Re: Auto-Levels Question for Dan


My .02 is that it simply serves as a cross-check to see if there might be some aspect of the image that the automation offers up as an opportunity to consider something different.  

When working an image, I can get a bit "hyper-focused" on certain aspects and lose some perspective on other aspects (as there is much to consider), as the relationship or balance of things changes along the way.  The cross-check AFTER I'm done is a "hmmm, did I overlook something" along the way.

As to the point about personal creative input ... I think that retains merit for what it is that you want YOUR image to convey.

To me the concept of equally weighted PAR or averaging things in general ... means that it cannot be the "best" of everything, moreover the "not bad" of anything. 
Kind of an awkward way of saying it, but I think that after seeing the PARs, there are always bits and pieces of non-PAR images that I find to be better than the weighted PAR ... hence the often times having multiple PARs in an attempt to improve the image toward its best.

I think the notion of using blending tools / layers is highly valuable.  But, I think that even in doing so, a straight 20% weighting is a recipe for not the best it can be.  Imo, in order to achieve the best it can be, personal creative input and selective application of the blending tools will prove more capable than the straight 20% weight approach.  Yet, for the purposes of instruction to the tools, the standardized approach of 20% weighting is understood as effective / efficient for teaching the principles / concepts.  Just that taking an average will never reveal the peak.  More like the 80/20 rule vs. the absolute best. 😉

So, the AFTER I'm done, cross-check is an opportunity to "reset" my eyes / brain a bit.  Where I've not done that, I find that the things I missed are revealed when put in context with all other versions.  Since we don't have the benefit of seeing all other versions prior to submission ... the auto offers us a glimpse into alternate comparatives for that potential "ah, missed that" vs. nope, I'm good with where I've landed it.

Just a cross-check, not an expected / mandatory end use, imo.

And a big, giant PLUS ONE to the thanks to Dan for hosting these exercises.  Looking forward to future endeavors with Dan, whatever he may bring to the table.

Kent Southers, CMRP

From: <> on behalf of jorgeparraphotography <jorgeparraphotography@...>
Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 8:31 AM
To: <>
Subject: Re: [colortheory] Auto-Levels Question for Dan
Oop this brings a question to my head: as much as checking, after all adjustments are made, seems to be like a test for the quality of the adjustments, then wouldn't it make more sense to start this Auto adjustment at the RAW stage, right after capture?
Apply the AUTO control in either LightRoom, Photoshop, Capture One, and call this THE starting point?

I found it interesting to have this Auto everything version added as a basic layer to my files. Other modified versions exported from the RAW stage would be stacked and use the mixing as my Base or personal PAR of my work, and make the additional local adjustments in that Base image.

I am finding conceptual problems in my thinking with the inclusion of AUTO anything -after the fact-  if I spent some time working with a file. Doesn't this defeat the purpose of our creative approach??

From the amazing experience of having tried to work on the challenges (Thanks Dan!) and seeing sooo many variations of the final results, with barely one or two challenges having a good deal of similar results, I feel it is obvious that the personal creative input
takes precedence in each individual, regardless of how close or how far your result ends up compared to "right" image ( The PAR versions). So what is the deal with telling the software: "Ok, I am finished, now you do your thing and fix this file"...

I guess I am missing something and would like to understand what is it.

Jorge Parra

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