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Scratch Pad Exploration of a single feature or technique, illustrated with user examples

Curve Adjustments

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  #11  
Old 06-27-2004, 09:14 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byRo
Hi Ed-L, welcome to the discussion.

Ok, let´s get into it......
First let me repeat. I do use curves, quite a lot. But to say they´re the only way to go is like shutting your eyes to a lot of good things.

Roland
Absolutely! I totally agree with that. The beauty of Photoshop is that there is usually (always?) more than one way to accomplish something. I wrote a tutorial on very basic curves some time ago. There are still things I don't understand about the power of curves, but if you look at the first image in the tutorial, I think you'll agree that you would have a hard time accomplishing the correction while using levels. To me, this is worth learning the basics of curves.

Ed
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  #12  
Old 06-28-2004, 09:33 AM
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Hi Roland

I thought the on line tutorial was verbatim from the book. It is not. There are errors. You've spotted one, the input value should be 155 not 231. There may be other errors so I would recommend the book to get the correct info because I know it's maddening to work thru something that isn't making sense. Keep in mind too that this example is but a small portion in his chapter on understanding how to correct Highlite and Shadow detail.

Cheers
Dave
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  #13  
Old 06-28-2004, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duv
I thought the on line tutorial was verbatim from the book. It is not. There are errors.
OK, that's a relief. I was starting to think it was 'just me'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed L
.....but if you look at the first image in the tutorial, I think you'll agree that you would have a hard time accomplishing the correction while using levels.
That's a neat job on the first image. That sure isn't a simple Level adjust.
BTW, that image - with a distinct left/right difference - gave me an idea of a simple example of doing something with curves that wouldn't be better done another way.

Take the second image (the boy), tear it in half(!) and put half original and half the adjusted image. Then use curves, fixing in/out on adjacent areas, to adjust the original half to agree with the adjusted half.
Thinking again, it's like doing one of those 'panoramic' collages...
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  #14  
Old 06-28-2004, 12:12 PM
Rob S. Rob S. is offline
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Anybody here ever study B&W photography? Curves are exactly what we learned back then when we were processing film, except our curves had a toe (shadows) and a shoulder (highlights) and weren't depicted as straight lines.
In PS, I've found that curves give you that extra edge in image control that Levels just can't match.
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  #15  
Old 06-30-2004, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_L
The beauty of Photoshop is that there is usually (always?) more than one way to accomplish something.
That's probably the key to the whole thread here:

Using curves you can do, with just one tool, operations equivalent to a whole list of other tools. Here's a (quick attempt at a) list....
  • Brighten
  • Contrast
  • Levels
  • Invert
  • Threshold
  • Posterize (*)
  • Color Balance (*)

(*) Not 100% about this

Here's some pro's and con's of using curves to execute these operations:
Pro
- You can combine number of these tools (or all of them) in just one curve adjustment;
- After applying the basic tool you can tweak it without having to make a new layer;
Con
- Using the original tool you have a user interface optimized for that tool;
- Some tools have 'hidden functions' that won't be available in curves. Example: Levels white/black point adjustment with <alt> or putting in eye-drop markers while in Threshold.

On the other hand, there are some things that can only(?) be done with curves, such as:
- Precise input/output mapping;
- Non-linear and/or discontinuous level adjustments.

My opinion....
- Don't use curves just to mimmick a basic operation;
- Do use curves for detailed fine adjustment;
- Inbetween things.. weigh the pro's and con's.
Comments, very welcome

Roland
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  #16  
Old 06-30-2004, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byRo
My opinion....
- Don't use curves just to mimmick a basic operation;
- Do use curves for detailed fine adjustment;
- Inbetween things.. weigh the pro's and con's.
Very nicely put!
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  #17  
Old 06-15-2005, 04:06 PM
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Marthig Marthig is offline
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Thumbs down My vote to Curves !

Thanks so much T Paul !

And all the other very useful tips and/or advice by Ro, Ed, Duv all Masters from my beginner's point of view. !

I do use curves more often than levels, though -up to now- I did not quite understand the fundamentals of either. I read the article in the first link about curves and the meaning and results to be obtained from all of the options and agree with Duv's description "WOW !!".

Rgds - Martha
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  #18  
Old 06-15-2005, 06:53 PM
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soleah soleah is offline
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I'm more partial to levels than curves. I used the latter only for fine tuning but that's very seldom. Let's just say that I'm too afraid to use it. It's complicated and very delicate.

After reading the discussion here, now I'm convinced. Thanks, guys.

'Guess it's only a matter of practicing it.
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