Benefit of adjusting Curve with pencil (drawing curve) in Photoshop

You can adjust curve with pencil in Photoshop. Don’t you know? Best of all you don’t need Wacom tablet to do that and Photoshop will do additional job for you, by the way. What additional job? Photoshop adds automatically and perfectly additional points on curve which will limit adjustments only to that portion of curve where you have drawn with pencil. Off course nobody expect to draw perfect curved line so there is and smoother which will perfectly smooth your drawing. Lets see on example what I am talking about.

At this image I want to darken little bit only one specific portion which starts to lose details. Off course I will try with Curves panel. First thing to do is to see where is this portion of image on curve. To place precisely point on curve first select Eyedropper Tool (I) then hold down Ctrl, click with mouse button and watch on curve. Small circle which follows Eyedropper will appear at curve. Release mouse button and black circle (point) on curve will be added.
add_point_on_curve Place precisely point on curve in Adobe Photoshop
Place precisely point on curve in Adobe Photoshop

So now we know where to adjust curve. If you drag point on curve the entire curve will change so you need to add many other points to straighten curve for the rest of the image, because you want to darken only one specific portion not entire image.
Points added on curve in Adobe Photoshop
Points added on curve in Adobe Photoshop

There pencil comes in handy. To skip that job of adding additional points on curve, first select pencil on Curves panel (click on it). Try to draw curved line on portion of curve where you want to make adjustment.
 Select pencil in Curves dialog and start drawing
Select pencil in Curves dialog and start drawing

When finish drawing click on Smooth the curve values icon to smooth drawing. you can click as many times as you want but many clicks will straighten curved line previously drawn.
smoothing_curve
Click on Smooth the curve values

Now click on Edit points to modify curve icon. Curve is as it should be: straight everywhere except portion where need adjustment. Behind scene Photoshop have added points on curve perfectly without you to do nothing.
curve_with_points
Click on Edit points to modify the curve

Now click on any point and further adjust it or reselect pencil and adjust and some other portions of image. That is benefit and my recommendation to use pencil at Curves palette.

Reference:
Photoshop Help / Adjusting image color and tone

Product used in this tutorial: Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended

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