down will darken according to the color/tone you have clicked on.
click in the middle and drag down. Notice the tone curve changes.

Instead of having to pick a particular color, you can easily just click on a spot on the image and drag. Repeating the process in multiple places can give you subtle changes or in our case wild changes.
clicking and dragging in more spots

Try to make the tone curve as up and down as possible without clicking on the tone curve itself.

my crazy tone curve… can you do better?

The key is to see if you can understand what is happening on the screen with the TAT correlates to what is happening on the Tone Curve and vice versa. I had to drag my cursor around quite a bit on the image to find the spot that would let me tweak the left side of the histogram where I wanted it to, but in doing so it reminded me of what I am looking for when I am working on that side of the histogram. So it is a great knowledge refresher.
While you are at it, since you are making a visual acid trip, why not add another layer of playing and see what kind of mess you can make by Split toning with funky colors… at the end, you will probably have a big mess to reset or just maybe something funky that you would have never made if you hadn’t played around.
Final funky look adding a little Split toning playtime

So often we approach Photoshop and Lightroom like these serious editing programs, and so we need to be reminded to play and have fun and learn to be creative… So see what kind of ridiculousness you can achieve… it will give you a smile and greater confidence in how the program works.

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