Curves are somewhat of a panacea when it comes to Photoshop adjustment layers. With curves you can do pretty much anything you can do with the other adjustment layers: contrast, color correction, apply looks… One could argue that you can virtually eliminate all other Photoshop features, as long as keep curves and masks.
Of course, you would need to understand curves and one way to understand them is to try and read a curve chart and understand its implications on an image. Of course, this is fairly easy when you are only adding a bit of contrast or luminescence, but once you start using it for color, it is a whole different ballgame. But its worth it: the better you are in reverse engineering Curves, the more you know what you can (and want) to get out of them. Plus you would instantly know how ot apply a certain look (or how a look was applied)
This is why we made a few examples, and put together a small, fun, but definitely not simple quiz. If you end with a 100% score, you will be rewarded with standing ovations and bragging rights. And trust me, if you end up with a high score you WANT to brag, chances are non of your friends will make a perfect score… (we tried to make it not so hard to where you would need a calibrated monitor, if you get curves, you should be able to do it)
If you have absolutely no clue what those curves thingies are, then stop here and let us know in the comments, we will make a curves 101 tutorial for you, and a super-deep tutorial. Hit the jump if you think you have what it takes.
Done? if you scored anything less than 100% you should read our curves adjustment layers tutorial, if you want to dive deeper, this is probably the best color resource on the web. Go over them both and take the quiz again.