38 Replies Latest reply: Feb 1, 2012 8:28 AM by areohbee RSS

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

    areohbee Community Member

      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_improve_basic_tone_cont rols

       

      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

        • 1. Re: Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).
          Lee Jay Community Member

          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.

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

            I've raised some poignant issues, but it doesn't seem you've grokked yet.

            • 3. Re: Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).
              Lee Jay Community Member

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

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

                I think it would be more valuable if you consider the whole purpose for this thread when responding.

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

                  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?).

                  • 6. Re: Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).
                    Jeff Schewe Community Member

                    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).

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

                      Hi Bill,

                       

                      All input is welcome.

                       

                      Whites slider is the exposure slider's second cousin. Like exposure, it affects all tones, but it affects brightest tones more than exposure. It's almost like the right-end equivalent to fill-light in Lr3. If you just want to get overall exposure + shadows and highlights in the ballpark, it can be done very quickly with Lr4b. I however always want to control the exact brightness of each and every tone, from black to white, and do it in such a way that there are no "flat" regions or desaturated regions. That's when things get tricky. For example, what if you have a photo whose tones are in the ball park, but the middle tone is not bright enough. This happens a lot to people who under-expose in the interest of preserving highlights, then need to bring up the brightness of the whole picture, except for the whites, bottom end mostly. In Lr3, you increase fill light, and if it brightens too much somewhere you decrease brightness there. In Lr4b, increasing the shadows won't reach it. You can get at it by increasing the blacks, but then that unanchors the black point (and messes up the darkest tones which weren't anywere near the midtone target). You can't pull it rightward using highlights, because that won't reach either, and anyway will overbrighten highlights. You can pull it leftward using whites, but then your whites may become too bright. So, what do you do? increase exposure. But then that blows out the whole top end. So what do you do? Decrease highlights. But now you've just affected a bunch of other tones which were not near the tones that were the original target of your desired adjustment. It's all very squirrelly and non-intuitive and requires iteration. Note: I've spent several dozens hours experimenting, I'm not an Lr4b newbie by a long shot - granted, I'm also still very much learning.

                       

                      I really think Adobe should consider altering the algorithm such that one can use the slider that represents the tones closest to the desired target tone, then adjust the next closest sliders as compensation... - Everything blending as gracefully as possible with the adjacent zone.

                       

                      e.g. (not talking about setting white and black point, which should be independent of all this)

                       

                      - blacks: adjusts darkest tones most, shadow tones next most, midtones next most, highlight tones next most, and lightest tones least.

                      - shadows: adjusts dark tones most, black tones and midtones next most...

                      - midtones: adjusts midtones most, dark and light tones next most...

                      - highlights: adjusts light tones most, midtones and lightest tones next most...

                      - whites: adjusts lightest tones most, light tones next most, midtones next most...

                       

                      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.

                       

                      This way, if you want to add fill light into the deepest regions, you increase the blacks most, if that brightens the shadows too much, then adjust the shadows a little, if that affects the midtones too much, then adjust the midtones a tiny bit, and if that affects the highlights a smidge, then adjust the highlights by the tiniest of smidges. Affect on whites by blacks slider is probably negligible.

                       

                      In other words, make the implementation match the zones as you see them in the histogram. For example, in the histogram we have:

                       

                      - blacks

                      - shadows

                      - exposure

                      - highlights

                      - whites

                       

                      Except they don't really do what's suggested by that zone graph:

                       

                      - black slider adjust midtones and light tones more than shadow slider does.

                      - shadow slider hits a midtone wall.

                      - exposure affects lighter tones even more than midtones.

                      - highlights hits a midtone wall.

                      - whites adjusts midtones and dark tones more than highlights slider.

                       

                      Is it possible to get exactly what you want with this scheme? - yes.

                      Is it tricky as he|| - yes.

                       

                      So Bill, if Lr4b is working for you, then more power to ya. I can make it work for me too. But I think the implementation is not very intuitive, requires mutliple iterations which can take a lot of time, and there may be room for improvement - thus this thread.

                       

                      Rob

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

                        Jeff Schewe wrote:

                         

                        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.

                         

                        I failed to mention it, but I don't fail to adjust it.

                         

                         

                         

                         

                        Jeff Schewe wrote:

                         

                        (BTW, the controls are really not going to change...tweaek may but not change in basic function).

                         

                        In that case, I'll probably abandon this mission and just get used to it - thanks for the heads up.

                         

                         

                        R

                        • 9. Re: Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).
                          bill ram Community Member

                          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.

                           

                           

                           

                           

                           

                           

                          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

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

                            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.

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

                              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?

                              • 12. Re: Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).
                                johnhawk666 Community Member

                                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?

                                • 13. Re: Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).
                                  Susan S. Community Member

                                  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.

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

                                    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".

                                    • 15. Re: Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).
                                      johnhawk666 Community Member

                                       

                                       

                                      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.

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

                                        Hi Michael,

                                         

                                        Not sure what to say. I dont think the purpose of the new tone controls was to make it more efficient to process larger photosets. And, certainly Adobe has decided you will have to live with the fallout from non-compatible presets. It's probably true, as others have noted, that it's even more of a challenge now to create generally applicable toning presets. None of these things concern me personally (dont use presets much, and mostly small volume photosets), but I get that you are not thrilled about the new process version, since it means more work for you, instead of less.

                                         

                                        As Susan S pointed out, you will probably be able to obtain superior images, but not necessarily more quickly. Although who knows - maybe the new PV2012 tricks of the trade-offs will suddenly become as clear to you as they are to Keith Reeder and you'll be slicing through those raws like butter. Ya think?

                                         

                                        My guess is that Adobe is presently finalizing Lr4b2 or Lr4-final. So all of this is probably too little too late.

                                         

                                        Rob

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

                                          Hi Susan,

                                           

                                          I think you have the right attitude. I suspect Jeff Schewe is correct in that "how it is now is how it's going to be" for the next couple years (for the most part), so we might as well get use to it.

                                           

                                          I think I mentioned that so far, every single image I've worked on I've been able to improve using PV2012, but sometimes it has taken a lot of work.

                                           

                                          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(?)

                                           

                                          Given that a redesign is probably out of the question (and in some peoples opinion, not warranted) - any other ideas for "last-minute" improvement?

                                           

                                          Cheers,

                                          Rob

                                          • 18. Re: Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).
                                            Lee Jay Community Member

                                            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.

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

                                              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

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

                                                Hi Michael,

                                                 

                                                Whatever works for you of course, but personally, I wouldn't trade Lr4(b) for Lr3. Despite my challenges, I've been able to get better results with it across the board, and in some cases much more quickly than with Lr3 - it really depends on the photo. And, I'm sure I'll be able to process photos more quickly with experience.

                                                 

                                                I mean, part of the difficulty stems from having more control. It's harder to steer a fire-engine (or a forklift) than a school bus (or a smart car), but you can maneuver better... (the first two allow you to turn back wheels too, instead of just the fronts - for those who aren't familiar with fire-engines and fork-lifts).

                                                 

                                                I wish the controls were more consistent in behavior from dark to light (as is suggested by the "zone-graph"  in the histogram, but in actual implementation - not so much), so adjustment was more straight-forward and intuitive to me, but it's not a deal breaker...

                                                 

                                                Cheers,

                                                Rob

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

                                                  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

                                                  • 22. Re: Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).
                                                    Lee Jay Community Member

                                                    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.

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

                                                      Hi Den,

                                                       

                                                      Using the tone curve, you can't increase contrast in one region without decreasing it in another. What goes up must come down and all...

                                                       

                                                      Whereas the basic tone controls use special handling for altering tone - I don't understand it well enough to explain technically, but it uses auto-masking under the hood.

                                                       

                                                      For example, in Lr3, ever notice how you can increase fill light without losing mid-tone contrast? - hard to do that with the tone curve.

                                                       

                                                      Nikon's Active D-Lighting uses similar techniques to accomplish their touted "magic".

                                                       

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

                                                       

                                                      In Lr4, you can get results that have increased local contrast, without added clarity. - it's due to this secret sauce, a.k.a. magic.

                                                       

                                                      Cheers,

                                                      Rob

                                                      • 24. Re: Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).
                                                        Lee Jay Community Member

                                                        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.

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

                                                          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

                                                          • 26. Re: Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).
                                                            Lee Jay Community Member

                                                            Adaptive in that they are sensitive to image content.

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

                                                              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.

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

                                                                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 !

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

                                                                  If I had my way:

                                                                   

                                                                  Get rid of the exposure and contrast sliders and just have:

                                                                   

                                                                  - black point

                                                                  - white point (equivalent of previous exposure slider)

                                                                   

                                                                  - darkest

                                                                  - darks

                                                                  - mids

                                                                  - lights

                                                                  - lightest

                                                                   

                                                                  So one could shape as desired in a very intuitive fashion - no need for contrast slider.

                                                                   

                                                                  Features:

                                                                   

                                                                  - Black point divorced from adjustment to reshape darkest zone of histogram. i.e. two sliders, one for adjusting shape, and the other for adjusting clipping point.

                                                                    (we have that now for highlights with the exposure and whites setting, but I want it for shadows too).

                                                                  - Addition of mid-tone slider so one can shift the balance of midtone brightness with less effect on upper highlights and lower shadows.

                                                                  - all sliders affect all tones, but have less effect on the tones in the zones two doors down, than their next door neighbor does (described more thoroughly in longest post above).

                                                                   

                                                                  In my opinion, this would be very intuitive and quick to get it right.

                                                                   

                                                                  As Lr4b currently implemented,

                                                                   

                                                                  - Sometimes I have to decrease contrast in order to get more contrast, but in a shape I prefer.

                                                                  i.e. decreasing contrast, decreasing shadows, and increasing highlights can create more contrast but in a manner that distributes tones differently around the midtone zone.

                                                                  (I find this counter-intuitive and tricky business)

                                                                   

                                                                  - Sometimes I have to decrease exposure when what I want is more exposure, but different tonal distribution around the midtones.

                                                                   

                                                                  And sometimes I have to significantly readjust both exposure and contrast to get the tone distribution I want around the midtones (after having already adjusted both to be very closely in the ballpark). Very, very tricky business. And I frequently punt once in the ball park and resort to tone curve and/or locals to finish the job.

                                                                   

                                                                  - Sometimes I want a different shape to the lowest end of the curve but with less effect on upper tones, and I need to be able to set the black point independently.

                                                                   

                                                                  (Note: I can presently shape darkest tones and set black point almost exactly how I want using existing controls, BUT it requires using tone curve in conjunction with blacks slider AND adjusting other stuff to compensate, and it still may not be quite right)

                                                                   

                                                                  The above sliders would do it.

                                                                   

                                                                   

                                                                  Summary:

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

                                                                  The biggest problem with the present tone controls, in my opinion, is that (after getting all adjustments very close) it's difficult to achieve refined tonal distribution without re-adjusting exposure and/or contrast, and then re-adjusting all the others again, and again, and again, or shifting to tone curve and/or locals to finish.

                                                                   

                                                                  Results if one has the patience are generally spectacular, but whoa - what about that clock?...

                                                                   

                                                                   

                                                                  Note: I have no idea how hard this idea would be to implement, or how much CPU would be required relative to the present scheme.

                                                                  Presumably this redesign won't be done, and I'll adjust, get great results, and be relatively happy with Lightroom. But I'll always be wondering

                                                                  if there isn't a better way...

                                                                   

                                                                  Bonus idea:

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

                                                                  Instead of getting rid of the contrast slider altogether, wire it to the existing controls and have its effect be governed by "contrast personality" presets.

                                                                   

                                                                   

                                                                  Rob

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

                                                                    The best person to answer this question would be Eric Chan,

                                                                     

                                                                    But if I may take another crack at it...

                                                                     

                                                                    Riddle me this? - Suppose I want to increase intra-shadow contrast, but without reducing midtone contrast (or intra-highlight contrast). - what's a poor boy to do?

                                                                     

                                                                    Problem: Using the tone curve to create a steep upward inflection in the shadows (increasing intra-shadow contrast) inevitably results in a downward inflection along the midtones, reducing contrast (or it could be defered until the highlights...).

                                                                     

                                                                    What the magic algorithm effectively does is this (implementation may be totally different - I have no idea):

                                                                     

                                                                    Create a mask which isolates the dark region to be effected, then apply the above mentioned tone curve to come up with a new dark region. Replace previous dark region with new dark region without leaving artifacts at the mask edges.

                                                                     

                                                                    Voila! (I made that sound easy, huh!(?)

                                                                     

                                                                    Lr2 & Lr3 are proof this is not easy, and the "total" elimination of the mask-edge artifacts in Lr4 is one of the awesome new features under the hood of the dev module.

                                                                     

                                                                    PS - Having a tone-curve as local adjustment together with U-points for seemless auto-masking is one of the things that makes NX2 so awesome - not only can you increase contrast in selected regions without lowering it in others (or vice versa), you can adjust color and noise in the masked regions while you're at it... non-destructively. (note: you can not do all that with Photoshop, even if you have the complete Nik plugin collection).

                                                                     

                                                                    Rob

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

                                                                      Rob Cole wrote:

                                                                       

                                                                      ...You can pull it leftward using whites, but then your whites may become too bright...

                                                                      Sorry, I meant "pull it rightward using whites".

                                                                      • 32. Re: Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).
                                                                        Dorin Nicolaescu-Musteață Community Member

                                                                        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...

                                                                        • 33. Re: Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).
                                                                          MadManChan2000 Adobe Employee

                                                                          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).

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

                                                                            MadManChan2000 wrote:

                                                                             

                                                                            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.

                                                                             

                                                                             

                                                                            I consider this a very small problem relative to some of the other more basic toning issues.

                                                                             

                                                                             

                                                                            MadManChan2000 wrote:

                                                                             

                                                                            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).

                                                                             

                                                                            This technique works a lot better for highlights than it does for blacks.

                                                                             

                                                                            With highlights, one can toss exposure into the mix.

                                                                             

                                                                            However with shadows one is using the blacks slider for a dual purpose:

                                                                             

                                                                            - to add (or remove) a bit of light in the deeper tones, <em>and</em>

                                                                            - there is no way to independently control the black clipping point when doing so.

                                                                             

                                                                            This is a fundamental difference between handling the shape of the darkest tones versus handling the shape of the lightest tones.

                                                                            • 35. Re: Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).
                                                                              MadManChan2000 Adobe Employee

                                                                              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

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

                                                                                MadManChan2000 wrote:

                                                                                 

                                                                                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

                                                                                 

                                                                                Well then if the blacks slider must be thus restricted, as it stands, the only tool one has for really controlling the shape of the blacks/shadows (without clipping issues) is to balance shadow slider with exposure. I suppose if you really nail the handling of the highlights when adjusting exposure, this will be manageable, but it seems awefully squirrelly and round-a-bout to me.

                                                                                • 37. Re: Lightroom 4b - basic tone controls are not intuitive, and need some work (in my opinion).
                                                                                  MadManChan2000 Adobe Employee

                                                                                  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.