Curves are hard to use.

Started Apr 25, 2014 | Discussions thread
Tom Axford Veteran Member • Posts: 4,451
Re: Curves are hard to use.

machoman wrote:

I'm trying to use curves to manipulate contrast and find it very difficult to be successful at it. I usually use Levels but find it does destroy quite a bit of data as it cuts the shadows & highlights points. Does anyone regularly use curves to improve contrast - or do you still fall back to levels?

Technically curves has a lot of benefit but it's so hard to get a nice photo out of it.

I used to use Curves quite a lot, but there are a number of drawbacks and I have mainly switched to using the adjustments in Lightroom 5. LR provides 6 sliders for controlling the tone curve (exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites and blacks) and I find these are much easier to use than fiddling with the shape of the curve myself, while giving a lot more control than Levels.

There is another huge advantage to using LR 5 (or another raw processor) in that they preserve the colours in a way that simply doesn't happen if you use Levels or Curves (assuming you are working in RGB colour space, which is usual).

By the way, you can use LR to process jpeg files, but you'll get better results if you shoot in raw and process the raw file.

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