Lightroom 4: auto tone adjustment in 2012 process doesn't work properly

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  • Problem
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • Acknowledged
Using the new 2012 process in Lightroom 4, the auto tone adjustment function does not work properly. Most images come out strongly over or underexposed.
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Martin Hermus

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Posted 6 years ago

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YSANDER VON BOXBERG

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same problem (pictures come out mostly way too dark, but sometimes also too bright).
This did work very well whenever I tried it in previous versions of Lr.
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Tony Gamble

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Ditto.

3.6 worked fine.

4.1 is usually well over or under.

Tony
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Riku Karjalainen

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How come you couldn't get this basic thing right?
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Hey guys, thanks for the feedback. The engineers are working on improving this.
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Martin Hermus

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Hi Jeffrey,
a long time since your statement above. Are there any news from the engineers on this topic?
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Sven Blüge

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Same issue here. The 2010 process is doing nearly nothing to the exposure value while the 2012 adds 1-2 stops and overexpose the overall image.
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Dylan Passmore

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As others have reported, auto tone often dramatically over or underexposes photos. No need to repeat what has already been said (see links below), just to point out that the problem persists in LR4.1 RC. Some have suggested that it worked fine in 3.6. To be honest, I've always been disappointed with Auto Tone results in Lightroom and I've never found it very useful. I would love it if the feature simply behaved like Photoshop's Auto Levels.

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

http://forums.adobe.com/message/43293...

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

John Kemp's wishes for an auto level that works like Photoshop. Perhaps it is a more simplistic algorithm, but from my experience, it performs quite well:

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
LR4.1 RC appears to still have the auto tone problems.
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Sven Blüge

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I have an addition to my first comment. After working a bit with the new process I kind of like it. Yes, I'm still annoyed because of having to edit every image but the overall quality has improved. It seems that the goal of the algorithm is to get as much tone range as possible. There are still some images where there are some tiny white spots like metal reflections. Especially for this kind of images the auto tone functionality does not work and darkens to image too much.
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dan connelly

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The auto-tone difference is easy to to create.

Create a virtual copy.

Process Auto-tone is process2010
and the other in process2012

The difference is usually striking -- with 2010 being much preferred and usable for additional fine adjustments.

2012 -- typically is blown out
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Joe Solano

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Ditto, please fix auto tone with process 2012 is useless.
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Martin Hermus

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I just tested release candidate 2: The auto tone problem with process 2012 is still not solved!
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Rikk Flohr, Champion

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It is not mentioned in the release notes either.
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Q.

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It hasn't even been acknowledged by anyone at Adobe that there is a problem, either.
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James Brooks

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Please, Adobe, get auto-tone to work as well as PV2010. PV2010 Auto-tone worked well for about 95% of my pictures and created pleasing results extremely quickly.

PV2012 Auto-tone is so poor and so time consuming to adjust that I have reverted to PV2010 for all my imports. What a shame to waste the undoubted quality benefits of PV2012.

Please, please, fix it!
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Chris Packrat

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Still broken in LR 4.1 it seems (nearly the same behaviour as in the RC, with resulting auto-adjusted values in the very same range).
Solution 1: stick to the 2010 process for shots - "if it ain't broken, don't update it!"
Solution 2: edit your presets to remove any auto-toning step, and use manual adjustments only
Solution 3: export to PS, use the autotone features of PS, then reimport to LR, does a pretty good job.

Who needs a fix when there are so many solutions at hand?
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Dylan Passmore

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Yup, it's still broken. As someone pointed out in another thread, it seems to get very confused whenever there is a very bright area in the photo (e.g. headlights). I'm not sure about the other end though. i.e. sometimes it way overexposes the shot. I realize PV2010 worked differently, but, to be honest, I wasn't very happy with it either.

Chris' tongue-in-cheek solution 3 is how I get best results. Of course, it's absurdly time consuming, defeating the purpose of autotone (i.e. a good first guess) and working in Lightroom at all. As I mentioned earlier, I'd be tickled pink if Lightroom simply had an autotone that functioned the same as Photoshop's. My sense is that Lightroom's autotone is trying to be too clever and, as a result, it gets confused too easily.
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Greg

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Yes, same here. Adding myself to this thread to be notified of any fixes and developments.
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patric.aeberhard

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Any news?
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Rob Cole

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@v4.1 final

Although I agree that the exposure is often wildly off, and the black is sometimes a little off, the rest is usually pretty darn good. I never used auto-tone much until recently, and I'm finding it a surprising time saver. Lots of photos are adjustable to near perfection simply by:

* Clicking Auto
* Adjusting exposure (and/or blacks if need be)

And if not quite punchy enough for my taste, using a cross-the-board punchifying (relative) preset (via Cookmarks). Then, much of the time, they could be considered done, although I usually go on to fine-tune, and apply locals if I've got the time...

In my experience, Lr3 was often a little off in the brightness and/or exposure settings too, just not as big of a swing as Lr4.

Improvement would be welcome, but truth-be-told, whether it's a little off or a lot, you still have to adjust it (unless it's only *very* little off...). I have lately developed a fair respect for the PV2012 auto-toner, despite the "synapse misfires" in the exposure computation... (and I'm not looking at it through kool-aid colored glasses either ;-}).

Don't get me wrong - I'd still like to see it be improved, but it's *far* from worthless/un-usable like some people are claiming, once you get an eye for adjusting exposure (and blacks) afterward, that is...

Rob
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Gerd Falk

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@ LR 4.1 / ACR 7.1

What a shame!
It's not possible to use the atomatic tone-adjustement !!
Results are in 90% extremly under- or overexposed. Better you forgot it and change the settings by hand.
Congratulations to Adobe !
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Rob Cole

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Just adjust exposure after auto-toning, when it's wonky, the rest are usually ok.
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Tino S

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yes, go over hundreds of pics one by one.... and tweak their exposure individually... good solution! :( NOT!
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Rob Cole

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I would want to review results after auto-toning even if exposure weren't so far off sometimes. Are you thinking about hitting auto-tone then *not* reviewing the results prior to consumption? I would never do that m'self.

I'm not saying there is no room for improvement (au-contrare - I've written volumes about it...), just that it is far from unusable/un-helpful as is - I use it frequently.

Consider tweaking exposure using grid / quick-develop after auto-toning - I can usually get through a hundred photos in just a few minutes that way.

Cheers,
Rob
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Tino S

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My wish is not a magic "auto tone" button that will fix ALL my pictures, my wish is a more simple one... Auto Tone was working in a very decent way (at least in the opinion of some of us) up to LR 3.X... but as of LR 4.X most of us can agree that it is acting up. I just want Auto Tone to at least work as good (or bad depending of who you ask) as it was working on LR 3.X.

That's all...
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Rob Cole

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|> "My wish is not a magic "auto tone" button that will fix ALL my pictures"

I wouldn't trust it on *any* of my pictures - not in Lr3, and not in Lr4.

And once you are resigned to reviewing and tweaking after auto-tone, it hardly matters whether exposure is a little off, or a lot off. i.e. the difference is whether you hit the >> button, or the > button.

Anyway, please don't get me wrong - I'm on your side: better auto-tone would be very welcome and helpful. But, I can't do anything about it, and Adobe may not do anything about it anytime soon. So the question remains:

What's the quickest way (@now=Lr4.2) to get your photos in the ball park?

(hint: auto-tone can help - but you must review in library module and use quick develop to tweak exposure afterward - e.g. grid mode with large thumbs).

Note: even if you use auto-tone, it really helps to also develop experience in manual toning, so you can (more readily) tweak the other controls too, when warranted.

Rob
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Glyptodon

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Still... Same problem in LR4.2. The coders put absolutely no constraint or threshold on the Auto-tone function.
Wondering what dumb algorithms are behind such dramatic curve "corrections".
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Michael Rose

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I have not experienced the problems the others have?

Once in a great while when an *.orf (Olympus RAW) file is opened in Photoshop (PS) from Lightroom (LR) then saved as a *.psd file, it looks about 7-8% too bright!

All I have to do to 'fix' it is to double-click on the Exposure slider, this brings the exposure-level back down to what it should be...

I would guess that the PS created XML meta-data:
1) is in error and/or
2) interpreted incorrectly
when LR writes it to its database.

I've seen this same problem with the same low, intermittant, occurance frequency since LR 4.x beta.

I'm now on LR 4.3 RC [858820] running on
{unsupported} Vista Ultimate x64 SP2 with 12GB memory.
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Fred Gaston

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I'm glad I found this post. No question LR 4.x 2012 process underexposes often with autotone whereas 2010 process exposes correctly and requires much less tweaking. Seems to be scenes with heavy backlighting

Interestingly Nikon profiles like Landscape can significantly improve non-autotoned photo with 2012 version, but still not as pleasing as 2010, Autotone & possibly change of point curve to strong contrast (again for challenging backlit photo where 2012 process is not cutting it.

Adobe please address!
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Julian Z

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In LR5 Beta I see same problem.
It is making pictures too dark - in this case -2.25EV

I think the problem are overexposures. Even if the overexposed area is very small, it still tries to adjust the total exposure to fix that.

Even worse, it detects areas to be overexposed, which are actually not. In this example only the blue channel was outside the range at the girls T-Shirts. That is actually ok, since they are white. By reducing the exposure they become blue.

Maybe the algorithm could take out white and light blue out of the calculation for the total exposure to fix this issue.
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Don Dement

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After 3+ years of these comments, LR CC Autotone is not changed - still jams the histogram against the right side.

If an image is overexposed, one would expect Autotone would bring it down a bit - it can even make it worse. I tell my students to not use it.

I'd think Adobe marketers would get after the engineers by now to stop their being embarrassed about a consistent failure in their product on such a common need.
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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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LR AutoTone is better than it was in the message above yours.

In general Auto Tone is more art that science and tweaking it to help in one situation will make it worse in others.

The way I use it is:

Auto Tone, reset Exposure to 0, adjust Clarity and Vibrance, sometimes adjust Highlights to -100 or at least more than Auto Tone did, double-click Whites and Blacks to readjust them based on the other current adjustments.