Lightroom/Camera Raw: Tone Curve As Local Adjustment

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Just in case we don't get all adjustments local in Lr4, I'd like to toss in the idea of a local tone-curve adjustment.

If you've never applied local tone curves, you'll be in for a real treat. If you have, then you know what I'm talking about.

1st choice - all adjustments locally apply-able.
2nd choice, top additions to locals, prioritized:

1. Luminance Noise Reduction - preferably with independent detail/contrast controls, but independent controls far less important for NR than for sharpening.
2. HSL
3.a. Tone Curve
3.b. Independent sharpen control settings.

Really hard to decide between independent sharpen controls vs. tone curve.

- We already have local sharpening (and de-sharpening/masking, and the sharpen "auto"masking), and together with local NR, would afford a fair amount of flexibility.
- And we already have basic local tone controls.

But being able to apply a curve allows much better local tone control... I mean fill & highlight recovery would be nice locals to have too, but far less needed once a local tone curve is available...

Likewise, temp & tint would be nice locals to have too, but far less needed once HSL is there...

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Rob Cole

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  • looking forward to more local adjustments - fingers crossed for tone curve...

Posted 8 years ago

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Tone curce is my most favored tool in the LR Dev Module. I VERY MUCH second the need to add this cabability for local adjustment - it would make my day!
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Benjamin Root

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I'd like to bump this post into review. Localized Tone Curve would be fantastic! I can't say how many times this would have been useful directly within LR or ACR. Currently, we must go to Photoshop to do this, and many times it's the only task - thus a new PSD or Tiff for one effect.
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Alexandru Grigoras

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Hi Rob,

Unrelated to the subject, I noticed that your website is down and only recently I heard about your plugin NxToo. Can you post any new links to where we can download the plugin. I would really like to give it a try.

Many thanks,
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Félix Poirier

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Local adjustements needs to be extended to curves, and other adjustments of Light....

I really don't understand WHY it is not possible to make some LOCAL curves adjustements, for example, in Lightroom. We only can make some white balance, contrast, saturation... but why not the other adjustements cannot be applied with local tools like brush or radial and more... 
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eartho, Champion

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In this case, my understanding is that the Adobe LR team doesn't want their users to have too much freedom with their photographs. I think the philosophy is that image editing should be controlled and refined to prevent users from making "mistakes" with their color grading.

In a perfect world, we'd have access to all the controls through a layer/masking system, similar to what Capture One and On1 have done with their raw processing. Many of us have asked for this since v1, but i'm betting that it'll never happen.
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Cristen Gillespie

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> In a perfect world, we'd have access to all the controls through a layer/masking system, similar to what Capture One and On1 have done with their raw processing. >

Amazing how many people find layers and masks complicated, and not something they can figure out how to structure to be able to quickly re-edit an hour later, let alone 6 months later.  And yes, On1 seems to have made it possible if the user understands the concept. If they don't, I guess they can ignore it.<G> Been over a year since I looked at Capture One, so I don't remember it.

My thought back in the beginning is Adobe wanted something very quick and very easy for a raw converter because we would of course do all the heavy lifting in PS. Then they decided enough people liked easy (a la Aperture), that they would give them a full app based on a quick and easy raw developer. Time passed (not very much) and we wanted local adjustments, so they gave us some quick and easy local adjustments, and a variety of other tools, all of which seemed to demonstrate we could have the best of both world—easy, no danger of permanently damaging a file, simple to re-edit at any time—but capable of virtually completing an image edit  (or batching 1000) without leaving LR/CR— assuming we started with technically nearly perfect photos.  '-}

As I watched people want to be able to do more and more in LR/CR (including myself<g>), I began to wonder what was going to happen to quick and easy with LR, the primary purpose of which I thought was to spare busy photographers the need to learn, let alone use, PS, avoiding all those dangerous options—and  saving PS for heavy lifting by the intrepid. Now we have seen them return to quick and easy and very, very basic with LR CC, with Classic for a more involved workflow, and PS for the heavy lifting— although PS is starting to think it needs to be quick and easy for any user to avoid any possible confusion as to how a feature works or when to use it.

I don't think they've ever really come to terms with the conflict between quick and easy enough for anyone to avoid any confusion about what to do so they can both do what is needed and stay out of trouble, and yet is complete enough for a professional workflow. Kind of like the dog chasing his tail, just going round and round between too complex?, or is it too simple? <BG>

I'm not even sure we aren't such a fractured lot of diverse users that none of their surveys or number crunching can give them a clear vision of what we want.  Me, I'm happy doing the heavy lifting in PS, but I can understand not wanting to have to leave the raw editing environment if you don't absolutely have to.
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eartho, Champion

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Cristen, i just want to have complete creative freedom with my images, rather than Adobe trying to hold my hand while i work. With LR/ACR, the philosophy since the beginning has always been one of controlling the limits so that users won't make "mistakes."
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Cristen Gillespie

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The way they won't let us go "too far" when using the Liquify face options?  "You get this much, no more. . .like anything, too much of a good thing. . . " <BG> 

Most people I talk to seem to want to be able to do what they want, but still not be able to ruin anything. Ruining things is the road to art, I always thought.  '-}

But for professional photographers just trying to get the day's shoot out there, limitations are probably a godsend, and they don't need, at least on that first round, even a fraction of the power that PS has (even if PS insists on making some of that power nearly inaccessible). So LR/CR is a good thing, if Adobe doesn't cave too much to making it so powerful and complicated, it undoes what they set out to do.

That does mean you won't be able in LR/CR to have complete creative freedom. It shouldn't mean in PS that you won't have complete creative freedom.

I'm glad I'm not Adobe management trying to strike the right balance, but I do wish they'd quit deleting features without warning or any good explanation— or changing LR CC into the new and different LR CC<G> It seems many of their current major decisions seem to revolve around trying to offer power without consequences, but there ain't no such thing.
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Ralf Bruechmann

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Lightroom is designed to make FAST changes - if you need more freedom Photoshop is the tool of choice.
If I have 500 new images and tailer them to the 50 good ones, then I need a tool where I need 2-3 Minutes per image and not 10-15 minutes: Lightroom is good for that.

For the 3 images where I need more than LR offers, I can always choose Photoshop to edit them.

If you would add layers, curves in local adjustments, and so on you propably would end up in Photoshop.
In how many of your photos you would need so much individual editing ?

Lightroom is good in making changes that do affect the whole image and with local adjustments (now with controll over the mask using color- or luminosity masks) you can do individual changes quickly, too.

All things that are above that level can be easily done in Photoshop.