Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs

 

Workflow Technique #032

Curvemeister (PC only)


 

review note by Uwe Steinmueller

 
 

Why in the world would someone make a Curves plugin for Photoshop? Photoshop Curves are a powerful tool but the list of missing features may answer the question and Curvemeister implements them all:

  • No Histogram
  • Only one color mode (if image is in RGB) and switching color modes is no fun for a productive workflow (we also use mostly layers)
  • No support to correct colors by using gray/neutral parts of the image
  • Ever wanted to use the curves you used on the the third last image and did not save the curves settings?
  • Curves do not work in PS Elements 2 (here Curvemeister is essential)

Curvemeister Photoshop integration

A curve tool needs to be very well integrated with Photoshop because:

  • we need full sized previews
  • need to have shadow, neutral and highlight markers
  • real time updates of the preview

Curvemeister is one of the best integrated Photoshop plugins we have seen:

  • Adds menus to the PS preview window
  • can use the PS window for marking shadow, neutral and highlight points


Menus and Options added to the PS preview window

Color Modes

Curvemeister support four color modes (without changing the real color mode of the image):

  • RGB
  • wgCMYK (called wide gamut CMYK)
  • LAB
  • HSB - Hue/Saturation/Brightness (only 8 bit right now)

Each of these color modes works best for certain types of corrections. We like most:

HSB


Curvemeister HSB

HSB allows you to correct the brightness without effecting the hue or saturation of a color. The saturation can be subtly tuned using the Saturation window.

While you work in HSB you also can visit all 3 channels (Hue, Saturation and Brightness).


The HSB Brightness Channel

wgCMYK


Black channel of wgCMYK

We use the black channel of wgCMYK to add black definition to color and B&W photos as you can tune only the black level alone.

Curvemeister support multiple different levels of black generation:


Black Levels

We use most of the time "light" or "Medium" black.

Gray Balance

Unfortunately Photoshop Curves do not support to gray balance you image using areas in the images that should be neutral.


Neutral Marker

With Curvemeister you can set multiple neutral markers and the curves get modified so that the neutral areas are neutral. You then can later modify the curves for fine tuning.

More Features

Curvemeister features also:

  • Histograms
  • Different grid settings (e.g. to the Zone System)
  • Save/Restore of curves
  • All previous curves are stored in a history and can be recalled later
  • Wizard which guides you through normal corrections (we did not much use it as it does not fit into our workflow style)
  • Good documentation on the website

Downsides?

The only thing that is more powerful with PS Curves is that they can be used in Adjustment Layers.

Note: There is right now a bug that prevents the Curvemeister to be used in actions. The author works on this.

Where to Order?

You can get a demo version (leaves watermarks) or buy a copy for the bargain price of $34.95 at:

www.curvemeister.com

Highly Recommended

 
 
 

   

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