Curves are hard to use.

Started Apr 25, 2014 | Discussions thread
Johanfoto Veteran Member • Posts: 3,705
Re: Curves are hard to use. blend modes

machoman wrote:

I've gone back and tried Curves again -'s not working for me. Changing the blend mode to luminosity did improve things slightly but it's still yucky. i've tried everything - using the arrows, nudging them slightly (trust me - my S curve is very very mild - anything more and it looks terrible) but still Levels wins hands down on ease of use and also ultimately the quality speaks for Levels.

extra info - i'm editing on the soft proof copy as it gives me the best paper/screen match.

I'm giving up on curve and will use Levels as my main contrast tool.

There are more ways than one to increase the contrast of an image and you have to understand the histogram before you decide what method is best. If your image lacks contrast because there are empty gaps on the left and/or right of the histogram, applying an S-curve is not the way to correct that. In that case you have to use Levels and move the left and/or right slider to the beginning of the histogram (like you probably do right now). Or do the same thing in Curves by moving the end points of the curve to the beginning of the histogram (making the curve steeper but keeping it straight). As said by others, Levels is just a simplyfied version of Curves, so anything you are doing with Levels right now, can be done with Curves as well.

If your image lacks contrast despite having a 'full' histogram however, an S-curve is the best (only) way to solve that, because using Levels would cut off (clip) pixels at both ends. That is when Curves is clearly better than Levels and why you should not give up on trying to understand it.

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