Camera Raw Settings


John Arnold <john.arnold@...>
 

Hi,

On page 385 figure 16.4 of PP5E, Dan shows an image that he describes
as a "natural" open in Camera Raw. I believe that by "natural open"
Dan means with all of the "auto" boxes unchecked and with the curve
set to linear.

So I unchecked all auto boxes and saved the unadjusted image. I then
proceeded to set the LAB curves as Dan describes in the book. When I
set the curves in the Lightness channel, I blew the highlights in the
image out. So I went back into Camera Raw and noticed that even
though the Brightness setting was unchecked, the brightness was set
to 50 by default. When I set brightness to zero and then applied
Dan's curves to the Lightness channel, the image looked fine. So I
assume that Dan's image had the brightness set to zero as well.

So, here's my question. When using Camera Raw, should you change the
default for Brightness to zero or leave it at the default value of
50? I always assumed that the Brightness setting was set to default
at 50 because it represented a neutral uncorrected brightness
setting, kind of like leaving the middle levels setting in Photoshop
set to zero. Is that correct or is zero the neutral Brightness
setting?

Thank you for your help?

John Arnold


Mark Segal <mgsegal@...>
 

I'm working exclusively with the new Camera Raw in CS3 Beta because it has vastly expanded capability compared with Camera Raw in CS2, hence what I say here applies to CS3 in particular, but may be generally valid. Brightness can range between -/+150. As you adjust, it shifts mid-tone values in a non-linear manner much like the grey input slider in Levels. The default setting of 50 is Adobe's guess about a setting that would be a liveable starting point for image correction in Camera Raw. It means nothing more than that, and in particular there is no such thing as "neutral" when it comes to Brightness. I generally find it one of the least useful correction tools in Camera Raw and hardly ever use it - especially since Curves became part of the Camera Raw arsenal with CS2, and all the more so with the Parametric and Point Curves options in the new Camera Raw CS3 Beta. I have no idea where Dan started from in the image to which you refer - I'm merely making the point that "default" settings should be treated as starting points and they are only as useful as the images require.

Mark Segal

----- Original Message -----
From: John Arnold
To: colortheory@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Friday, February 02, 2007 12:14 AM
Subject: [colortheory] Camera Raw Settings



So, here's my question. When using Camera Raw, should you change the
default for Brightness to zero or leave it at the default value of
50? ............................is zero the neutral Brightness
setting?

Thank you for your help?

John Arnold

.


Wai-hong Chung <emeci4@...>
 

Hi All,

May I also ask that to get the most original capture, should I do the following Camera Raw settings :-

White balance = As shoot; Exposure = 0; Shadows = 0 ; Brightness = 0; Contrast = 0; Saturation = 0; Cutrve = linear ?

Thank you in advance !

Wai-hong Chung from Hong Kong

----- Original Message ----
From: John Arnold <john.arnold@sbcglobal.net>
To: colortheory@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Friday, February 2, 2007 1:14:53 PM
Subject: [colortheory] Camera Raw Settings

Hi,

On page 385 figure 16.4 of PP5E, Dan shows an image that he describes
as a "natural" open in Camera Raw. I believe that by "natural open"
Dan means with all of the "auto" boxes unchecked and with the curve
set to linear.

So I unchecked all auto boxes and saved the unadjusted image. I then
proceeded to set the LAB curves as Dan describes in the book. When I
set the curves in the Lightness channel, I blew the highlights in the
image out. So I went back into Camera Raw and noticed that even
though the Brightness setting was unchecked, the brightness was set
to 50 by default. When I set brightness to zero and then applied
Dan's curves to the Lightness channel, the image looked fine. So I
assume that Dan's image had the brightness set to zero as well.

So, here's my question. When using Camera Raw, should you change the
default for Brightness to zero or leave it at the default value of
50? I always assumed that the Brightness setting was set to default
at 50 because it represented a neutral uncorrected brightness
setting, kind of like leaving the middle levels setting in Photoshop
set to zero. Is that correct or is zero the neutral Brightness
setting?

Thank you for your help?

John Arnold






____________________________________________________________________________________
Any questions? Get answers on any topic at www.Answers.yahoo.com. Try it now.


Lee Varis
 

On Feb 1, 2007, at 9:14 PM, John Arnold wrote:

When using Camera Raw, should you change the
default for Brightness to zero or leave it at the default value of
50? I always assumed that the Brightness setting was set to default
at 50 because it represented a neutral uncorrected brightness
setting, kind of like leaving the middle levels setting in Photoshop
set to zero. Is that correct or is zero the neutral Brightness
setting?
The +50 brightness setting is a default setting that Adobe came up
with to emulate the cameras own internal processing for rendering
Jpegs. Just about every camera manufacturer lies about the true
sensitivity of their chip. There good reasons for this (Dan alludes
to these reasons in his book) – by lulling users into underexposing
they insure , somewhat, against the possibility of clipping highlight
values. How you interact with any default depends on how you
routinely expose your images. If you are going to be fully correcting
in Photoshop anyway, it makes sense to default to a totally flat, un-
enhanced, raw process setting (every slider set to zero) so that you
are dealing with as much of the raw data from shadows to highlights
as possible. I always test my camera at these settings to find the
ideal ISO for exposure of the chip and thus end up with the best
possible data. The camera meter, however, is almost always set up for
an ISO where there has been some level boosting post capture so you
have to cheat the meter or enter some kind of custom compensation
(bracketing) to get around it. I generally use a hand held spot meter
for serious work and use the camera in manual mode.

regards,

Lee Varis

President, LADIG

Photographer and Digital-Photo-Illustrator

Author of

Skin : The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting,
Photographing, and Retouching Faces and Bodies
Lee Varis
ISBN: 0-470-04733-X
Paperback
432 pages
October 2006

varis@varis.com
http://www.varis.com
888-964-0024


Andrew Rodney <andrew@...>
 

On 2/1/07 10:14 PM, "John Arnold" wrote:

So, here's my question. When using Camera Raw, should you change the
default for Brightness to zero or leave it at the default value of
50? I always assumed that the Brightness setting was set to default
at 50 because it represented a neutral uncorrected brightness
setting, kind of like leaving the middle levels setting in Photoshop
set to zero. Is that correct or is zero the neutral Brightness
setting?
The Brightness setting in ACR (and LR) is not what you¹d think of when you
think of Brightness in terms of Photoshop. This is due to the linear nature
of raw data where half is in contained in the first stop of highlight data
and due to the design. You want to set either end of the tone using the
Exposure and Black sliders (use the option/alt key when sliding). New in ACR
that you will not see in Dan¹s book is Fill light and Recovery. You should
do ALL corrections in ACR from top down, left to right! Set Exposure,
Recovery (for highlights), then Fill light and then Blacks. Brightness is a
minor tweak that produces an S shapped curve OVER the above edits due to the
editing order. The Œdefault¹ is 50 out of the box but you can set it to
anything you want and make a new Camera Raw Default of course (meaning, it¹s
tough to know what a default is other than an initial setting when the
product is first used). Contrast is simple (make the blacks/whites blacker
or whiter).

In most cases, you¹ll never need to do much to Brightness and if you do,
it¹s going to be a tiny tweak. Work with the four main tone sliders. Then
you might want to consider the Parametric curve.

ACR is going to radically change compared to the old version you¹re reading
about. 3.7 is public beta, 4.0 is private and a major change over 3.X!

Andrew Rodney
Author "Color Management for Photographers"
http://www.digitaldog.net/


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


MARK SEGAL <mgsegal@...>
 

Wai-Hong,

Let's start with the approach - what are you trying to do - what the camera saw and what you want it to have seen can be and often are two different things. So Camera Raw is one tool in the arsenal for making the image look like what you want it to look like. If you accept that, it follows there is nothing religious about the original raw capture itself except that you want to have set the exposure to maximize the amount of information without clipping. Then it follows from that there is nothing religious about the default Camera Raw settings - it is all a matter of your approach and what is the most convenient starting point for image correction. For example, in my case I set my defaults as you have them below except Brightness is 50 and Contrast 25 only because they are workable starting points for most images. I then generally leave these alone and use Parametric and Point Curves, Recovery and Shadows (CS3 Beta) for dealing with contrast and luminosity issues. I like
starting the life of the Curve at Linear like you suggest below, simply because I don't want or need Adobe's suggestions about initial image contrast. CS3 Beta has tons of stuff for colour adjustment - the Vibrance slider in the first tab plus multiple options in the H tab being the most interesting.

Mark Segal

----- Original Message ----
From: Wai-hong Chung <emeci4@yahoo.com>
To: colortheory@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Friday, February 2, 2007 9:10:37 AM
Subject: Re: [colortheory] Camera Raw Settings

Hi All,

May I also ask that to get the most original capture, should I do the following Camera Raw settings :-

White balance = As shoot; Exposure = 0; Shadows = 0 ; Brightness = 0; Contrast = 0; Saturation = 0; Cutrve = linear ?

Thank you in advance !

Wai-hong Chung from Hong Kong.


Wai-hong Chung <emeci4@...>
 

Hi Mark Segal,

You wrote :-

Let's start with the approach ...<snipped>... the Vibrance slider in the first tab plus multiple options in the H tab being the most interesting.>>
Thank you for your explanation and information.

Best
Wai-hong Chung from Hong Kong



____________________________________________________________________________________
TV dinner still cooling?
Check out "Tonight's Picks" on Yahoo! TV.
http://tv.yahoo.com/


John Arnold <john.arnold@...>
 

--- In colortheory@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Segal" <mgsegal@...> wrote:

Brightness can range between -/+150. As you adjust, it shifts mid-
tone values in a non-linear manner much like the grey input slider in
Levels. The default setting of 50 is Adobe's guess about a setting
that would be a liveable starting point for image correction in
Camera Raw.

Mark,

Thanks for the reply. Do you or does anyone else know "why" they have
chosen +50 as a liveable starting point? As Dan mentions, they use
+25 as a starting point for Contrast because most images require an
expansion of the range in the midtones. I was wondering if there was
also some kind of rationale for the Brightness setting. My concern is
this. Does leaving brightness set at the default of +50 in essence
apply a curve to the master channel and if so, shouldn't we avoid
that based on Dan's comments in chapter 16?



It means nothing more than that, and in particular there is no such
thing as "neutral" when it comes to Brightness.

I would agree, neutral is a relative term when speaking of
brightness. However, I remember reading in the late Bruce Fraser's
book "Real World Camera Raw" that cameras do a "linear" capture of
data when it comes to brightness, and that it did not correspond well
to human perception. So I am wondering if Adobe's +50 is an attempt
to show that they have applied some kind of gamma correction to the
data. Whereas leaving it at zero would possibly be the equivalent of
a linear capture?

I generally find it one of the least useful correction tools in
Camera Raw and hardly ever use it - especially since Curves became
part of the Camera Raw arsenal with CS2, and all the more so with the
Parametric and Point Curves options in the new Camera Raw CS3 Beta. I
have no idea where Dan started from in the image to which you refer -
I'm merely making the point that "default" settings should be treated
as starting points and they are only as useful as the images require.

I too have no idea where Dan started from. I just noticed that when I
applied the LAB curves as they are presented in the book, that I blew
the highlights out completely. It was only after I set Brightness to
zero that Dan's Lightness channel correction made sense.

Thanks again for you thoughts on the matter.

John Arnold


John Arnold <john.arnold@...>
 

--- In colortheory@yahoogroups.com, Andrew Rodney <andrew@...> wrote:

The Brightness setting in ACR (and LR) is not what you¹d think of
when you
think of Brightness in terms of Photoshop. This is due to the
linear nature
of raw data where half is in contained in the first stop of
highlight data
and due to the design.
Andrew,

Thank you for your explanation. So is setting Brightness to +50
Adobe's way of compensating for the linear nature of raw data? That's
kind of the conclusion I am arriving at. And this is probably a
question for Dan, because he is the one who applied the curves in the
book. But I am wondering why he chose to substantially darken the
image (at least that's the way it looks to me)and move away from the
ACR default, even though the default initially appears to IMHO look
like the better exposure where the overall brightness level of the
image is concerned?

I'm probably overanalyzing the situation. But if there is some kind
of best practice behind the move, I would like to know what it is.

Thanks.

John Arnold


John Arnold <john.arnold@...>
 

--- In colortheory@yahoogroups.com, Lee Varis <varis@...> wrote:
I always test my camera at these settings to find the
ideal ISO for exposure of the chip and thus end up with the best
possible data. The camera meter, however, is almost always set up
for
an ISO where there has been some level boosting post capture so
you
have to cheat the meter or enter some kind of custom compensation
(bracketing) to get around it. I generally use a hand held spot
meter
for serious work and use the camera in manual mode.
So in other words, are you saying that you should test your camera by
shooting some test shots and then determine how much in-camera
bracketing is required to get what appears to be a correctly exposed
image when all ACR settings are set to zero?

John Arnold


Andrew Rodney <andrew@...>
 

On 2/3/07 8:55 AM, "John Arnold" wrote:

Thank you for your explanation. So is setting Brightness to +50
Adobe's way of compensating for the linear nature of raw data? That's
kind of the conclusion I am arriving at. And this is probably a
question for Dan, because he is the one who applied the curves in the
book. But I am wondering why he chose to substantially darken the
image (at least that's the way it looks to me)and move away from the
ACR default, even though the default initially appears to IMHO look
like the better exposure where the overall brightness level of the
image is concerned?
To begin with, there is a difference in the Brightness settings between
older versions of ACR (undoubtedly the copy used in Dan¹s book) and newer
versions (3.7 forward) since there needed to be consistency with ACR and
Lightroom. Also note, in these newer versions, you can edit non-raw files
like JPEG and, very important, the settings used are applied differently to
existing rendered files versus Raw files. An extra negative range is
required to edit JPEG/TIFF files, and DNG files created from JPEG/TIFFs. So
whatever you¹re reading is probably out of date or will be real soon now
(sorry).

Yes the default (what is better known as the Neutral Starting point) is set
to +50 primarily due to the fact that a zero setting produces too dark a
rendering with most raw images. The default state of all converters will be
different of course. The idea is to provide a fairly decent rendering as a
starting point for you to now work on the image. You¹ll notice that in ACR
and LR there¹s a setting called Auto which is not the Neutral Starting point
but rather, much like the rendering in-camera, a guess as to what would
produce a pleasing image. You can use that, or Neutral or set anything you
like as a new ACR default. According to Mark Hamburg, the +50 = one stop and
this neutral staring point is necessary for both a good looking starting
point and to work with the controls above it (primarily Exposure, Blacks
etc).

Additional changes from the book, Brightness and Contrast controls are moved
upstream of the parametric curve in the processing pipeline. You may notice
there are two Histograms provided (main and in curves). The B&C controls are
reflected in the background histogram in the parametric curve, but not the
tone curve graph.

I'm probably overanalyzing the situation. But if there is some kind
of best practice behind the move, I would like to know what it is.
As mentioned earlier and by others working with the product, leave it alone
unless after working with the controls above it, which are placed there in
that order for a reason, they doesn¹t produce a tone curve you desire such
that a subtle S shaped curve is needed. I don¹t know what Dan¹s talking
about here (I don¹t have the book) and the bottom line is, whatever he¹s
talking about is old news since 3.7 is available now with far greater
control, a totally different imaging pipeline and version 4.0 is coming real
soon with even more rendering options. All this applies to Lightroom as
well.

There is simply no correct way to render the images other than following the
controls in the order they are provided. You are working with scene referred
data and using this converter to produce output referred data. There are no
rules in any of this other than make the image appear as you wish (again,
doing so in the order provided or you'll just chase your tail in getting the
preferred rendering).

As Dan mentions, they use
+25 as a starting point for Contrast because most images require an
expansion of the range in the midtones.
Contrast is the last setting you should ever need to touch based on it's
order in the processing pipeline in ACR. Again, top down, left to right
(using the various panes).

Contrast in ACR isn't linear like we have in CS2 but rather another S curve
and affected by Brightness so again, work there first. And unlike Photoshop,
altering these controls doesn't affect color as you'd see in Photoshop
rather just luminance (another advantage of doing all this on Raw data).

So in other words, are you saying that you should test your camera by
shooting some test shots and then determine how much in-camera
bracketing is required to get what appears to be a correctly exposed
image when all ACR settings are set to zero?
Not zero across the boards. Here's what has worked well for me. I take a
precise external light meter (a Minolta Flashmeter III) under controlled
lighting and setup a Macbeth Color Checker. I know the meter is accurate
(within 1/10 of a stop) and get a incident reading at ISO 100. I then set
the camera to shoot a bracket at the minimal amount shooting 2 stops over, 1
stop under the recommended F-stop. I bring all images into ACR and set Auto
off (the old Neutral Setting again). Now I examine the white patch and look
for an exposure in the group that is as close to clipping without doing so.
In the case of my Canon 5D, I found that actually shooting at ISO 100
provided the correct values above but if it's off, I simply set exposure
compensation on the camera to produce that exposure. You want to expose for
the highlights in digital due to the linear capture. Ideally you want to
exposure to the right, that is, as close to clipping a highlight that isn't
specular without clipping as possible. Note that the Macbeth white isn't as
white nor specularly neutral as I'd like so I'm also using a white tile that
is ( http://www.babelcolor.com/main_level/White_Target.htm). With this pup,
if I can get 245/254/254, I'm in really good shape.

Now the issue is correlating the meter in the camera with the scene since
such meters are kind of dumb, thinking everything they 'see' is 18% gray.
Using a spot meter mode in the 5D and understanding this allows me to handle
exposure pretty well. So for example, if you know have your camera meter ISO
nailed using the above technique, if you point the meter at say a white dog
on snow, the meter will under expose the scene by about 2 stops, you simply
compensate. The key is nailing the ISO in the camera meter, then
understanding what it's looking at as 18% gray and if necessary,
compensating for this. Of course you could carry around an external incident
meter and just use that as your exposure guide. But at least you know the
chip sensitively and correct ISO to expose for the highlights.


Andrew Rodney
Author "Color Management for Photographers"
http://www.digitaldog.net/


Dan Margulis
 

John Arnold writes,

And this is probably a question for Dan, because he is the one who applied
the curves in the book. But I am wondering why he chose to substantially
darken the

image (at least that's the way it looks to me)...>>

No, I didn't darken it. Camera Raw wanted to substantially *lighten* it, and
I did not give it permission to do so.

...and move away from the ACR default, even though the default initially
appears to IMHO look like the better exposure where the overall brightness level
of the image is concerned?>>

An inexperienced person attempting to correct an file often creates problems
for the next person who has to handle it. This is why a professional
retoucher will always ask for the *original* file to work from, rather than something
that somebody else has attempted to improve. The "corrected" version probably
looks better than the original does--but the person who did it likely
engineered in some problem that makes the file more difficult to improve than if we
started from scratch.

The same thing can happen when acquiring a digital image, whether from a
camera, Camera Raw, or any other acquisition module. Artificial intelligence often
attempts to "improve" the image before we see it, by forcing a white and/or
black point and by increasing midtone contrast at the expense of highlights and
shadows.

These features wouldn't be in there if they didn't work most of the time, but
in a lot of images they actually make matters worse, such as when highlight
and/or shadow detail is critical, or where there are bright colors that have to
retain shape. In those cases, they may make subsequent correction more
difficult (as in the image you're talking about) or even, IMHO, impossible (as in
the flower image in the same chapter).

The utility of raw capture modules is that they can bypass these
"corrections" when necessary. To take advantage of them doesn't require a recipe--I use a
zero setting as a matter of convenience. It just means choosing very
conservative numbers to ensure that the image isn't damaged when you open it.

If we're fortunate enough to have a neutrally correct (or nearly so) capture,
then opening the endpoints in Camera Raw won't hurt anything. But if there
*is* a cast, then opening the endpoints makes life unnecessarily difficult. If
we do, in addition to making the endpoints lighter and darker, Camera Raw
forces them to be more neutral, a bad idea.

Yes, if you compare the two images as if they were final products, the one
with the full range looks better. But that's not the object of the game. The
question is not which one looks better *now*, but which one looks better after
we've corrected it. The choices are starting with a relatively flat image that
has a uniform cast at all levels of darkness versus a relatively contrasty one
whose highlights and shadows are neutrally correct but is wrong everywhere
else. The first takes seconds to fix and no great skill. The second looks better
now but is rather difficult to improve further.

Dan Margulis


alpom111
 

--- In colortheory@yahoogroups.com, "John Arnold" <john.arnold@...> wrote:

--- In colortheory@yahoogroups.com, Andrew Rodney <andrew@> wrote:

The Brightness setting in ACR (and LR) is not what you¹d think of
when you
think of Brightness in terms of Photoshop. This is due to the
linear nature
of raw data where half is in contained in the first stop of
highlight data
and due to the design.
Andrew,

Thank you for your explanation. So is setting Brightness to +50
Adobe's way of compensating for the linear nature of raw data? That's
kind of the conclusion I am arriving at. And this is probably a
question for Dan, because he is the one who applied the curves in the
book. But I am wondering why he chose to substantially darken the
image (at least that's the way it looks to me)and move away from the
ACR default, even though the default initially appears to IMHO look
like the better exposure where the overall brightness level of the
image is concerned?

I'm probably overanalyzing the situation. But if there is some kind
of best practice behind the move, I would like to know what it is.

Thanks.

John Arnold
What Dan said is he ZEROED everything in ACR and then open the image in PS.

Alcides Pomina



MARK SEGAL <mgsegal@...>
 

Andrew,

Like all recipes that may have some general validity, this one should not be followed slavishly. For example, beyond the White Balance, the Exposure slider would generally not be my preferred starting point. I find most images have problems that need to be more specifically targeted than possible with the Exposure slider. I find myself dealing with highlight and shadow values using Recovery, Fill and Black before tinkering with Exposure. And if there are "Exposure" problems, I find I can generally solve these better in terms of overall tonality by going straight to the "T" tab and working on either the Point or Parametric Curve, depending on the nature of the correction to be made. I agree with you that the main objective is to make the image appear as desired, but I haven't found myself chasing my tail by disobeying the "order provided".

Mark Segal

----- Original Message ----
From: Andrew Rodney <andrew@digitaldog.net>
To: colortheory@yahoogroups.com; John Arnold <john.arnold@sbcglobal.net>
Sent: Saturday, February 3, 2007 12:51:52 PM
Subject: [colortheory] Re: Camera Raw Settings

There is simply no correct way to render the images other than following the
controls in the order they are provided. You are working with scene referred
data and using this converter to produce output referred data. There are no
rules in any of this other than make the image appear as you wish (again,
doing so in the order provided or you'll just chase your tail in getting the
preferred rendering)..


John Arnold <john.arnold@...>
 

--- In colortheory@yahoogroups.com, Andrew Rodney <andrew@...> wrote:

>
Yes the default (what is better known as the Neutral Starting
point) is set
to +50 primarily due to the fact that a zero setting produces too
dark a
rendering with most raw images. The default state of all converters
will be
different of course. The idea is to provide a fairly decent
rendering as a
starting point for you to now work on the image. You¹ll notice that
in ACR
and LR there¹s a setting called Auto which is not the Neutral
Starting point
but rather, much like the rendering in-camera, a guess as to what
would
produce a pleasing image. You can use that, or Neutral or set
anything you
like as a new ACR default. According to Mark Hamburg, the +50 = one
stop and
this neutral staring point is necessary for both a good looking
starting
point and to work with the controls above it (primarily Exposure,
Blacks
etc).
This makes sense to me now that you mention it. In other words, if
you reset endpoints etc., some sort of brightness move will have to
be made.


Contrast in ACR isn't linear like we have in CS2 but rather another
S curve
and affected by Brightness so again, work there first. And unlike
Photoshop,
altering these controls doesn't affect color as you'd see in
Photoshop
rather just luminance (another advantage of doing all this on Raw
data).

I didn't know that the Brightness slider doesn't affect color. That
makes it a lot more of a desirable control.


Thanks very much for the great explanation. It shed a lot of light on
the matter.

John Arnold


Rich Wagner <Rich@...>
 

On Sat, February 3, 2007 3:43 pm, MARK SEGAL wrote:
Andrew,


Like all recipes that may have some general validity, this one should not
be followed slavishly. For example, beyond the White Balance, the
Exposure slider would generally not be my preferred starting point.
I haven't spent much time yet with the new ACR, but I tend to work "top to
bottom" as well. I fix the color temperature and exposure, then work my
way down. Slavish? Nope - just weems to work well. If I don't fix
exposure errors first, I seem to end up in a loop.

I
find most images have problems that need to be more specifically targeted
than possible with the Exposure slider. I find myself dealing with
highlight and shadow values using Recovery, Fill and Black before
tinkering with Exposure. And if there are "Exposure" problems, I find I
can generally solve these better in terms of overall tonality by going
straight to the "T" tab and working on either the Point or Parametric
Curve, depending on the nature of the correction to be made. I agree with
you that the main objective is to make the image appear as desired, but I
haven't found myself chasing my tail by disobeying the "order provided".
I'll be spending a lot of time with CS3 and Lightroom the next two weeks
-I'll see if my habits change given the new tools. For me, setting the
exposure and shadow is analogous to setting the black and white points on
a scanned image. It would seem strange to not adjust these first.

--Rich Wagner


Rich Wagner <Rich@...>
 

On Sat, February 3, 2007 1:27 pm, alpom111 wrote:

What Dan said is he ZEROED everything in ACR and then open the image in
PS.
I still don't understand the rationale for doing this. You have a 16-bit,
wide-gamut internal working space to optimize the image in before
converting it to an output space (of your choice). Any corrections
possible should be made in that space (with the desired output space
selected when making corrections) - that's what it was designed for. PS
should be used for corrections that are not possible in ACR.

--Rich Wagner


Stephen Marsh <samarsh@...>
 

Rich Wagner wrote:

On Sat, February 3, 2007 1:27 pm, alpom111 wrote:

What Dan said is he ZEROED everything in ACR and then open the
image in
PS.
I still don't understand the rationale for doing this. You have a
16-bit,
wide-gamut internal working space to optimize the image in before
converting it to an output space (of your choice). Any corrections
possible should be made in that space (with the desired output space
selected when making corrections) - that's what it was designed for. PS
should be used for corrections that are not possible in ACR.
Rich, it no doubt depends on the image, and the user. Different
courses for different horses. The end image is what matters to Dan,
not so much how one gets there (my perception is that Dan thinks the
market hype on camera raw is overstated). A less skilled user of
Photoshop than Dan, may get better results doing most of the work in
the camera raw converter, than in Photoshop (even more so with later
raw converter software versions). Dan may get better results with a
"flat" zeroed image, despite the theory saying that his non linear
gamma encoded 8 bpc small gamut RGB edits and lossy LAB/CMYK conversions will lead to an inferior result. Dan can make a silk
purse out of a sow's ear - a zeroed raw conversion may be nowhere
close to a pig.

Back in scanning, there were two main camps - those that did as much
work as possible when setting up the prescan, or those that scanned
flat with headroom and edited in Photoshop using a custom scanner
profile as input to an editing space. Scanners even introduced a
'digital negative' or archive that one could use the scanner software
on, even after the original flat raw scan.

It may not be fair to compare a high bit wide gamut scanner RGB
editing workflow with linear high bit digital camera raw images, but
some do use a similar general approach.

Obviously Dan would take advantage of the RAW converter where
necessary and where it offers benefits such as highlight recovery,
there is nothing stopping one from combining various flat or tweaked
raw conversions into a composite in Photoshop (just as is common for
bracketed exposures).

As mentioned in recent posts, automated corrections can make later
edits harder. Although raw conversion edits may be human performed
and not as bad as automated ones, in some images and edits Dan may
get better results with a flat image. Your mileage may vary!

P.S. An 'output space of your choice', as long as it is one of four hard wired profile choices in ACR and not any installed profile as in Photoshop proper (better than the model T option I guess).


Sincerely,

Stephen Marsh.


Andrew Rodney <andrew@...>
 

On 2/3/07 10:34 AM, "Chris Brown" wrote:


My question is, if I'm not making major edits in Photoshop, what is
the advantage of converting the colorspace from the camera to a
working space?
The camera doesn¹t produce a color image, there is no color space. Raw is
Grayscale data.

Aside from that, with C1, you can export the data in the so called camera
color space. This is probably based on a profile built from some rendering
in the converter, meaning you¹ve gone from Raw Grayscale to some gamma
encoded RGB color space (which the profile defines). The issue is that not
all input and almost all output color spaces don¹t define a neutral as
R=G=B. All RGB working space do so its very easy to define a neutral.

For example, it appears to me, I get better inkjet prints I get when
I keep the image file in the original camera colorspace and print to
the printer's colorspace. By "better" I mean colors are more vibrant
and there is much better separation of tones within areas of high
color saturation.
No reason you can¹t keep the file in that original color space, especially
if you¹re happier with the output and you find that the space you¹re using
is well behaved (R=G=B is indeed neutral). The raw converters I use don¹t
operate this way with respect to the Œcamera color space¹ but allow export
in one of three (or four) RGB working spaces so I use ProPhoto RGB in these
products (Lightroom and ACR). This is akin to what you¹re doing expect these
converters don¹t use ICC camera profiles but instead use two proprietary
profiles that are used to produce a desired rendering after which, you
export into standard working spaces.

In cases with saturated colors, I will apply correction layers to the
PSD file (which still has the original camera colorspace) in order to
get better CMYK results. How would a working space improve my results?
Shouldn¹t be any issues doing sticking with what you¹re doing assuming:

1. The profile you¹re selecting is a good one and defines the
rendering/processing of raw.
2. The profile is well behaved.
3. The profile isn¹t clipping original colors you captured (note that Raw
files don¹t represent a color gamut but a color mixing function). In the
case of ACR, the internal color space is a modified version of ProPhoto RGB
and in my workflow, provides all the color the converter can muster up for
me. Not sure if that¹s the case with C1.

If the C1 profile follows the above, I don't see what you'd gain by yet
another color space conversion. Keep it in the space out of the converter,
just as you used to handle the scans.

On 2/3/07 3:43 PM, "MARK SEGAL" wrote:

Like all recipes that may have some general validity, this one should not be
followed slavishly. For example, beyond the White Balance, the Exposure slider
would generally not be my preferred starting point. I find most images have
problems that need to be more specifically targeted than possible with the
Exposure slider. I find myself dealing with highlight and shadow values using
Recovery, Fill and Black before tinkering with Exposure.
You are more than welcome to work with the product in a method that isn¹t
recommended by those who built it. The bottom line is, can you render the
image as you wish? But usually its a good idea to handle the big imaging
issues first. Yes, white balance is the recommended first correction and
Exposure is the way to set the white clipping after which, you can use the
recovery to bring back any clipped white values that may have clipped in the
process or exposure assuming one of the three channels has any data. Try
that with an existing rendered image; ain't going to happen!

The highlight recovery, the new Fill Light and all the other controls below
Exposure ARE based on the settings you apply in Exposure. Operating in a
different order can work but you will likely find you¹re taking two steps
forward, one step back due to the processing order of the edits in the two
converters being discussed.

And if there are "Exposure" problems, I find I can generally solve these
better in terms of overall tonality by going straight to the "T" tab and
working on either the Point or Parametric Curve, depending on the nature of
the correction to be made. I agree with you that the main objective is to make
the image appear as desired, but I haven't found myself chasing my tail by
disobeying the "order provided".
You may or may not chase your tail depending on the order you apply the
edits and the degree of the edits. For example, it is generally suggested
that you fix white balance before exposure or a color cast before applying a
saturation adjustment. That¹s usually the case with rendered image
corrections in Photoshop as well as in a raw converter. But If you can
produce a desired rendering by working backwards, so be it. It¹s just a bit
more work to adjust say saturation before setting black and white point or
fixing a color cast. That isn¹t to say you can¹t do this, it¹s usually a lot
more work.

Thomas Knoll built the tools in a specific order but if you find you¹d
prefer to work differently, by all means do so but be aware that corrections
are happening in a fixed order in ACR and Lightroom.

On 2/3/07 5:25 PM, "DMargulis@aol.com" wrote:
If we're fortunate enough to have a neutrally correct (or nearly so) capture,
then opening the endpoints in Camera Raw won't hurt anything. But if there
*is* a cast, then opening the endpoints makes life unnecessarily difficult.
Considering that raw data has no color, its Grayscale data, I don¹t
understand how a cast could be an issue unless you make a cast based on
your rendering decisions. The recommended first correction in ACR and LR is
white balance the correct or 'neutral' setting being whatever you wish it to
be. The white balance at capture has absolutely no bearing on the white
balance of the rendered Grayscale raw data. It¹s a suggestion you can apply
or completely ignore. The ONLY area where the raw data is affected is ISO
and exposure.

The question is not which one looks better *now*, but which one looks better
after we've corrected it.
Corrected it? You're building a color image from data that has no color.
The best, fastest and most flexible approach is to do all the heavy lifting
at the raw conversion process because you¹re dealing with linear encoded
data, the corrections are totally non damaging and applied in high-bit and
you can change your mind about the rendering as many times as you wish (look
at Virtual Copies once you get your hands on the final version of LR or when
using ACR with Smart Objects). That isn't the case with a pre existing
rendered image.

Try this: make two renderings of the same raw, one for shadows, one for
highlight and even play with differing white balance. Drag and drop the
rendered images in Photoshop on top of each other (use shift key) so they
are in pin registration. Double click on top layer and play with blend if
options using feathering. You'll produce a vastly superior tonal range than
one flat raw conversion with excessive Photoshop edits for tone. Here's
where you want to now use Photoshop until ACR/LR has such blending layer
options (it will come in time).

The choices are starting with a relatively flat image that
has a uniform cast at all levels of darkness versus a relatively contrasty
one whose highlights and shadows are neutrally correct but is wrong everywhere
else.
It doesn¹t have to be an either or situation. Setting ACR or LR to produce a
flat appearing image using fast, metadata corrections to then have to Œfix¹
it as a full resolution pixel based image in Photoshop is totally
non-productive for anyone working with raw data, certainly if they have
dozens of similar images. This Œfix a big image¹ one pixel at a time in
Photoshop is very 20th century thinking and it might appeal to a few but not
anyone shooting seriously who has to render lots of images. Do the big work
in ACR or LR, bring a corrected file into Photoshop for the pixel
polishing, a process in which it was designed.

A raw image and the process of rendering isn't anything like correcting a
rendered image! The tools, the data encoding and the workflow are not at all
the same. If you have an ugly transparency, you can attempt to correct the
issues at the scan stage but there's only so much one can do. A raw image
initially has no color, its scene referred and your job is to produce an
output referred image which isn't the same as 'correcting' an image since
the rendering options are vastly more variable and powerful.

Producing a flat image in ACR to then tone map it in Photoshop is like
setting a scanner in a default mode and doing corrections after the scan
instead of tweaking the controls to produce a corrected scan. I don't
understand why anyone would do this.

This is a lot like the differences in handling a color neg versus a color
transparency. The rendering on the color transparency is baked into the
chrome, you only have so much leeway in what you can fix. Not the case with
a color neg, you have an infinite number of possible filter packs to handle
the color rendering. A raw file has vastly more tone and color possibilities
than any color neg.


Andrew Rodney
Author "Color Management for Photographers"
http://www.digitaldog.net/


Mark Segal <mgsegal@...>
 

Rich,

As with everything in Photoshop we each use what seems to work best for ourselves, but when a response like this comes back I have a bad habit :-) of saying "now wait a minute, what am I missing here?". As it happens, I'm now processing a large photoshoot I did in Barcelona last October. So I have these 340 raw images tabulated in Bridge and I ran through them all to find one that is truly and unambiguously under-exposed - i.e. not just highlight and shadow problems but really throughout the range under-exposed - because I said to myself if there were a sure-fire reason to use the Exposure correction first, it would be to address true overall under-exposure. Interestingly, I could only find ONE of 340 images that fit this definition (which indicates I don't under-exposure very much, which is perhaps one of the reasons I seldom need this tool). The under-exposure was on the roof of La Pedrera (Gaudi's Casa Mila) - easy to happen there because the overall brightness is so high that unless one is really careful the camera can be fooled. The image has traces of blue sky, billowing clouds ranging from near-white to below mid-grey, and those beige-ish Gaudi chimneys and vents resembling abstract sculptures (which should occupy a range around the mid-tones). The general objective is to shift the histogram to the right, the binding constraint being without blowing-out highlights. There are at least two ways: Exposure Slider and Curves (Point and/or Parametric). So I tried each starting from "default" settings of Brightness 50, Contrast 25 and Linear Curve. The Exposure slider certainly worked, but by the time the brightest points of the clouds were about to blow-out, the mid-tones were wishy-washy such that tonal modulation of the sculptures was unsatisfactory. So I went back to square-one, opened the "T" tab, went to the Point Curve, grabbed the upper right handle and simply shifted it leftward, steepening the curve until just before the highlights in the clouds were ready to blow. Far better result - nice mid-tones with far better modulation of the sculptures and gorgeous clouds. (Of course this is happening because the curve affects brightness AND contrast simultaneously due to the slope - with less impact on the mid-tones than results from a direct attack with Exposure.) To improve it a bit more I went to the Parametric Curve, slid the break-point between Lights and Darks further to the left of Default (to better target the Darks) and shifted the Dark parameter positive 9. This just breathed a little more life into the three-quarter tones. A happier image.

I described this in a bit of detail, because it is typical of the kind of outcomes I have discovered with this workflow. Just after Christmas I was processing a wedding shoot (a favour for a relative) where photo-flash produced all kinds of exposure issues that were challenging to deal with, and here too I found the Exposure slider on the whole less useful than going straight for the "T" tab.

I've taken an interest in Camera RAW CS3 workflow, so I'm now starting an archive of screen-captures showing "what happens when". If you would like to see the three screen captures of the La Pedrera shot in ACR (original, Exposure Correction, Curves correction), just send me your email address.

Mark Segal

----- Original Message -----
From: Rich Wagner
To: colortheory@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Sunday, February 04, 2007 5:21 AM
Subject: Re: [colortheory] Re: Camera Raw Settings


I haven't spent much time yet with the new ACR, but I tend to work "top to
bottom" as well. I fix the color temperature and exposure, then work my
way down. Slavish? Nope - just weems to work well. If I don't fix
exposure errors first, I seem to end up in a loop.
.