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Author Topic: Sliders, sliders, everywhere...  (Read 15488 times)
fike
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« on: January 10, 2009, 09:43:39 AM »
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I have been using ACR (CS3) for a couple years and I do pretty well with the basic features, but I recently was questioning some things that I seem to do pretty instinctively, and wondering if they were crazy.  Here are my steps

1) I almost always warm up the image by moving the color temp slider towards yellow.
2) I move the exposure all the way until I have lots of clipping, then work backwards down to where I think the light range is where I want it.  Sometimes I will still have clipping where I stop.
3) If needed, I use recovery to bring any clipped highlights back into range. Move brightness up if I think that recovery muddied the image too much.
4) I pump up the black, sometimes substantially.
5) This might seem weird because I just pushed the black point, but now I try applying a small amount of fill light.  I go back and forth between black and fill light until I find something I like.  Sometimes I will also return to exposure at this point.
6) Push the clarity up 6-15 units
7) pump up vibrance (for people shots) or Saturation.  Typically I try both to see which one I like better.
Cool Visit sharpening tab and move from the standard 25% to more like 45% at 1 pixel.

So a few questions:
Is it crazy to use fill light in concert with increasing black point?
Is it contradictory to use recovery with the exposure slider so far up and brightness all at the same time?

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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2009, 11:40:07 AM »
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Regarding increasing the black point and then using fill light:  I believe it was in the "Camera to Print" video tutorial (not certain, but I saw it somewhere, and it was probably there) that Jeff Schewe recommended doing exactly that; he found it gave the best results for many images.

I haven't heard from the experts on your other issue, recovery + exposure, but I will often tweak both up & down in concert to give the best-looking overall brightness while minimizing clipping.

Your steps all look perfectly fine (if not near-optimal) to me.

Lisa
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01af
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2009, 11:55:25 AM »
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Your workflow does make sense to me. Just one minor hint: did you ever try pushing and holding the Alt key (or Opt key on Mac) while adjusting the Exposure and Recovery sliders?

-- Olaf
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fike
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2009, 04:36:57 PM »
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Quote from: 01af
Your workflow does make sense to me. Just one minor hint: did you ever try pushing and holding the Alt key (or Opt key on Mac) while adjusting the Exposure and Recovery sliders?

-- Olaf


I never knew about that.  Very Cool!! or as the kids say Kewl.  

Another thought...have you ever had the experience where highlight clipping was decreased by change the color temperature?  I have been trying to figure out exactly what this means...in a broader sense.  It is these instances where I often wish that ACR had better capacity for local adjustments.  In order to use a peculiar technique like this to bring highlights under control, the only thing I can imagine, is to make to raw conversions and then sandwich the two images and reveal the appropriate areas using a mask.

I assume that this means that only one particular color was clipping.  If I looked at the RGB histogram, I am sure I would find one color clipping more than the others.  I assume by changing the color temp, I am effectively decreasing the level of the clipped color channel.
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2009, 04:52:29 PM »
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Quote from: fike
Is it crazy to use fill light in concert with increasing black point?
Is it contradictory to use recovery with the exposure slider so far up and brightness all at the same time?
Not if they get the image looking better or to your tastes. I also add black and fill to some images, they do different things so nothing wrong with combining them.

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Eyeball
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2009, 05:04:41 PM »
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Quote from: fike
..have you ever had the experience where highlight clipping was decreased by change the color temperature?

Yes, since changes to the color temperature and tint affect the RGB values, they can increase or decrease clipping in one or two channels.

Quote from: fike
I assume that this means that only one particular color was clipping.  If I looked at the RGB histogram, I am sure I would find one color clipping more than the others.  I assume by changing the color temp, I am effectively decreasing the level of the clipped color channel.

Correct.  Also, if you use Olaf's Alt trick, you can see which RGB channels are clipping visually:
White = All
Red = Red
Green = Green
Blue = Blue
Cyan = Green & Blue
Magenta = Red & Blue
Yellow = Red & Green
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jjj
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2009, 07:38:20 AM »
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Quote from: fike
Another thought...have you ever had the experience where highlight clipping was decreased by change the color temperature?  I have been trying to figure out exactly what this means...in a broader sense.
Eyeball explained this, but I'd add that when doing B+W shots, I may alter colour balance to suit final B+W image. Not just to be the 'correct' WB.
I first used this after discovering clipping in the red channel, whilst using tunsten lighting for illumination, on skin it's more obvious.
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fike
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2009, 03:37:19 PM »
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Quote from: jjj
Eyeball explained this, but I'd add that when doing B+W shots, I may alter colour balance to suit final B+W image. Not just to be the 'correct' WB.
I first used this after discovering clipping in the red channel, whilst using tunsten lighting for illumination, on skin it's more obvious.

I really enjoy doing some weird stuff to color before making it B&W, although I generally do it with adjustment layers so that I can go back and tweak them.  I have found that pumping up the saturation or wildly adjusting levels on a particular color channel can result in some very pleasing and unusual effects.  

Lots-o-fun.

How about noise reduction using ACR.  I typically have used neat image for my high-ISO noise reduction.  Does anyone really use noise reduction in ACR very much?
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jjj
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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2009, 01:58:38 AM »
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Quote from: fike
How about noise reduction using ACR.  I typically have used neat image for my high-ISO noise reduction.  Does anyone really use noise reduction in ACR very much?
I'll raise my hand here, mainly to get rid of luminace noise, yuck.
But I should also add that I usually add some grain in PS anyway and used to develop Kodak Recording film in Acuspeed as I loved the grain you got.
Not too keen on texture free images.
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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2009, 07:52:03 AM »
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Quote from: fike
Is it crazy to use fill light in concert with increasing black point?
Is it contradictory to use recovery with the exposure slider so far up and brightness all at the same time?
As said, the first point is well known indeed - for me, I'd wish there were some (moderate) black point increase built in the Fill Light, to ensure it raises the shadows but still keeps the blacks black (I understand well it may be complicated to implement), because every time I use Fill Light, I need to re-adjust Blacks up to ensure a good "foundation" of the shadows.

For the second part, it sounds a bit the same : it seems a way to tweak the highlights but keep the white at the same place.
I generally use more the Curve tool to tweak this part of the image, but definitely, if it works then it's OK to do it!
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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MarkIV
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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2009, 10:01:10 PM »
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I'm kind of an unorthodox user myself.  I pump Brightness to 100% because it has built in compression, then take exposure down to get the luminance value I want (this helps me get more detail in the shadows and mid tones without blowing the highlights).  I also don't use blacks at all (keep it at 0) and use various contrast moves to set my black point (by watching my histogram).  Because I shoot to the right, I don't have noise problems and use no Luminance reduction, and only use 0-5 usually for Chrominance.

So, I think there can be a lot of different ways an image can be approached.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2009, 10:03:37 PM by MarkIV » Logged
Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2009, 01:48:49 PM »
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Screws up your colour doing that, used to do it myself but your skin tones go flat.
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k bennett
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« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2009, 05:45:02 PM »
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Quote from: MarkIV
I'm kind of an unorthodox user myself.  I pump Brightness to 100% because it has built in compression, then take exposure down to get the luminance value I want (this helps me get more detail in the shadows and mid tones without blowing the highlights).


Interesting. In the book Real World Camera Raw, the authors write (if I am remembering this correctly), that it's better to use Exposure rather than Brightness (to increase, well, brightness), because it helps keep detail in the highlights. Their printed examples were convincing, to me anyway.
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Tyler Mallory
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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2009, 03:47:52 PM »
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If I recall correctly, ACR's designers arranged the sliders in order of intended use, emphasizing the overall aspects of color balance and exposure first, then refining the highlights and clipping points as you go along down the panel.
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bjanes
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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2009, 04:34:14 PM »
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Quote from: k bennett
Interesting. In the book Real World Camera Raw, the authors write (if I am remembering this correctly), that it's better to use Exposure rather than Brightness (to increase, well, brightness), because it helps keep detail in the highlights. Their printed examples were convincing, to me anyway.
I think you have that backwards. Increasing Exposure can clip the highlights and cause all detail to be lost. Brightness is basically a mid-tone adjustment, and it won't clip the highlights. If you set the brightness beyond 100%, 8 bit highlights may be pushed to 255, but if you check the 16 bit file, they likely won't be clipped (page 76 of the ACR with PSCS4 book).
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Bill Koenig
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« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2009, 02:40:40 PM »
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In the book Real World Camera Raw, if I remember correctly, they recommended that for best result's exposure shouldn't go higher than +0.65, and a increase in fill light meant increasing the black point as well.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2009, 02:41:09 PM by Bill Koenig » Logged

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NikoJorj
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« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2009, 04:41:43 AM »
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Quote from: bjanes
Brightness is basically a mid-tone adjustment, and it won't clip the highlights.
From what I see tinkering with the sliders, brightness may at least aggravate clipping if there is some to start with?
And as said, it does compress the highlight range (whereas exposure does much less), leading to wanted or unwanted effects.
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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Peter_DL
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« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2009, 03:59:14 PM »
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Quote from: fike
I have been using ACR (CS3) for a couple years and I do pretty well with the basic features, but I recently was questioning some things that I seem to do pretty instinctively, and wondering if they were crazy. Here are my steps
...
2) I move the exposure all the way until I have lots of clipping, then work backwards down to where I think the light range is where I want it.  Sometimes I will still have clipping where I stop.
3) If needed, I use recovery to bring any clipped highlights back into range. Move brightness up if I think that recovery muddied the image too much.
4) I pump up the black, sometimes substantially.
5) This might seem weird because I just pushed the black point, but now I try applying a small amount of fill light.  I go back and forth between black and fill light until I find something I like.  Sometimes I will also return to exposure at this point.
Another option is to start with the Auto Tone function,
and to work through the sliders in the reverse order, from bottom to top:
1.) Brightness & Contrast
2.) Fill Light & Blacks
3.) Exposure or Recovery

FWIW, I often find this approach faster, less iterations and less need for intervention,
compared to the regular sequence of adjustments based on any fix preset.


Quote from: fike
Is it contradictory to use recovery with the exposure slider so far up and brightness all at the same time?
The Auto function seems to follow an either/or logic. Either Exposure is increased in case of  an underexposed image,
or Recovery is raised to pull down and recover clipped highlights. I tend to agree with this basic choice.

Peter

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Philscbx
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« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2009, 08:23:39 PM »
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I just hope I find similar info in Aperture.
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stamper
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« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2009, 03:23:49 AM »
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Quote from: Tyler Mallory
If I recall correctly, ACR's designers arranged the sliders in order of intended use, emphasizing the overall aspects of color balance and exposure first, then refining the highlights and clipping points as you go along down the panel.

The Camera Raw book stated that it didn't matter which order the controls were used. It is OK to use them and if a particular one adversely affected the image then going back and tweaking another was fine. The changes were all stacked in the pipeline and were all applied at once when the processing was finished.
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