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Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).

Jan 28, 2012 4:19 PM

I've come up with a variety of settings that I consider optimal in PV2012 that turn out to be totally counter intuitive.

 

I don't think this is a good thing.

 

One should be able to:

-----------------------------

- up the exposure when it's underexposed, and down the exposure when it's over-exposed.

- adjust shadows and highlights (and midtone balance) to taste...

- fine tune darkest tones by adjusting blacks slider (maybe have a separate control for adjusting black clipping point from the control that is used for stretching or compressing darkest tones most, or just use tone curve...).

- fine tune lightest tones by adjusting whites slider (we already have a separate control for adjusting white clipping point: exposure).

 

That is not how Lr4b is working for me at all.

 

Having to radically increase exposure to brighten the shadows, then set the highlights to an extreme negative value when the net effect ends up being brighter highlights, is indeed *very* counter-intuitive.

 

Conversely, I've had cases when I've had to radically reduce exposure on photos that weren't particularly over-exposed, in order to get the balance of mid-tones/shadows/highlights to work out. - very counter-intuitive, and took me a long time to get it right.

 

See related thread: http://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/lightroom_4b_imp rove_basic_tone_controls

 

PS - I've also found myself adjusting blacks or whites in order to reach further into the midtones, instead of shadows & highlights - this is just bass freakun' ackwards!...

 

Rob

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 28, 2012 4:33 PM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Rob Cole wrote:

     

    PS - I've also found myself adjusting blacks or whites in order to reach further into the midtones, instead of shadows & highlights - this is just bass freakun' ackwards!...

     

     

    No, it's not.  Adjusting the white or black point in "Levels" in PS adjusts all tones too, and always has.  This is just how it should work.

     
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    Jan 28, 2012 5:30 PM   in reply to Rob Cole

    I only answered one of your points, and didn't address the rest.

     
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    Jan 28, 2012 6:44 PM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Rob,

     

    Compared to you guys, I'm an amateur with LR, and I've had quite limited experience with LR4B.

     

    It took me a few edits, but I am now kind of blown away with the new tone controls.  I generally leave Exposure alone, my camera got it pretty close.  I'll use the Black and White simply to set the Black and White points.  Then the fun begins....  I use Shadows to lift the Shadows, and I go the opposite direction with Highlights to compensate.  It's an iterative process (but quickly resolved), and works very well for me.  I am getting nice luminous colors and tones.  My sense is that I have never been able to get that kind of result before.  Of course, that doesn't mean that's the result you want!

     

    It's an easy change for me, 'cause I don't have the thousands of hours (and skill) under my belt that you two guys do.

     

    Just my $0.02 worth (ever notice they removed the cent symbol from the keyboard?).

     
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    Jan 28, 2012 7:12 PM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Rob Cole wrote:

     

    One should be able to:

    -----------------------------

    - up the exposure when it's underexposed, and down the exposure when it's over-exposed.

    - adjust shadows and highlights (and midtone balance) to taste...

    - fine tune darkest tones by adjusting blacks slider (maybe have a separate control for adjusting black clipping point from the control that is used for stretching or compressing darkest tones most, or just use tone curve...).

    - fine tune lightest tones by adjusting whites slider (we already have a separate control for adjusting white clipping point: exposure).

     

    That is not how Lr4b is working for me at all.

     

    While many people did not use contrast on previous process version, not doing so with PV 2012 is a mistake...when you adjust Expoure you should adjust Contrast...that's why it comes after Exposure...that's the part of the workflow you are missing (BTW, the controls are really not going to change...tweaek may but not change in basic function).

     
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    Jan 28, 2012 9:29 PM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Rob,

     

     

     

    I really prefer lurking – there is so much more I can learn from guys like you and Lee than I’ll ever pass on to you guys….  But I was so blown away by my results that I felt I had to mention it.

     

     

     

    Re: Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).

     

     

     

    I suspect that I feel more at home with LR4B simply because I don’t have the “muscle memory”.  I see my image – I like it or I don’t.  If I like it, I’m done.  If I don’t, I change what I think I don’t like.  Rinse and repeat.

     

     

     

    Bill

     
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    Jan 28, 2012 9:43 PM   in reply to Rob Cole

    I share Rob's legitimate concerns. In this case Rob has processed more images in LR4 than I have, but in actual production usage our respective volumes would probably be reversed. Rob's work is focused on landscapes and macros, mine is sports. Up until now (LR3.6) I don't believe there's been a particular processing bias between our respective volumes, but my impression is the new controls not only take me more time per image but I don't find the "lighten right" behavior of the Blacks and Whites intuitive.

     

    There's enough evidence in various threads here to suggest many of us are quite surprised at the wholesale reworking of PV2012. While I'm pleased to hear that users like Bill see promise in their images, it's not clear that LR3 productivity will be achievable in LR4 for some of us, at least in the short term. A time delta of an additional 30 seconds per image doesn't mean much for 10 selects, it's a completely different story for 100 when you are on a deadline.

     

    In addition I'm unconvinced that emulating presets will be a simple matter. My work involves a relatively small set of presets developed in the course of processing 200,000+ images through LR. Other photographers have a bigger investment in presets.

     

    These real concerns will affect my bottom line. There are no compensatory speed improvements in LR4 to speak of (at the moment we're rightly giving Adobe the benefit of the doubt on beta performance/testing harness behavior).

     

    The fact I've enjoyed working in LR is a bonus. It is just a tool and Adobe is far from infallible. I'd really like to hear directly from Adobe on this key issue. Thanks for raising it Rob.

     
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    Jan 29, 2012 1:46 AM   in reply to VeloDramatic

    VeloDramatic wrote:

     

    I share Rob's legitimate concerns.

    They're legitimate, but they're entirely subjective, and not at all representative of what others - including me - think (Rob, I know you're only presenting your concerns as your own opinion and not speaking "for all photographers" as some are wont to do).

     

    The new functions, and their effect, are an absolute Godsend, and completely intuitive - I had a handle on them from the first image I processed in PV 2012.

     

    As for the PV 2010 - PV 2012 rework issue; didn't you have that going from PV 2003 to PV 2010? It wasn't a showstopper then, was it? I know you've got 200,000 images, but - honestly - do you need to convert them all to 2012, against the clock?

     
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    Jan 29, 2012 3:56 AM   in reply to Keith_Reeder

    They're legitimate, but they're entirely subjective,

    Yes, but aren't all opinions on this issue subjective? Or are you trying to suggest that what you put down in your posts are more objective?

     
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    Jan 29, 2012 4:22 AM   in reply to Rob Cole

    I guess the good news is that while it might be counterintuitive to lighten up shadows by increasing exposure, dropping contrast and pushing highlights down to the very left; it does at least work, and the end result is often better than that produced in LR3 for high contrast images as the highlight recovery is so good. But for my purposes, and the images I am playing with (I'm not a pro!) there are a significant number of images where  a tweak of the fill light was all I needed, and now I have to fiddle with just about all the sliders and add a curve to get where I want to. The end result is generally better than in LR3. But I'm finding often, especially where I have both shadows and areas where I want to preserve highlight detail, it's not quite as easy to find a quick and dirty solution.

     
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    Jan 29, 2012 4:35 AM   in reply to johnhawk666

    johnhawk666 wrote:

     

    Yes, but aren't all opinions on this issue subjective? Or are you trying to suggest that what you put down in your posts are more objective?

     

    Eh?

     

    How on earth did you get there from what I wrote?

     

    My point - which I thought was clear enough - is that just because one person posts something and then someone else pipes up in support of it, that doesn't imbue the original comment with any sort of inherent validity or weight.

     

    Obviously all opinions on this issue are subjective, and I for one like the new way of doing things in Lr 4. That Rob and VeloDramatic have identified issues with it just proves that it's impossible to please everyone all the time, but that doesn't make the new approach "bad".

     
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    Jan 29, 2012 6:54 AM   in reply to Keith_Reeder

     

     

    Obviously all opinions on this issue are subjective

    Ok, that's true, but if it's so self evident , why the necessity of saying it? It just seems to me that you are trying to make your case appear more powerful by telling Rob Cole that his views are mere opinions.

     

     

     

     

    because one person posts something and then someone else pipes up in support of it, that doesn't imbue the original comment with any sort of inherent validity or weight.

     

    "Eh"? back at you - Rob Cole,  I'm sure, isn't saying that his opinions have any superior weight to yours, but now you seem to be saying that that they don't have any validity at all.

     
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    Jan 29, 2012 11:30 AM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Rob Cole wrote:


    Anyway, I don't know if Adobe can see their way to make a simple tweak that would improve the situation for us or not. Maybe something simple like giving shadows & highlights more midtone reach, so exposure is not so critical to setting midtone levels(?)

     

    First of all, I'm not sure how simple that is.  Second, it seems that they cross over pretty close to the middle.

     

    Try this.  Take a bare image at defaults and change it's setting in two different ways - either exposure = 0.66 or exposure = 0 and Shadows and Highlights both at +100.  Now look at the mid-tones.  The overall contrast won't be the same, but the midtones will be close, indicating these are reaching up/down to the mids.

     
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    Jan 29, 2012 2:58 PM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Thanks Rob.

     

    The good news is LR3.6 is great, and I'm completely satisfied with its quality. We'll see what LR4 final looks like and perhaps wait for a point release or two instead of making the jump immediately as in the past. If Apple delivers a new MBP with USB 3.0 then Lexar's new 1000x cards and reader will deliver the speed improvement I'm hoping for in 2012.

     

    ::M

     
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    Jan 29, 2012 5:05 PM   in reply to Rob Cole

    hi rob...thanks for initiating this thread !

     

    What do you mean by "Kinda like the tone curve, except with the benefits of the magic logic for recombining tones, which is what makes adjusting tone via the tone controls different than using the tone curve in the first place."

    I'm accustomed to going straight to the tone curve for all my adjustments...but you're saying that there's 'magic' in the slider adjustments?  How so?  

     

    tnx, den

     
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    Jan 29, 2012 5:41 PM   in reply to decoyle

    decoyle wrote:

     

    I'm accustomed to going straight to the tone curve for all my adjustments...but you're saying that there's 'magic' in the slider adjustments?  How so?  

     

    tnx, den

     

    They're localized and adaptive, automatically.

     
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    Jan 29, 2012 7:11 PM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Rob Cole wrote:

     

    In Lr2, you could actually see the fill-light auto-masking artifacts sometimes (halos), but in Lr3 that was fixed.

     

    No it wasn't, just reduced.  Now it's fixed.

     
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    Jan 29, 2012 7:39 PM   in reply to Lee Jay

    lee,,,

     

    localized in the sense of them being discrete to a tonal range,,excepting exposure and contrast to global?...and adaptive ? in the sense of responding to tonal adjustments from other local tonal adjustments on the fly-automatically ? and that's pulling the rabbit out of the hat? ok, i will dabble with this,,tnx   and the curve is not localized/adaptive/automatic ?

     

    on a related note...why is it that the sliders and the tone curve do not show reciprosity other than in the histogram...ie..a curve adjustment doesn't move a slider and vice versa..they seem independent in this respect, if one is blind to the histogram or picture..

     

    tnx, den

     
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    Jan 29, 2012 7:48 PM   in reply to decoyle

    Adaptive in that they are sensitive to image content.

     
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    Jan 29, 2012 8:22 PM   in reply to Lee Jay

    Lee Jay wrote:

     

    Rob Cole wrote:

     

    In Lr2, you could actually see the fill-light auto-masking artifacts sometimes (halos), but in Lr3 that was fixed.

     

    No it wasn't, just reduced.  Now it's fixed.

    Which finally made them really useful (sorry too much Thomas the Tank Engine in my family recently). In LR 3 even moderate highlight recovery and shadow fill would show terrible artefacts at hard edges, often ruining the image if you dared to zoom in. LR 4 cannot be made to show these artefacts.

     
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    Jan 30, 2012 1:50 AM   in reply to Jao vdL

    Yes those artifacts seems fixed ! I believe it's one of the best feature in LR4 :-)

    It feels also like the Clarity slider have different values then in LR3 (bigger area ?) and has less artifacts as the dark shading of fringes when applied too much ?

    Great job !

     
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    Feb 1, 2012 2:26 AM   in reply to Jao vdL

    I can see some masking artifacts in PV'12, where there were none in PV'03.

     

    These are some pretty extreme settings, so I don't know if I should even bother to report them...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated

    In general due to improved masking/adaptive technology in PV 2012, we let the range of the sliders go farther (greater effect) in 2012 than in 2010.  But at extreme settings you can still occasionally still see artifacts on high-contrast boundaries.  This is unfortunately hard to overcome without spending considerably more processing time.

     

    As for increasing shadow contrast, my favorite method with 2012 is to lift Shadows slightly (push a bit in positive direction) and move Blacks to the left a bit.  The opposite can be done to increase highlight contrast (i.e., minus Highlights, positive Whites).

     
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    Feb 1, 2012 7:44 AM   in reply to Rob Cole

    No, the Blacks control in this context should only be used for black clipping and "stretching" the desired darkest tones to become black.  It is the Shadows slider that is used to control the overall brightness level of the dark areas (i.e., lift the shadows as needed using Shadows first, then use Blacks to set the desired clip level).

     

    Eric

     
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    Feb 1, 2012 8:18 AM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Ultimately, with 2 controls for adjusting the dark tones (Shadows, Blacks) you really only have 2 degrees of freedom, if you wish to leave the other aspects of the image alone.  In our testing with the large set of test images we've collected from users over the years, we have found the current implementation with just these 2 works well on nearly all of them.  But for fine-tuning and optimizing the last bit of quality, 2 degrees of freedom is not enough, no matter how we implement them.  You'll need to use the Tone Curve panel and/or local corrections to refine.

     
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