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Author Topic: Thoughts on a DXO work flow  (Read 8472 times)
NicholasDown
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« on: June 21, 2009, 06:28:13 AM »
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I've prepared an image shot using a Canon 70-300mm DO USM lens, prepared with and without DXO Optics Pro. Firstly by opening a native RAW CR2 file from my Canon 5Dmk 2 in Lightroom 2.3 and then, with a mild recovery adjustment, exporting a 16Bit TIF to photoshop where I applied Focus Fixer v.2 at an auto deblur of 1.6. The second file has been sent from RAW CR2 in Lightroom and 'edited' in DXO with default settings, then returned to LR as a 16 Bit TIF. No further adjustments were applied and the image was sent to Photoshop for a Focus Fixer auto deblur of 1.6. This is using Scenario 2 in DXO Optic's guide to integrating LR with the program.
Both images were then converted to sRGB from ProPhoto and downsized 16>8bit before exporting to web as JPGs. No other sharpening has been applied to either image.
I use a fully calibrated 23 HD cinema screen with a 2005 Powermac G5 and on my screen the images are night and day, but web JPGs would obviously show less differences.
Processing the image without DXO took about 80 seconds to output (including focus fixer filter time.)
Processing the image via DXO took about 4 minutes to output (also including focus fixer time).
I then have my original CR2 file and an edited TIF in the same folder: the first file at about 25mB and the TIFF at about 120 MB.
So with potentially thousands of files to come in the future my hard drive requirements (including backup) are going to escalate and time management is going to be critical.
Scenario 1 in DXO's guide involves converting native CR2 files to linear DNGs before importing to LR or Photoshop. These are also about 120MB each if 16 Bit.
So far I am really impressed with DXO's unique capabilities, but am dreaming of the prospect of upgrading to a MacPro with say four 1TBdrives and a RAID card but will have to work hard for the funds...
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walter.sk
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2009, 10:00:13 AM »
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Quote from: NicholasDown
I've prepared an image shot using a Canon 70-300mm DO USM lens, prepared with and without DXO Optics Pro. Firstly by opening a native RAW CR2 file from my Canon 5Dmk 2 in Lightroom 2.3 and then, with a mild recovery adjustment, exporting a 16Bit TIF to photoshop where I applied Focus Fixer v.2 at an auto deblur of 1.6. The second file has been sent from RAW CR2 in Lightroom and 'edited' in DXO with default settings, then returned to LR as a 16 Bit TIF. No further adjustments were applied and the image was sent to Photoshop for a Focus Fixer auto deblur of 1.6. This is using Scenario 2 in DXO Optic's guide to integrating LR with the program.
Both images were then converted to sRGB from ProPhoto and downsized 16>8bit before exporting to web as JPGs. No other sharpening has been applied to either image.
I use a fully calibrated 23 HD cinema screen with a 2005 Powermac G5 and on my screen the images are night and day, but web JPGs would obviously show less differences.
Processing the image without DXO took about 80 seconds to output (including focus fixer filter time.)
Processing the image via DXO took about 4 minutes to output (also including focus fixer time).
I then have my original CR2 file and an edited TIF in the same folder: the first file at about 25mB and the TIFF at about 120 MB.
So with potentially thousands of files to come in the future my hard drive requirements (including backup) are going to escalate and time management is going to be critical.
Scenario 1 in DXO's guide involves converting native CR2 files to linear DNGs before importing to LR or Photoshop. These are also about 120MB each if 16 Bit.
So far I am really impressed with DXO's unique capabilities, but am dreaming of the prospect of upgrading to a MacPro with say four 1TBdrives and a RAID card but will have to work hard for the funds...

It is hard to judge the differences in your images as posted.  Perhaps 100% crops of a critical area would show more.

I have been using DXO for a few weeks, and find some of its built-in workflow awkward to master, and the tradeoff of converting from raw in DXO to a psuedo DNG which I then process further in LR or Photoshop doesn't seem to be ideal.  However, for images where lens distortion and/or noise could be a problem, I use Scenario I to do just that.  For my other images I find that I am skipping the DXO part.

I do not process all of my images.  So, in  Bridge i prepare a subfolder into which I place the best of the keepers that I am pretty likely to want to print.  They are unaltered CR2 images which I then open in DX0.  Those that would benefit greatly from DXO processing then get selected as a "job" and then processed.  They are output to the same subfolder as DNG's.  I then have the option of processing the CR2's or DNG's in LR or Photoshop.

What I am not clear on is what aspects of DXO's processing are at the preconversion level, and what aspects of DXO's DNG file are still treatable as RAW in LR or Photoshop?  Is there really any difference between a DXO-converted Tiff and a DXO-produced DNG file?
« Last Edit: June 21, 2009, 10:01:40 AM by walter.sk » Logged
James R
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2009, 02:07:27 PM »
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Quote from: NicholasDown
I've prepared an image shot using a Canon 70-300mm DO USM lens, prepared with and without DXO Optics Pro. Firstly by opening a native RAW CR2 file from my Canon 5Dmk 2 in Lightroom 2.3 and then, with a mild recovery adjustment, exporting a 16Bit TIF to photoshop where I applied Focus Fixer v.2 at an auto deblur of 1.6. The second file has been sent from RAW CR2 in Lightroom and 'edited' in DXO with default settings, then returned to LR as a 16 Bit TIF. No further adjustments were applied and the image was sent to Photoshop for a Focus Fixer auto deblur of 1.6. This is using Scenario 2 in DXO Optic's guide to integrating LR with the program.
Both images were then converted to sRGB from ProPhoto and downsized 16>8bit before exporting to web as JPGs. No other sharpening has been applied to either image.
I use a fully calibrated 23 HD cinema screen with a 2005 Powermac G5 and on my screen the images are night and day, but web JPGs would obviously show less differences.
Processing the image without DXO took about 80 seconds to output (including focus fixer filter time.)
Processing the image via DXO took about 4 minutes to output (also including focus fixer time).
I then have my original CR2 file and an edited TIF in the same folder: the first file at about 25mB and the TIFF at about 120 MB.
So with potentially thousands of files to come in the future my hard drive requirements (including backup) are going to escalate and time management is going to be critical.
Scenario 1 in DXO's guide involves converting native CR2 files to linear DNGs before importing to LR or Photoshop. These are also about 120MB each if 16 Bit.
So far I am really impressed with DXO's unique capabilities, but am dreaming of the prospect of upgrading to a MacPro with say four 1TBdrives and a RAID card but will have to work hard for the funds...

The second image seems to have lost some shadow detail, at least it does on my monitor.  This can be seen in the bee's body.  As mentioned above, 100% crop would be more telling. BTW, which pic better represents the true color of the flowers?  To my eye, it would be somewhere in between the two.  I wish you had included the original raw image without edits.

Also, how much bang for the buck does Focus Fixer provide?  I've never used it, but are its results any better than pre-sharpening and adding clarity in either LR of CO1?

As to the 4 mins needed for this process:  I use CO1 > LR and hate the ingesting process which takes too much time.  Guess that's why I hate using two programs.  I just took 700 shots at the Santa Barbara Solstice Festival and it took about 4 mins to apply one of my preset recipes to all the files and start exporting them as tifs.  Once in LR, I will take 10 or 15 minutes to pick the keepers.  After this point I will make crops and use CS4 or any other add-on programs as needed.  Time is always the issue.  

You are going to run into HD capacity issues with these size files.  I use a Mac Pro with 3 tb and several external HDs.  Even so, I try not to save anything that isn't necessary.  I ingest to a 1 tb photo drive on my Mac and to a 1 tb ext HD.  



I just took 700 shots at the Santa Barbara Solstice Festival.  After ingesting, it takes a few minutes to apply a preset recipe (CO1) to all 700 images.  They after exporting the tifs and importing into LR.
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NicholasDown
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2009, 03:13:22 AM »
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Quote from: walter.sk
It is hard to judge the differences in your images as posted.  Perhaps 100% crops of a critical area would show more.

I have been using DXO for a few weeks, and find some of its built-in workflow awkward to master, and the tradeoff of converting from raw in DXO to a psuedo DNG which I then process further in LR or Photoshop doesn't seem to be ideal.  However, for images where lens distortion and/or noise could be a problem, I use Scenario I to do just that.  For my other images I find that I am skipping the DXO part.

I do not process all of my images.  So, in  Bridge i prepare a subfolder into which I place the best of the keepers that I am pretty likely to want to print.  They are unaltered CR2 images which I then open in DX0.  Those that would benefit greatly from DXO processing then get selected as a "job" and then processed.  They are output to the same subfolder as DNG's.  I then have the option of processing the CR2's or DNG's in LR or Photoshop.

What I am not clear on is what aspects of DXO's processing are at the preconversion level, and what aspects of DXO's DNG file are still treatable as RAW in LR or Photoshop?  Is there really any difference between a DXO-converted Tiff and a DXO-produced DNG file?

Thanks for your comments and great questions, to which I don't have the answers. I have found the issue of 'to DNG or not to DNG' quite confusing especially as there seems to be a difference between native mosaic RAW files and linear DNGs created by DXO. I like your idea of selective folders, because the workflow issues/time are really confusing unless I have a very very clear head! I have run another comparison file test in which I opened a Linear DNG created by DXO after processing into Photoshop and compared that with a file processed via LR (CR2>LR>DXO>Ps  as above). I did notice subtle colour difference between them... but have to stay calm and not get too obsessive!
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NicholasDown
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2009, 03:19:32 AM »
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Quote from: James R
The second image seems to have lost some shadow detail, at least it does on my monitor.  This can be seen in the bee's body.  As mentioned above, 100% crop would be more telling. BTW, which pic better represents the true color of the flowers?  To my eye, it would be somewhere in between the two.  I wish you had included the original raw image without edits.

Also, how much bang for the buck does Focus Fixer provide?  I've never used it, but are its results any better than pre-sharpening and adding clarity in either LR of CO1?

As to the 4 mins needed for this process:  I use CO1 > LR and hate the ingesting process which takes too much time.  Guess that's why I hate using two programs.  I just took 700 shots at the Santa Barbara Solstice Festival and it took about 4 mins to apply one of my preset recipes to all the files and start exporting them as tifs.  Once in LR, I will take 10 or 15 minutes to pick the keepers.  After this point I will make crops and use CS4 or any other add-on programs as needed.  Time is always the issue.  

You are going to run into HD capacity issues with these size files.  I use a Mac Pro with 3 tb and several external HDs.  Even so, I try not to save anything that isn't necessary.  I ingest to a 1 tb photo drive on my Mac and to a 1 tb ext HD.  



I just took 700 shots at the Santa Barbara Solstice Festival.  After ingesting, it takes a few minutes to apply a preset recipe (CO1) to all 700 images.  They after exporting the tifs and importing into LR.

Thanks for your observations. On my monitor I preferred the second image but agree that I could re-process to enhance shadow details. I believe the 'truer' flower colours were in the DXO processed image. I will upload the RAW file if I can, but understood maximum size was less than 2MB. I will upload a JPEG of the unprocessed RAW file without any DXO or Focus Fixer for comparison later today. As for Focus Fixer its relatively cheap and I like the technology behind it. In my understanding its a pre-sharpening process using a very different approoach than clarity etc which optimizes an image prior to subsequent work. Only been using it for a few days so its too early to really comment otherwise, but I like the results I've seen so far. And yes HD capacity! Ouch...
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NicholasDown
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2009, 08:21:23 AM »
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As Promised, I've uploaded a single comparison JPG showing the native RAW file conversion to JPG on the left without using DXO and using DXO on the right. Both images were exported from LR as DNG files, opened in Photoshop (ProPhotRGB) then copied and pasted to a black background after size reduction from 16Bit to 8Bit and to 800 px height. Focus Fixer autodeblur was then applied to the composite image which was converted to sRGB (relative colorimetric) and exported for web.
Differences are quite substantial on my monitor both in sRGB and ProPhoto spaces.
Its interesting to consider the prospect of a layer blend of both images using Photoshop... but that is another story.
I suspect I will be using DXO on selected images for now until I have more HD real estate and a faster Mac.
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francois
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2009, 10:13:13 AM »
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Quote from: NicholasDown
As Promised, I've uploaded a single comparison JPG showing the native RAW file conversion to JPG on the left without using DXO and using DXO on the right. Both images were exported from LR as DNG files, opened in Photoshop (ProPhotRGB) then copied and pasted to a black background after size reduction from 16Bit to 8Bit and to 800 px height. Focus Fixer autodeblur was then applied to the composite image which was converted to sRGB (relative colorimetric) and exported for web.
Differences are quite substantial on my monitor both in sRGB and ProPhoto spaces.
Its interesting to consider the prospect of a layer blend of both images using Photoshop... but that is another story.
I suspect I will be using DXO on selected images for now until I have more HD real estate and a faster Mac.
It seems to me that the DXO version has more contrast - at least on my display. Try to use curves in Photoshop. With a "S" curve to enhance contrast, the results are much closer.
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Francois
NicholasDown
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2009, 01:19:03 PM »
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Quote from: francois
It seems to me that the DXO version has more contrast - at least on my display. Try to use curves in Photoshop. With a "S" curve to enhance contrast, the results are much closer.

Thanks for your note...
I have deliberately taken all other variables out of this comparison and yes of course S curves and all sorts of other manipulations would change the image as you suggest. I agree the DXO processed image has more contrast but my thoughts are based on the time/hard drive/ workflow issues involved in using DXO rather than the issues of using curves and other photoshop techniques. They would be later in the workflow.
I have compared a number of other images in a similar manner to the workflow I described in my original post and have been struck by the way DXO seems to crisp up images in an impressive manner before any other manipulations are used. Taking the basic raw image and applying an S curve does not result in the same 'crispness'/ contrast change or for that matter, lens correction. It is what DXO does that intrigues me...

Interestingly I have a sneaking suspicion that DXO works better on native CR2 Raw files than on Raw files that have been converted to DNG... but that is a pure intuitive thought at present.




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James R
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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2009, 04:28:43 PM »
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Quote from: NicholasDown
Thanks for your note...
I have deliberately taken all other variables out of this comparison and yes of course S curves and all sorts of other manipulations would change the image as you suggest. I agree the DXO processed image has more contrast but my thoughts are based on the time/hard drive/ workflow issues involved in using DXO rather than the issues of using curves and other photoshop techniques. They would be later in the workflow.
I have compared a number of other images in a similar manner to the workflow I described in my original post and have been struck by the way DXO seems to crisp up images in an impressive manner before any other manipulations are used. Taking the basic raw image and applying an S curve does not result in the same 'crispness'/ contrast change or for that matter, lens correction. It is what DXO does that intrigues me...

Interestingly I have a sneaking suspicion that DXO works better on native CR2 Raw files than on Raw files that have been converted to DNG... but that is a pure intuitive thought at present.

The DXO version does look better, but, I'm confused as to what the dng conversion adds to your workflow?  I haven't used DXO; but, could you just import the raw files and export the finished as tifs and import them into LR?

I did a very quick 1 minute tweak on your file using CO1 and LR--actually didn't do anything to it in LR, other than export it as a jpeg.  I don't think the file could tolerate all the attention.  It is looking a little over worked.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 04:32:05 PM by James R » Logged
NicholasDown
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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2009, 12:21:28 AM »
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Quote from: James R
The DXO version does look better, but, I'm confused as to what the dng conversion adds to your workflow?  I haven't used DXO; but, could you just import the raw files and export the finished as tifs and import them into LR?

I did a very quick 1 minute tweak on your file using CO1 and LR--actually didn't do anything to it in LR, other than export it as a jpeg.  I don't think the file could tolerate all the attention.  It is looking a little over worked.

Hi James... the DNGs don't add anything so you are right. RAW CR2 > LR> DXO (for chosen files) > Photoshop etc is the preferred route. The reason DNG came into it, is that I use CS3, and Bridge CS3/Photoshop CS3 can't open Canon 5DMark 2 files unless they are converted to DNGs using DNG converter 5.2+
And I have previously converted all my files to DNGs using LR's import and convert option before I understood the limiting fact that DXO can't at present read DNGs!
Sorry to confuse on this... but its been quite a learning curve to add DXO to my workflow and I'm still digesting how best to use its features bearing in mind the HD /time issues mentioned above.
There is elsewhere a very technical debate about the merits of true RAW files and what happens to the conversion process to linear DNGs by third party software, but I'd rather leave my head clear on that one! By the way using DNGs in the example I just uploaded stripped off some EXIF data so that Focus Fixer Lens fit couldn't read the EXIF it needed to optimize the filter function.
So leaving all this aside, I would far rather spend time on creative projects than get bogged down with process, but can't help longing for a faster Mac!
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NicholasDown
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« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2009, 03:41:21 PM »
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For Interest.
One further and final (!) comparison... this time I've used a 1% sample of the original file: firstly sent from Raw CR2 via LR directly to PShop as a TIFF and secondly processed from RAW CR2 by DXO and sent to PS as a TIFF. Both used ProPhoto RGB 16bit before conversion to sRGB and save for web. Both used Focus Fixer at AutoDeblur.
On my monitor at this extreme magnification there has been a marked reduction in background noise when the file is processed by DXO (ISO of photo 320)

For anyone interested in a vigorously appreciative review of DXO here is a link that might be of interest.
Ken Rockwell DXO review




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robgo2
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« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2009, 03:57:40 PM »
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I have probably done more than one hundred side by side comparisons of identical RAW image files processed in Lightroom/ACR and Dxo Optics Pro.  (I may be a little bit weird. )   With very few exceptions, the DxO images are superior in terms of detail, clarity and sharpness.  I have tried very hard to optimize the LR images, but I can rarely get them to look as good as the DxO images.  I have also compared DoP to Aperture, Capture 1, RAW Developer and SilkyPix--although not as extensively--with similar outcomes.

I might add that DoP is superior even with unsupported lenses for which is does not have specific correction modules.  With supported lenses, it is really no contest.

What I have found is that almost all of the available RAW convertors do a decent job, so it takes side by side comparisons to discover that they are not all equal.

Rob
« Last Edit: August 02, 2009, 04:03:02 PM by robgo2 » Logged
Misirlou
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« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2009, 09:45:29 AM »
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DxO has a fairly useful document on their web site that goes through three different ways of interacting with Lightroom. There are advantages and disadvantages to each one, and I'm still trying to work out the simplest workflow for my own purposes. For now, I do all of my uploading from cards, keywording, etc. in Lightoom, then open DxO and choose images to edit from the Lightroom catalog. It's nice that DxO lets you point to the Lightroom catalog of your choice.
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walter.sk
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« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2009, 03:16:46 PM »
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Quote from: Misirlou
DxO has a fairly useful document on their web site that goes through three different ways of interacting with Lightroom. There are advantages and disadvantages to each one, and I'm still trying to work out the simplest workflow for my own purposes. For now, I do all of my uploading from cards, keywording, etc. in Lightoom, then open DxO and choose images to edit from the Lightroom catalog. It's nice that DxO lets you point to the Lightroom catalog of your choice.

After several more weeks of using DXO, that is still what I do.  I also find saving the DXO output as DNG's gives me the greatest flexibility in LR or Photoshop.
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