Lightroom Classic: Auto Tone of a batch of photos gives different results than if you do them one at a time

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If you apply auto tone to a batch of photos, then select each one individually, the auto tone button is active and clicking it changes the settings slightly.  This happens with newly imported raw files with no other processing applied.  How can I eliminate this problem?  I notice similar questions raised some time ago but I haven't seen any answers!  The new Auto Tone does an excellent job, but going through thousands of photos one by one is a pain.
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Pete Rowland

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Posted 2 years ago

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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Which method are you using to apply it to a batch: Auto Sync, Sync, Copy/Paste, or a preset?
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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...or Quick Develop?
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Pete Rowland

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In Develop I selected a batch of photos on the filmstrip, right clicked on them and selected "Develop Settings, Auto Settings" (I think the option used to be "Auto Tone")
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Simon Chen, Principal Computer Scientist

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Based on your description (the auto tone button is active and clicking it changes the settings slightly), you apply the one photo Auto in the develop module.

This is what happens, when the Auto button is activated, it means Lr has loaded the full resolution negative. So the Auto is computed based on this full resolution negative.

When you apply Auto to a batch of photos, for performance reasons, Lightroom loads a lower resolution negatives cached in the camera raw cache (like Smart Previews) and computes Auto from that. Since the two input are different, the results could differ slightly. 

BTW, the issue exists in the previous version of Lightroom as well. It is just that the new Auto shows more differences. To summarize, it is a performance vs accuracy tradeoff.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Hmm, the results of applying batch Auto Tone via Quick Develop are non-deterministic and sometimes depend on whether 1:1 previews exist or have been rebuilt a second time!   Most of the differences seem small, but with one photo, there was a difference in exposure of +0.86 versus +0.64 -- whether that's "slight" depends on one's subjective judgment of the photo, of course, but it didn't seem slight to me.

The table below shows the results of applying Auto Tone to seven pseudo-randomly chosen unprocessed raw photos from different cameras.  All the results had a standard preview size of 1440.

Row 1: After doing Reset and Auto Tone in Develop.

Row 2: After doing Preferences > Camera Raw Cache Settings > Purge Cache; exit LR; delete Previews.lrdata; restart LR; Build 1:1 Previews; select 7 photos; Quick Develop > Auto.

Row 3: After steps in row 2, then Discard 1:1 Previews; Purge Cache; Build 1:1 Previews; Quick Develop > Auto.

Row 4: After Purge Cache; exit LR; delete Previews.lrdata; restart LR; Build Standard Previews.

Based on what Simon described, this makes me suspicious that the Purge Cache command may not be fully flushing the raw cache.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Missing from the recipes for 2, 3, and 4: Do Quick Develop > Reset before purging the cache.
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Pete Rowland

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Great to see such a response to my first post.  This appears to be a "Feature" no a "Bug" then, but maybe one that Adobe should think about.  Up until now I have used "Auto Tone" as a good start point but always ended up adjusting the best photos further.  So slight differences had no real effect on workflow.  The new AI based version seems like a game changer and will allow far more photos to be just automatically adjusted.  Unfortunately when that "Auto" button is live it is very difficult not to push it!  So if we are looking at a compromise between speed and accuracy, what about a preference setting to allow us to make that decision ourselves?
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Sergey Pikhulya

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I very much sppport the above suggestion to delegate the decision to the user rather then just silently assume everyone is willing to sacrifice fine tuning in a favor of performance. Even if applying Auto in the best way will take hours for a thousand of photos I Would just initiate the process in the evening and it would be done next morning. As long as I don’t have to spend hours staring at monitor and clicking Auto for every image to have *the best* auto conversion - I’m fine and I don’t care how hard my computer will work to produce a better adjustments for my photos.
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Robert Frost

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I apply a preset to batches in Library's Quick Develop that includes Auto (Latest LR Classic). But I don't see any difference between applying it to a batch of files that way, and applying it individually in Develop.  Thinking about this, I suspect this is because I don't use the ACR cache in LR. Yes, I have one set, but I have also set it to Read Only and it is empty (deliberately). I have a pretty fast computer and don't think using the ACR cache produces any noticeable speed-up for me, so I prefer to remove that unnecessary task from LR (it already has far too much to do IMO).

 

So I presume that applying my preset with Auto in Library (with Quick Develop) makes LR render a full preview for each file as it does not have a half-baked one in the ACR cache. Am I right in my thinking or have I missed something?

 

Bob Frost
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Alex Glassman

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom Classic: Auto Adjustment Discrepancy:.

Adobe recently updated the “Auto” adjustment to make use of Adobe Sensei, which is their artificial intelligence (AI) technology for performing a variety of tasks, including applying adjustments to photos. In Lightroom Classic CC the “Auto” adjustment affects the values for the Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks, Vibrance, and Saturation adjustments.

In the context of the Develop module in Lightroom, you will always get the same result when clicking the “Auto” button, which is found to the right of the “Tone” heading in the Basic section of the right panel. In other words, if you click “Auto” and then reset or revise the applicable adjustments, clicking the Auto button again will produce the exact same adjustment settings as you got the first time you clicked Auto.

Furthermore, if you save “Auto Settings” as part of a preset and then apply that preset in the Develop module, you will get the exact same results for a given photo that you would have if you clicked the Auto button. However, if you use the same preset while importing photos into your Lightroom catalog, you’ll get a different result.

I’m not sure if this difference represents a glitch in Lightroom Classic CC, or if Adobe intentionally doesn’t employ the Adobe Sensei technology during the import process. I’ve not been able to locate any information about this discrepancy. In any event, there is a difference in the behavior, which is why the “Auto” button is still enabled in the Basic section of the right panel in the Develop module even for images that have had the “Auto” adjustment applied during import.
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom Classic: Auto Adjustment Discrepancy (merging).

This is a known issue and we do have a bug logged for it.  Thanks for your report.

Note: This conversation was created from a reply on: Lightroom Classic: Auto Adjustment Discrepancy:.
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Simon Chen, Principal Computer Scientist

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom Classic: Auto Adjustment Discrepancy.

The import employs the same Sensei technology. The difference is that in the import (library module case), Sensei auto loads a lower resolution negative and works auto off that. Develop works off from the full resolution negative. Ideally the auto would generate exactly the same auto results for both cases, but it is not. The hope is that the two results would be the same/close enough for most cases. There is a big performance hit if Lr tries to load the full resolution negative just to compute auto during import.

Note: This conversation was created from a reply on: Lightroom Classic: Auto Adjustment Discrepancy:.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Vote for this feature request for an option allowing users to choose quality over speed when applying Auto to multiple photos: 

https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/option-to-batch-apply-auto-settings-with-full-resolution-image-data

In that topic, I report on my measurements of the degradation in quality of batch Auto. It's significant -- at least 6% of photos (1 of 17) are noticeably different when processed with Develop > Auto instead of Quick Develop > Auto or Auto applied during Import.
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Jim Robertson

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Auto Adjust Quick Devlop vs Develop Module.

In LR Classic: Using the Auto Adjust in the Quick Develop of the LIBRARY MODULE seems to give slightly different results than using AUTO ADJUST in the DEVELOP Module. It is not not a big deal for me, but depending on how one processes their images, others might feel differently