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Auto tone in Lightroom 3 unusable - have to 'auto tone' the image in CS4 for correct tonal quality.

Oct 8, 2010 2:14 AM

The 'Auto Tone' in Lightroom 3.2 never gives me the correct tone, that I'm looking for in my image. It'll either make the overall image too dark, or over-brighten it in unrealistic colours.

 

I always have to go out of Lightroom and edit/auto tone my image in Photoshop CS4, which gets it spot-on just about every time, especially with my studio shoots. In Lightroom 3 the backgound/overall image stays dull looking, while in CS4 it automatically brings out the crisp white of the background.

 

I also use OnOne PhotoTools 2.53 Professional Edition, where I see the Auto Tone matches CS4 exactly - Lightroom 3 however definitely uses a different algorithm, which is not useful for me at all and makes for much longer editing times.

 

Example 1 (image auto toned in CS4):

Auto Tune (1 of 2).jpg

 

Example 2 (image auto toned in Lightroom 3.2):

Auto Tune (2 of 2).jpg

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 12, 2010 4:24 AM   in reply to R_a_V_e_N

    Same question here...

     

    I've found Auto Tone very erratic, sometimes work well and sometimes totally wrong.

     

    Yesterday I try it on a few pictures of a beach taken from the same place almost on the same time and the result was awfull:

    On some picture Auto Tone change almost nothing, on others push the brightness/exposure a little bit to far and the remaining drop the brightness/exposure to something that look badly under exposed.

     

    Could somenone tell me how the algorithm work (adobe developer) ?

     

    How and when people use it ?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 12, 2010 3:31 PM   in reply to R_a_V_e_N

    I agree the auto-toning in Lightroom is sometimes "sub-optimal". When you say "CS4" are you talking "ACR"? I would expect Lightroom and ACR auto-toning to be identical, no?

     

    ???

     

    Rob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 13, 2010 12:17 AM   in reply to R_a_V_e_N

    Hi Raven,

    R_a_V_e_N wrote:

     

    I actually don't use Adobe Camera Raw by itself...

     

    Nobody does. The question was whether the AutoTone function was in the "ACR" window within CS4, or are you talking about an autotoning function elsewhere in CS4. I'm getting a bit out on a limb at this point so please forgive if this question does not even make sense. Its just that if its via ACR as accessed through CS4, it should be exactly the same as Lightroom, not just similar - Lightroom and Photoshop should share the exact same raw image editing code (ACR).

     

    I probably should bow out and let the photoshop experts handle this one. But, if I were you I would consider submitting this question on the Photoshop and/or ACR forum too if you don't get an answer here. - Maybe even Adobe Technical support...

     

    Rob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 13, 2010 1:10 AM   in reply to R_a_V_e_N

    Agree.

     

    I thinks that most of the times Auto-tone screws up on Brightness. If you only use it to adjust the black and white points (Blacks and Exsposure), I find it pretty reliable. You can create a dev preset with auto-tone, then edit it in Notepad to disable everything but blacks and exposure.

     

    Also, do you really need auto-tone in controlled light environment such as a studio? Wouldn't it be easier to fine-tune one picture, then copy adjutmenmts to the rest?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 13, 2010 1:15 AM   in reply to R_a_V_e_N

    Hi Franz,

     

    Ah. So, its the pixel version, not the parameterized version of the auto-toning. Still, I can't understand why there would need to be any difference between the two, but maybe there is a reason I don't see. Still begs the questions you've asked...

     

    Sorry I'm not being much help. But, I empathize with your plight, for what its worth...

     

    PS - Adobe technical support does not grace this forum at all. Occasionally the developers do... You would have to call for technical support I think. Forum-wise, maybe the Photoshop forum(?), or ACR forum(??)

     

    Also, consider submitting an official feature request / bug report.

     

    Keep us posted, OK?

    Rob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 13, 2010 1:25 AM   in reply to Rob Cole
    Still, I can't understand why there would need to be any difference between the two, but maybe there is a reason I don't see.

    The Photoshop Auto-levels is pretty straight-forward: find the darkest pixels, find the brightest pixels, clip.

     

    Dealing with raw is a more complex task, as it seems (otherwise, why wouldn't Thomas knoll and Co. deliver a reliable auto-tone algorithm for, what, 4 versions of ACR?).

     

    First, there the "raw headroom". You don't know exactly where is the white point to clip, as the amount of raw headroom varies from one camera model to another, and the amount of recovery until the picture gets ugly varies from scene to scene. It's much easier with the black point and it works very reliable.

     

    Second, ACR is trying to be smarter and also apply fill light, recovery and mess with brightness and contrast, trying to distribute the data between black and white points in way that gives a balanced tonality. Since photographs often are low or high key by their nature and also this is often and artistic choice rather than technical, brightness and contrast often screw up. That's why I think, limiting auto-tone to Blacks and Exposure is a good compromise.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 13, 2010 1:31 AM   in reply to Dorin Nicolaescu-Musteață

    dorin_nicolaescu wrote:

     

    That's why I think, limiting auto-tone to Blacks and Exposure is a good compromise.

     

    I agree. I had stopped using auto-toning altogether in Lightroom, but after further thought, the auto black/white preset may be a good starting-point compromise for the types of photos that warrant it.

     

    Thanks Dorin,

    Rob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 13, 2010 9:24 AM   in reply to Dorin Nicolaescu-Musteață

    dorin_nicolaescu wrote:

     

    Agree.

     

    .... You can create a dev preset with auto-tone, then edit it in Notepad to disable everything but blacks and exposure.

    Thanks for this hint, Dorin, never thought of that. Gives good results!

     

    Beat

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 13, 2010 10:12 AM   in reply to b_gossweiler

    Beat,

     

    Can you elaborate? I did try a few times today as Dorin suggested, but couldn't get a very usable result. Examples?

     

    TIA

     

    Hans

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 13, 2010 10:52 AM   in reply to camerahans

    Hans,

     

    When you save a preset with just AutoTone applied, the preset looks like this:

     

        type = "Develop",
        value = {
            settings = {
                AutoBrightness = false,
                AutoContrast = false,
                AutoExposure = false,
                AutoShadows = false,
                AutoTone = true,
            },
            uuid = "F2AE2D90-B58E-4712-9C9B-19CC97063DB9",
        },
    
    

     

    If you change this preset by using any text editor to:

     

        type = "Develop",
        value = {
            settings = {
                AutoExposure = true,
                AutoShadows = true,
            },
            uuid = "F2AE2D90-B58E-4712-9C9B-19CC97063DB9",
        },
    

     

    it achieves (on some shots) pretty good results.

     

    (sorry, I'm not able to upload any images right now, so no examples ....)

     

     

    Beat Gossweiler

    Switzerland

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 13, 2010 11:25 AM   in reply to b_gossweiler

    Beat,

     

    I have been using this a lot lately for fixing scanned images (I think you may have posted this some months ago since I have been using it for at least a couple of months).  Maybe Rob posted it as well, don't recall but I know I didn't come up with it.

     

    One thing I have noticed is that this preset is "relative" not "absolute".  This is not how most presets work of course but the point is that the order in which you apply this preset may change the results.  For example if you apply Auto WB beforehand, the results are different than if you apply the preset and then Auto WB.  Not a big issue, just something users should know if they are having a hard time figuring out what is actually happening when they apply presets in random orders.

     

    As a side-note, I actually have two presets, the one for Exposure and Blacks and a second one for Exposure, Blacks and Contrast.  Sometimes one does the trick when the other fails

     

    Jeff

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 13, 2010 12:15 PM   in reply to JW Stephenson

    Hi Jeff,

     

    Yes this has come around before. I just added "Blacks, Exposure, and Contrast", to my arsenal of selective auto-tone presets - good idea.

     

    PS - Lightroom doesn't seem to mind if you use the same ID for all of these presets, but it sure makes me nervous...

     

    Rob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 13, 2010 12:23 PM   in reply to b_gossweiler

    thanks Beat,

     

    Didn't mean pics. This code will suffice

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 13, 2010 12:28 PM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Rob,

     

    Makes me nervous as well.  Rather than copying from OS and restarting LR, I make a new preset inside LR after applying Auto Tone.  Give it the name I want "Exposure - Black Point - Contrast" and then exit LR to edit the text file created.  Probably doesn't matter but as you point out - doesn't feel like a good idea to have multiple files with the same ID.

     

     

     

    Jeff

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 13, 2010 1:01 PM   in reply to JW Stephenson

    Sounds like good cheap insurance...

     
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