Lightroom: Averaged white balance reading with White Balance Selector

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  • Updated 7 years ago
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I will often click on a gray card with the White Balance Selector to white balance an image. However, if I click on that same gray card multiple times I will get a slightly different result each time, as if it's giving me a reading on a single pixel on the gray card rather than an area. As a parallel in Photoshop, it's like using the "1x1 average" with the eye dropper.

Perhaps it might be nice to give the option of a 3x3 or 5x5 average, or perhaps you could drag the eyedropper over a gray card and it would sample several times over that area.

I figured that an averaged white balance would give a better result rather than a single pixel's white balance.

-Bruce!
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Bruce is my name

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Posted 7 years ago

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Photo of Rikk Flohr

Rikk Flohr, Champion

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White balance in Lightroom is averaged over a 5x5 pixel area. There is no option to change it currently.
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Rikk Flohr, Champion

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Unless there has been an undocumented change in the code since July of 2010, this is not the case. We constructed test graphics and verified this at that time. i didn't realize the link was restricted. Essentially we constructed a test graphic with a 5x5 white pixel trap and tested it at various loupe levels.

I will discuss with the team today and see if I can get clarification.
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Mark Sirota

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My recollection matches Lee Jay's -- zooming out increases the sample area. I haven't tested recently.
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Rikk Flohr, Champion

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Tested today and verified with the team. 5x5 pixels. Mark, I know you can access the thread mentioned above as you were part of the discussion last July at LRForums
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Lee Jay

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Turns out we're both right, but you're right for Lightroom (5x5 always). Possible future enhancement.
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Rikk Flohr, Champion

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I like it when everyone is right.
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Mark Sirota

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I can prove that Lightroom's white balance dropper is sensitive to zoom level:

Create a file with a 5x5 gold square in the middle surrounded by blue. Import into LR, press W, click the WB dropper in the middle of the square at 1:1 and 1:4; you'll get different results. (I'd attach a test file, but it needs to be TIFF to work in LR, and this forum doesn't allow TIFFs. I can mail it to you if you're interested.)
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Rikk Flohr, Champion

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After working with Mark's test files which he emailed to me, I suspect what is happening is that at views 1:2, 1:3, 1:4 that Lightroom is measuring White Balance from the resampled preview rather than the original Raw file. We are currently working to confirm this with the team.
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Geoff Walker, Champion

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The answer is that the 5x5 is screen pixels rather than image pixels so will vary with zoom ratio.
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Rikk Flohr, Champion

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LR4 has changed White Balance sampling behavior.
http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjourn...