Lightroom 5.0: auto-toning sometimes gives inconsistent set of adjustments for the same photo(s).

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  • Updated 5 years ago
Sometimes clicking on auto-tone will give one set of adjustments, other times a (substantially) different set of adjustments (same photo / same camera profile, ...).

This happens when operating via the UI sometimes, or when auto-tone is initiated by a plugin.

There are definitely some bugs in the auto-toning department (I mean besides the obvious exposure swings...).
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Rob Cole

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Posted 5 years ago

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Allan Olesen

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I have seen another user report that Auto Tone sometimes needs two clicks. After the first click, the Auto Tone button is still enabled, and only partial adjustment was done. I wonder if this is a variant of that bug.

Edit:
The other user was you. Forget my post.
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Rob Cole

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No take-backs ;-}.

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Warning/disclaimer - in what follows there is mention of one of my plugins. Consider not reading if such mention causes undue aggravation. Likewise, if you aren't interested in Lr's inner workings - don't read this...
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I'm writing an auto-toning plugin which harnesses Lr's auto-toner, but auto-tones a modified copy (e.g. cropped) instead of the original, to factor out things that lead to non-optimal results (like scan frames and over-bright/dim spots). It's been a very challenging plugin, due to the variety of anomalies experienced with Lr's auto-toner. I've only reported some of the things I've seen, and I think they are all more or less related - Lr's auto-toner does not work how you might think:

* Change settings to auto-computed values, and store those new values in the catalog, as if they'd been set that way manually. - it does NOT work that way.

It acts more like a hint (records "auto-tone enabled" in the catalog, NOT the settings which may come from it), and Lr then resolves to steady-state values in a more leisurely fashion, only allowing itself to be pinned down when push comes to shove (e.g. it's time to show something in the UI, or render for export, or relatively adjust one of the settings via Quick Dev... ).

For example, when you see "Auto Tone" in the edit history, it's not a recording from the catalog of the the settings computed by the auto-toner, it's a recording of the auto-tone/enabled setting. This is the reason, one can have a current set of values as computed by the auto-toner, then click south in the edit history (to another auto-tone step) and it computes a different set - the previous set will never be seen again (i.e. when you click back to top of edit-stack the values will be different than before), since they were never really saved in the catalog.

I'm guessing this seemed like a good way to do it in the beginning, but I can't help but wonder if Adobe still feels like it was a good idea now. It would be a lot simpler and less subject to bugs if the auto-toning was handled as a tool to compute new values, rather than a nebulous develop setting in it's own right.

Cheers,
Rob