Lightroom/Camera Raw: Shadow/Highlight White Balance Correction sliders

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It would be extremely helpful if Adobe Camera Raw had a "Shadow White Balance Correction" slider that worked in concert with the Shadow slider. This would be helpful to correct the white balance where the Shadow tool has brightened the image without affecting the overall white balance of the image.

Example:
Here is an image with a heavily shadowed area. The "Shadow" slider effectively brightens the shadowed area, but since it's a sunny day, the shadows are very blue, which is accentuated by the shadow tool's effect:



Correcting the white balance for the shadows makes the areas of the image lit by sunlight too warm:


If there was a "Shadow White Balance Correction" slider, I could accomplish a similar effect to using a local adjustment brush to change the white balance in the shadowed area, but more precisely (and faster!)


Similarly, a "Highlight White Balance Correction" slider would be helpful to correct the white balance of bright areas of an image. Example: the interior of a house lit by incandescent light where the windows are bright and the light is much bluer outside. Correcting the white balance for the incandescent light will make the view through the windows extremely blue. Moving the "Highlight" slider to the left recovers the tones through the windows, but the white balance is very blue. A "Highlight White Balance Correction" could then correct for the blue shift in the areas where the "Highlight" slider is making the biggest changes.

Note: The "Split Toning" tool doesn't work for this acceptably to color correct shadows as the split toning affects all dark *tones* in the image equally, whereas the "Shadow" slider has the greatest effect in dark *AREAS* of the image, and thus brightens certain areas of the image more than others. (In the above example using Split Toning, the dark bumper of the car turns yellower, but the "912" text remains blue because it's a light tone.)
"Highlight White Balance Correction" and "Shadow White Balance Correction" sliders would be a very powerful tool for real-world, natural-light photojournalists.
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Wes Duenkel

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Posted 2 months ago

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G0apher, Employee

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Thanks for reaching out to us with the idea. I'll pass this feature request on to the team.
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Wes Duenkel

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Upon further reflection, what we need is the areas affected by the shadow slider need to essentially create a "layer mask" for a separate white balance adjustment.
(Edited)
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Robert Cullen

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Maybe helpful (or not!)
My workaround is to-
Create a 'reverse' gradient (that affects whole image)
Apply White Balance sliders,
Set the "Range Mask" to Luminance and limit the range (shadows, midtones, or highlights)
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I have a develop preset that does exactly this, so I can quickly adjust temp and tint for shadows.
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Wes Duenkel

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Tried this, but it doesn't really address what I need. All this does is turn all the dark tones warmer, similar to what split toning does.
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Robert Cullen

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The Range Mask can selectively adjust tones.
My example starts with a B&W image, extreme +WB adjustment, and then limiting the mask- "Dark Tones" need not be adjusted if mask is selective.
John Ellis- Curious about your Presets!
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Wes Duenkel

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I understand. But this does not address the "radius around dark tones" in which the Shadow slider works.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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I think that the OP explained very well why that won't work, or at least won't give the same effect. A gradient with range mask will affect all darker tones, which is not exactly the same as what the Shadows slider does.
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Wes Duenkel

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Exactly correct.
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Keep in mind the Shadow control affects ALL image areas that fall within the 'Shadow' tonal range. This is regardless of whether those areas are actual in the shadow region of the picture.
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Robert Cullen

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" range mask will affect all darker tones"
Not sure I agree with this!
The Luminance Range Mask has adjustable 'limit' sliders to allow the Gradient only on the limited tones.
See my example post also.

(Edited)
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Wes Duenkel

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Apparently I should clarify: The "Shadow" slider to which I'm referring is on the "Basic" tab, NOT the "Tone Curve" tab. Johan is correct in that the "Shadow" slider on the "Basic" tab does NOT do a wholesale increase of dark tones. (If that was the case, then the same could be accomplished with a simple tone curve adjustment.) The shadow slider seems to increase tones while maintaining tonal contrast. Therefore, there is a "radius" in which the Shadow slider works that also affects brighter tones NEAR dark tones. It is in this entire area where the white balance needs to be adjusted, and is why using split toning or another method doesn't work properly.
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Wes Duenkel

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"Keep in mind the Shadow control affects ALL image areas that fall within the 'Shadow' tonal range. This is regardless of whether those areas are actual in the shadow region of the picture." Perhaps, but *not to the same degree.* If what you say was true, then a simple curve adjustment would work the same as the Shadow slider on the Basic tab. But it doesn't.
(Edited)
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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If what you say was true, then a simple curve adjustment would work the same as the Shadow slider on the Basic tab. But it doesn't.
I wasn't referring to the dynamics of the Shadow Tone control. The point I was trying to convey is that the Shadow control is image area agnostic–It applies correction to the whole image. If your request is implemented as stated any image area object that falls into the Shadow Tonal region (see below) will have its WB changed.


Also in your example photo both the Shadow region AND Blacks region tonal areas need WB correction applied–Not just the Shadow tonal areas. Using the Shadow correction mask to apply WB correction to objects in actual shadow areas is insufficient and will cause the Blacks region objects to remain shifted in color temperature (i.e. higher). Of course both the Shadow and Blacks correction masks could be summed to apply the WB correction, but it will still be applied to the whole image and not just the actual scene referred shadow areas.

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"Of course both the Shadow and Blacks correction masks could be summed to apply the WB correction, but it will still be applied to the whole image and not just the actual scene referred shadow areas."

I'm not understanding what you mean here. Suppose there's a layer mask identifying which pixels have been modified by the Shadows slider and the magnitude of the modification.  If the white balance correction is applied using that mask, then only those pixels modified by the Shadows slider will be corrected, in proportion to the strength of each pixel's modification. 
(Edited)
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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John, what I mean is that the Shadows control may affect dark objects that are not in the scene referred shadow area. I ran a test using two CCPPs side-by side with one in direct sunlight and the other in the shade (i.e. skylight only). The amount of difference in the Sunlight CCPP is small, but indicates what I'm trying to communicate. Keep in mind the CCPP darkest patch (black) isn't as dark as some real-world objects that have less reflectivity. The below image is well exposed for the Sunlight CCPP, but underexposed images will have more direct sunlit areas that fall into the Shadow control region.

However, it may not be that visible when applying WB correction using the shadow mask, which you've demonstrated in your video posted below. So perhaps still a good idea. You can download the CR2 raw test file at the below link.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/wvicc9u66gk3h3e/IMG_2902.CR2?dl=0


 
(Edited)
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OK, now I understand.

But it may be this doesn't matter for the proposed feature -- it may be simply that the more the effect of Shadows on the pixels, the more the color balance changes, regardless of where the affected pixels are in the scene.  But that's my guess uninformed by deep knowledge about this.
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I shot the CCPPs using three exposure brackets. The one posted above was 0 EV and below I also show the -1.0 EV readings, which are almost identical to the 0 EV shot. So it looks like the Shadows control uses additional picture information to determine the actual scene referred shadow areas.
This would indicate the Shadows control mask should work very well for applying scene referred shadow area WB correction. It's got my vote!

(Edited)
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Wes Duenkel

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The "additional picture information" that I think the Shadows slider uses is basically a radius-based local contrast. The larger the dark area of the image, the more the shadow slider has an effect. Example: The black stripes of a model's white/black striped shirt will be less affected than a solid black shirt.
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"Upon further reflection, what we need is the areas affected by the shadow slider need to essentially create a "layer mask" for a separate white balance adjustment."

Good, this makes it much clearer what you're looking for ((to me, anyway -- I'm not as smart as others).

I experimented with the samples you posted, and it seems that more is going on with adjustment-brush version than just the white balance of the selected areas.   It appears there's higher contrast overall.

I'd be curious to experiment more -- can you upload the original along with the .xmp sidecars for the three versions?  In particular, I'm wondering if simulating what you're after in Photoshop would get close to your adjustment-brush example (i.e. making a gradient layer mask progressively selecting the shadows, then adjusting both tone and color balance using the layer mask).
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Wes Duenkel

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That file is on an external hard drive. I'll post it later.
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Wes Duenkel

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Here are links to the files:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ky284qldq97ws2k/wdmp_190103_05864.NEF?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/8va976reo0tshnp/wdmp_190103_05864.xmp?dl=0
The .xmp file contains the different adjustments in the "snapshots" tab.
(Edited)
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Sorry, but this wouldn't work as you want. In your example, there are shadow tones in the image which aren't in the shade and which would also be included in a shadow white balance correction.

But i absolutely agree with you that Lr needs much more sophisticated masking and color correction tools. Unfortunately, i think we're going in the opposite direction these days...
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Here's a screen recording that shows a simulation of the desired functionality using Photoshop. In LR, I applied Shadows = +50 to a photo, and then exported the original and modified photos as TIFFs. I opened before.tif and after.tif in Photoshop, computed the difference of the two photos, converted the difference to black and white, and then normalized the difference such that white represents the largest difference caused by Shadows and black represents no difference.

I then added a Color Balance adjustment layer to after.tif, using the difference as a layer mask. The balance adjustments have the greatest effect on pixels that were most modified by Shadows and no effect on pixels that weren't modified at all.  

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7loweem0vqbho0l/shadow-mask-white-balance-2019-07-30.mov?dl=0
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Wes Duenkel

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YES. You're on the right track, John. I want a "slider" that accompanies the Shadow and the Highlight sliders (perhaps in a different tab as to not clutter up the "Basic" tab, perhaps) so that the white balance can be adjusted in areas affected by the Highlight and the Shadow sliders (rather than the color balance in photoshop, which is less effective).
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I applied my simulation to your photo. Here's your final adjustment-brush version, but with the brush disabled and Shadows = +100 (i.e. with all your other adjustments and using the Shadows slider):



The shadows are blue, as expected.

Here's the simulated Photoshop version, where I adjusted the color balance of the tarmac near the yellow strip to be neutral:



And here's your adjustment-brush version for comparison:



The major differences I see:

- The number 912 is significantly darker in the Photoshop version, and the adjustment-brush version is more contrasty in the shadows, e.g. around the men.  This is because the brushed area has Exposure = 0.75, rather than increasing Shadows.

- The tire on the right is a little warmer in the Photoshop version, but not nearly as warm as in the version where you auto-white-balanced the shadows.  To my taste, it looks natural, since it's reflecting the warm light coming off the sunny tarmac in front. 

Finally, here's a version using the gradient filter with a range mask, based on the same version as input to Photoshop:



It's very similar to the Photoshop version. Though I had to experiment a fair bit with the range-mask parameters (Range 0/62, Smoothness 9, Temperature 47).

Based on the huge sample size I've played with (these two photos), I'd guess the range mask can get the same results as the shadow mask, though the shadow mask is a lot easier to use.
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Wes Duenkel

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"I'd guess the range mask can get the same results as the shadow mask, though the shadow mask is a lot easier to use."

Agreed. SPEED, EFFICIENCY, and EASE are paramount when editing several hundred images each day!
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My test results with the CCPP using an in-camera -1.0 Exposure bracketed file match the 0 EV camera file very closely (see above post with table). This indicates the Shadows control uses additional image data (Ai) to determine the actual scene referred shadow areas. The Luminance Range Mask uses simple high and low limit sliders without any further intelligence.

The only downside I see to using the Shadow control mask for WB adjustment is that it's "setting dependent." In other words images with 0 Shadows setting will apply 0 Shadow WB correction. This can be corrected by using a separate Shadow control Mask with it's own slider that works with the Shadow WB Temp & Tint controls. You dial in the amount need to neutralize the shadow area with the corrected Temp & Tint settings.  I like it!
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Wes Duenkel

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If I were Adobe, I'd make the "Shadow WB/Tint" controls "grayed out" until a Shadow adjustment is applied. Heck, get rid of the wonky "texture" slider that almost never does anything desirable and that might make some space for this feature :)
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eartho, Champion

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Wes, what? Texture is incredibly useful for retouchers. Slide it into the negative and you have an amazing skin softener. Just because you don't use it, that doesn't mean nobody else does...
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I agree. Let's not change the subject, but Texture is incredibly useful to me. I think what Adobe should do is add a 'Shadows/Highlight' option to Range Mask.
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Wes Duenkel

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Fair enough. I was being mildly facetious.
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I think what Adobe should do is add a 'Shadows/Highlight' option to Range Mask.
Shadow WB can be considered a local adjustment so that would make sense. However, the Range Mask tools are already complicated for most beginners and even some serious users. From my findings it appears simply using the a separate Shadow mask slider with Temp & Tint controls may be all that is needed. The Local controls can then be used to correct any remaining WB issues. If Adobe accepts this suggestion it will require more testing to determine the best implementation. Either way it would be a very useful addition.