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Forums > Photography Talk > Do you use Photoshop CURVES, levels, or both? Why? Search   Reply
first12
Photographer
L A U B E N H E I M E R
Posts: 8,559
Seattle, Washington, US


Kaouthia wrote:

Yeah, that's just "non destructive editing", not "high end retouching".

Non destructive editing can still be done badly. smile

yup.  that was the answer i was hinting at.

Nov 13 12 06:25 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ArtisticGlamour
Posts: 3,846
Phoenix, Arizona, US


Don Garrett wrote:
Thanks, but, Unfortunately there is a lot more to the story than this. What I was hoping for is that I stimulated some investigation into the secrets of Photoshop, and how to use the tools there to uncover them. It took me years, and the program Photomatix, to get the control I was looking for.

Will look into that also! smile

http://www.hdrsoft.com/

Nov 13 12 07:08 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
PixelPurfect
Posts: 57
Indianapolis, Indiana, US


I like curves. Doesn't everyone?  smile
Nov 13 12 10:37 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
David J Elliott
Posts: 1
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia


Don Garrett wrote:
One CANNOT change just one value with curves, as the very nature of the tool "pulls" other values along with it. It would be impossible, (I think), to move just one point, without moving several along with it.
-Don

This is true if you have the default "Edit points to modify curve" ( the little sine-wave icon on the left ) selected.

But if you use "Draw points to modify curve" ( the little pencil icon underneath it ) you can alter a single value by clicking anywhere above or below the curve, using the "input" and "output" values displayed under the curve to determine the old and new value precisely.

Nov 13 12 11:10 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Don Garrett
Posts: 4,317
Escondido, California, US


David J Elliott wrote:
This is true if you have the default "Edit points to modify curve" ( the little sine-wave icon on the left ) selected.

But if you use "Draw points to modify curve" ( the little pencil icon underneath it ) you can alter a single value by clicking anywhere above or below the curve, using the "input" and "output" values displayed under the curve to determine the old and new value precisely.

I just haven't found a good reason to do it this way. But, then, my method requires a different approach anyway. The important thing is that one does what they do with purpose, understands what they are doing, and controls the end result.
-Don

Nov 13 12 02:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Toto Photo
Posts: 2,621
Belmont, California, US


Don Garrett wrote:
...The important thing is that one does what they do with purpose, understands what they are doing, and controls the end result.
-Don

Yeah well, regarding understanding all I can say at this point is your explanation about one value was exactly what I needed to hear (notwithstanding David J's point about Edit versus Draw Points to Modify.) So I don't understand Curves adjustments yet, but feel like I'm closer to the path of understanding now than before this thread, thanks. People kept talking about Curves doing this or that and it always sounded like they were referring to discrete points leaving me scratching my head to understand the global changeness of any point I'd try to move to recreate their scenarios. Now I know why.

The second thing I learned, thanks to Kaothia, ashamed to admit but I never even thought to pick another Layer Blending Mode even though I use other modes (with a layer mask and paintbrush) exclusively for things like dodging and burning--completely abandoning those two tools in the toolbar as too clunky. So, I'll have to give Luminance a try with Curves.

So I'm off to tutorial land to see if I can find a basic one on Curves, give this tool another go. I feel like saying, "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more" but I won't.

Nov 13 12 03:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Toto Photo
Posts: 2,621
Belmont, California, US


Here's a six-minute tutorial addressing the OP.

Levels versus Curves
Nov 13 12 03:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JulianRancePhotography
Posts: 279
Charlotte, North Carolina, US


I use Aperture and must say that I am fond of Levels but will use Curves depending on the style of editing I am doing.  Sometimes I will use both.  Levels to set my white and black points, Curves to modify the tonality of the shot or to play up highlights, etc.  Rarely will I go directly to Curves. 

I have tinkered with RGB Curves and didn't like the outcome. 

For me, it comes down to which one quickly gives me a result I like.  One other thing to note is that I do hand meter before shooting and unless I do something crazy with my lighting or mis-read ambient light, I usually don't have much adjusting to do in post; except to play up or down blackpoint/whitepoint.

In Photoshop or equivalent editing software, I usually go to Curves as it does offer more control especially when combined with layer masking.
Nov 14 12 09:18 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
KMP
Posts: 4,760
Houston, Texas, US


I use curves. I feel I can get more precise adjustments. PLUS it seems more intuitive to me.
Nov 14 12 09:44 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DBIphotography Toronto
Posts: 3,203
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Chuckarelei wrote:
I love curves.

+1

I swear by them. I don't mess with them during editing and conversion however, but I leave any use of curves for the actual retouching. (Yep, I'm "one of those" tongue) My lenses are generally pretty contrasty, but aside from some light/moderate use of curves I don't mess with contrast directly much. I like dynamic range, and increasing contrast whether directly/specifically or by heavy manipulation of contrast via curves reduces DR. Just like adding too much light to a scene, ostensibly hmm 

Edit: RE 'levels'; I rarely use them anymore, not to say 'levels' are not as advanced a technique as using 'curves' to accomplish a desired look but rather I simply do not achieve my ideal look as quickly or nearly as easily 98% of the time using Levels alone. Besides, I'm so accustomed to following specific steps in my workflow to maintain a modicum of consistency in my 'look', Levels has basically been replaced by 'Curves' tongue

IMHO alone;

Ðanny
http://www.dbiphotography.com (Blog On Site) 

Disclaimer: I am not an expert, nor do I claim to be. Anyone who questions the weight of my opinion(s) is free to validate my words based upon their review of my work – which may/may not be supportive.

Edit: I do love me some "curves" as well smile  And I ain't talkin' digital manipulation this time tongue

Nov 14 12 12:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ArtisticGlamour
Posts: 3,846
Phoenix, Arizona, US


This thread has been fantastic! I'm sold...because there are a few things that really can't be done any other way!
Nov 14 12 03:13 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DBIphotography Toronto
Posts: 3,203
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


DP
Nov 15 12 04:37 pm  Link  Quote 
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