Before the update, I had perfectly aligned masks for hundreds of images using the Nikon 18-200mm lens. However, when I now open their Smart Objects, make and change and close, a new distortion correction is being applied, ie. the masks are not longer aligned. This is a major headache and it's not clear how I might go back to the original lens profile. Even if it is worse, I am already invested in it with the masks. Pushing out this change without due notice or way to ensure backward compatibility is a major shortfall. I would be interested to hear how Adobe recommends I proceed? Revert to ACR 6.1 and miss out on all future updates? I highly recommend building legacy profiles into future updates.
To be clear, did you create the masks using smart objects created using 6.1, or an older version of the plugin?
Have you changed the camera raw defaults at all for your camera after installing 6.2?
Thank you for the quick turnaround.
All work in PS CS5 was with the 6.1 ACR plugin (ie I never used 6.0).
I don't expect masks I made with CS4 to be relevant for this issue.
I have not made any changes to any raw defaults since installing 6.2 (only 2 days ago).
I have, however, adjusted some images and re-saved them without looking closely.
I will have to reinspect them for halos and adjust masks accordingly.
The larger question though is what to do going forward for adjustments to other photos.
Perhaps you can direct me to the old profile files and let me know where to put them?
It would also be nice to know if other lenses were updated (Nikon 70-200, Nikon 12-24, etc) and failed to make the notice?
I don't want to be a pain, but this issue affects me so much I am writing to the forum for the first time!
Just a mild curiosity...
Are you using Smart Objects because you want to be able to take advantage of some unspecified future improvements in Camera Raw?
I ask because on the one hand you've put your faith in Camera Raw only improving in ways that will be compatible with your "baked-in" masks, and on the other hand it actually appears it's been improved in a way that's incompatible with them.
I guess what I'm asking is why you're using smart objects instead of just doing the conversion to high quality pixels (e.g., wide gamut color profile, 16 bits per channel, upsampled resolution) and just being done with it.
I get a lot of value out of smart objects as they are (without looking to future improvements). My process of optimizing images takes a few passes with progressive refinement. Some effects are just more efficiently achieved in ACR rather than with a rendered image in PS (white balance and noise reduction/sharpening come to mind). So as I go through my passes, I often revisit ACR and adjust it's settings. In this case, I found that making no changes and returning to PS creates a shift in the underlying image that my process just can't handle (due to the enhanced lens profile). I hope I'm being clear. Surely there are others that will notice this. If they're unlucky enough to use an "updated" lens.
What ACR adjustments do you need to do to the image that can only be done in RAW format and cannot be done when ACR is editing a TIF after your initial ACR-conversion? It seems as though you may need to modify your workflow to convert to TIF, and then re-edit that TIF with ACR and use that as the smart object on which to apply your masks. TIFs only have relative WB adjustments, not absolute like RAW files, but if the WB is close you probably don't have to tweak things too much, although you'd want to be careful to create your initial set of TIFs with the same initial WB so you could tweak groups of images similarly with the same relative adjustments.
For Adobe to accommodate what you're wanting they'd need to have the ACR version number where a profile came from as part of its name so ACR can match the specific profile used with old images. I think Adobe messed up when they didn't do this, initially, but perhaps they feel it is still a beta period and don't want too many versions of each profile cluttering things until things have settled down.
You asked, earlier, how to get the old profiles back.
On my Windows Vista/Win7 computers the Adobe-supplied lens profiles for Nikon are duplicated in two different places:
I think additional users-supplied profiles would go to the following place, although I'm not sure because I don't have any user-created lens profiles:
The way to get your old profiles back would be:
Find the current Adobe-supplied profiles on your computer and remove them.
Download and install the ACR 6.1 update.
Find the profiles installed with that in the same places you removed the other ones from and save all these 6.1 profiles somewhere else.
Download and install the ACR 6.2 update.
It may be sufficient to copy the old 6.1 version of the profiles for the lenses you use into your user-profile-specific location and those would override whatever Adobe-supplied profiles there are, but I doubt it.
And if not, then what you'd want to do is edit the XML in the LCP files for ACR 6.1 for your lenses that you have already put into your user-profile-specific location and change the name to have the ACR version in it, so when you run LR or ACR, you know which ones are your old profiles and which are the current ones that Adobe has supplied.
The remaining task is to re-assign this relabeled ACR-6.1-specific profile to your underlying images that have smart-objects in them to be able to use your masks with the old correction in place.
Going forward it might be wise to also copy and relabel each profile for your lenses that have been updated...you may have to test things yourself to see if there are any differences.
There are plenty of workflows that would avoid this issue but that's a bit besides the point. The one I use and have been happy with until now has a problem and I'm already invested in it with hundreds of images. More than that I don't believe it's a very unique situation - smart objects are incredibly powerful, promoted by adobe and should be supported. I just get the feeling that masks weren't considered when updating lens profiles. You're right that it would require revision numbers for the profiles, but waiting for the "release" of the update, was hoping it'd be better than a beta version you indicate.
In any case, I took your advice on re-installing the old lens profile but didn't get it to work. I use a mac so the paths are a bit different but here is what I tried:
1) Downloaded the 6.1 update and extracted the appropriate lens profile (.lcp and -raw.lcp files)
2) Overwrote the profile files at /library/application support/adobe/cameraraw/lensprofiles/1.0/nikon
3) Restarted photoshop
I either got the files wrong or need to change something else, because the updated distortion continues to be applied. Perhaps I should try fully installing the 6.1 update but I'd prefer to uninstall 6.2 first. Any idea how to do that? I particularly like your idea of keeping two versions of the lcp files. One for backward compatibility, one for new images I process to take advantage of better distortion correction. It's not elegant but I'd be willing to suffer to get through this issue.
Thanks again for all the help.
Thanks for clarifying why you like to use Smart Objects. Makes a lot of sense.
FYI, separate from (and prior to) this discussion, I had come to the conclusion that I wanted to shut off the profile-based lens distortion corrections entirely in my Camera Raw defaults, though I do use the CA and some vignetting correction. Moving the pixels around just seemed to me to be something I'd rather dial in manually when needed, or possibly later in the workflow. This issue you have identified here - poor repeatability - just reinforces that decision.
On Windows the Adobe-supplied Lens Profiles are duplicated in two distinct locations, and if that also occurs on a Mac then there may be one more to replace. The approach you tried should work if you find and replace all instances with the 6.1 profile at least as an experiment; however, putting your old profile in the Adobe-recognized user-profile-specific location would help keep it separate from the Adobe ones, and let you continue to use it even though you've updated ACR to 6.3 whenever that is.
I couldn't uninstall 6.2 so I tried to simply install 6.1 on top of it but the installation fails. I also found the other location for user-generated profiles and tried putting the 6.1 files there but without success. What's strange is that if I put nothing in the user location and nothing in the system location, nothing comes up in camera raw. So it seems like I found the right place, but continue to get the updated distortion with the old profiles. Perhaps the algorithm to interpret the data changed? In any case, how do these forums usually work? David from Adobe asked a question - should I wait to hear back?
To get it to forget the 6.2 profiles after removing them and replacing with 6.1 profiles, I forgot one thing:
Delete the cache files that contain the compiled information from the XML lens profiles. There is one for the lens profiles and one for the camera profiles, and one is an index.dat and one is something similar and they live one directory above all the profiles, I think. They should get rebuilt when you start up a program that needs them. Look in the places you've found profiles and they should be nearby.
These are primarily user-user help forums, but Adobe also monitors them from time to time. It's a bit lucky that you have had some response from Adobe, and having seen a response I imagine you'll get another.
You have no choice but to wait until you hear back, unless you've invented a time machine.
Keep in mind it's a holiday weekend.
The Nikon 18-200 lens profile was not updated between ACR 6.1 and ACR 6.2. Further, when a new version of ACR does include an updated version of an existing profile, the installer does not overwrite the old profile. The new installer will not install the old profile, only the new one, but if the old profile is already there, the installer will leave it in place, and install the new one next to it. Any photos to which you had applied the old profile will still have the old profile applied. New photos, assuming you let ACR automatically pick the profile, will get the new profile applied. Therefore, I don't think that the problem you're seeing is due to an updated profile.
Can you send me as detailed a description as possible of your complete workflow? I'm looking for a specific series of steps I might be able to follow to repeat the problem. Also, can you tell me what camera you were using to take the photos, and were you shooting raw or JPEG? Also, can you confirm specifically what lens you were using? I'm assuming it was the Nikon AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED, but possibly it was something else.
It sounds a bit like auto-enlarging. When the image is corrected for geometric distortion, it produces blank areas around some of the edge. ACR will automatically enlarge the image to remove these blank areas. It's even more complicated when you introduce manual horizontal, vertical and geometric correction with a manual crop, and I won't pretend to understand what happens.
If a lens profile is updated—especially in terms of geometric distortion—auto-enlarging will behave differently at certain focal lengths. Presumably there will also be a big knock-on effect with cropping and manual corrections too. Whenever I make small adjustments to manual corrections, any crops I have already made usually go out of the window and need to be done again, so you might be seeing something like this happening.
A safe haven until Adobe gets it's act together is either to do no correction until your masking is complete and you can flatten the file or to run DXO Pro and use only the Distortion, CA, Vignetting, NR controls from their software. DXO is in the lens software business, and besides the afore mentioned corrections, they also have lens sharpness correction and NR...for the lens/ camera sensor you are using. It is very complete and reliable.
ACR 6.2 is an improvement as I notice that the new lenses from 3rd party suppliers like Tamron are characterized in conjunction with Adobe than the manufacturers, which I believe not to be true of the first round. Should Adobe follow that path with the rest of their offerings, consistency and reliability will accrue as well. But for the moment, I get wildly different corrections for my Nikon vs DXO, and DXO is correct.
The downside is DXO costs $150 or so and their color and luminance controls leave much to be desired. Also, they are very slow in updating the collection of lenses, but that's understandable as I am told it takes about 50 hours of testing for each lens/camera combination. So I use a preset that is Distortion, NR, Sharpness ans Vignetting only. In the Distortion mode, a subset is available that corrects for spherical distortion in WA lenses, as desired. Nice! No more distorted faces at the corners of a WA group portrait!
Some have objected to the disrupted work flow but I find if I minimize DXO to tray, I simply drag and drop an image to it's icon, it loads. In fact, you only need to do that once for a folder of images; DXO finds the folder and loads all the thumbs.in a new project.
I use the dng output and if you have corrected in ACR first,the dng will use those corrections.
All this can be avoided (except for the auto sharpness and noise) if Adobe does a class act about corrections which it appears is on the way. Unfortunately, if Adobe folks find that the corrections for lenses already in the system are wrong they face a problem!
Ben's reply seems to indicate that the profile for the lens he guessed you used didn't change, but also that if it had then the older profile would still have been around and used. This suggests that ACR 6.2, itself, changed, and a quick test would verify this:
To isolate whether ACR 6.2 is different or a profile that was included with it changed, fully install ACR 6.2 and all of its profiles
this may require installing 6.1 like it had been, then upgrading to 6.2, delete the profile cache files and have them rebuilt on first use with the 6.2 profiles in place, and look to see that your masked smart-object files are badthey still should be if you've reset things back to the state they were after you initially upgraded to 6.2. Then replace just the ACR 6.2 plug-in file (the one with the .8bi extension) with the older ACR 6.1 version, and reopen the masked smart-object files, and see if the masks are ok or if they are still off. If things are ok using the 6.1 plug-in then the 6.2 version of the plug-in is interpreting the lens profile differently and that is more of a problem that Adobe should explain--perhaps an internal numerical algorithm was improved that changed how the profile is interpreted. If the masks are off in both 6.2 and 6.1 then the lens-profile must have changed, which doesn't seem consistent with what Ben said the Adobe policy is for upgraded profiles.
I don't know how easy it is to re-link a smart-object to its underlying DNG on an new system, but if this is possible, then you might also consider uploading your DNG and PSD to www.YouSendIt.com to see if others can get the same thing to happen.
Thanks to Ben and ssprengel.
This discussion led me to try to replace the 6.2 plugin with the one from 6.1. (I couldn't get 6.1 to re-install but I was able to extract the plugin and put it in the right place). When I do so, the image shift disappears! There is therefore definitely something different about 6.2 in the way the distortion correction is calculated. I was wrong about the profile changing - it's the algorithm. In any case, I can now load photoshop with 6.1 when working with old images (those that already have a mask) and restart it with 6.2 for new images. It's less than ideal but a solution for now.
Just a question to Dave and Ben if Adobe plans to communicate or provide a better fix for this? I don't imagine my workflow is unique (smart objects with masks), so others are sure to be affected.
Thanks for all the help!
Thanks for the additional info. As ssprengel suggests, could you select a photo that exhibits the problem, and upload the PSD, DNG, and original NEF to www.YouSentIt.com, and then post the link here? If I can reproduce the problem in-house, we can work on a fix. Also, can you tell me what version of Lightroom you're using?
I had to update masks for the more significant files in the last few days, but here is one that still exhibits the problem to some degree. I do not have the NEF any longer but you can see the problem with the PSD. If you open-and-close the smart object with ACR 6.1 there is no change to the image. If you use ACR 6.2, it distorts slightly, probably not enough to require a new mask, but at least you can see the effect. I use Lightroom 3.2 alongside Photoshop CS5.
Please let me know whatever you find.
Sorry it's taken me a while to post back. I originally posted here a couple hours ago, saying that I couldn't exactly reproduce the problem, but I've managed to do it now. I see the problem that you're talking about, and I've filed a bug report in the Photoshop bug database. I'll post here again if I hear anything regarding a resolution.
Thanks for looking into this. I appreciate that it's been reproduced at adobe. I don't know what a fix could look like as it seems it's a matter of an algorithm change but anything you hear would be welcome. In the meantime I'm adjusting the masks whenever I update smart objects.