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Author Topic: DxO ViewPoint as Lightroom Plugin  (Read 11232 times)
Chris Kern
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« on: September 28, 2013, 04:46:41 PM »
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Has anyone successfully been able to use DxO ViewPoint as a Lightroom 5 plugin?

I've long felt DxO Optics Pro's automated camera/lens modules tend to do a better job of compensating for optical defects than LR's lens correction profiles when both products support the same lens.  (And DxO offers many more lens modules than out-of-the-box LR.)  Optics Pro is rather clunky to use as a LR external editor, and it occurred to me that ViewPoint might not only be better suited to the task, but also be an easier tool to use for handling perspective correction than LR's sliders for those images where the new Upright feature doesn't quite do the trick.

However, whenever I launch ViewPoint from LR with a LR-created TIFF, ViewPoint complains that the file "does not contain any valid EXIF data" that ViewPoint can parse to find the camera and lens parameters.

Except that it does.  I can see all the information ViewPoint should require with a standalone metadata viewer.

As usual, I couldn't find any useful information on DxO's product-support web pages.  I'll query their support staff, but in the meantime I wonder if anyone reading this is aware of some LR parameter I need to set, or other magic incantation I need to utter, to supply ViewPoint with the data it needs.
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xocet
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2013, 06:10:13 PM »
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Does it work if you use Viewpoint as a standalone program, i.e. export the tiff from LR, the open with Viewpoint?

The reason for asking this is that it would determine whether or not the problem is with the meta data, Viewpoint itself, or the plugin/plugin export process.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2013, 06:31:37 PM by xocet » Logged
Chris Kern
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2013, 09:26:31 PM »
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Does it work if you use Viewpoint as a standalone program, i.e. export the tiff from LR, the open with Viewpoint?

The reason for asking this is that it would determine whether or not the problem is with the meta data, Viewpoint itself, or the plugin/plugin export process.

All the metadata strings for the camera-lens identifiers and parameters that would appear to be necessary to identify the appropriate DxO correction module are in the LR-generated TIFF, whether it is exported and read by an independent invocation of ViewPoint or handed off to ViewPoint when ViewPoint is launched from Lightroom.
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mvsoske
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2013, 08:06:17 AM »
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Chris:  I agree with you that ViewPoint 2 won't read Exif data directly from LR nor will it read it from a LR generated Tiff.  I must first export the tiff to CS6 then launch ViewPoint 2 from the CS6 filter menu enabling it to read the data.  I must assume it is an issue with the DXO software that will hopefully be fixed.

Mark
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Chris Kern
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2013, 08:39:55 AM »
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Chris:  I agree with you that ViewPoint 2 won't read Exif data directly from LR nor will it read it from a LR generated Tiff.  I must first export the tiff to CS6 then launch ViewPoint 2 from the CS6 filter menu enabling it to read the data.  I must assume it is an issue with the DXO software that will hopefully be fixed.

I appreciate the corroboration, Mark.  At least, now I know I have the two applications correctly configured.

I suppose I could do a string-by-string comparison between the metadata fields in LR- and PS-generated files—although that would require some preprocessing effort because every program that touches an image seems to munge its metadata—but since DxO claims, and advertises, Lightroom compatibility for ViewPoint, this is clearly a bug.  I've queried DxO technical support and will follow up in this thread when I receive a response.

What I really wish DxO would do is offer its automated camera-lens correction technology, and only that, as a well-integrated LR plugin.  I thought maybe ViewPoint might serve that purpose better than Optics Pro—and it might, if it just worked the way the company claims it does.
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Chris Kern
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« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2013, 03:09:16 PM »
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I've queried DxO technical support and will follow up in this thread when I receive a response.

Well, I've had a lengthy but not very satisfactory exchange of messages with a DxO customer support rep.

The initial response was that ViewPoint was not designed to read Lightroom-generated TIFFs (which strikes me as, ahem, rather odd for an application that touts its Lightroom compatibility and installs a Lightroom plugin), and that it it needs to parse the metadata in the original raw file for the DxO automated camera-lens correction modules to work.  I've received no response to my follow-up message explaining that navigating to the original file within ViewPoint produces a diagnostic error message that the file does not contain "any valid EXIF data" (see attached).

The bottom line, according to the support rep, is that the company is not aware of any problem involving Lightroom compatibility.  I've provided some additional information for debugging, including sample metadata string dumps from a Lightroom-generated file and the corresponding original Nikon NEF, but have no clue whether it has been forwarded to the DxO development staff.  My prior experiences with the company's customer support operation indicate that there is little or no direct contact between the support reps and the people who actually understand the code.
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mvsoske
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« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2013, 06:58:32 PM »
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Thanks for the follow-up Chris.  A bit frustrating for sure, but at least it will still work through PS.  Hopefully, an update will be released.

Mark
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ValMc
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« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2013, 05:21:04 AM »
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I have been experiencing exactly the same problem but I can't even use the software by exporting a tiff from Lightroom to Photoshop and then opening Viewpoint 2.  I just get the message "No exif data found".  I have been in contact with DxO and they have referred me to page 16 of the user manual which basically states that it will not work with either Lightroom or Photoshop yet all their advertising implies that it is fully compatible with both Lightroom and Photoshop.  The only reason I purchased the upgrade was for this function.

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mvsoske
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« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2013, 07:02:56 AM »
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As I wrote in my earlier post, it does work but not by exporting the file from LR to a tiff then to PS, but by selecting "edit in CS6" in LR sending it directly to CS6. Viewpoint can then read the exif data.  At least this works for me.

Mark
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ValMc
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« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2013, 05:04:32 AM »
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I have got DxO to admit that Viewpoint 2 does not work with DNG files and I have asked them to look into this.  I have received an email saying my comments will be passed on to their production team but I get the distinct impression this is just being said to fob me off.  If other people experiencing the same problem - which is not being able to use Viewpoint 2 if you imported your files into Lightroom as DNGs - complain them maybe they will do something about it.
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Dr Tone
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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2013, 10:13:15 AM »
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From what I've read the new viewpoint 2 just does lens distortion correction it won't do the full lens correction that Optics Pro does. As in Lens Softness, vignetting, chromatic aberration adjustments.
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Chris Kern
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« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2013, 11:18:48 AM »
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After sending DxO customer support a sample image file (Nikon NEF), I was informed that the camera-lens combination I used does not have a corresponding DxO module; in other words, the pair is not currently supported.

Fair enough, and perhaps I should have checked that before testing DxO Viewpoint's Lightroom plugin.  But the diagnostic error message displayed by ViewPoint was at best uninformative and, more accurately, misleading: "File does not contain any valid EXIF data."  There is simply no excuse for an application failing to provide meaningful error strings.

I then tested the product with what I verified in advance was a supported camera-lens combination and it worked.  Sort of.  It turns out ViewPoint is not designed to read the metadata required to determine what DxO module to apply from the TIFF it receives from the DxO Lightroom plugin.  Even when the camera-lens pair is supported, ViewPoint must collect and parse the metadata from the original image file.  Which means that for every image, after the ViewPoint plugin has collected the Lightroom TIFF, the user is required to navigate manually back to the original image (it must be the actual file emitted by the camera) in order to apply the DxO module corrections.

It's difficult for me to imagine what the DxO developers were thinking when they designed a product that required this extra step.  It certainly couldn't be difficult to code a finite-state machine that would collect the metadata necessary to determine what module to apply from the Lightroom-generated TIFF.

Worse yet, ViewPoint, which isn't supposed to apply any corrections except optical ones, altered the colors in my test image.  I ran the same file through DxO Optics Pro and the colors matched those displayed by Lightroom.  In other words, ViewPoint, presumably using the same correction module as Optics Pro, creates a color cast that is absent in the Optics Pro product.

At this point, I give up.  Somebody please let me know when this product is ready for prime time.  ViewPoint has some nice perspective distortion features.  They're not as magical as Lightroom's Upright capability, but they're somewhat easier to use than the manual corrections in Lightroom.  (Maybe not as powerful, though; I haven't tried to do any extensive testing.)

But this is a product that seems to have been designed by optical engineers for other optical engineers—perhaps color-blind ones—not by engineers for photographers or, as in the case of Lightroom, photographers who are also engineers for other photographers.

I go back to what I said in an earlier post: what I really wish DxO would do is offer its genuinely excellent automated camera-lens correction technology, and only that, as a well-integrated LR plugin.

[Edited to correct a minor typo.]
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 03:15:26 PM by Chris Kern » Logged
mvsoske
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« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2013, 12:53:46 PM »
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Thanks for work you did in communication with DXO and for the heads-up on the color issue that I had not noticed but to which I will now pay attention.

Mark
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ValMc
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« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2013, 02:21:37 PM »
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Dxo have come back to me with the following:- "Actually, the feedback I got from the technical team is that the DNG from LightRoom does not contain information like focal length and focusing distance, this is why it technically can' t work to correct the distortion. "

It would seem that I wasted my money!
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Chris Kern
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« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2013, 03:11:38 PM »
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Dxo have come back to me with the following:- "Actually, the feedback I got from the technical team is that the DNG from LightRoom does not contain information like focal length and focusing distance, this is why it technically can' t work to correct the distortion. "

Eh?

$ exiftool DSC_5731.dng | egrep -i "^(Focal Length|Focus Distance)"
Focal Length                               : 22.0 mm
Focal Length In 35mm Format                : 22 mm
Focus Distance                             : 3.55 m
Focal Length                               : 22.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 22.0 mm)


To be sure, Lightroom adds additional metadata—every program that modifies or emits a new image file seems to tinker with the existing metadata—but most are careful to preserve previous values unless they have actually been changed.
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Denis de Gannes
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« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2013, 07:14:45 AM »
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Dxo have come back to me with the following:- "Actually, the feedback I got from the technical team is that the DNG from LightRoom does not contain information like focal length and focusing distance, this is why it technically can' t work to correct the distortion. "

It would seem that I wasted my money!

Have you tried using the original raw file from your camera and not the dng file.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2013, 07:44:53 AM »
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Have you tried using the original raw file from your camera and not the dng file.

Hi,

The same question crossed my mind. Why do people even convert to DNG, when it only complicates matters?

Cheers,
Bart
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Damon Lynch
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« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2013, 10:58:23 AM »
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Worse yet, ViewPoint, which isn't supposed to apply any corrections except optical ones, altered the colors in my test image.  I ran the same file through DxO Optics Pro and the colors matched those displayed by Lightroom.  In other words, ViewPoint, presumably using the same correction module as Optics Pro, creates a color cast that is absent in the Optics Pro product.

That's a bug, which I reported early on and apparently a fix is coming. About the ridiculousness with having to select the RAW file after being given the TIFF, I don't know what's happening there. Very odd.

None of these add on programs like Viewpoint, Nik etc. seem like real plugins to me, because they cannot directly hook into Lightroom's image processing pipe. I suppose most folks here would consider Bibble / Aftershot to be a inferior quality RAW convertor compared to LR -- and in many ways it is -- but one thing it gets right is it allows for real plugins, with no need to mess about with TIFFs as an intermediary. LR does not and it's a source of bewilderment to me.
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Chris Kern
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« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2013, 12:04:50 PM »
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That's a bug, which I reported early on and apparently a fix is coming.

Thanks for the confirmation of the color-cast problem, Damon, and the information about the planned fix.

Quote
None of these add on programs like Viewpoint, Nik etc. seem like real plugins to me, because they cannot directly hook into Lightroom's image processing pipe. I suppose most folks here would consider Bibble / Aftershot to be a inferior quality RAW convertor compared to LR -- and in many ways it is -- but one thing it gets right is it allows for real plugins, with no need to mess about with TIFFs as an intermediary. LR does not and it's a source of bewilderment to me.

I don't know the technical details of what goes on inside of Lightroom, but because LR's adjustments are applied dynamically, presumably at image-render-time, I suspect it would be difficult for LR to utilize a plugin that launches a different program as a coactive process without first producing an intermediate demosaiced file.  How else could DxO ViewPoint, or any other external program, know what modifications had already been applied within Lightroom?

The kind of transparent integration you're proposing—which would indeed be very nice—probably would require a cooperative development effort between DxO and Adobe.  Or, perhaps more plausibly, for Adobe to license DxO's camera-lens correction data and implement it within LR.  I'm guessing that when Adobe licensed Photokit Sharpener, it took the sharpening parameters developed by PixelGenius and implemented them as an integral part of Lightroom's workflow, rather than simply porting the code for the existing Photoshop plugin.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2013, 12:21:20 PM by Chris Kern » Logged
Denis de Gannes
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« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2013, 08:03:45 PM »
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I don't know the technical details of what goes on inside of Lightroom, but because LR's adjustments are applied dynamically, presumably at image-render-time, I suspect it would be difficult for LR to utilize a plugin that launches a different program as a coactive process without first producing an intermediate demosaiced file.  How else could DxO ViewPoint, or any other external program, know what modifications had already been applied within Lightroom?

The kind of transparent integration you're proposing—which would indeed be very nice—probably would require a cooperative development effort between DxO and Adobe.  Or, perhaps more plausibly, for Adobe to license DxO's camera-lens correction data and implement it within LR.  I'm guessing that when Adobe licensed Photokit Sharpener, it took the sharpening parameters developed by PixelGenius and implemented them as an integral part of Lightroom's workflow, rather than simply porting the code for the existing Photoshop plugin.

The reality is there can be only one option for the process of the raw data, its either Lightroom/ACR's chef or DXO's chef or another raw converter, after the raw data is processed all you will have is a tif or jpeg file to be used by the secondary processor. You will have to make the choose who is your raw chef, Adobe, DXO, Capture One, SilkyPix, Your Camera manufacturer's software, etc.   
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