Ever since I upgraded to LR4, I've noticed severe banding/posterization in the shadow areas when using the graduated filter with reduced exposure or using the vignette to on Amount -100.
I previously used these tools in LR3 to create fade to black areas in my shots, but have noticed that now, instead of a nice smooth gradient, I get a hard black edge, with a green band stippled into the black before returning to (in this particular case) a grey backdrop rather than a smooth transition from black (like I used to get with LR3).
Initially I thought it was my GFX card as my main one died and I temporarily replaced it with an older card. However, I recently purchased an Nvidia GEForce 630 as a replacement and it's still an issue. I also exported a file and viewed it on my partner's HP latop and the issue was still there.
I googled LR4 shadow banding to try and find answers but didn't have much luck. Is any one else experiencing this issue, or do I just have some sort anomoly?
Windows 7 64bit
Dell 2408 WFP monitor
Spyder 3 Calibration
Any help would be appreciated as at this point I'm not sure whether it's something with my system or LR4.
Thanks in advance.
I've tried the extreme settings shown below on RAW images from a Panasonic Lumix LX-5 and a Nikon D80 and have not had the same issues.
These files are from RAW files from a Nikon D300. I've been using the profile 'Camera Neutral' for years as I really like the look, but have found that switching to 'ACR 4.4' improves things somewhat, though the issue is still present.
This first image is with vignetting applied at -100 in Highlight Priority mode and Feathering at 100. What I'm seeing is a very defined edge where the colour drops off to black. There is blue banding where it drops off and there is a stippled effect by that. I find it particularly noticable on the hill on the bottom left of the shot.
In the second image, I've applied a gradient filter over a gradient filter (the second one was to make the top half of the sky more dramatic). I've exagerated the settings to illustrate my issue. What I see here is severe areas of black in the clouds, surrounded by blue banding and that stippled effect again.
Hope these help.
I've been using the profile 'Camera Neutral' for years as I really like the look
I remember early v1 profiles for some Nikon to have some problems in
the shadows. The are v4 profiles for the D300 in Lightroom 4 — try
Ahh, I hadn't seen those (just didn't see the wood for the trees)!
Switching to Camera Neutral V4 helps immensely, so thank you.
However, there is still some banding there. Workable for now I guess.
There is an issue with the 'local tools' in that they are applied before the global tools, which can reduce dynamic range in the highlight and shadow areas. This may also be the case for the Post-Crop Vignetting tool, but I haven't tested it.
Why it only shows up with certain cameras is probably due to the available dynamic range in the individual raw image files.
Another possible issue that could be contributing to the "banding" artifacts is your Dell 2408WFP wide gamut monitor. Using a wide gamut monitor with 24 bit display data stretches the available gradations (16,777,216 colors) over a wider range, and provides less smoothness (i.e. banding). Many wide gamut monitor users will argue that this is NOT the case for them and that may be true. But anytime you use "extreme settings" in LR (100% settings, two graduated filters/spot tools) you're setting up a situation where banding may become visible. Try exporting an image with banding using TIFF, ProPhoto RGB profile, and 16 bit data, and then view it on another system equipped with a standard gamut display. You can also download this Ramp test file from AMD's site, import it into LR, and see if you have visible banding:
Photoshop supports a full 30 bit display data path when using a 30 bit graphics card, but Lightroom only supports 24 bit display data.
In short you have multiple things in LR that may be causing the artifacts you are seeing. My best advice is to use the global controls more heavily (Highlights, Shadows) and lighten up on the locals, since they can reduce the dynamic range in your image.
Then what you are seeing is "stair-stepping" or "posterization" due to LR's 24 bit display output to your wide gamut 30 bit display. It's one of the shortcomings of using a 30 bit display with applications that only support a 24 bit display data path.
The same thing can occur with standard gamut sRGB images as explained at the above link.
The banding most likely will not appear in exported sRGB profile output files or in actual prints. If it does you can minimize the banding by adding noise using the LR Grain tool, or in PS using 'Add Noise.' Sometimes lowering saturation and/or contrast in the affected areas with the Graduated filter and/or Spot tools will reduce banding as well.