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Author Topic: Colour Processing That Works As Consistent As Film  (Read 3646 times)
ChrisRiver
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« on: December 09, 2007, 06:10:01 PM »
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I was wondering how people are doing making their own pre-sets so that they apply well to all shots when batch applied?  (Providing pre-set matches the shoot, such as Provia-like for landscape).

Most of my shots are taken 6 hours before and until sundown.  I’ve made Provia and Velvia style presets and they look good, but I find the majority of shots need individual tailoring, particularly the colour, after the pre-set has been applied, before the shot looks presentable.  
How much of this is due to my pre-sets and how much is LR?  If I were using the actual films, then apart from WB, I’d expect to get a bunch of decent prints for all my shots, without the processor having to individually tailor them.

NB: tried the downloads from http://inside-lightroom.com/colour.php and found them very useful as a guide but they suffered with this inconsistency even worse.

Chris
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The View
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2007, 10:11:25 PM »
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Presets are not to achieve standardized results, but standardized processing. If you use presets on the same kind of image, your will get similar results.

I personally do not use presets at all.

It's not much work to adjust an image of a series. This way, I get more in touch with the image than just clicking a tab.

I think developing you own feel how your own images should look like will produce more consistent results. It's your own image style, and it will come just out of yourself.

Software can't do that, as software is only a fixed process.

Instead of relying on the characteristics of a certain film type, you will deal with the characteristics of how your camera processes what you shoot.

You change your camera, you need to adjust.
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seamus finn
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2007, 05:43:30 AM »
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Personally I wouldn't use presets for serious landscape photography. Lighting conditions etc. change minutely or even dramatically from one moment to another - applying presets to a batch of pics taken in, say, an hour, seems to me to be a very bad idea. In a case like that, I go straight into Photoshop and deal with each 'keeper' individually and comprehensively.
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ChrisRiver
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2007, 12:22:40 AM »
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I've got the say, from my experience, the above replies are spot on.  Still, an 'allround' pre-set would be nice as a decent starting point for the sake of efficiency.  Thanks for the replies guys!
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theophilus
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2007, 08:25:10 AM »
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I find the presets are only valuable when I have some other people that want to look at my shots right away before I've had a chance to individually work on each of them.

Just touching the contrast, clarity, brightness, and blacks removes the "flat" look of the raw file enough to be presentable until I can go back and start from scratch.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2007, 01:50:20 PM »
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I find the Develop presets handy as a starting point for effects for some photos, and then I move the sliders from there.  For example, if I'm converting a colour image to B&W, I'll move all of the saturation sliders to 0 and then use the luminance controls and the targeted adjustment tool to tweak the 'colours' from there.  Now I can manually move all of the sliders to the left, or I can do it once and then create a 'Desaturate' preset, which is a lot faster.  Similarly, if I have a particular split-tone combination that I like, I'll use a preset for that.  I have a set of presets for the different LR white balances, and I can scroll through those in the preview window until I find the one closest to the effect I want, and then adjust it manually from there.  I find that things like Sharpening for example must be done to each image, and so there's no point using a preset for that.

YMMV

Mike.
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The View
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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2007, 02:57:03 AM »
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The danger with using presets as a first treatment is, that you give the image a first direction without being really involved in the process.

If you adjust the image, you get a better feel for it. Also, you can leave its interpretation in a more general area at first, and only then go into a more concise statement.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2007, 08:45:12 AM »
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How much of this is due to my pre-sets and how much is LR?  If I were using the actual films, then apart from WB, I’d expect to get a bunch of decent prints for all my shots, without the processor having to individually tailor them.

Neither really. Its due to the nature of Raw data (scene referred) and the need for rendering (output referred). Two articles that might clear this up:

http://www.color.org/icc_white_paper_20_di...ment_basics.pdf

http://wwwimages.adobe.com/www.adobe.com/p...renderprint.pdf
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Andrew Rodney
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seamus finn
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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2007, 05:24:02 AM »
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I still think using Lightroom presets across the board on a bunch of really promising landscape or other potentially great pictures is, in the final analysis, a waste of time. Invariably you will find yourslf leaving LR and going into PS to finesse the presets you already applied - thus renedering your original presetting work a waste of effort.

You will want to do selections and all the really precise work LR yet cannot do. You will be preoccupied with sharpening. You may need to use a lassoo tool or a quick selection here and there. You may want to selectively lighten or darken part of an image, sharpen up another bit, use adjustment layers and all the multiplicity of things LR can't really help you with at this level of processing. It's not that any of these techniques is particularly sophisticated or difficult to do in themselves - it's just that they're not available in Lightroom and that's why round-tripping into PS is such a waste of time.

LR's TAT tool, the nearest to a selection tool, is good at what it sets out to do, but it's too crude and unselective in my opinion for very fine work. Darken down the blue of a sky, for instance, and watch carefully what happens globally in the picture. In defence of LR, however, I like the way it handles B/W generally and there are some good things here.

I've spent most of my time working in LR from day one dealing with big amounts of pictures taken in places, as far apart as Bali and Barcelona recently. One included a family wedding. Applying across the board adjustments to huge amounts of work in LR was a breeze - fast, convenient and very efficient, especially for the wedding or for those pics which I didn't feel demanded the full resources of PS. But you can do this in Camera Raw too - using the same tools and you won't be in and out of LR+PS like a demented headless chicken. But in the end, I still had to visit PS for sharpening.

However, for the really good stuff - pictures taken out in the countryside on in the city streets which were my humble best  attempt at capturing the real spirit of these places, I found I needed  PS to do the best job I was capable of -  Bridge, RAW and CS3 were needed. Rather than running these selected pictures through LR first and then exporting them to PS, I went straight into PS and remained there, including for printing.

Actually, in the process, I rediscovered the joys of being able to do tasks quickly in Photoshop which would take longer in LR - simply because of having to leave the programme to access what PS has to offer and then returning to LR for whatever other reason. As an experiment, I revisited   some pics I had taken in New York before LR came on the scene. I imported the  NY 'keepers' into Lightroom and worked on them as if new, but I still found I simply had to round-trip to CS3 for things like Edit-Transform to straighten converging verticles, just as one example. And so on and so on for other things - nothing major in themselves, but not available in LR and critical to the work. The more I continued, the more I realised how much I had missed the comfort of working exclusively in PS for serious stuff.


All of this proved one thing to me which has been bugging me since the first days of Lightroom: if you want very fast, efficient, across the board processing of huge numbers of pictures which can take synchronised processing in their stride and not suffer, then LR is IT and is a brilliant concept with vast potential. For that kind of work, I happily use it


But for the real deal, the freedom to process your best shots to the fullest potential you are able to extract (only limited by your own technical expertise or knowledge which in my case is no great shakes by the average standards on this site!) than Photoshop+Raw is your the only choice. Sooner or later, no matter how hard to try to avoid it, you will end up in PS and be glad that the tools you cannot get in LR are there in PS.

The proof of the pudding came this month when I had to prepare a number of landscape pictures for an upcoming exhibition in a local gallery early in the new year. I can say with hand on heart that for this exercise, I never visited Lightroom once.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2007, 08:29:49 AM »
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However, for the really good stuff - pictures taken out in the countryside on in the city streets which were my humble best  attempt at capturing the real spirit of these places, I found I needed  PS to do the best job I was capable of -  Bridge, RAW and CS3 were needed.

What global  tone or color corrections were you not able to achieve in Lightroom that you could in Photoshop?
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Andrew Rodney
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seamus finn
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« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2007, 09:57:59 AM »
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None, Rodney. Read it again. I'm talking about SELECTIVE changes.

"LR's TAT tool, the nearest to a selection tool, is good at what it sets out to do, but it's too crude and unselective in my opinion for very fine work. Darken down the blue of a sky, for instance, and watch carefully what happens globally in the picture. In defence of LR, however, I like the way it handles B/W generally and there are some good things here."
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digitaldog
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« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2007, 10:13:01 AM »
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None, Rodney. Read it again. I'm talking about SELECTIVE changes.

"LR's TAT tool, the nearest to a selection tool, is good at what it sets out to do, but it's too crude and unselective in my opinion for very fine work. Darken down the blue of a sky, for instance, and watch carefully what happens globally in the picture. In defence of LR, however, I like the way it handles B/W generally and there are some good things here."
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=161455\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Good, then we're on the same page. That said, there's then little reason to revisit LR, certainly for any rendering, you did all the big global moves there and used Photoshop for what its best suited for, selective editing.

Its nice to store the rendered image in the data base and, when we get output sharpening, it will be a great environment for printing. However, the quote below sounded like you were saying, for 'good stuff' you had to bypass LR or CR and do the heavy lifting in Photoshop. What you're indeed saying is you're using Photoshop for selective work correct?

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However, for the really good stuff - pictures taken out in the countryside on in the city streets which were my humble best attempt at capturing the real spirit of these places, I found I needed PS to do the best job I was capable of - Bridge, RAW and CS3 were needed. Rather than running these selected pictures through LR first and then exporting them to PS, I went straight into PS and remained there, including for printing.
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Andrew Rodney
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seamus finn
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« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2007, 11:04:50 AM »
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Correct.

That, it seems to me, is the crunch point with LR - you have to go out of  it to do the delicate work in PS. Of course you can do much the same  work in Camera RAW as you can in LR, as you know, and sometimes I do that, without reference to LR at all because access to PS is so much quicker for a single image.

I then  store the finished work from PS in an ordinary folder on an external drive and then import all the finished pics into the LR database for easy reference and location as a catalogue, say something called Barcelona Best/Finished. That way I can find the finished work easily, skim through it, rate it etc. Bridge willl do that too, obviously, but LR is much more intuitive and flexible in that respect - and there's even time for minor late changes if you have second thoughts

Apart from the workaround between LR and PS for selective work, I have a dislike of saving files straight from PS into LR with the _edit_ designation. It's just a personal quibble. The folder becomes a little unwieldy after a while. I'd rather have a straight catalogue of my best finished work in an LR folder knowing that all of them came through PS. Give me a catalogue finished off in Photoshop any day.

So, for me: LR for the broad strokes, PS for the fine touches.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2007, 02:27:22 PM »
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The danger with using presets as a first treatment is, that you give the image a first direction without being really involved in the process.

If you adjust the image, you get a better feel for it. Also, you can leave its interpretation in a more general area at first, and only then go into a more concise statement.

I disagree with this for several reasons, and that as such is my prerogative.  One of the advantages of presets is that you can decide how many or how few of the controls are affected by the preset.  I can't give an image any direction without first deciding for myself which direction to go, and that often involves several tracks before I decide on one.  To that end I am intimately involved with the process on all levels.  

To me presets are somewhat akin to using power tools for wood carving.  I wouldn't use them for the fine work, but they can remove a lot of 'waste wood' in a hurry.  Before grabbing any tools I have decide what it is I'm trying to make.  Michaelangelo is famously quoted for having an image of a sculpture in the block of stone, and simply removing anything that wasn't a part of that image.  

For me, the same is true in Lightroom.  I open an image in the Develop module and I MAY have some idea of what I want it to look like, or I may not.  If I do, I can be more specific in my adjustments from the get go.  If not, I can scroll through some presets and see if something jumps out at me - not a finished product per se, but a starting point.  Sometimes I'll go so far down one road, reset, clear the history and start over.  It's a creative process in itself and presets are one tool that I use.

Others are welcome to disagree, to never use presets for ANY purpose, and that of course is your prerogative.  As I said in my previous post, YMMV.

Mike.
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« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2007, 07:34:03 AM »
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I'd say that a Preset is a starting point for exploration. And if I use them, I tend to on individual images rather than in batches.

I might have a particular image which works well in a certain Split Tone treatment that I have a Preset for. Applying it will be a starting point with many Virtual Copies along the way. The aim being to make a fine art treatment of an image.

More useful general presets for multiple images are those that correct faults (say Chromatic Aberration in a lens), or perhaps make generalised exposure or white balance changes.

So to dismiss them is a bit short sighted. They can speed up workflow, but they are rarely the final word.

Richard Earney

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