Camera Raw/Photoshop: Inaccurate previews between Camera Raw and Photoshop

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When editing a RAW file in Photoshop via camera raw I notice that when I have completed my edits on the RAW file as a smart object and reopen the camera raw plugin to view both the camera raw preview and the general Photoshop canvas image side by side the camera raw representation of the image has more clarity and sharpness (which I prefer) opposed to the softer edited image on the Photoshop canvas.

I would like to see this fixed as I when I am working on my final edits within camera raw I want to see exactly how the image is to turn out, it seems like the image represented by camera raw is not accurate, maybe this can be helpful to have extra clarity in some some situations when editing but if this is intentional by the adobe team I would like to see a toggle switch to see the true representation of the image while editing in camera raw.

Alternatively and I think more preferred if possible, I would like the better image I see in camera raw to render accurately on to the Photoshop canvas and not get softer.

I find the same difference clicking between library and develop module.

Please see attached image to see what I am talking about

Thanks
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Daniel Staff

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Posted 4 years ago

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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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Can you upload your raw image to www.dropbox.com and post a public download/share link to it in a message, here? I'd like to try it to see if the same thing happens to me.

LR's Library and Develop being different can happen when tiny white specks of noise-grain rendering differently.

However, I'd also suspect there is something wrong with your display profile or your video-driver is being used to do color management and is doing it wrong. Try turning off your Graphics Processor in Preferences / Performance and see if that changes how things work. If so then turn it back on and fiddle with the various modes in the Advanced settings. You might also just look at your video-card control panel and make sure you don't have any non-linear settings configured there for display gamma or whatever else your video card might support.

Finally, if you aren't profiling your monitor with a hardware calibrator then the monitor profile may be slightly incompatible with ACR and PS and LR treating it a little differently and the solution would be to buy a hardware calibrator like i1Display Pro and create your own custom profile.
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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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One other question would be what version of PS are you using and what version of ACR and LR?
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Daniel Staff

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Hi Steve,

Thank you for your reply.

My Photoshop / ACR / Lightroom are completely up to date at the moment, my current workflow when testing this is to right click on RAW image in LR to edit in photoshop, I then convert the layer into a smart layer and apply the ACR filter to it. I was on the phone to adobe, they reset all of my photoshop settings and found no resolve, although the guy on the phone did explain that it is normal to expect that ACR and the develop module in LR to look different in this way to help with editing, I have to admit this sounded odd to me as I would rather see exactly how the image will come out during these important edits. To confirm I tried your suggestion with turning off the video card support to which I had no luck.

If it helps I do notice when I am in lightroom viewing a photo via the library module and click over to the develop module the photo will at first look the same as library then after a few seconds load in more general clarity and sharpness ( the same difference you see in the screenshot.

Anyways as requested here is a link to the RAW file, hopefully it may serve up some answers, https://www.dropbox.com/s/ykkh9qzmm3y...

Thanks Steve
Dan
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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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I am seeing a very slight difference between PS and ACR if I do a side-by-side screen-capture and eyedropper the corresponding pixels in each, but nothing like your side-by-side shows, so I'm not sure what is going on, other than what I guessed, earlier, minus any issues that you've tested and found not to be the issue, like having Advanced Graphics enabled vs. disabled.

I would imagine that the sharpness of non-100% zoom image could look different since neither resampling is accurate to what would happen in an Image Resize, but the toning should look relatively similar, I'd expect.

Here is the process I followed to compare PS and ACR:

I opened your NEF in PS, which opened ACR on the way in. Still in this initial ACR window, I adjusted the luminance and color noise-reduction sliders up to 100. Then I shift-double-clicked on the Whites and Blacks sliders to auto-set them. This caused the image to brighten significantly, more like what you have in your side-by-side, though not exactly.

With the raw image smoothed and auto-stretched, I opened it in PS. Then I right-clicked on the layer and chose Convert to Smart Object. I then zoomed into 100% or more, and then opened Filter / Camera Raw Filter and zoomed that image to the same zoom level.

The first screenshot is of the upper lefthand corner which is about the darkest area, and the second is of the area near Pleiades which is about the brightest. Both the PS and ACR versions of the area look similar to me:





The PS and ACR pixels are not identical but visually indistinguishable without using an eyedropper.

Testing in Lightroom, I see a slight difference in the darkness of the corners of the original NEF before any adjustments for noise-reduction and brightness, if I zoom out to Fit view and switch between Develop and Library. However, if I zoom to 1:1 (100%) I don't see any difference. The difference is due to how the fine low-level noise-grain is being resampled between Library and Develop. See the next paragraph for more of an explanation.

Where I do see a difference is if I zoom to Fit and count stars. The Library view has many more than the Develop view. This difference is expected because of the differences between the resampling processes and algorithms that are used. The Library previews are resampled from a stored reduced-size preview previously computed whereas the Develop view is computed on the fly and resampled on the fly using a very fast algorithm that isn't very accurate.

The bottom line is that you cannot expect to view details accurately in Fit Zoom in either Library or Develop but the accuracy is even worse in Develop due to the speed for accuracy trade-off since Develop is not starting with a precomputed preview to help speed things up like Library has access to.

Because my side-by-sides are almost identical and yours are not, I think there is still something wrong with a display profile or a video-driver-setting somewhere on your system, but the Fit-zoom detail differences are to be expected.

You can test for an errant display profile by setting your display profile to sRGB instead of whatever you're using now, turn off PS's video card acceleration, reboot and repeat the tests, both a Fit zoom and 1:1 zoom. Also check your video-card control panel for any non-zeroed settings you may have adjusted and if you find any reset them back to the defaults and reboot before testing.

I haven't done the same sort of thing you have because I haven't made any adjustments in the ACR-filter, only in the ACR plug-in before initially opening in PS. This is because I am trying to compare the difference in displaying of what should be the same pixel values in PS and ACR.

If you try my steps outlined, above, and see my results--no obvious tone difference between PS and ACR, then perhaps you can tell me your adjustments that you made to the image as it came into PS from LR or ACXR initially, and then any subsequent adjustments you've made in the ACR filter, so I can more closely repeat your steps.
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Hi Steve,

Thanks for the continued support.

Thats one thing I should have mentioned, I do notice as you can see below in the first screenshot that I see no difference when viewing at 100%, I also noticed in LR that there were no differences viewable at 1:1 or 1:2 but when I started viewing at 1:4 and so on I noticed the differences increasing.



It seems like you say that its the resampling that I am having the issue with, but if that is to be expected then maybe working in (fit to view) which I usually do is not the best idea nor general practice? Its just I like to see the full image when editing to an accurate representation, maybe choking up the cash for a 4k monitor could ease the limits of viewing the photo at 1:1?

I tried defaulting all of my settings as you described and the only thing that is causing the difference in the image is the fit to view function. if you would like to try the settings I was using for the test please see further screenshots below





Thanks again steve

Dan
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Here is another test I thought I would run, I wondered whether the same thing would happen via the topaz plugins so I thought I would try applying topaz glow and see how the image compared to the rendered canvas image on completion of editing and here are the results, something just doesn't seem right :/ there is just too much loss in quality for it to be normal right?

IN TOPAZ PLUGIN



ON PS CANVAS

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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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What do you have set for your Preferences>Performance... dialog? (Namely, Cache Levels and Cache Tile Size)
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Regarding the Pleiades image, you are severely sharpening the high-ISO noise which is getting resampled differently in PS and ACR and LR-Library vs LR-Develop. That's all it is. You should be adjusting and judging Detail (Sharpening, NR) at 100% zoom. Here is what your settings look like at 100%, where why would you want all the random noise in the sky around the stars:


I'm not sure about the Topaz vs PS differences, and I can't test them as I don't have Topaz, but I'd guess those images we're seeing aren't at 100% zoom, either, so what does an area of hair look like if you zoom in, if that's possible?
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Here is a sharpening tutorial about the three kinds of sharpening:
http://laurashoe.com/2011/08/21/sharp...
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Hi Jeff,

I have taken some screenshots of the settings in my prefs as follows




Thanks for getting back steve, I appreciate the sharpening is quite high although to be honest I was already noticing the same issues with the original (more sensible) edit I had done previously, the sharpening was high due to the testing I was doing with the file. I notice the same amount of difference either way unfortunately.

Also in regards to these previews in topaz for example.. I understand that a 1:1 view is more accurate but I cant help thinking that something is wrong, when I look in topaz at the quality of the image in general in fit to view.. Its what I and any other photographer I would imagine are expecting to receive in terms of quality when editing, but when it jumps over to the canvas its severely softened as you can see..

If that second image is what topaz is providing then I would very much be disappointed in my purchase but I doubt that is the case..

Scratching my head too much on this issue lol

Thanks
Dan
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Those settings look normal. I'm asking around to see if there are other ideas.
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Daniel Staff

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Thanks for getting back to me and looking into this jeff, Ill post up anything i find that may be useful.

Dan
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I have noticed that my gradations are not great in the library module and camera raw too, could this be a cause of my overall issues maybe?

http://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/kb/c...
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Your two Topaz-comparison screenshots are each almost exactly 1 megapixel in size.

The D8xx camera takes 36 MP images, so if Topaz is starting with a full-resolution image then each 1MP screenshot pixel is formed by 36-original-image pixels. There is no way any detail from the 36-MP image is going to come through to a 1MP resample. Topaz is what is showing a very poor resampled representation of the final image, and I suspect Photoshop's is much more realistic.

Now if you're actually starting with a 1MP image before opening Topaz on it, then Topaz's version looks better.

If you want to discuss the difference between Topaz and PS then please post full-resolution screenshots.
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Ok I'll do some tests with some lower resolution raw files, sorry about the screen grabs at low resolution, they are just showing exactly what i am seeing in the previews in regards to the shift in quality
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If Topaz doesn't have a facility to show you what it is doing at 1:1, fine, but at least show the post-Topaz version in PS at 1:1/100% zoom. If the pixel-level sharpening of that much larger image is similar to what Topaz is doing at its 1-megapixel image then there's nothing wrong.
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Hi Steve

Thanks for the persistent support

Here are the 1:1 comparisons between topaz and PS Canvas seems the PS canvas is better quality at 1:1 any ideas why topaz is showing like this? thx

Topaz



PS Canvas

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Topaz appears to be working with a reduced-resolution image for its preview display, perhaps to make the controls seem more responsive, whereas PS receives the final rendering at the full resolution, that likely takes more time, so it has much finer details, although there are some areas where aliasing jaggies are quite apparent, still. I would turn off GPU Acceleration, restart PS, and make sure it still looks the same, in case either Topaz or PS is using the GPU to accelerate things and the quality vs performance settings aren't set for maximum quality.

Without having ever used this Topaz plug-in I don't know if there are ways to increase the accuracy of the edges by plug-in control variations. But as you say the full-resolution rendering in PS looks much better than the whatever Topaz is doing.
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Hi Steve,

Through some trial and error, Im finding that this issue is easily worked around to achieve the results I am looking for, I am very much grateful for your persistence in helping me.

While you are here I was finding an issue with the brushes in photoshop having more of a posterisation effect to them, if you zoom on this image a little you can see how my brushes are not smoothly gradating, wondered if you had any ideas as to why

Many thanks
Dan

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I'm mostly a Lightroom person, not a Photoshop person, so you might want to start a new thread over on the Photoshop Forum, rather than this feedback site, and include the same image and comments about banding, which I do see, too.
https://forums.adobe.com/community/ph...

I expect this has to do with 8-bit manipulations that can be fixed with 16-bits.

Your image would need to be 16-bits and your "brushes" would also need to be, but if brushes can't be, then that would be a reason to use some other method of adding those elements, like layering 16-bit images via copy/paste instead of using brushes or some other technique that more Photoshop-centric people would be able to recommend.

The typical way to get around banding in 8-bit images is to use random dithering instead of a smooth gradient. Imagine walking up a ramp made of random-sized stones rather than stairs. It is why some built-in brushes have "bristles" or "sponge" shapes nearer the edges so these can layer over each other without the extent of each brush being that noticeable.