Re: Auto-Levels Question for Dan

Dan Margulis

On Wed, Apr 14, 2021 at 09:31 AM, jorgeparraphotography wrote:
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?

No. Applying Auto Tone or equivalent early cleans up colors (since light channels are proportionally hurt more than midtone-heavy ones). You may not want to do that. In the High Andes shot you definitely don't want to do it; many people were using H-K or similar to keep the colors subdued before finalizing them in LAB.

Applying Auto Tone or equivalent early also adds contrast, but in a blind way by forcing each channel to full range. That may be the wrong approach; it is the wrong approach in High Andes.

Start with the flat version and then apply Auto Tone? That gives you the default version, more or less, so why did you decide to open the flat version in the first place?

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.
A very good practice.
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??
Not at all. It's just like starting with the flat version on the assumption that you can eventually get better color that way, even though the default looks better at first. You should be able to get better color with the flat version, but it pays to keep a copy of the default around, because when you think you're finished, you can apply it in Color mode to your final version. Hopefully 90% of the time you'll cancel it because your color is clearly better. But it isn't a waste of time to do this, any more than it's a waste of time to check Auto Tone afterward.

Neither of these steps have anything to do with creativity, because "creativity" and "wrong" are not synonyms. These tests tell you that something is wrong, and saves the inconvenience of hearing other people tell you that later.

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