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Author Topic: ACR 4.4 and Clarity  (Read 73798 times)
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #140 on: April 13, 2008, 10:34:05 AM »
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Excuse me people....

Doesn't this just mean we need to be aware of the differences and chose whatever tool we think best suits our goals?

All philosophical issues aside, do any of you people use the clarity slider*? Any thoughts on how it be best used? Are there some types of photos where it is best used liberally? where it should never be used?
*the subject of this thread
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=189203\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Philmar,

We don't have to be aware of differences between raw converters once we select the one we think best meets our needs. The one that that best meets my needs is ACR 4.3 because it integrates seemlessly with Bridge and Photoshop, is largely coherent with Lightroom and it has more than enough controls to achieve whatever rendering I like and can be achieved within the limits of its largely global adjustment capability.

I agree with Andrew and Eric that no raw converter will be technically "perfect", whatever that means. Therefore one needs a raw converter with the best capability for translating the image data into a rendering we like best - judgment call.

As I've mentioned in previous posts in this thread, I do use the Clarity slider, generally a bit conservatively and to taste. I have not been able to cobble together any general rules or recipes for the Clarity adjustment, and I'm not sure this is even possible. If you have an image which you think would benefit overall from some local contrast enhancement, just use it to taste. The main thing, therefore, is to have a display that is well colour-managed and of high enough resolution to provide you with a useful impression of what you are achieving. That said, the one general situation in which I would NOT use it, is where it gives undesirable results on one part of the image but not others. In this case you need masking and therefore best to do it in Photoshop.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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« Reply #141 on: April 13, 2008, 10:48:37 AM »
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although i liked the clarity slider much ( and i still like in general the 4.4 or LR converter ), it creates an sideeffect which cant be eliminitated later. : stairsteps on diagonal straight lines become VERY visible in larger prints.
so i am carefull now in increasing local contrasts at the raw konversion stage because it can lead ( esp. in case of architecture motifs  with many stores or diagonal lines ) to unusability of the files,- even if taken with 33/39 mp backs and just used at a size of A2.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #142 on: April 13, 2008, 11:08:46 AM »
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although i liked the clarity slider much ( and i still like in general the 4.4 or LR converter ), it creates an sideeffect which cant be eliminitated later. : stairsteps on diagonal straight lines become VERY visible in larger prints.
so i am carefull now in increasing local contrasts at the raw konversion stage because it can lead ( esp. in case of architecture motifs  with many stores or diagonal lines ) to unusability of the files,- even if taken with 33/39 mp backs and just used at a size of A2.
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Rainer,

One of the beautiful things about adjusting raw images in ACR is that the file never becomes unusable. If it creates the effect you describe, you can go back into the raw version of the image and reverse it. This is harmless if you look for this trouble before doing anything else to the rendered image. You can also embed the raw data as a Smart Object in the rendered document, making it even more convenient to change the settings of Clarity or any other ACR adjustment while remaining in Photoshop.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Peter_DL
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« Reply #143 on: April 13, 2008, 01:04:10 PM »
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I agree with Andrew and Eric that no raw converter will be technically "perfect", whatever that means. Therefore one needs a raw converter with the best capability for translating the image data into a rendering we like best - judgment call.
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Oh, the problem as described by Bill et al. is very well known:

>> There is currently a fundamental tradeoff between the skin tone rendering and the rendering of deep saturated reds. For many individual images, this can be worked around using the calibration & HSL sliders. However, no single preset will tackle both issues generally (i.e., across several images). And for some images that contain both, there is no workaround at the moment.
Eric<<
[a href=\"http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?14@@.3bb6a85c.59b4cc97/8]http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?14@@.3bb6a85c.59b4cc97/8[/url]

Some of us like to contemplate about the root cause, however, I recognize that there was a kind of bug fix announced in the course of this thread. Let’s see.

Peter

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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #144 on: April 13, 2008, 02:03:46 PM »
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Peter,

If you read what I said, I think we'll agree I didn't say there are no issues.

The issue you refer to in the Adobe Forums can also be atttributed to the fact that ACR is not yet equipped for localized adjustments within a single colour group.

As well, I haven't seen any reference to a bug or a bug fix in this thread. If you are alluding to Jeff Schewe's post, I wouldn't presume he is talking about a bug fix. I expect, without knowing, it is something much more fundamental.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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BenjaminJ
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« Reply #145 on: April 13, 2008, 03:46:35 PM »
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All philosophical issues aside, do any of you people use the clarity slider*? Any thoughts on how it be best used? Are there some types of photos where it is best used liberally? where it should never be used?
*the subject of this thread
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=189203\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I've always thought it's rather easy to see the effect of Clarity. You can just use your own eyes to see what happens when you move the slider.

I find that when there are f.i. white clouds against a blue sky in the image, you quickly see a dark halo (much wider than a sharpening halo) around the clouds by using Clarity, unless you keep it at a very low value. In tree branches/bushes and similar fine detail against bright backgrounds the effect of Clarity is also very apparent. You can make the rendering of details a lot clearer, but you can also make things look unnaturaly sharply and thickly defined, or surround them by a wide halo. It can also make nice bokeh look less nice, by adding a sharp edge to nicely blurred shapes.

How much you will want to use really depends on the subject matter. Because Clarity is applied globally (not anymore in Lightroom 2beta i believe?), you shouldn't use more than the finest details that you want to preserve, can handle - textures can start looking unpleasantly coarse, and you also won't want to exaggerate things like skin blemishes (was already mentioned). In other cases you can use high values to make bigger shapes stand out more. Just watch out for halos.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2008, 03:50:26 PM by Benjamin Jung » Logged
Philmar
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« Reply #146 on: April 14, 2008, 10:41:16 AM »
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I've always thought it's rather easy to see the effect of Clarity. You can just use your own eyes to see what happens when you move the slider.

I find that when there are f.i. white clouds against a blue sky in the image, you quickly see a dark halo (much wider than a sharpening halo) around the clouds by using Clarity, unless you keep it at a very low value. In tree branches/bushes and similar fine detail against bright backgrounds the effect of Clarity is also very apparent. You can make the rendering of details a lot clearer, but you can also make things look unnaturaly sharply and thickly defined, or surround them by a wide halo. It can also make nice bokeh look less nice, by adding a sharp edge to nicely blurred shapes.

How much you will want to use really depends on the subject matter. Because Clarity is applied globally (not anymore in Lightroom 2beta i believe?), you shouldn't use more than the finest details that you want to preserve, can handle - textures can start looking unpleasantly coarse, and you also won't want to exaggerate things like skin blemishes (was already mentioned). In other cases you can use high values to make bigger shapes stand out more. Just watch out for halos.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=189280\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks to you and all others for their responses. It has helped me tremendously. These forums and digital processing often gets so technical that often one forgets to trust ones own eyes and taste. Yeah I noticed that the clarity slider causes large, not sharp, haloes emanating from objects that have sky in the background.
The point about ACR being a global adjustment is a good one that I will take with me. I have only recently started sharpening and noise reducing using layer masks so I have new techniques to learn and master with local contrast enhancement. As always "Thanks" for all the helpful info. I will learn how to create a series of PS actions that mimic this slider.
I just hope I can get my photos to POP before the new PP techniques I am learning cause my head to POP.
Now that I feel I have sufficient clarity on the issue of clarity I will take leave of this thread and allow the highly entertaining philosophic discussion about RAW converters to ensue.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2008, 10:44:11 AM by Philmar » Logged

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Peter_DL
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« Reply #147 on: April 14, 2008, 12:10:33 PM »
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I agree with Andrew and Eric that no raw converter will be technically "perfect", whatever that means. Therefore one needs a raw converter with the best capability for translating the image data into a rendering we like best - judgment call.[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Quote
Oh, the problem as described by Bill et al. is very well known:

>> There is currently a fundamental tradeoff between the skin tone rendering and the rendering of deep saturated reds. For many individual images, this can be worked around using the calibration & HSL sliders. However, no single preset will tackle both issues generally (i.e., across several images). And for some images that contain both, there is no workaround at the moment.
Eric<<
[a href=\"http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?14@@.3bb6a85c.59b4cc97/8]http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?14@@.3bb6a85c.59b4cc97/8[/url]

Some of us like to contemplate about the root cause, however, I recognize that there was a kind of bug fix announced in the course of this thread. Let’s see.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=189256\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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Peter,

If you read what I said, I think we'll agree I didn't say there are no issues.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=189266\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Mark,

Referring to the compiled term “technically perfect Raw converter”, which I read in your post, this for sure has some relevance for the initial step of colorimetric interpretation, or what is called color reconstruction. Wouldn't give up this claim too early. "Accuracy" and some perfection are supposed to lay a better ground for all the creative rendering tools (including Clarity) which are set on the top. Or, to say it in Bruce Fraser’s words: >>"Accurate" is not necessarily the final goal, but it tends to make for a much better starting point than randomly inaccurate.... <<.

Mentioned antagonism of pure reds vs skin tones is a measurable effect with regard to hue accuracy. Get one right (via calibration) and the other one becomes worse. This “balance” was found to be surprisingly consistent across different camera models and brands.

While numbers can always fool you (me), it happens that many of us are able to see this issue because typically we don’t like orange reds and/or magenta skin tones. Of course, maybe depending on cultural background, one could see it differently. However, while this subject comes up every now and then, people obviously tend to recognize what the numbers confirm. So for the moment, let’s believe in this claim for initial (hue) accuracy with these colors.

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The issue you refer to in the Adobe Forums can also be atttributed to the fact that ACR is not yet equipped for localized adjustments within a single colour group.
That would certainly be nice – however, at the end of the day, it can just remove the symptoms, but not the root cause.

Quote
As well, I haven't seen any reference to a bug or a bug fix in this thread. If you are alluding to Jeff Schewe's post, I wouldn't presume he is talking about a bug fix. I expect, without knowing, it is something much more fundamental.
No problem to agree and to withdraw “bug fix”. Something “fundamental” might be more appropriate.

Anyway, I’m glad to see that the threadopener seems to be happy with the discussion and I certainly don’t have insist on this off topic part.


Peter

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« Last Edit: April 14, 2008, 12:19:23 PM by DPL » Logged
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