Curves are hard to use.

Started Apr 25, 2014 | Discussions thread
realgeek Senior Member • Posts: 1,395
Re: Curves are hard to use.

Johanfoto wrote:

Well, in that case I do indeed disagree with Kelby. The contrast slider in LR4 is indeed improved, and it's another example of a 20/80 (or maybe even higher) case. In 80% of all images the contrast slider may be all you need, maybe even in 90%. But there are always situations where a simplyfied tool with just one slider cannot give you the same control as a more sophisticated tool like curves. BTW I also disagree that curves is difficult to understand. The concept is actually a very simple tone adjustment with before (X-axis) and after (Y-axis). But maybe you need to read books from other authors than Kelby to understand that. Kelby is a great showman, an even greater salesman, but as an educator he usually goes only skin deep.

That's fine.  You can, of course, disagree with him.  Although he's got an impressive resume, I think he'd agree that there is no final authority on what is right and wrong.  Everyone's entitled to their own opinion.

However, you're oversimplifying the argument.  It's not one (contrast) slider that replaces curves; it's all the sliders put together.  You COULD do everything that the sliders do with just curves -- but good luck with that!  You can do it more quickly with the various sliders.  (The one contrast slider simply replaces the final thing that Kelby still used curves for: to introduce overall contast via an s-curve.)

As for whether curves are difficult to understand, I would point to the title of the thread created by the O.P.  Also, I would say that most people I have tried to teach it to have found it difficult to learn.  Not at the most basic level, perhaps.  But when you actually have to put the theory into action, they find it very difficult.  To be honest, so do I.

If it's easy for you, or you've finally mastered it, great!  But, for someone who's just starting out, I would agree with Kelby's advice to forget about curves and use the sliders.

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