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Auto Tone is waayyy off

Mar 10, 2012 3:49 PM

Tags: #auto #tone #lr4

Sometimes I just hit Auto Tone to see what LR will do.  It's usually a good starting point for average type photos.  Since I upgraded to LR4 though, when I hit Auto, I'm usually about 2 Stops too dark!  Is anyone else having this problem?

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 10, 2012 3:58 PM   in reply to Mike Guilbault

    I have never hit "auto tone" since I have been using LR V1 and shooting raw. I will try with LR 4 and see what happens.

     
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    Mar 10, 2012 4:11 PM   in reply to DdeGannes

    Have no interest in using this function, I just prefer to make my own choices. I also create my own default import options for my three camera bodies and ISO settings.

    I just prefer to be creative and make my own choices. Are you setting your camera on "auto" or "manual"  if manual are you then making "auto" adjustments in processing your raw files?.

     

    If auto in camera then another auto in processing??

     
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    Mar 10, 2012 4:22 PM   in reply to Mike Guilbault

    Mike,

    For me Auto Tone is unpredictable. There are a few images where it will yield the good starting point for further own tweaks as you expect.

     

    But then there are many, for which I also experience the Auto result to be either way too dark or way too bright.

     

    I have not yet investigated further to find the particular pattern behind this phenomenon.

    But I agree with you: overall disappointing.

     

    Cornelia

     
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    Mar 10, 2012 4:21 PM   in reply to Mike Guilbault

    Mike Guilbault wrote:

     

    Sometimes I just hit Auto Tone to see what LR will do.  It's usually a good starting point for average type photos.  Since I upgraded to LR4 though, when I hit Auto, I'm usually about 2 Stops too dark!  Is anyone else having this problem?

     

    Likely because you have pictures with a ton of bright stuff in them.

     

    Autotone is all new with LR4 because of the new controls.  Imagine writing an algorithm that looks at nothing but the histogram and adjusts just the basic sliders, and the result is a pleasing image.  Not simple.

     
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    Mar 10, 2012 4:23 PM   in reply to Mike Guilbault

    I have a Canon Rebel T2i and yes some photos start out from auto tone 1.3 to 1.9 under exposed and very dark. This never happened in LR3. The photos are easily corrected, but still a pain as even the under exposure is not consistently applied. Looked for histogram  patterns over about 100 photos with pattern to dictate the effect.

     
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    Mar 10, 2012 4:23 PM   in reply to Mike Guilbault

    The Auto Tone feature has always been quite a bit off ... but I think in Lr4 ... it is a bit better, but falls so woefully short that I often wonder why it even exists as an option ... I often refer to it in my seminars as the "Auto Destruct" button ...

     

    On certain images I will try it just to see if the software may see something in the image data I may be overlooking. Though, it's just one of those features I really wish they would either get it right, or remove it ... otherwise it is just wasted effort for everyone involved.

     
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    Mar 10, 2012 4:39 PM   in reply to Mike Guilbault

    Mike Guilbault wrote:

     

    I understand how it calculates the adjustments...

     

     

    Actually I kinda doubt that...the new image adaptive controls makes Auto a really different animal than previous Autos in LR 1, 2 & 3. I'm not even sure I understand how it's working and what it's based on and I've talked to the engineers about it :~)

     

    The main slider that seems to overwhelm in Exposure...and the new Exposure slider is a weird bird.

     

    I agree that PV 2012 is still going to take some getting used to. But aside from Exposure being much different to my tastes (meaning I usually DON'T like an Auto Exposure) the other controls Auto settings seem pretty solid. And here's a trick to not use Auto for Exposure but to get Auto from the other sliders, do a Shift / Double Click on the setting's name. That gives you a per setting Auto. This is a variation on the regular Double Click to get back to default.

     

    I find Auto Highlights, Shadows, Whites & Blacks to be pretty good AFTER I have set the Exposure to my tastes...I'm still on the fence on Auto Contrast.

     
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    Mar 10, 2012 5:34 PM   in reply to Jeff Schewe

    Autotone was much better in LR3 - unusable in LR4

     
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    Mar 10, 2012 10:08 PM   in reply to Mike Guilbault

    In a similar thread, Eric has been asking for samples where Auto Tone fails.

     

    http://forums.adobe.com/message/4250657#4250657

     
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    Mar 18, 2012 6:46 PM   in reply to Mike Guilbault

    I am seeing exactly what MIke points out.   "Auto" is moving exposure to -2 or more on some of my shots.  It appears that the LR4 algorithm wants to avoid any blown out highlights in any part of the photo at all costs.

     
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    Mar 18, 2012 8:36 PM   in reply to Mike Guilbault

    Just adding my voice to the chorus here - I've been using Auto Tone since last year on my high-volume paid work, as it generally got me in the ballpark in LR3 (this was the main reason I started using LR3 over Aperture, which I generally preferred for my personal work until LR4). After processing a few shoots with LR4, it's hard to ignore how wildly off-the-mark Auto Tone seems to be now, often underexposing by over 2 stops. I haven't noticed much overexposure - when it misses for me, it seems to always miss toward underexposure.

     
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    Mar 18, 2012 11:40 PM   in reply to Rick Baumhauer

    In LR3, while auto tone got it in the ballpark (sometimes) it generally over-exposed.  With my system & monitors, it's much better in LR4  (Sorry....)  I'm having dual monitor issues (another thread )

     
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    Apr 3, 2012 3:39 PM   in reply to DdeGannes

    DdeGannes wrote:

     

    I have never hit "auto tone" since I have been using LR V1 and shooting raw. I will try with LR 4 and see what happens.

    Why take up space in this forum with this kind of reply? Even with your follow-up post, you didn't answer the OP's question. The OP wasn't asking for opinions on whether or not to use the software feature. He was asking if anyone else has experienced the same issue.

     
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    Apr 3, 2012 4:13 PM   in reply to Photo Nopoulis

    My position is that I do not find it useful.

     
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    Apr 3, 2012 4:20 PM   in reply to Mike Guilbault

    It's a common misconception that it's always appropriate to cinch up the highlight side of the histogram, which is definitely not the case. In fact it's often totally inappropriate. I think this is where auto tone fails and why it so often results in overexposures.

     
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    Apr 4, 2012 12:50 AM   in reply to Mike Guilbault

    Did you try the trick of Jeff Schewe:

     

     

    Jeff Schewe wrote:

    And here's a trick to not use Auto for Exposure but to get Auto from the other sliders, do a Shift / Double Click on the setting's name. That gives you a per setting Auto. This is a variation on the regular Double Click to get back to default.

     

    I find Auto Highlights, Shadows, Whites & Blacks to be pretty good AFTER I have set the Exposure to my tastes...I'm still on the fence on Auto Contrast.

     

    I find it a very useful tip. 

    In the learning curve of use of the new sliders gives me an idea of how LR sees the use of them.

     

    Frans

     
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    Apr 4, 2012 8:27 AM   in reply to Jeff Schewe

    Jeff

    Great trick!

    How about other tricks you have up your sleeve. . .

    Thanks

     
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    Apr 4, 2012 9:10 AM   in reply to Jeff Schewe

    That is an awesome hint Jeff. Thanks.

     
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    May 22, 2012 4:58 AM   in reply to Mike Guilbault

    I'm not interested in the people who posted to say stuff like " Well I don't use it so you shouldn't either"  There are many photos I take the time to really develop. Others I could pretty much clean up with auto tone and be satisfied. It worked great in Lightroom 3.... Now it just ruins about anything I use it on. I do not consider that to be working as intended and I'm fairly certain adobe doesnt intentionally give us broken options so if you have an issue about the software then please come here and discuss it. There's no point in coming here to hate on people because it will not help the software improve. I figure If I can shell out 125 euros for the software, I have a right to bring up issues as I find them.

     
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    May 22, 2012 12:28 PM   in reply to Jbishhh

    Hi Jbtshhh,

    I was trying to find the post which might have offended you in this thread. It is a real loss that with the latest forum-UI-update you no longer see to which post one actually replies to.

     

    Overall I agree with you regarding expectations.

    But Adobe is really catching up - at least I have great hopes for LR4.1final or 4.2, because I know that Eric Chan has collected quite a bunch of images for which full Auto-tone misbehaved either way.

    So continue to bring your issues.

     

    Adobe made a big mistake in releasing LR4.0 so early and with bugs not present in the beta. One big mistake.

    But I appreciate their working culture NOT to do public laundry cleaning afterwards. Silence and substantial improvements in due time is what I expect - no point for hate whatsoever.

     

    Cornelia

     
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    May 22, 2012 2:42 PM   in reply to Mike Guilbault

    Mike Guilbault wrote:

     

    Sometimes I just hit Auto Tone to see what LR will do.  It's usually a good starting point for average type photos.  Since I upgraded to LR4 though, when I hit Auto, I'm usually about 2 Stops too dark!  Is anyone else having this problem?

     

    I'm finding LR4 Auto Tone usually gets the settings "in the ballpark" when the image has no major overexposed areas (reflections, spot light, sun). The bigger problem is that you still need to "fine-tune" the settings, which is best done from the "top down" starting with Exposure. This doesn't work well with the PV2012 controls when the Exposure setting is off by more than about .5 EV. I find it's faster to just hit reset and start all over. I have to agree with Ddegannes that the current Auto Tone is not very useful with PV2012.

     

    That said I am sure the Adobe LR team will do some tweaking of their own to make it a more usable tool....4.1 final?

     
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    May 22, 2012 3:29 PM   in reply to Mike Guilbault

    Mike Guilbault wrote:

     

    Sometimes I just hit Auto Tone to see what LR will do.  It's usually a good starting point for average type photos.  Since I upgraded to LR4 though, when I hit Auto, I'm usually about 2 Stops too dark!  Is anyone else having this problem?

    Yeah Mike, Lr4 Auto-tone is sometimes way too bright, sometimes way too dim...

     

    I would love to see Auto-toning presets, where a user could enter a small set of very simple high level criteria, and the auto-tone would try to accomodate, and those criteria could then be saved as presets for future use.

     

    A "one size fits all" auto-tone feature will never be satisfactory, or so I opine...

     

    R

     
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    May 22, 2012 4:54 PM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Hi Rob,

     

    I gave up on LR auto tone a long time ago.  Sometimes I will use CS5 for a "second opinion" and it seems to do a much better job than LR.

     

    However, your expression "one size fits all auto-tone feature will never be satisfactory" caught my eye and got me thinking.   I wonder if at some point the auto tone gets better, it would be nice if the user could auto tone to the current crop and not the whole image.    This makes more sense to me and would also allow the user to crop, auto tone for a particular part of the image and then re-crop as required.   .    Clearly the sematics of such a thing would have to be better thought out than I've said, and perhaps it is not sensible, but I find it an intriguing thought to have something like this.

     

    PS - I think for someone new to LR, as a first impression, the poor auto tone performance can be quite a shock - I remember it was to me.

     
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    May 22, 2012 5:16 PM   in reply to AlanUniqueName

    Hi Alan,

    AlanUniqueName wrote:

     

    Sometimes I will use CS5 for a "second opinion" and it seems to do a much better job than LR.

    Adobe agrees there is room for improvement in Lightroom 4's auto-tone, and have even said they are actively working on it (in the "feedback" forum).

     

     

    AlanUniqueName wrote:

     

    I wonder if at some point the auto tone gets better, it would be nice if the user could auto tone to the current crop and not the whole image.

    Good idea!

     

    Along that line, perhaps PV2012 image-adaptivity could be computed from the crop, instead of whole image.

     

     

    Cheers,

    Rob

     
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