Curves are hard to use.

Started Apr 25, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Johanfoto Veteran Member • Posts: 3,409
Re: Curves are hard to use.

realgeek wrote:

ImageAmateur wrote:

realgeek wrote:

Don't use them. You can do the same thing in other ways.

Check this out:

Kelby has gotten more and more strident on the issue since 2009. Curves are the old way of doing things. It's great for people who already know how to use it, but people who are learning photo editing now needn't bother to learn how to use it. It's kept primarily for legacy reasons.

Even if he goes a bit too far, it's still true that you don't have to learn how to use curves any more. You certainly can get by without it.

The article above reads to me, that one need not use curves FOR COLOR ADJUSTMENTS as much as before, but he still uses them for tonal and contrast adjustments and indeed, does not say that they should not be used at all.

The curves tool is used much for general contrast and tonality, not just color as he is referring to in the article.

Actually, to me, at the editing stage, color should already be almost where one wants it anyway, from the initial RAW conversion and color profile.

Yes, you are right. The page I link to only speaks of color adjustments.

But, as I added, he has gotten more strident on the issue since 2009. I can't find it in writing, but I've heard him on his show, The Grid. (See Episode 52, starting at 36:30 -- or at 20:00, if you have the time.) He's quite negative on curves. It's like the darkroom -- it's obsolete. Until recently, he used curves to add some contrast. But with Adobe Camera Raw Process 2012 (Photoshop CS6 or Lightroom 4), the contrast slider has been improved, and he now uses the contrast slider instead of curves.

Knowing your tools is always where it starts. It's true that there are newer tools that can be used where curves was used in the past. Color correction is a good example. I also hardly ever use curves for that. The contrast slider in ACR or Lightroom may be improved, but it still lacks the control you do have in curves, so while it may often be enough to use that slider, it still doesn't make curves absolete. The most important point in this discussion however is not only knowing when to use curves, but first and foremost how to use it.

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