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DMarley
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It's time to fix the Curves adjustment layer

Jan 5, 2013 4:48 PM

Many Photoshop users consider the Curves panel to be Photoshop's most important feature. For many Curves users, the Layer panel introduced in CS4 does not offer the speed, the instinctive use, nor the superior results of the older Curves Layer panel. The Curves dialog includes all the features that long-time users rely on. Some of these features have not been included in the Adjustment Layer version. They should all be available in the Layers panel, too.

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 5, 2013 6:51 PM   in reply to DMarley

    One can not expect any changes in older programs.  Current programs only receive bug fixes.  So if this feature is not in CS6 then you should make a feature request for CS7.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 6, 2013 5:12 AM   in reply to DMarley

    For many Curves users, the Layer panel introduced in CS4 does not offer the speed, the instinctive use, nor the superior results of the older Curves Layer panel.

    What are you talking about?

    The non-modal Adjustments Panel as compared to the older modal Dialog?

    If so please list the features that you think are missing and consider that the modal Dialog is still available via Actions/Scripting.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 6, 2013 10:12 AM   in reply to c.pfaffenbichler

    I've been wondering the same thing. I have CS3 on another computer and looked at layers>Curves there. I don't see much of any advantage except perhaps for the size of the box, which I can adjust anyway.

     

    I specifically want the OP to explain superior results in CS3 over CS6. The micro tweak click and drag elevates Curves performance to a new level.

     

    I cannot discuss Curves in CS6 without referencing Brightness/Contrast. Many of the uses of Curves before the current B/C panel appeared I accomplished with Curves, which was painfully slow and had traps for the unwary. Today, B/C does the heavy lifting in the middle ground of tonal changes.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 6, 2013 2:52 PM   in reply to DMarley

    Thanks.

     

    Playing by numbers may have some adherents, as some do in painting. But I wouldn't want to depend on it for professional work, at least what I do. WYSIWYG is far more important. So, no, I do not consider a couple of tweaks to a curve by any method as finished.

     

    The fact that Curves change shape as one manipulates them comes with the territory. I've had plenty of experience with that, both in photo editing and electronics. Another term for Curves is transfer function, and it behooves the user to understand what is happening when using them. It's not particularly intuitive.

     

    So that there is a qualitative change in how they behave isn't a deal breaker for me unless things like resolution (of the curve change not pixels!) suffers, which in turn is connected to how well one can see and manipulate the curve points. That is where the diminished size of the plot comes into play.

     

    I compared CS3 with CS6, using the click and arrow keys and both behaved identically. I get an S shaped curve as easily in CS3 as CS6. If I click the white or black points and use the arrow keys, again both behave identically.

     

    So I am at a loss to figure out what's happening.

     

    Click and drag is of real value to me because I get to pick the place on the image as the starting point, not have to guess at it from a stab on the curve position.

     

    Maybe I'm just not skilled enough. None of my clients have complaints, either with output or costs. My attitude is "If you don't have the time to do it right, where is the time to do it over?"

     

    Seems to work well.

     

    So my suggestion to Adobe is to provide a legacy choice as can be found in the B/C panel.

     

    Then we all can be

     

    Update: I didn't see your earlier post about the Configurator. I never knew about that, nor a configurator "Badge".

     

    Message was edited by: Hudechrome

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 6, 2013 3:03 PM   in reply to Hudechrome

    I feel that I got more options to adjust the curves panel to my liking over the years.

     

    Wasn't it CS6 that upgraded from "big" "medium" "small" to absolute free choice of the size of the curves panel?

     

    This smooth size adjustment will always get you the best size, depending on the monitor you are working with.

     

    The click in the image to find the exact brightness and create a precise curve point... that I think has changed from Command click to an icon click first, and then a click in the image. That changed after CS3 I guess, and it means an additional step. Maybe we'll get that command click (control click in Windows, possibly), back in a later version.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 6, 2013 3:21 PM   in reply to Pacific 29

    I jumped from CS3 to CS5 so I didn't see a change in that tool highlighted in any of the tutorials found concerning CS5. I much rather work with CS6 Curves than CS3!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 6, 2013 11:02 PM   in reply to DMarley

    This unnecessary change leads to continual confusion for users.

    Quite frankly I have not bothered reading all the lengthy posts since mine.

    And to be honest I do not like the Adjustment Panel myself.

    But as I have pointed out already the modal dialog is still available and this does not need a Panel.

    I have assigned Keyboard Shortcuts to the four Scripts, one each for the creation of my three most used Adjustment Layers and one to edit them.

     
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  • Noel Carboni
    23,488 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 7, 2013 2:02 AM   in reply to DMarley

    Just another opinion to add to the mix:

     

    After the very brief "getting over natural resistance to change" period, I find the current Curves adjustment layer functionality every bit as effective and more so than the prior (modal) dialog rendition.  Having kept current with all versions of Photoshop since CS3, I can certainly say that CS3 seems positively antique and difficult to use by comparison, when I do run it.

     

    I can only conclude that given the a very specific sequence of operations that you described, since there is an essentially equivalent capability you're either unaware of it or are simply unwilling to learn to use it (of course, this is not trivial - it's akin to breaking a habit and forming a new one).

     

    Are you aware that if you select the new "Click and drag in image" sub-function (finger icon), you just click in the image without dragging to set a point on the curve, then use the arrow keys?  Though the interaction required of you is slightly different, this seems to do just what you want.

     

    ClickAndDrag.png

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 7, 2013 12:10 PM   in reply to DMarley

    Adobe has already done a few things to fix the early complaints about the Curves panel. You can assign a keyboard shortcut to the Targeted Adjustment Tool so that you don't have to click the icon with the mouse. In the Keyboard Shortcut editor, choose Tools from the Shortcuts For menu, then scroll down until you find Targeted Adjustment Tool. There is no shortcut right now, because basically all of them are already in use. You get to pick the shortcut to give up in another part of the program. This shortcut can make it faster to add points by clicking the image (for fans of the old Command-click technique).

     

    Once your points are added, you can still move them with the arrow keys as you always could. Also (a lot of people don't know this), you can select the next/previous points along your curve by pressing the + or - keys. So if you just need to fine-tune each point, when any point is selected just press + or - to step over to the point you want to adjust and then start hitting the arrow keys.

     

    If you put these techniques together, it comes very close to the old Command-click and arrow-key techniqes in the old Curves dialog. In the Curves panel you can perform the adjustments described below, using the keyboard to both navigate and adjust the curve points while keeping your eye on the Info panel and the curve shape.

     

    DMarley wrote:

     

    The alternative approach is to command-click or shift-command-click on the light point, leave the cursor at that location, and then manipulate the curve point (or points) with the arrow keys. This lets you evaluate changes with the Info panel values which are more reliable than the display appearance. After following the same steps for a dark point, flat sections of the curve can repaired by adding additional points and dragging to straighten the curve throughout the range of the important image areas. The focus should be the Info panel numbers and the shape of the curve.

     

    Now as far as the size of the graph goes...

    Hudechrome wrote:

     

    So that there is a qualitative change in how they behave isn't a deal breaker for me unless things like resolution (of the curve change not pixels!) suffers, which in turn is connected to how well one can see and manipulate the curve points. That is where the diminished size of the plot comes into play.

     

    A lot of people have complained about the smaller size of the Curves panel, but it's only a disadvantage if the Curves panel is left at its default size. If you max out the size of the Curves panel, it turns out that the plot areas in the old Curves dialog and the new Curves panel are both 256 x 256px...exactly the same!

     

    Curves-panel-graph-size.jpg

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 7, 2013 12:28 PM   in reply to Conrad Chavez

    I know that about the panel resize. It's a mixed bag because I have all my essential panels arranged on a second screen, leaving all the main screen for the image. In order to fit things well on a 19" screen, each panel is set at it's default plus a bit of size change to allow tiling. Now if I want to increase the size of the curves panel, I have to manually resize up, then back down when I choose to move it back (I'll frequently move some of the panels next to the image). It would be nice if I could set it up so that when it moves back, it automatically reverts to the set size on that screen. Clicking it first increases the size, clicking it again decreases it. So, unless I really, really need the resolution, I leave it alone. It's the image that counts anyway, and is what I watch while moving points around.

     
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    Jan 8, 2013 4:34 PM   in reply to DMarley

     
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