In Lightroom CC2015 issue with Highlights slider?

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  • Problem
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • Not a Problem
I just upgraded to LR CC15.

I've got a photo with the following settings:

Exposure +0.95
Contrast 0
Highlights -62
Shadows +34
Whites +100
Blacks -5

I noticed that when I move the Highlights slider further to the left, the image becomes lighter again! That should not happen should it?

From 0-62 the highlights become darker, but after -62 they become lighter again?
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Donovan

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  • Puzzled

Posted 3 years ago

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Chris Cox

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Could you try disabling GPU drawing, restarting the app and trying that again?
If the problem goes away, then we'll need to get details on what OS and GPU model you are using.
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Does it happen with every photo or just one in particular?
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Eric Chan, Camera Raw Engineer

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I do not believe this 'issue' is specific to GPU, nor to Lr CC.

This is a known interaction issue between Highlights and Whites.

The design of the tone controls (in Process Version 2012) is that the user should be setting Highlights and Shadows before adjusting Whites and Blacks. This is because the effective range of Whites/Blacks will change depending on what the user has set Highlights/Shadows to.

In your case, Whites is set to its maximum value of +100. So every time you change Highlights, the exact manner in which Whites behaves is also changing. Part of the reason the behavior is non-linear, is because the Highlights control operates in a non-linear way (that is, it treats different parts of the image differently than other parts, and this in turn affects the statistics that controls how Whites behaves).

My suggestion: Set Whites and Blacks to zero. Adjust Highlights and Shadows as desired. Then adjust Whites/Blacks.
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Donovan

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First of all: Impressive support!

Isn't that a bit difficult to operate for users when 2 sliders influence the right side of the histogram of a photo?

Your are saying that I should first move the highlights slider and then adjust the whites.

To me this is counter intuitive. I expect to be able to set the white point of a photo so that the brightest parts are not clipping. Basically stretching the histogram to the right. Then, in a 2nd step, I expect to be able to either make the highlights darker (for example skin that is washed out) or even brighter (high key photo). But I would never expect my changes in the highlights to influence which whites are clipping in my photo?

Does what you are saying mean that both sliders influence which whites are clipping? Is one slider doing that in a broad band and the other in a smaller band of whites?

Doesn't this lead to a process where users are forced to repeatedly change highlights (which influences whites), followed by changing whites (which changes highlights), followed by changing highlights, whites, highlights...

Wouldn't it be more intuitive and much easier to operate if one would have 2 sliders to stretch the histogram's white point to the right and the black point to the left and THEN use highlights and shadows to darken/brighten the highlights and brighten/darken the shadows? And that these last actions would not change the blackest black and the whitest white?
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Donovan

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So I understand what is happening.

When I move the whites to +100, the whites at the far end of the histogram become whiter. When I now have areas with not enough detail in the whites, I move the highlights slider to the left and initially LR is doing what I expect. It shows more detail in the bright areas. But at some point, the bright areas are not getting darker, instead the mid tones become brighter! Although I slide the highlights to the left, so while I expect the photo to be come darker, it becomes lighter!

I do understand that in the background - in terms of software algorythms, the brighter areas DO become lighter, but they are moving so far into the higher midtones. So more high midtowns become the target of the whites slider.

While this is all OK from a technical point of view, I think from a user point of view this is all very incomprehensible.

What I would do in Photoshop is set the white and black points for example with a levels adjustment, which stretches the histogram and determines which blacks are clipping and which whites.

Then I would use a curve to adjust which tones become lighter or darker. This would not influence the clipping, but just change the distribution of the histogram between the blacks and the whites.

Shouldn't LR be more like that?

If you look at training videos, they are all very vague about how to operate these sliders and in which order. Everybody seems to have their own process. The main reason for me is that nobody can really intuitively comprehend and follow the software algorythms. It becomes a trial and error and not a process that you can easily repeat?
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Eric Chan, Camera Raw Engineer

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Yes, and that is the way Camera Raw and Lr used to work in earlier versions:  set the endpoints first, then adjust the midtones.

With Process Version 2012 introduced in Lr 4, we changed the way it worked, based on the idea that most folks are interested in the overall brightness of the picture, and then fine-tuning the endpoints  (not the other way around).  So we changed the recommended procedure, and redesigned the controls accordingly:  adjust the overall tonality first with Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, and Shadows, and then fine-tune the endpoints (Whites/Blacks).  This is why the controls are ordered the way they are.
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Donovan

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I think I find the old way more intuitive then. Especially because the current way of working in LR5/6 can easily lead to clipping, which is what I want to avoid at all cost.

The old way of working would have avoided clipping, while still having the ability to change the overall brightness of the picture.

Also I do not like that sliders can do things you do not expect. Unpredictable behaviour gives me the feeling I work for the program instead of the program for me.

I also do not quite follow the argumentation for the change in LR4. Because in the current process, if you adjust the whites, because you found out you introduced clipping with Highlights, you again change the brightness of the picture. So you have to re-visit the Highlights slider again, and then check the Whites again, because you could have introduced clipping. Etc. etc.

If you have done that a couple of times, your first idea is to use the old method: Let me first set the boundaries of the histogram and then define the distribution inside that.

Guess I need to get used to that and there is no hope for a 2015 version of the sliders? =;-)

Thanks for the quick help!