Lightroom preview of HDR tonemapped image doesn't match what is shown in Photoshop (ACR)

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I've been exporting from Lightroom to "HDR Pro" in Photoshop. I love the results out of Adobe Camera RAW - they look beautiful and with the smart object created, I can easily do additional editing later if I want.

However, the screen preview shown in Photoshop is not at all what I see in Lightroom. Lightroom's preview looks much grittier (higher contrast - with lots of color going pretty white). If I convert the TIF image to 16 bit in Photoshop, the Lightroom preview will match identically. As I prefer to keep the smart object, it would be really nice if Lightroom's preview was the same as what is shown in Photoshop.
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Greg Benz

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Posted 5 years ago

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Greg Benz

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JPG exports from Lightroom show the same impact, so the Lightroom/Photoshop mismatch impacts output, not just screen preview...

Here's the export of the 32bit HDR from Lightroom:


Here's the export from Lightroom if I flatten the file in Photoshop first:
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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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ACR and LR should be able to do the same 32-bit toning, so instead of toning as an ACR smart object in PS and expecting to work with that back in LR which you can't, just cancel the ACR toning, flatten your layer to background and save the 32-bit file out of PS back into LR and tone it in LR, or is there some problem with doing this?
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Greg Benz

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That's an option in many cases. However, there are a lot of times when I want to layer the HDR image with the original or other images, and would prefer to do it non-destructively in Photoshop.
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Eric Chan, Camera Raw Engineer

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The reason is that if you keep the image as 32-bit, then Lr will think that it's not-yet-tonemapped (i.e., basically the same as a linear raw file) and will apply its own tone mapping by default, just like it does for raw files. This adds the (undesirable) punch and contrast that you're describing -- I say "undesirable" in this context because you've already tone mapped the image using the ACR controls. The only way around this at present is to convert to either 8-bit or 16-bit (16-bit being preferred, of course) since then Lr will then correctly interpret the image to be output-referred (i.e., already rendered or tone mapped).
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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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ACR acts the same way as LR--it brightens a 32-bit document even further.

For example, after you have done your toning via an ACR Smart Filter, if you use Ctrl-Alt-Shift-N then Ctrl-Alt-Shift-E, to create a composite layer, still 32-bits, on top of the existing smart-filter-layer, then use Filters / Camera Raw Filter on that composite, Camera Raw will open with a brighter and more contrasty version of the image than the underlying 32-bit composite layer.

Eric, can the camera-raw defaults for a 32-bit document be changed, somehow, that will make things more consistent between PS-display of and ACR/LR-display of 32-bit documents or is this behavior hard-coded and not in, or influenced by, an external profile like raw files would be?

Noticing that the Save As dialog for a 32-bit document lists the embedded profile as: "Whatever-Profile-Name (Linear RGB Profile)", where the parenthetical portion is new for 32-bit documents, I have attempted to modify how things work in PS by changing the assigned color profile to a custom profile with a different gamma but nothing seems to change when the file is opened, again, as if the gamma of the profile, or maybe the entire profile, is being ignored since it is an output profile?
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Eric Chan, Camera Raw Engineer

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Hi Steve,

ACR/Lr always treats floating point images as scene-referred with a linear gamma, and always tone maps them by default. There is not a way to turn this off.
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Greg Benz

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Thanks for the info Eric. If there's a way to change this with a future update (such that Lightroom would show/export the same tone mapping as Photoshop), that would be very nice, as it would allow me to work non-destructively with layered 32-bit files.
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Wouter J van Duin

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I have encountered the same problem. Perfect result from the HDR-Pro procedures from PS CC 2014 in ACR. Perfect 32-bit results back in PS to be saved with CR-filter layer as TIFF (perfect still in 32 bit). But no way to save a 16 bit version with the same results. I am pretty sure this worked juist fine in CS 6.

This is a major problem. I think this is a major CC 2014 bug !!!

Wouter J. van Duin
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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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It's not a bug in CC it's a feature--to complete ACR-toning out of HDR Pro with a 32-bit layer and CR-smart filter, is a feature.

To do what you want, which is use ACR toning and end up with a 16-bit layer, the process is slightly longer--to avoid the new feature, but it can be done:

Go to Preferences / File Handling (in PS) and enable Use ACR to convert 32 to 16/8-bit or some such phrasing.

Once this preference is set, after you come out of HDR Pro and have 32-bit/tone-in-ACR set, just cancel out of that ACR toning and you'll see your 32-bit layer in PS. If it somehow has a smart object just merge or rasterize the object or do whatever to get rid of it but leave the 32-bit untoned document.

Once you have just a 32-bit layer, then go to Mode / 16-bit and that'll start up ACR for toning and you'll have a 16-bit layer upon completion of the toning in ACR. You can also use the older toning method by using Image / Adjustments / HDR Toning...

Or is there something else you're trying to do that doesn't quite fit with this scenario?
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Wouter J van Duin

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Thanks a lot. I followed the procedure as you suggested and this gave the correct result. So once again, thanks!

Wouter
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Wouter J van Duin

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From those who also experience some kind of irregularities I would like to know how to avoid (if possible at all) the change of colorprofile during the HDR Pro steps or toning, from Prophoto RGB to sRGB.
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Eric Chan, Camera Raw Engineer

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There should not be any change of color profile involved.  Changing the bit depth / running the HDR Toning filter should preserve the existing document color profile.
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Wouter J van Duin

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Could that be different if I add that I do not use Lightroom but only ACR and PS CC or CC 2014. When I start using the HDR Pro tool directly from Bridge I am using three different exposures from camera that have not been modified in ACR before, but have been imported from camera as dng-files in Bridge. When I open a single dng-file to be worked on in ACR the Color Profile in ACR is Prophoto- RGB while just before, in Bridge as from import listed as Color Profile untagged with Color Mode from camera as RGB. I guess this is why I get the Color Profile sRGB as a result of tonemapping the three exposures to one HDR-Pro file. So there is not really a change from Prophoto RGB to sRGB but actually from untagged tot sRGB.

Wouter
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David Owens

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The problem I encounter is that when save the combined 32 Bit HDR image in PS, LR will not recognise the file. Why not?

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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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32-bit PSD files aren't supported. You need to save it as a 32-bit TIFF in PS instead.
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David Owens

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Thanks Victoria!

I found that the 'Default File type' in Lightroom preferences was set to PSD. When I changed this to TIFF, LR would export to HDR Pro in photoshop, merge and then Save back to LR and I could work on them.

Brilliant!