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Non-Destructiveness of Adjustments

May 15, 2012 7:56 AM

Are the modifications that you make during development added consecutively as you make each one or are they all added up and applied once at the end?

 

In other words:  say I have a RAW file, well exposed, but it's flat and boring.  So I choose to knock the whole thing down 1 eV in exposure.  Then I use the adjustment brush and add 1 eV to just my subject.  Is my subject essentially untouched as to exposure, or has the subject been brought down and taken back up and thus would have some inherent noise and whatnot?

 

And does the same apply for adjustments other than exposure, like clarity or tint? 

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 15, 2012 8:20 AM   in reply to rkelly0137

    Lightroom applies adjustments in a specific order by design, which you cannot change.

     

    Each time you make a change in the develop module LR re-renders the original file and applies the NET adjustments, i.e. exposure, tint, clarity, adjustment brush etc and updates the preview file. So it does not matter the order in which you make changes since LR will render the file is the order as designed.This is one of the reasons it is quicker to browse files in the Library module as opposed to the Develop module, since the Library module uses the preview files for you to view the files.

     
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  • Andrew Rodney
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    Apr 16, 2009
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    May 15, 2012 9:40 AM   in reply to rkelly0137

    rkelly0137 wrote:

    In other words:  say I have a RAW file, well exposed, but it's flat and boring.  So I choose to knock the whole thing down 1 eV in exposure.  Then I use the adjustment brush and add 1 eV to just my subject.  Is my subject essentially untouched as to exposure, or has the subject been brought down and taken back up and thus would have some inherent noise and whatnot?

    All adjustments are totally non destructive in that the original data is never touched AND when you render the data (Export, Edit in Photoshop) a new, virgin pixel file is rendered. Think of raw as read only. Think of the adjustments as simply metadata (parametric) instructions that are used, automatically in best order, not user order, to create new pixels from the raw+instructions. You can always go back to square one or somewhere in-between, the original data is never touched.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 15, 2012 9:57 AM   in reply to rkelly0137

    Non-destructive means that Lr does not touch the image pixels of your original. Whatever you are doing in the Develop Module, your image pixels remain untouched, unchanged just as they were when they came out of the camera. Whatever you are doing in the Develop Module is stored in the Lr data base (= the catalog). Lr uses the data from the catalog to display your image with the changes made in the Develop Module - but the original image pixels remain unchanged. When you export an image, a new image file is created with the data set from the catalog written into the image pixels - but not into the image pixels of your original image, since the export creates a new image file. Your original image file remains unchanged.

     
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  • Andrew Rodney
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    May 15, 2012 10:16 AM   in reply to web-weaver

    Non-destructive means that Lr does not touch the image pixels of your original.

    It might mean that. If that really is the case, any application that allows a Save As could be called non destructive because you could save edits into a new iteration and leave the original untouched.

     

    I think of LR truly being non destructive because the image file it actually creates, from raw data, is also non destructive in a more important way. You are creating new, virgin pixels from the raw plus instructions. IF you take that document into Photoshop and edit it, those edits are eventually destructive (Flatten or print, the edits have to be applied to the original data).

     
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  • Andrew Rodney
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    May 15, 2012 10:38 AM   in reply to rkelly0137

    rkelly0137 wrote:

     

    Ok, then back to my original example, but lets turn it up a notch to exagerate the effect.  If I do a global reduction of the exposure -3 EV, then I use the adjustment brush to add +3 EV to an area of the photo, that area should look as it does straight out of RAW, no additional noise.  Correct?

    Correct although you could just readjust the original slider back to +3 EV.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 15, 2012 10:42 AM   in reply to Andrew Rodney

    Andew Rodney,

    You say "any application that allows a Save As could be called non destructive".

    Yes, I think that is so. I think "non-destructive" was a bit of a marketing strategy, because if you save in Photoshop with layers intact, the PS edits are also "non-destructive".

    You also say "I think of LR truly being non destructive because the image file it actually creates, from raw data, is also non destructive in a more important way. You are creating new, virgin pixels from the raw plus instructions."

    Yes, that is so. But I would not call these new "virgin" pixels non-destructive because we have to see them in context with the original image. If I would increase the contrast of an image by so much that clipping of highlights and shadows would occur and then export this image - would you think of these "virgin" pixels as non-destructive? Naturally it's subjective: You could say this is art - but compared to the original image, it's destructive. And, more important, from these new pixels - although "virgin" - you cannot re-create the original image.

     
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  • Andrew Rodney
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    May 15, 2012 10:48 AM   in reply to web-weaver

    web-weaver wrote:

    I think "non-destructive" was a bit of a marketing strategy, because if you save in Photoshop with layers intact, the PS edits are also "non-destructive".

    It is most certainly a marketing buzz word. Adjustment layers are potentially non destructive. If you never flatten then, they are. But if you print the document, Photoshop has to send a flattened ‘version’ to the printer. So boom, you’ve applied edits to the original data. There is some data loss (in high bit, it is moot).

     

    Yes, that is so. But I would not call these new "virgin" pixels non-destructive because we have to see them in context with the original image. If I would increase the contrast of an image by so much that clipping of highlights and shadows would occur and then export this image - would you think of these "virgin" pixels as non-destructive?

    Yes I would. I’d suggest the rendering instructions might be less than optimal. In some cases, we might very well want to clip. You have someone standing on a white bkgnd, you want it to be clipped. Or you want to smash detail in shadows because that is the rendering you wish to convey (and in the process, you can remove a lot of noise). All edits are game as long as the image creator renders what they wish to express. The reason so many capture in raw. And what you saw in LR prior to the export should match what you see after. So no surprises.

     

    Some people just love to crank sliders in HDR software to produce a grunge look, a rendering I don’t usually care for. But I would not call it destructive, just ugly <g>.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 15, 2012 12:59 PM   in reply to Andrew Rodney

    Andrew Rodney,

    I think we agree on the issues. You are just giving the term "non-destructive" a slightly different meaning. I can live with that.

     
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