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Lightroom improvement suggestions on Clarity and Print Module

A couple of nits to pick about Lightroom 4, addressing these will create a much stronger product:

1. The clarity slider now makes substantial structural and tonal changes, especially visible on smooth surfaces like skin. This makes is much less useful and usable than the earlier versions. Yes, it prevents halos, but the result is generally unacceptable for me anywhere beyond 15-20 depending on the image.

2. The print module still does not have a good way of placing text with precise control below the image on the template. I have a workaround, but it is, well, a workaround. The watermark feature has a great set of tools, why not enable them for the identity plate placement on the page? The watermark feature allows for placing the text outside the image with negative offsets but then it is not visible! Why have this option and then hide the text?

3. I would love to have multiple line text in the print module with a simple graphic line without doing all that in Photoshop and bringing it as a graphic identity plate. See example of workaround and one output from LR at:

http://www.keptlight.com/2012/01/prin...

See what I would like to get direct from Lightroom, top left image at:
http://www.keptlight.com/shop/orchid-...
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  • I’m sad
    I'm completely with you with the clarity slider:
    In my opinion the new algorithm isn't useable for skins. Maybe in landacape photography it brings better results but for portrait photography the clarity slider can't be used any more. Also converting portrait images from old to new process makes absolutely bad structure and contrast to the skin.
    Maybe an option button, which clarity algorithm to use for an individual picture would be a solution.
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  • It has been widely discussed that Clarity needs a much finer touch now than in LR3.x. It has been suggested that cutting your pre LR4 setting in half gets you a good starting point.

    As someone who retouches somewhere in the hundreds of people images every month, I can tell you that I rarely go to clarity as a global adjustment on any image with skin. That was the case in LR 3.x as well.
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  • Good to see supporting messages. I have written on Lightroom 4 and it's ills on my Web site. It is a very good software and to a large extent it works very well. But I don't know what kind of guidance they followed to arrive at a version with these shortcomings. Even if one used the clarity with restraint in LR3, the results were aimed at "clarity" not "tonality". Now, it is a mixed bag, up to a point it works like the old clarity (say around 15-25), beyond that it works like exaggerated tone mapping. On another Adobe forum where I posted a similar message, another user said he wished the clarity was even stronger, to what end I fail to understand.

    If you care to read my posts on these matters, here are the links:
    http://www.keptlight.com/2012/03/ligh...
    http://www.keptlight.com/2012/03/lr4-...
    http://www.keptlight.com/2012/04/ligh...

    Thanks for chiming in and lending your support.
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  • I think you misread. I am not in support of reverting clarity to LR 3.x functionality. I am saying Clarity -any version is not a tool I would use with skin. I am also pointing out that the new Clarity tool needs to be used with more care and finesse than the 3.x tool.
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  • Rikk, I got your message loud and clear. I was merely pointing at the heavy handedness of LR 4 clarity slider on which you seem to agree. Like any set of tools each user picks their favorites and may ignore the rest. I did not mean to put words in your mouth.
    • view 2 more comments
    • Though yes the tool's character has changed, I feel you're making a fuss about nothing here. More like a bigger sharper knife than a bigger blunter hammer. Aren't people smart enough to adapt how they use it?
    • Sorry to have distracted you from what you were doing. Please ignore my comments.
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  • 2
    I find also the new clarity slider a bit strange: more than clarity it looks like tonal structure. It's true that now clarity doesn't makes halos but certainly makes other stuff: JPG's like artifacts, saturation and color changing. I'm not saying that the new clarity is better or worse, I find it different. It works for different things. I hope I could see the old and the new clarity working at the same time - old one named as clarity and the new one as structure or tonal contrast-.
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  • You can see them side by side in Lightroom 4. Pick a photograph an create a virtual copy of it. Select on and enter the develop module and scroll the panels on the right all the way down to Camera Calibration. For the process choose "2010" and that will now work with Lightroom 3 controls. On the other one you can make adjustments using the Lightroom 4 controls and see them side by side.
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  • Cemal,

    Consider separate topics for each item.

    Regarding clarity:

    Lr4 clarity is indeed very different than Lr3 clarity, and I actually use it on far fewer photos than I used Lr3 clarity on.

    Thankfully, Lr4 is capable of producing clearer images without it, otherwise I would miss it even more.

    So like many things Lightroom, I have a love/hate relationship with it.

    Love: how much better it is than Lr3 clarity, on some photos.
    Hate: how it detracts from many normal images that would have been improved by a touch of Lr3 clarity.

    What I wish is that I had more control over it's effect. As it stands, it's amount can be controlled, or it can be applied locally, but there is no way to limit it's effect to midtones, or shift the balance between micro contrast and macro contrast enhancement.........

    A couple of tips:
    1. Use +contrast -highlights +shadows to increase midtone contrast (so less +clarity is needed for that purpose).
    2. Use +clarity +blacks -highlights -shadows to reduce impact on global tonality, and somewhat mitigate it's clarifying effect in the shadows.
    3. Use local -clarity to spot reduce it's effect (or of course, just apply locally in the first place...)

    1 & 2 are supported using relative presets via cookmarks:

    http://www.robcole.com/Rob/ProductsAn...
    (see PV2012 tone section under "photo adjustment links").

    Rob
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  • Rob, thanks for the detailed comments here and on my site. I posted the brief list here based on a suggestion from Julieanne Kost on her site, to bring these to the attention of Adobe engineers. I am surprised, and somewhat disappointed, that neither on this forum nor another Adobe forum there has not been a single reply from an Adobe staff. My printing and clarity posts on my site are extensive and clearly documented. I hope that they have at least taken a quick look at them.

    They can easily limit the effect of the clarity slider to midtones since they have algorithms to separate the highlights and shadows. What is not in one of these areas must be the midtone. This version of clarity is in need of one or two additional parametric sliders, radius and tonal range.

    Appreciate your comments, thanks.

    Cemal
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    • Cemal,

      I don't think you are in that small of a minority. I do think most people suffer in silence. Voicing criticism on an Adobe forum that is chocked full of defenders is often a recipe for a bad tasting soup.

      Thanks for having the courage to speak your mind.

      In attempt to reassure, I do think you will get better at creating the results you want over time. I went through something very similar as you are going through. And if you browse the beta forum you'll find some others who went through their version of it too.

      I've come to mostly love PV2012 at this point, but it has been quite a transition.

      Rob
    • Thanks for your reassuring voice Rob. I have never shied away from speaking my mind, sometimes to my own detriment. No regrets though. I may get used to LR4 or simply use it in 2010 mode by default, ironic isn't it? Of course the same problems will prevail on the Photoshop ACR side which is a different kettle of soup altogether. Time will tell how LR4 will be remembered. People still remember Windows Me, not very kindly!
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  • I agree that the old clarity should have been left alone and the new clarity should have been added as a new "faux HDR look" slider.

    I don't like the faux HDR look at high settings at all and am puzzled by the tonal changes at lower settings.

    Too bad that most people even didn't ask for what they now must love/hate (which includes all of the changed basic panel controls) and would have preferred to see efforts spend elsewhere.
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  • That would have been sensible TK. I have just finished giving a presentation on HDR imaging at the local photo club where I emphasized that HDR does not have a look, that look should be called possibly "CTM look (creative tone mapping)" since it can be obtained from a single photo. Many of the Lightroom and Photoshop gurus are to blame for this misconceived naming and practice. (See a longer exposition on my site: http://www.keptlight.com/2012/02/what... )

    Cemal
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  • 1
    I like the look I can get with the clarity slider but as a time lapse photographer it applies itself so specifically to each image it's all but impossible to use it on a sequence of photos. In a simple city scene with clouds moving across the sky the same adjustment applied yields wide (and seemingly random) variations in tonal and exposure values. I know this is an issue for pano photographers as well. It would be great to see a way to duplicate exatly the effect from one image to a group of similar images without the reinterpretation of data from each image.
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  • Earlier, either on this forum or another one, I also mentioned the seemingly random behavior of the clarity slider. This is particularly problematic, as you indicate, on clear sky or one with clouds. In my example, clarity changed the tonality of the sky that was far away from any detail. In 2010 process, the effect of clarity was generally limited to areas where there was varying degrees of detail. Now, it is, or seems to be, driven by tonal characteristics of the photograph. I'm afraid this version upgrade will be remembered as the one that broke the stride of Lightroom.

    Take a look at this thread for different examples I provided:
    http://forums.adobe.com/thread/976601

    Cemal
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  • Re Clarity, I much prefer the new LR4 version. Going fully positive works well and fully negative is lovely soft-focus for the right type of image. Great stuff.

    As for portraiture, the clarity can now be applied locally if desired or even negated locally.

    The shadow adjustment however could do with a greater range I feel.

    For the right subject these controls are great. For other subjects, use them with care. Simples?
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  • To ahem, clarify my post on clarity my suggestion for improvenment is to add the ability to copy or sync the clarity settings from one image to a group or sequence of similar images without allowing the reinterpretation of data from each image. If you try now for example to sync a similar batch of landscapes with the new clarity tool (from the clarity settings from one image) you will find each images renders differently, both in tone and exposure. If you are attempting to stich a pano or create a time lapse sequence those inconsistencies will make it impossible to create a cohesive work.
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  • I’m very disappointed
    I fully understood your description from your first post Sam. The unpredictability of the adjustment is a major problem for me as well. On some images it darkens the plain blue sky on others it lightens it. It is very, very difficult to understand the logic behind it. I am not a happy camper, I think everyone here knows it!
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  • Regarding the unpredictability:
    The "wonders" of image adaptive technology it seems.

    Every time software tries to be smarter than a human in creative matters, it fails one way or the other.

    I haven't tried this (I guess LR 4.2 may be stable/useful enough for me to give it a go) yet, but unpredictability/inconsistency problems should also appear with other basic panel controls in the PV 2012 version.

    A workaround for panorama stitchers is to apply the processing to the stitched image, rather than the individual images.
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  • 1
    Apart from the unpredictability, is anyone actually pleased with the cumulative effect? After all many commentators regard the new clarity/shadow tool combination to be great as a form of controlled HDR. Maybe it is the name that misleads? We are used to clarity in LR3 and really the new one isn't the same at all so ought to have a new name. Maybe also offer another tool actually based on the old clarity?

    Also, in my opinion, I'd never try to apply clarity or shadows to images automatically. That seems to be asking for trouble as has been found. Even sharpness needs individual tweaks. That's my view anyway.
    • New clarity is awesome on some photos. And I think it complements the rest of PV2012 nicely. I have my issues with it, but mostly I wish I could control where it's applied, without so much painting. Some nice auto-masking support would help, like a more sophisticated version of U-points...

      Don't get me wrong - I miss old clarity too sometimes, when new clarity is doing "too much" (in some ways, and/or "not enough" in others...), but as I've said before, PV2012 naturally has independently controllable "clarity" (intra-region contrast/detail) in shadows, midtones, and highlights, so old clarity is not needed so much for that, like it was in Lr3.

      Although it took some getting used to, I probably am applying new clarity to over half my photos now, but typical global value ranges between 3 & 9, which I consider fairly light. 10-20 I consider fairly strong, and 20-30 I consider very strong. I've only gone above 30 on a small handful of photos. And, it is not uncommon for me to spot reduce clarity here and there using the brush, or add an extra touch...

      Regarding shadows: if I apply strong +shadows along with strong -blacks, it's possible to have "too much" intra-shadow contrast. I regularly shift to using more +blacks and reduce shadows slider until an appropriate amount of shadow detail has been accomplished. The point curve can be used to set black point if need be, and/or the tone curve can be used to further optimize shape of shadow tones if need be. I consider this skill to be essential for defining striking vivid shadows when desired or more subtle natural shadows if desired. (note: blacks extends further past the midline than shadows, so other compensations are necessary if similar overall tone and color are to be maintained. You can see the exact formula I am presently using for this in the PV2012 tone section of the cookmarks page - photo adjustment links. Look for Blacks/Shadows).

      PS - I think most of any HDR-ish look a photo may have comes from improper adjustment of basic controls, and also from having more tonal detail than you are used to. The smaller part is due to the localized toning magic, e.g. new clarity (assuming it has been applied in moderation).
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  • Here is a simple test of the differences in the clarity behavior. Save the attached image, which is a simple gray scale ramp in two directions. Import it to LR 4, make a virtual copy and change the process to 2010 for that copy. Now, you have two identical images, one in 2012 engine and the other in 2010. Look at their histograms which should look like a lot of spikes

    Watch what happens to the tonality of the squares as you increase the clarity in 2012, lighter squares will become darker and darker ones will get lighter. Observe the histogram as it bunches the tones in the middle and eventually creates a continuous histogram.

    Now try the same thing in 2010. You will see minimal changes in the tonality of the squares and only where there are edges that can be made "clearer". You will also see the histogram generally unchanging in its distribution of the spikes but will form tiny heaps as the tonality around the edges change.

    I bet if you try a different distribution of gray patches you will likely get a different behavior. I will leave that for you to develop and try.

    For me, I have created a preset in LR4 which saves only the process version which I have set to 2010. I also marked that preset to apply on import. Now, any imported image will have the 2010 engine applied to it instead of 2012. I must admit, the 2012 engine handles overexposed images remarkably well. For those situations I will switch to 2012. Otherwise, I will mostly work in 2010 engine. I would rather know how a tool will behave than on some occasions working very well.

    Cemal
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  • Good stuff, Cemal.

    Who was asking for a change in the clarity behaviour again?
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  • I confess, I do get aggravated at having to correct for the "over-clarifying" effect of new clarity so much. Even at a value of 9 (one of my pet favorites), I often have to paint away the new brand of "haloing" - over-stratified areas designed to enhance local contrast... This comes up frequently in landscape shots where one mountain peak is followed by another - it can look very unnatural with even a moderate dose of clarity applied (imagine the squares in Cemal's example above were the mountain peaks). Dark backgrounds sometimes get "over-clarified" too but that's generally easier to correct, when it's not along a subject edge. etc...

    Summary:
    ------------
    In areas of a photo where there is no "right light" (meaning one really has no sense of how illuminated the various parts should be), new clarity is truly a fantastic improvement over old clarity. But, in other cases, there is a "what's wrong with this picture" thing due to the tonal redistribution of new clarity.

    I wish the Lightroom clarity was designed with user-controllability in mind. Don't get me wrong - I like to paint, but it's very time consuming, and if not done with precision, results in "painting artifacts" instead, which can also look unnatural...
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  • I made an animated gif using Cemal's image: Left PV2010 with clarity 0...100, right PV2012 with clarity 0...50 (using half the values of PV2010 as suggested):



    You have to click on the image to see the animation (the preview is not animated).

    From what I see, the new clarity actually *decreases* the global contrast, which really seems to be some sort of tone mapping...

    By the way: Did you notice that for _negative_ values, there is NO difference between the old and the new clarity??
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  • Very nice demo, thanks. It makes the point very clearly (pun intended!) I will report how my Lightroom 43 experience works out. So far, no regrets, I seem to be getting the best parts of each for my needs.

    Regarding the negative values of clarity, I do not have much experience in that since I rarely use it. I also have my biases about skin softening using any kind of blur carelessly (suprise!) I have several posts about this matter as well..

    Cemal
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    • I'd be interested to know more about what other problems (besides clarity) you are having getting photos to look the way you want in PV2012. If it's the subtle differences in PV algorithms, then there is no solution, except to use PV2010. But my experience is that the largest part is often due to improperly adjusted basic sliders - not all of it, but >50% - eh?
    • I will post a sample photo and make the RAW file available if you like to experiment. Stay tuned
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  • I’m frisky! - know what I mean? (wink-wink, nudge-nudge...)
    I liked the idea so well of being able to double-edit PV2012 photos using PV2010 that I automated it. The logic for this has been added to the Dev-Correct/2012 plugin:

    http://www.robcole.com/Rob/ProductsAn...

    Just invoke 'Edit with PV2010' to edit a PV2012 photo using PV2010 to take advantage of old clarity (or Lr3 fill-light). Note: Subsequent PV2012 edits will continue to be reflected in the PV2010 edited version.
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  • My image of a pretty cloud illustrates some of the problems. Incidentaly the sky looks far better on my PC than here but it serves its purpose.

    The boundary between the cloud and the sky shows a halo effect on the right for example. I often use negative values on a gradiant over a sky to soften it a little in my landscapes.
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    • The excess negative clarity is deliberate to give a glow to the clouds as part of an experiment. Saves using a third party plugin.

      This type of haloing is the devil to remove locally though. Applying clarity locally or in a gradient however is a fantastic new tool. I love it. So what if you need to spend time on the images. You're worth it! :-)

      ps I'm not a pro so time doesn't matter!
    • Negative clarity is the same between PV2010 and PV2012.
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  • OK, here are some images to compare. You will see three JPEG exports, two from LR4 using 2010 and 2012 processes and just to make sure things are up and up, there is also an export of the same image direct from LR3. The best way to look at the differences is to load them to an image viewing app, even Lightroom (any version will do) and go back and forth between the 2010 and 2012 process images. You will see that the 2010 has a more open, airy feeling with better detail and contrast on the fish and the same on the net on the left, even in the shadow areas. The 2012 is the best I could do in LR4 yet you will notice the dull fish and less open net on the left. If you like I will e-mail DNG files which I believe will carry the process information so that you can see all the settings. Let me know what you think. Mind you, I use a calibrated monitor and I expect that you make the comparisons on a calibrated display as well to minimize monitor differences. If you want me to send the DNG files to you, drop me a note at ac{dot}ekin{at}keptlight{dot}com and I will e-mail them to you. I ask that after you experiment with them, you delete files.

    These are the difficulties I am having, lack of finesse and subtlety while maintaining highlight contrast and detail.

    Cemal

    Direct from Lightroom 3


    Export from LR 4 using 2012 process


    Export from LR4 using 2010 process
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  • I've downloaded these and on my calibrated screen, can see what you mean.

    However, it is impossible to know whether this really is the best you could do, if you see my point. It looks to me as if a tweak of the shadow slider in LR4 would have helped for example.

    I actually used IrfanView with the files consecutive in a folder so I could instantly switch from one to the other back and forth very fast to highlight the differences, which to me are subtle. Without a comparison, either LR3 or LR4 versions would look good.
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  • In the basic panel, I have the shadows up to +28, whites +64, blacks -24, highlights -100. There is -14 clarity and +33 vibrance. Plus a little more fixing in the tone curve. What I miss are the sparkle on the fish, especially the group at the top, and the contrast and detail in the net on the left. The blue on the tray took a while to bring into line. But, you see my point I hope. I can get better results in 2010 with less fuss than I can get from 2012 with a lot of fuss. Yes, the difference is subtle but that makes all the difference in the final image, at least to me. A new and "improved" version of the product should make obtaining better results with less fuss possible, at least better results with the same effort. Alas! Lr4 does not deliver that to me.

    Cemal
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  • I have been working Cemal's fish image (he sent me the raw). My evaluation:

    1. One can not get exactly the same result in PV2012 as PV2010, and in some ways, the PV2010 result seems better.

    2. Trying to get exactly the same result (together with some idiosyncrasies of PV2012 that will be discussed below) is what lead Cemal to a set of adjustments that are not optimal for the best result in PV2012.

    3. One of the main problems adjusting this image is that the range of tones adjusted by the highlights slider is much larger than the range of tones adjusted by the shadows slider.

    re 3:
    -----

    slider behavior is not what one would expect: it exhibits some of the "role reversal" phenomenon I wrote about in another thread somewhere:

    highlights slider does not recover all highlights, even at -100, and they are just barely clipped to begin with, or so it appears from the histogram.

    whites slider does recover all highlights, and is more effective at moving the upper-most tones leftward than the highlights slider is. In some photos, the opposite is true - Neither Cemal nor I knows how to predict this in advance.

    highlight slider extends across the midtones to the shadows.
    shadow slider does not extend into the midtones.

    I was able to adjust this photo with PV2012 fairly readily by:

    1. Knowing to what extent the final result would differ from PV2012 due to inherent process differences. Note: To some extent, these are different on purpose, and are often good, but not always, and user can not control them. I'm talking about the handling of the darker shadow tones and lighter highlight tones, differences in fill-light algorithm, auto-highlight/shadow recovery, and different effect of clarity...

    2. Knowing to check highlights/whites behavior and shadows/blacks behavior and use whichever works for what I want to do.

    Final result in PV2012 is very pleasing to me - as good or better than the PV2010 result. The reasons PV2010 result may seem better, at least at first:

    1. It has a way of illuminating parts that are hard to "reach" with PV2012 (in both shadows & highlight regions).

    2. PV2010 created intra-highlight contrast in a way that was nice (separated, but smoothly), and impossible to reproduce using PV2012, due to the way the highlight slider was moving such a large block of tones, and whites slider not able to separate highlights without blowing out the whites. (as well as the inherent differences in PV2012 process version which can result in unsmoothness when there are strong bright highlight tones - this was improved in Lr4 final, but still there can be abrupt tonal transitions in brightest highlights).

    2. We are more used to the results of PV2010.

    3. Optimal adjustment using PV2012 is very tricky.

    Luckily, this is a photo that Lr4 clarity works well on, although at higher values, some spot reduction would be optimal to squelch some of the "over-clarification" in some areas.

    Conclusion:
    ---------------

    Another case where both results had their pros & cons, and both were awesome, but the best PV2012 result was trickier to get.

    Final Thoughts:
    --------------------

    My opinion of PV2012 has not changed much since I posted my "Lr4 beta #1 - Final Results" in the beta forum:

    * Potential for improved quality results.
    * Basic controls are "squirrelly".
    * PV2012 is not as controllable as I'd like.

    What has changed is:

    * My proficiency
    * Development of tricks for those times when I want results that are different than the results PV2012 wants to give me.
    * Some things were improved before Lr4.0 final was released.

    View final images (note: the differences are a lot more subtle in the web view than they are in Lightroom...): http://robcole.com/Rob/Personal/Pictu...

    Rob
    • Rob, thank you for putting so much time into this problem and specifically to this photograph. I have looked at all the versions you sent to me. Yes, with extra work in 2012 you have come close to my original vision. However, the adjustments you have introduced and their directions are anything but intuitive. Your summary above is very thorough and spot on as far as the 2010 and how it compares to 2012. Your knowledge of 2012 seems significant, but not a transferable adjustment slider on Lr, too bad!! Tools should not force their ways onto us, but do what we ask from them very well. Here we have a situation where even knowing what to ask from the tool has turned into a mystery.

      Greetings from Istanbul.
    • Cemal - Yer welcome, from SF.

      Give yourself some time to adapt to PV2012.

      Settings will begin to make more sense after a while and your proficiency will improve.

      See more comments below.

      Rob
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  • Is it possible that it is easier to predict PV 2010 results and PV 2010 is hence less "squirrely" to use, because PV 2010 does not try to be "smart"?

    It appears that "image adaptive" approaches are not ideal for people who know what they want and need tools that work predictably.

    It is fine to suggest to stick with PV 2010, but this also means one does not get other PV 2012 goodies, such as the WB balance adjustment brush settings.

    If we could have a tick box "image adaptive on/off" that may do the trick. Same for other "auto" stuff, such as the now permanent highlight protection. Why it isn't possible to turn off all this patronizing auto stuff is beyond me. It clearly is not the case that it is optimal to always leave things on "auto" as many feedback responses demonstrate.
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    • As one who appreciates squirrely, I'd vote for accommodating both types of clarity tool!
    • It's worth noting that the image-adaptive behavior is based on the entire image. So if you are working on a crop, the control ranges and effects are partly governed by tones you can no longer see.

      PS - It's possible to work on a photo using a combination of PV2012 & PV2010 tools by exporting for extended edits using other PV in Lightroom. I have automated this in Dev-Correct/2012 (@now, exports PV2012 version for edit with PV2010 tools, not the other way around).

      Rob
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  • Link to final images copied from post above:

    http://robcole.com/Rob/Personal/Pictu...

    Cemal PV2010 settings:


    Notes:
    * Strong HSL adjustments to enhance net not shown.
    * Intricate tone/point curve.

    RC PV2012 Natural:

    Notes:
    * Weak HSL adjustments to enhance net not shown.
    * Subtle tone curve left in by mistake - really not necessary for this photo.

    RC PV2012 Punchier:

    Notes:
    * No HSL adjustments to enhance net.
    * Tone curve removed.

    Making sense of PV2012 settings, using "Punchier" as example:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    * Exposure +.40 & Whites +20: Brightens entire photo and undulls highlights. Perhaps seems unintuitive at first, since photo was not underexposed, but not atypical in PV2012, since highlights slider can "reduce exposure" of the top end. One of the things PV2010'rs often miss, is that exposure works with shadows slider to increase and extend the fill, whilst highlights slider keeps top end in check. Large brightness value was being used in lieu of exposure in PV2010 case.
    * Contrast +80: This photo needed a lot of contrast to have the tonal punch that was desired. In the 2010 case, most of the contrast came by way of the tone curve.
    * Highlights -80: Necessary to reduce top end that would have otherwise been over-bright due to increased exposure/whites and contrast. In 2010 case, large 'Recovery' value was used instead.
    * Shadows +80: Typical symmetric opposing value for shadows when exposure is set for "normal" midtone brightness. In PV2010 case, this light was coming from 'Fill' slider, and brightness.
    * Clarity 30: Contributes to the punch. Works well in this photo since there is no "right light" (sense of exactly how bright various regions "should" be). If I were to optimize this photo further, I would declarify some of the distracting regions to better focus attention on featured subject matter. Approximately half the value used in PV2010 case.
    *Vib/Sat - slight boost. Not much boost needed since high contrast was already contributing to increased saturation.

    Important PV2012 thang:
    * Range of tones affected by highlights slider depends on exposure. With exposure increased to .40, highlights slider was operating more like what was expected. In "Natural" settings, where reduced exposure was used, it was favorable to have a larger +shadows value, and smaller -highlights value.

    Other than the previously mentioned PV2012 image-adaptive caveat (and that's just a matter of getting used to through experience), the PV2012 settings are really as sensible as the PV2010 settings. Don't you think?

    Cemal's original 2012 rendition had:
    ---------------------------------------------
    * very low exposure and contrast, in the interest of trying to replicate certain tonal characterstics of PV2010 (in the highlights) that just aren't what PV2012 does. If this effect is essential, then PV2010 is essential... (Huge +whites was being used to try to bring up the exposure & contrast, but that does not work well in this photo since the top end is already very extended, and too much +whites just blows it out...).
    * negative 14 clarity, changed to 0 at some point. New Lr4 clarity works wonders for this photo, in my opinion, but again - if you don't like how it looks, you've got to stick with PV2010 for old clarity...
    * Personally I think exposure and shadows fill this photo nicely, but the look is indeed different than Lr3 fill. If you can't get used to the look of PV2012 shadows, then you have to use PV2010. (Note: including +blacks should be considered first though...).

    Wrap-up:
    ------------
    Overall, I like this photo better as edited with PV2012 than PV2010, and although I got tripped up in the beginning due to the exposure/highlight-range phenomenon, next time, this photo would be edited very quickly using PV2012.

    Rob
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    • No problem Bil. As I said, the sliders vary in their scope; that's why you may see an increase in exposure coupled with a reduction in highlights. Because the latter controls a narrower range of tones while the former much wider. This is my practice, others may differ on the use of the sliders.
    • |> "You don't think you could get the results you were looking for more directly (eg start with adding less contrast)"

      Actually, with more PV2012 experience under my belt, I do tend to use less contrast (but more -blacks...).

      And you are absolutely right - the less contrast you use, the less -highlights & +shadows you need. It's all about what you want from the photo: +contrast pulls from the "middle" outward, and -highlights & +shadows push back from the outside toward the middle (think: histogram) - in a way which enhances regional detail (see trshaner's post about it, down a ways). The net result is more midtone contrast without closing out the shadows or losing too much highlight detail. It also makes for a less natural photo, but with more pizazz. Want natural? keep contrast down, highlights/shadows down, and clarity down. Want pizazz? - crank 'em up.

      Want some parts pizazzy and other parts more natural - use locals.

      Regarding the fish photo - I was looking for results akin to what I thought Cemal wanted based on his PV2010 processing and verbal accompaniment - maybe I got it wrong...

      Bottom line is whether you can master it or not for the kind of results YOU want. If not, maybe the new Lightroom is not for you - it does have a characteristic look, as does all raw processing software that seeks to do things like "clarify", and "recover highlights" and "fill shadows"... - I've come to like it very much overall, but concede: not in all ways and all regions of all photos...

      PS - I used to finish most photos with Topaz Adjust and/or Topaz Detail to give them a little more "clarity" and "punch". I rarely use those Topaz tools anymore, since PV2012 accomplishes the same general goal with better quality, and without leaving the comfort of Lightroom. But if your style is more simple/soft&natural, I can imagine that you might be frequently at odds with PV2012.

      Cheers,
      Rob
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  • Rob, you wrote "It's possible to work on a photo using a combination of PV2012 & PV2010 tools by exporting for extended edits using other PV in Lightroom."

    I do not think this is an acceptable solution. If using an external editor with the implied loss of a non-destructive workflow were a solution, we would not need to ask for better retouching support for Lightroom.
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    • Interesting, Rob. Thanks for the clarification.

      That must be the same approach that Fried used to marry Layers and Lightroom (which is not "Layers in Lightroom" as he is careful to point out :)).
    • Similar I think. If I remember correctly, Jeffrey is feeding the layer images into Photoshop from Lightroom as smart objects, then updating the resultant rgb file in Lightroom.
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  • I am confused now. I just tried Cemal's "Gray_checker_for clarity test.jpg" again with the RC2 - and it turns nearly completely black (!) around clarity +50 (except the lower right white box).



    What is going on? Is this intended?
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  • After a lot of experimenting in LR4.2 I am now comfortable doing the unintuitive such as deliberately altering apparently good exposure so as to give more room for other adjustments which bring the histogram back within norms but in such a way that clarity for example or highlite recovery works better. Hard to explain but it's down to learning the "quirks" of the underlying 2012 engine.
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  • Rob, all, I have read the thread and the links Rob provided. Although Rob's explanations are quite detailed, and quite possibly will work to produce good results, I suggest that the process significantly deviates from "photographic" concepts and moves more into "engineering" or technical domain. Photographers have worked with the same concepts for decades whether using film, printing in the darkroom, or processing digital files. The building block of film exposure and development as well as darkroom printing has been the response curve of the file and the paper and the developer behavior. The critical parts of the curve are the shoulder and the toe along with the slope which defines the contrast. That said, increasing the exposure of a properly exposed "negative" i.e. digital capture is very counter intuitive for people who have gotten accustomed to these ideas. My fear is that if we, the users of Lightroom, "get used to" the new engine we may find the next version requiring another paradigm shift. Up until Lr 4, the photographic paradigm worked reasonably well in this software, albeit some limitations and inconsistent behavior. The new paradigm, which you say works well and I trust your judgment, is altogether different if the quirks are necessary as described.

    What I would like to see:
    1. A photographically sound, sensitometric processing paradigm
    2. Not forcing photographers to keep adjusting their mental frameworks that they have developed over years of experience
    3. Get more feedback from photographers and allow engineers to fulfill the photographic paradigm and promise

    Cemal
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    • Maybe the mistake is to see Clarity as a photographic rather than a creative adjustment? After all there is no equivalent in the wet processes is there? I mostly use it to soften skies or skin, giving a glow. It can't be used in isolation though.
    • Brian, you are correct in stating there is no clarity in the wet process. However, the wet process also does not use Bayer mosaic which needs demosaicing which creates aliasing. Thus the need for clarity, or the way it was originally presented. I am willing to live without clarity but there are other quirks as well. Today I have found out that cropping changes the histogram creating shadow and highlight clipping where uncropped image has no clipping. I have no way to explain it other than as another quirk. I am still using LR4, albeit reluctantly. Partly the old familiarity with its previous versions, partly habit, and partly not having a decent substitute in the Windows environment. We'll see how my affair with Lr 4 progresses.
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  • I truly dislike how clarity has changed. It makes the skin look dirty by extending into the mid tones quite drastically.
    My question would be why did they change it? Did people complain about the version 3 clarity. It was a workable tool and I believe they should have added a qualifier by extending the choice of which tonal range one wishes to apply it to than forcing it.
    Especially if one has a certain style you created and now its so difficult to replicate the same look.
    I don't want to compensate with an array of sliders to get it near close. One should not have to compensate exposure to approach the same look.
    I can not understand why Adobe is just ignoring it. Guess it's only the minority that is ballsy enough to verbalize it.
    I have lots of peers who does not complain to the service provider but suffer in silence and natter among each other. Some have ported.
    I stuck with LR due to the black and clarity controls back then when it use to be slow as well. Now it is fast but alas the clarity change.
    We have more control in a digital darkroom now and it should not be compared to wet processes in my viewpoint. If we improved and discovered wet processes to improve clarity we would have used it.

    Adobe please amend clarity to allow ample control to simulate previous results too.
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  • I’m still disappointed
    I still share your frustration, but we seem to be in a small vocal minority. I treat that slider as having a very narrow range, say 0-10 although the ends are much farther that that. The proponents argue that one should not go beyond the mid point anyway, then why provide that range? Even then I use it less frequently than the former clarity. The situation does not seem any different in LR 5. I also object to the same clarity setting, say +5, working differently on two images since it has "content aware smarts". Needless to say, these changes make me push more photographs to Photoshop.

    Don't hold your breath for Adobe to change it back, or even provide a reasonably explanation for the switch. You will hear from other users, some of whom were apparently a part of the beta testing. Adobe seem to prefer to watch the battle of the opinions without engaging in the conversation. I say missed opportunity for them.
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  • I think new clarity blows old clarity away some of the time, but not all of the time.

    In cases when it doesn't, I tend to use local -clarity (and stuff), to dial it down in some spots, and/or use +contrast (and stuff) locally to closer simulate old clarity.

    Worth noting:

    * New clarity loves +blacks.
    * New clarity may need some boosted saturation to go with it.

    Don't get me wrong - I agree it would be nice to have both. But, we don't, so....

    Cheers,
    Rob
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  • Oh-oh! Here we go again!! ;-)

    ^ The main problem with the new and improved clarity is that its function is not clearly defined
    ^ When using in images with large clean sky it darkens the sky for no reason at all
    * Of course this applies to any large smooth surface
    * It seems to make "relative" adjustments (content aware?) rather than absolute
    * Which makes it unsuitable to include in presets

    We have reiterated that we agreed to disagree ;-)

    Cemal
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  • I find PV2012 Basic Tone controls add micro-contrast all by themselves. With portraits I often need to dial in a small amount of negative Clarity to soften facial features. PV2012 negative Clarity behaves identical to PV2010, but I never needed to use it with PV2010.

    It's also obvious that PV2012's image-adaptive Tone controls "interact" with the Clarity control. This would explain why some images and image areas are affected differently by PV2012's Clarity control. What's interesting is that I find PV2012 Clarity settings of 50 and higher works well with scans of old faded B&W prints, but for 99% of my camera image processing I set Clarity at no more than 20. To me this is a pretty clear indication that the PV2012 Clarity control is optimized for making "large" tonal changes to the image–not "fine" micro-contrast adjustments.

    One thing you can do to overcome this behavior is to dial-in Clarity before making any other adjustments to the image. This prevents the need to go back and readjust settings affected by the Clarity control's interaction. Obviously you'll need to gain experience in determining the proper Clarity setting to use based on the initial default image view, but that shouldn't be too difficult.
    • Remember George's mountain moon (from Seattle)? I used +100 global clarity with another dose of +100 local in some spots (PV2012). Took a barely seeable photo and "CSI'd" it into a nice photo. Old clarity couldn't even come close to doing that. - probably like your old faded bw scans...

      But if you add new clarity to an interior shot with a black and white checkered floor, it's gonna look like he||... (solution: use contrast instead of clarity to enhance checkerboards, and/or learn to paint in compensation).

      Bottom line - ya gotta learn to use it where/how/when it works best (and don't use too much) and not use it if it's not working.

      It's true that in some ways new clarity has a "lighter" touch (won't over-emphasize already high-contrast edges), and in some ways a "heavier" hand (can really dig into shadows for example).

      So part of the deal is getting used to the difference - you won't get the same look at the rim of a dark mountain against a bright sky in PV2012 as PV2010 (with pumped clarity) - for better and/or for worse..

      New clarity is a lot like Topaz adjust and/or Topaz detail, which for a while I used on almost every photo as part of my standard workflow - I haven't even used it once since PV2012.

      Old clarity is more like high-radius high-pass sharpening..

      Cheers,
      Rob
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