if you want to manipulate the light and color information in an image using Photoshop, two of the most common tools for the task are Curves and Levels. But how do these two adjustments actually differ? And when might you choose to use one instead of the other? That’s exactly what Aaron Nace explains in this helpful video.

In some important ways, Curves and Levels look and act very similar to one another. In fact, every single parameter that you can edit in Levels is also accessible through Curves. Black point, white point, mid point, and output levels can all be manipulated using either adjustment, allowing you to pick whichever one you find more intuitive as your preferred photo editing tool.

The difference comes down to the level of control at your disposal: for some tasks Levels is enough, but if you want to take more granular control of the tones in your image, that’s when you should be using Curves.

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