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Author Topic: Preparing a Raw file in Lightroom for Photoshop  (Read 10788 times)
wofsy
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« on: October 23, 2011, 03:09:13 PM »
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I would like to prepare a Raw file in Lightroom the export it into Photoshop where I will adjust it for making a color print. I think I have a good idea of the Lighroom steps but would like to know if I am missing anything.

The idea is to make a uniform histogram. For this the steps seem to be

- set profile to camera faithful
- set the point curve to linear
- set sharpening to zero
- adjust white balance
- find black and white points with Exposure and Blacks sliders
- adjust brightness with Brightness slider
- reduce contrast with Contrast slider
- reduce noise if necessary with Luminance slider

Will the brightness and contrast adjustments affect the color temperature? Can this be fixed later in Photoshop?
Are there missing steps?

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Schewe
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2011, 03:25:29 PM »
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The idea is to make a uniform histogram.

Uh, no actually...the idea is to optimize the image and make it look good.

If you don't do that in Lightroom you are leaving potential image quality on the table. Yes, set the end points, but you need to also optimize the tone curve which means using whatever global or local tools in Lightroom to get to the point. Then you indicate zero sharpening? Why would you do that? Lightroom sharpening works in combination with the noise reduction to allow you to get the best you can from the image. Yes, you can fiddle around in Photoshop later but again, that would be suboptimal.

The other thing I gotta ask is why you are going to Photoshop? Unless you need extensive retouching or are soft proofing, you should seriously consider doing everything in Lightroom including the printing. Even if you do open the image in Photoshop I would still suggest returning to Lightroom for the printing...

Based on your proposed workflow, why are you even using Lightroom if you don't want to do the majority of work in Lightroom? Seems like you would be better off using Bridge, Camera Raw and Photoshop.
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MartyGrivjackLRInstructor
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2011, 08:03:16 AM »
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In addition to Jeff's points, there's one other issue: There is no such thing as a uniform histogram. The histogram is a tool used to verify where your light and tonal levels are. As Julianne Kost puts it, a histogram is a display of "piles of pixels." If you have a high contrast image, your histogram will show a pile of pixels on the left and a pile of pixels on the right. Is this right? Is this wrong? The answer (or question) is, as Jeff says, '...does it look good?'. If you end up with a cool looking histogram but the image looks like $%*it, what good is it?

Back to the histogram indications: Pay attention to the left and right "walls" of the histogram. If you see these "piles of pixels" climbing up either, you've got problems in that you're underexposed to black (no detail) on the left, or overexposed (blown out) on the right. Fix those using Exposure and Recovery (for blowout) and Blacks & Fill Light for under exposure. In Develop, there are two clipping tools in the histogram display that you can access to help fix those issues. Hover over them to see your issues, or click on them to activate and show you what you're fixing as you fix it. When done, click on them to turn them off.

I use LR for 95% of image adjustments. Only when I have to swap heads, remove unwanted image elements or combine image elements (as a montage) do I port to PS for adjustments. A good practice is to only send uncropped, un-vignetted (full) images to Photoshop. You'll understand this once you send a cropped, vignetted image to PS and then wish you had the rest of the image to work with. And it sucks to start over.

Here's a tip to decide whether an image is "fixable." If blown out, run the exposure control all the way to the left. If you can see detail, you can work the image. If underexposed, run the exposure control to the right. If you see detail without too much noise, you can work that as well. If no details emerge, you certainly have considerable PS work ahead to "fix" the image. This is when it is good to select a better image.

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pegelli
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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2011, 08:22:16 AM »
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My advice is similar to the others, do as much as you can in Lightroom and only use photoshop for things you cannot do in Lightroom. Currently the only reasons for me to export pictures to Photoshop are detailed cloning/healing and using the "Shadow/Highlight" command. I'm sure the latter can be closely emulated in Lightroom but I find the Photoshop command for that very simple and powerful. Other than that my total workflow is in Lightroom.
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pieter, aka pegelli
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2011, 09:07:33 AM »
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Jeff, why does Lightroon not have RGB separate level adjustment options to adjust if needed similar to C1?  Or is there something I'm missing here...thanks Eleanor

Uh, no actually...the idea is to optimize the image and make it look good.

If you don't do that in Lightroom you are leaving potential image quality on the table. Yes, set the end points, but you need to also optimize the tone curve which means using whatever global or local tools in Lightroom to get to the point. Then you indicate zero sharpening? Why would you do that? Lightroom sharpening works in combination with the noise reduction to allow you to get the best you can from the image. Yes, you can fiddle around in Photoshop later but again, that would be suboptimal.

The other thing I gotta ask is why you are going to Photoshop? Unless you need extensive retouching or are soft proofing, you should seriously consider doing everything in Lightroom including the printing. Even if you do open the image in Photoshop I would still suggest returning to Lightroom for the printing...

Based on your proposed workflow, why are you even using Lightroom if you don't want to do the majority of work in Lightroom? Seems like you would be better off using Bridge, Camera Raw and Photoshop.
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stamper
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« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2011, 02:59:45 AM »
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My advice is similar to the others, do as much as you can in Lightroom and only use photoshop for things you cannot do in Lightroom. Currently the only reasons for me to export pictures to Photoshop are detailed cloning/healing and using the "Shadow/Highlight" command. I'm sure the latter can be closely emulated in Lightroom but I find the Photoshop command for that very simple and powerful. Other than that my total workflow is in Lightroom.

Lee Varis the photographic author disagrees with this. In a recent book he stated that you should do little in ACR or Lightroom and most of your work in Photoshop. He recommends using the LAB space in Photoshop because you have access to more than one channel. Smiley
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2011, 06:57:05 AM »
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Opinions will differ but the idea of using LAB in PS has pretty much been tossed into the photo editing wastebin, hasn't it?  I'm not sure why you'd, as a general process, give up the parametric, non-damaging editing options of LR or ACR in favour of pixel based editing.
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stamper
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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2011, 07:40:58 AM »
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Varis recommends using the raw processor for white balance, highlight recovery and noise reduction. All other adjustments occur after the de-mosaic algorithms have been applied so they should be done in Photoshop. No advantage in doing colour and tone adjustments in the Raw processor. Mastering Exposure and the Zone system. Lee Varis published 2011. He states the biggest disadvantage of Lightroom and ACR is that you have only one channel to work with unlike Photoshop which has two or three channels.
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jeremypayne
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« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2011, 08:27:36 AM »
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Varis recommends using the raw processor for white balance, highlight recovery and noise reduction. All other adjustments occur after the de-mosaic algorithms have been applied so they should be done in Photoshop. No advantage in doing colour and tone adjustments in the Raw processor. Mastering Exposure and the Zone system. Lee Varis published 2011. He states the biggest disadvantage of Lightroom and ACR is that you have only one channel to work with unlike Photoshop which has two or three channels.

If you change ~should~ to ~can~ be done in Photoshop, I would agree.

I can't imagine needing to do work on individual channels ... LR perfectly suits my needs as a photographer and I hardly ever use PS anymore.
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2011, 08:33:57 AM »
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I guess the question then becomes why is there a need for access to the various channels on a regular basis.  It seems that there are a good number of books out there that advocate a more complex approach that really may not be necessary except in a few cases.  Complexity for no other reason than complexity doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me. 
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stamper
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« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2011, 08:38:34 AM »
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I am all for technology progressing but what dismays me that when new ways of doing things come along not only is the previous ways of doing things discarded but some people then knock the previous ways of doing things. This isn't aimed at you Jeremy. It all depends on how far you want to go with your processing.
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pegelli
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« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2011, 09:16:21 AM »
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Whatever floats your boat. There's a large multitude of opinions on proper workflows as well as which pixel editors and/or raw converters are "best". I'm sure that PS can do things LR can't do but for me the question is if I need them often and hard enough to justify my investment in money and time using them.

Coming from a chemical darkroom I find LR "intuitive" with sliders doing stuff I tried but never truly masterd with developer composition & concentration, temperature, time, agitation, toning etc. and I get the results I'm happy with

By the time I go into Photoshop I find myself in a completely new world with digital manipulations that I cannot relate to as well.

This is very personal and pls. don't read it as that I'm advocating PS is bad or not needed, I'm just explaining why I like to do as much as possible in Lightroom and hardly use photoshop.
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pieter, aka pegelli
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« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2011, 09:25:36 AM »
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I am all for technology progressing but what dismays me that when new ways of doing things come along not only is the previous ways of doing things discarded but some people then knock the previous ways of doing things. This isn't aimed at you Jeremy. It all depends on how far you want to go with your processing.

I didn't "knock" anything ... and I think I speak for lots of people when I say that telling me I "should" be using Photoshop is a bit over the top.

I "should" be using the tool that does the job ... Lightroom "does the job" for me and lots of other people ... We "should" be using Lightroom.
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Schewe
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2011, 12:46:55 PM »
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Lee Varis the photographic author disagrees with this. In a recent book he stated that you should do little in ACR or Lightroom and most of your work in Photoshop. He recommends using the LAB space in Photoshop because you have access to more than one channel. Smiley

I like Lee and we've been friends for a long time but Lee is wrong for the vast majority of photo users. Lee is a Photoshop expert and does substantial image manipulations. All his final work HAS to go through Photoshop for compositing and retouching. He is very familiar with the tools that Photoshop has and perhaps less familiar with Lightroom or ACR.

Contrary to what Lee says, the vast majority of Lightroom users don't send everything over to Photoshop. That workflow would very quickly break down. Lightroom was designed to take over 80% of a photographer's image processing needs to provide a more efficient workflow. As a result, optimizing an image for tone, color and detail before resorting to Photoshop is the most efficient workflow and offer the best potential image quality.

Clearly, there's a lot of things Photoshop can do that Lightroom wasn't designed to do...layers, channels & paths are the power of Photoshop. But I suspect the vast majority of photographers don't need to use the vast majority of Photoshop all the time (as Lee would do).

I'm also not real sure about how accurate your characterization of what Lee thinks is...I'm pretty sure he doesn't think Lab is used simply because you have access to more channels. I'm pretty sure he uses Lab for those things that are unique to the way the color & luminance information is accessed and adjusted. Lab is just another 3 channels color file like RGB or CIE XYZ. And yes, accessing individual channels in Photoshop allows for some powerful image manipulation...how often do photographers need to do that?

Besides, LR & ACR both allow substantial discreet controls over tone and color and has the distinct advantage of doing so parametrically.

BTW, which book?

I think I'll give Lee a call and talk about it...
:~)
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Bryan Conner
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« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2011, 01:31:55 PM »
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This is a very interesting thread to me.  I have been considering trying out Lightroom as soon as I receive my new computer.  Currently, I use Capture 1 for my raw processing and send the files to Photoshop for sharpening.  Sometimes, this is the only thing I do in Photoshop.  I use (and love) the methodology put forth in the Real World Image Sharpening book.

So, my question is this:  Is it possible for me to switch to Lightroom and still enjoy the quality of sharpening I get using my Real World techniques?

 I have never used Lightroom and understand that it does not incorporate layers etc, so forgive me for my ignorance in advance.
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meyerweb
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« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2011, 01:37:22 PM »
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If nothing else, you can use Lightroom for everything up to the point of sharpening, then automagically send the image to PS, apply your sharpening, and return the sharpened image to Lightroom, without applying permanent changes to the original raw file.
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Schewe
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« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2011, 02:00:16 PM »
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This is a very interesting thread to me.  I have been considering trying out Lightroom as soon as I receive my new computer.  Currently, I use Capture 1 for my raw processing and send the files to Photoshop for sharpening.  Sometimes, this is the only thing I do in Photoshop.  I use (and love) the methodology put forth in the Real World Image Sharpening book.

So, my question is this:  Is it possible for me to switch to Lightroom and still enjoy the quality of sharpening I get using my Real World techniques?

With regards to capture sharpening, I would rate LR's ability to capture sharpen to be slightly better than either PhotoKit Sharpener (which I am involved with) or Photoshop's. With regards to creative sharpening, no, Photoshop is still King. But when you are ready to print, I would suggest printing from LR and use LR's output sharpening–which is based on PhotoKit Sharpener's output sharpening.

In either case, I suggest using LR to do all your global and local adjustments to tone, color and detail in Lightroom before going to Photoshop. For me, I take back out of Photoshop and into LR for printing or other consumption...I hate having to spawn off too many iterations of the original. I use raw when possible but generally make an RGB master for retouching and soft proofing and keep the original raw and rendered TIFF from Photoshop in Lightroom.
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meyerweb
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« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2011, 02:32:08 PM »
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Jeff, your last post raises a question that I've been wondering about.

Say I've got an image in LR, and I've applied sharpening in LR so that it looks "right" on the screen, to my eyes.

Now I print or export that image, and have the option in either to apply output sharpening. Is that applied on top of the sharpening I've already applied in LR? If I've got the image looking the way I want it in LR, and export to a JPEG for display purposes, why would I want to apply another round of sharpening?  Is there any risk of ending up with an oversharpened image, either with export or printing, with this workflow?

Many thanks.
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Schewe
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« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2011, 03:48:05 PM »
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Now I print or export that image, and have the option in either to apply output sharpening. Is that applied on top of the sharpening I've already applied in LR? If I've got the image looking the way I want it in LR, and export to a JPEG for display purposes, why would I want to apply another round of sharpening?  Is there any risk of ending up with an oversharpened image, either with export or printing, with this workflow?

Taking into consideration of a sharpening workflow first outlined by Bruce Fraser, yes, ACR/LR is built based on the workflow of multiple rounds of proper sharpening at various steps. When you get an image to "look good" in the development, that sharpening won't be optimal for printing. That's why the Print module also has sharpening intended to properly sharpen for print. Same deal if you are downsampling for the web, you'll need the correct sharpening for screen AFTER the downsampling.

It's all part of a sharpening workflow...and while ACR/LR has some limited creative sharpening in the adjustment brush, clearly Photoshop has vastly more power and flexibility than ACR/LR.
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jjj
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« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2011, 07:46:56 PM »
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I'd just like to second everything Jeff has said about LR + PS.
I do most of my grading work in LR these days and leave PS for the fun stuff or for looks I can get in PS that I cannot replicate in LR - these tend to involve layer blending and such like.
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