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Author Topic: Why is this image so difficult to process in LR?  (Read 1540 times)
Damon Lynch
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« on: May 10, 2013, 10:42:19 AM »
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Hi everyone,

Occasionally I come across an image where I just cannot get the results I'm looking for in LR. And the main problem is I don't understand why. I know there is something I need to learn so I can fix the problem, but I don't know what exactly I should be working on.

One standout example is a 2009 portrait shot in natural light. The only way I can get a result I like is by using onOne's Perfect Effects. Although I paid serious money for the suite in which it is a part I prefer to use it only as a last resort for several reasons -- the most important of which is that I cannot save its processing steps in the TIFF's XMP so I can recreate them later. Therefore I'd like to get as much right as I can in LR. However with this particular image I need Perfect Effects because there is something in its algorithms that gets the job done. 

Currently the colors look simply awful in LR, no matter how much I adjust the temperature and tint.

Is this an image that absolutely requires using the HSL / Color panel in LR4? (I never normally touch that panel). When I adjust the Color portion in this image -- as an experiment -- the only adjustment that has a truly notable effect is manipulating Orange, which has a strong effect on the skin tone. The rest of the image still looks terrible.

I've attached 3 images. Straight out of the camera LR with no manipulation, LR before sending it to Perfect Effects, and the final image after Perfect Effects and some minor clean up in Photoshop.  I keep in-LR image fairly neutral (e.g. no contrast adjustments at all) so that Perfect Effects has something useful to work with.

Thanks in advance for any insights you can offer.
Damon
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PeterAit
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2013, 10:48:50 AM »
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I am hardly a portrait expert, but within 3 seconds of seeing your images I thought "the lighting is all wrong." And, lighting is everything in portraits, or at least 90%. Not even the most accomplished LR wizard can fix bad lighting, I am afraid. So, the problem as I see it is the photo and not your LR skills.
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Damon Lynch
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2013, 11:22:54 AM »
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I agree the lighting is nothing like a lighting specialist would approve of.  It was not taken in a studio - it was taken in the passageway of a grand old home. I'm happy with how the lighting ended up in the final version.
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jwstl
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2013, 11:26:47 AM »
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The Lightroom image looks washed out/desaturated. I see the exposure was increased significantly....maybe too much? The biggest differences I see between the LR image and Perfect Effets image is increased contrast, saturation and color. I would try decreasing the exposure compensation and play with contrast and color in LR.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2013, 11:30:18 AM »
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I agree the lighting is nothing like a lighting specialist would approve of.  It was not taken in a studio - it was taken in the passageway of a grand old home. I'm happy with how the lighting ended up in the final version.

Hi Damon,

Not sure what happened to the LR exercise, and also what kind of result you had in mind. Anyway, I hope you don't mind, I gave it a quick retouch (see attachment) as I would have interpreted it (without knowing the model), based on your out of the camera shot.

I kept it darker than your conversions, maybe your display is not calibrated, or you prefer that look better.

Cheers,
Bart
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2013, 11:30:23 AM »
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I am hardly a portrait expert, but within 3 seconds of seeing your images I thought "the lighting is all wrong." And, lighting is everything in portraits, or at least 90%. Not even the most accomplished LR wizard can fix bad lighting, I am afraid. So, the problem as I see it is the photo and not your LR skills.

Totally irrelevant for the OP question.
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Slobodan

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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2013, 11:36:15 AM »
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... results I'm looking for in LR...

Hard to comment if we do not know what you are looking for looks like. Is the PerfectEffects example what you are looking for? If so, I can guarantee you it is possible to achieve it LR too.

However, personally, I prefer Bart's (and even your original) version.
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Slobodan

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Damon Lynch
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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2013, 12:57:42 PM »
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Hi Bart and Slobodan,

My display is calibrated and I'm pretty happy with the print. I'm actually really curious to know what adjustments you'd make in LR to make it look good - if you like, can I share the RAW with you? I just cannot seem to manipulate the color and tonal range in LR to get anything even remotely close to the look I can get in Perfect Effects.

Damon
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Gulag
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2013, 12:58:40 PM »
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It's not a bag original though some may not like the wide angle perspective on a tight face shot. For a portrait to work, you need to do tons of dodging and burning to make the image 3D, besides other crucial factors. LR doesn't give you the tools for D&B, and you need to use either PS or GIMP for that.
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Damon Lynch
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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2013, 01:03:06 PM »
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It's not a bag original though some may not like the wide angle perspective on a tight face shot.

How is a 135mm focal length on a full frame sensor equivalent to using a wide angle?
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Gulag
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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2013, 01:14:48 PM »
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How is a 135mm focal length on a full frame sensor equivalent to using a wide angle?

that I don't know. Perhaps it was shot at very close range? Looking at the original, you can see there are inconsistence in terms of hue, saturation and brightness on the face. If you can't see, put it in Photoshop and parade it thru hue map, saturation map and luminosity map one at time. D&B in those three department will make the original standout.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2013, 02:19:01 PM by Gulag » Logged

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jrsforums
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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2013, 01:18:05 PM »
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Just a suggestion....

George Jardine has come out with a new video tutorial on LR image adjustment.
http://mulita.com/blog/?page_id=5852

While it works of the basis of his prior Develop modules, he really gives great examples of doing tonal and other adjustments...against "textbook" instructions of top/down Exposure, then contrast, etc.  He shows why using other controls such as curves, highlights with whites, etc. are needed to be used for certain images to get the proper tones, contarst and edges vs flatten tones.

$30...worth every penny.

John
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2013, 01:44:16 PM »
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Hi Bart and Slobodan,

My display is calibrated and I'm pretty happy with the print. I'm actually really curious to know what adjustments you'd make in LR to make it look good - if you like, can I share the RAW with you? I just cannot seem to manipulate the color and tonal range in LR to get anything even remotely close to the look I can get in Perfect Effects.

Hi Damon,

As said, it's hard to know what you are specifically looking for, as an end result. If you like I can give the image an interpretation of how I would do it, but that might not be to your liking. If you want, send me a link by PM where I can download the file, and I'll have look. It won't be a complete retouch job, as a freebie, but it might get you started in the right direction.

Cheers,
Bart
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Gulag
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2013, 02:56:48 PM »
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here are the maps that i was talking about. used your posted original image (hope you don't mind) to illustrate the calls for D&B in hue, saturation and luminosity areas to fix the overall inconsistencies there. Sadly, LR doesn't allow you to achieve those goals.

« Last Edit: May 15, 2013, 02:17:56 PM by Gulag » Logged

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Damon Lynch
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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2013, 03:24:53 PM »
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Thanks for sharing those maps. I'd never seen them before. I'll look into them in Photoshop myself. One thing I am confused about however: her skin tones vary as we would expect, as does the general lighting of the scene. Why is it important to make them consistent throughout the image?
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Rajan Parrikar
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« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2013, 03:32:41 PM »
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Thanks for sharing those maps. I'd never seen them before. I'll look into them in Photoshop myself. One thing I am confused about however: her skin tones vary as we would expect, as does the general lighting of the scene. Why is it important to make them consistent throughout the image?

Your LR processed and Bart's interpretation both present a fine portrait.  Sure, there is room for further local adjustments, but I don't quite see what the distress is all about.
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Gulag
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« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2013, 03:39:15 PM »
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Thanks for sharing those maps. I'd never seen them before. I'll look into them in Photoshop myself. One thing I am confused about however: her skin tones vary as we would expect, as does the general lighting of the scene. Why is it important to make them consistent throughout the image?

those maps are for the people who can't see in their naked eye what has to be done. take a good look at those retouched images of Annie Leibovitz's work by Pascal Dangin. that'll answer your question.




« Last Edit: May 15, 2013, 02:18:45 PM by Gulag » Logged

“For art to be art it has to cure.”  - Alejandro Jodorowsky
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