1 2 Previous Next 65 Replies Latest reply: Apr 26, 2012 9:18 PM by Jeff Schewe RSS

    Why "0" should be Zero

    TK2142 Community Member

      Hi,

       

      for those who didn't see the point of starting from neutral develop settings (in the respective LR4 discussions), watch this demonstration by Michael Frye (<- this is a link).

       

      He nicely shows how starting from non-neutral develop settings does not suit some images at all and that these images require undoing all default develop settings before proper editing can start. I hope the demonstration shows the sceptics as to why neutral RAW develop settings can be useful.

       

      I'll try to edit my camera profiles with the DNG profile editor once LR4 has developed to a point when it becomes usable. Hopefully, this will work as desired. However, I still think that no one should be required to jump through such hoops only to get a neutral develop setting. Setting sliders to "0", where "0" means zero, should be all that is required. Everyone else, who wants to start with some default contrast and other enhancements, should see those enhancements reflected in the slider settings.

       

      The curve in the camera profile should just compensate any deviations of the camera from a desired norm. It should not implement someone's idea of a useful starting point for RAW editing.

        • 1. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
          Jeff Schewe Community Member

          TK2142 wrote:

           

          I'll try to edit my camera profiles with the DNG profile editor once LR4 has developed to a point when it becomes usable. Hopefully, this will work as desired. However, I still think that no one should be required to jump through such hoops only to get a neutral develop setting. Setting sliders to "0", where "0" means zero, should be all that is required.

           

           

          We've already covered this at length in the now gone LR4 beta forum...the old "neutral" wasn't really neutral and the old "linear" wasn't really linear...there are always baseline adjustments to a raw file. A truely linear (meaning zero tone mapping) isn't really useful since it's so dark.

           

          If you want a replication of PV 2010's linear curve, you can roll your own using the DNG Profile Editor, yes, that works.

           

          So, it'll be interesting to hear what Michael has to say about LR4 and PV 2012. You be sure to ping us when he redoes his video, huh?

           

          :~)

          • 2. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
            Mark Alan Thomas Community Member

            Adobe should just provide a flat preset and/or profile so this stops being an issue. Sheesh.

            • 3. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
              Jeff Schewe Community Member

              Mark Alan Thomas wrote:

               

              Adobe should just provide a flat preset and/or profile so this stops being an issue. Sheesh.

               

              Why? The OP has drunk the Cool-Aid of a little known "instructor" who advocated a rather minority approach; the "Curves First" approach which with PV 2012 is pretty much out the window.

               

              As it stands, you can pretty much do whatever you want to do with PV 2012...you just have to learn how to use the controls. It's all about tone mapping...what you start with really doesn't have an impact on what you end up with. With the new image adaptive controls in PV 2012, doing the tone mapping with a point curve edit is, well, ignoring the considerable effort the engineers went to to improve PV 2012.

               

              If you want to go down that rabbit hole, there's a way…with a bit of effort. If you want to take advantage of the PV 2012 image adaptive adjustments, no, you'll need to figure out a way to regress your approach to some sort of "linear" or "neutral" starting point. To be honest, I could care less about how the image starts out, what I care about is how the images ends up.

               

              Also note that this OP hasn't, it seems actually updated to LR4...he's waiting till LR4 is usable for him. Whenever that might happen...

               

              And yes, there was a posted issue regarding upgrading a LR3 catalog that extensively used the LR3 point curve editor...

               

              (does anybody else see the delicious irony here :~)

               

              With regards to actually changing the way LR4's curves editor behaves, sorry, that ship has sailed...it ain't gonna change. There was a better potential for changing with the beta, but now that it's shipping, it's a foregone conclusion. So the OP is only trying to cause agitation because the functionality ani't gonna change and the OP knows it.

               

              These are not the droids you where looking for...

              • 4. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                Keith_Reeder Community Member

                Mark Alan Thomas wrote:

                 

                Adobe should just provide a flat preset and/or profile so this stops being an issue. Sheesh.

                It's not an "issue" now.

                • 5. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                  TK2142 Community Member

                  Keith_Reeder wrote:

                   

                  It's not an "issue" now.

                  For you, it isn't.

                  • 6. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                    Keith_Reeder Community Member

                    Neither you, nor Michael Frye, nor anyone else, has made anything like a convincing case for this being any more than a matter of personal preference.

                     

                    As Jeff has pointed out numerous times, it's not as if the default starting point is cast in stone anyway - and as he also says, it's how the image looks at the end that matters, not how it looks at the start.

                    • 7. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                      Cornelia-I Community Member

                      Jeff Schewe wrote:

                       

                      Mark Alan Thomas wrote:

                       

                      Adobe should just provide a flat preset and/or profile so this stops being an issue. Sheesh.

                       

                      Why? The OP has drunk the Cool-Aid of a little known "instructor" who advocated a rather minority approach; the "Curves First" approach which with PV 2012 is pretty much out the window.

                      Is it necessary to put a demeaning label to Michael Frye? Minority approach it may be, but it receives some attention among Craft&Vision.

                      I think neither you nor Adobe complains if Lightroom is advertised as a potential means of achieving the photographer's vision in post processing by David du Chemin and his authors at Craft & Vision.

                       

                      Jeff Schewe wrote:

                      ...

                      And yes, there was a posted issue regarding upgrading a LR3 catalog that extensively used the LR3 point curve editor...

                       

                      (does anybody else see the delicious irony here :~)

                      "Delicious irony" - do you mean that people deserve to have lost their point curve edits ?!

                      For following such a minority approach i.o. learning LR3-basic sliders?

                       

                       

                      Jeff Schewe wrote:

                      ...

                      With regards to actually changing the way LR4's curves editor behaves, sorry, that ship has sailed...it ain't gonna change. There was a better potential for changing with the beta, but now that it's shipping, it's a foregone conclusion.

                       

                      I disagree: there was never any potential for changing anything in LR4-beta. This was no beta, it was a preview, as someone from Adobe nicely admitted.

                      The real drama is only that they managed to introduce bugs into the final version which had not been present in beta. That is tantamount to Fukushima nuclear desaster for a software company.

                       

                      I am not advocating any zero-matters.

                      But I am repulsed by your attitude towards people who fail to appreciate *your consulting baby* about LR4 defaults and basic sliders with numericals that are meaningsless due to image-adaptive.

                       

                      Cornelia

                      • 8. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                        Keith_Reeder Community Member

                        Cornelia-I wrote:

                         

                        Is it necessary to put a demeaning label to Michael Frye? Minority approach it may be, but it receives some attention among Craft&Vision.

                         

                        You're taking the point completely out of context, which is that the OP quoting this guy (who I freely admit I'd never heard of until this thread) as "proof" of the validity of his complaint, isn't going to wash - in this respect he is indeed a minority voice, and as such is no more an arbiter of what's right or wrong here than anyone else.

                         

                        Speaking personally, I'm going to take Jeff's opinions of how Lr hangs together over those of "some guy on the internet" every time.

                        • 9. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                          Jeff Schewe Community Member

                          Cornelia-I wrote:

                          Is it necessary to put a demeaning label to Michael Frye? Minority approach it may be, but it receives some attention among Craft&Vision.

                           

                          Hey, Michael may be a real nice guy...he's a pretty good photographer, but I'm not sure how skilled he is at raw processing...can't really tell since he didn't actually finish the images.

                           

                          Did you actually watch the linked video? I did...his first image where he talked about reducing the Contrast to 0 and putting the curve to linear just ended with no additional image adjustments...I didn't see the point of using that image if he wasn't going to finish the editing on the image to make his case. The second image he reduced Brightness to zero and and then set the curves to essentially redo what he undid with Brightness and Contrast. Again, I didn't see that image as arriving at an optimal result that was based on starting at zero and ending up with an improved result.

                           

                          I didn't see that video as a compelling case for starting at "zeroed" settings...and zeroing the settings before readjusting everything is a minority position. Now with the image adaptive adjustments in PV 2012 Basic, I think trying to do all tone mapping using the point curve is wrong...it defeats the purpose of the image adaptive adjustments. But hey, if somebody want to go down that hole, it's still possible...just not optmal.

                          • 10. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                            Cornelia-I Community Member

                            My opinion on Michael Frye is founded on his eBook http://craftandvision.com/books/light-and-land/.

                             

                            And no, his approach is not the one&only to achieve to a good final result.

                            My post was not about how compelling his case might be or not.

                             

                            It was about attitude towards people doing things differently and schadenfreude about their fate at the hand of an insidious bug, which is entirely Adobe's inexcusable fault.

                            • 11. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                              Jeff Schewe Community Member

                              Cornelia-I wrote:

                               

                              ....schadenfreude about their fate at the hand of an insidious bug, which is entirely Adobe's inexcusable fault.

                               

                              Had to look that one up...to be honest, I take no joy because of the upgrade bug with LR3 > LR4 catalog upgrades with regards to the point curve edits being "lost". Perhaps I should not have used the word "delicious" to describe the irony–but it is indeed ironic. And I agree that it's an "insidious bug"...and Adobe has worked hard to determine how it happened and how to fix it and are distressed that it happened in the first place.

                               

                              But regarding the philosophy of zeroing out the image and making an image look worse before you end up making it better is, I think wrong headed. It complicates the process and in the case of a "linear curve" puts too much emphasis on the point curve editor and not enough emphasis on properly using the Basic tone mapping controls. And now with PV 2012, this approach acts to diminish the importance of the new image adaptive adjustments.

                               

                              I think starting with an image that has been normalized so it's appearance is not intentionally bad is a better approach. It allows a user to better evaluate what adjustments the image needs rather than starting from some arbitrary artificially poorer starting point. PV 2012 is the result of a lot of research and engineering…seems a shame to ignore that.

                              • 12. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                hsbn Community Member

                                Michael Frye updated his workflow for LR4, you can watch the video here: http://www.michaelfrye.com/landscape-photography-blog/2012/04/13/lightroom-4-the-new-tone- controls/

                                He also showed how to get "zero" value in LR4 as you did in LR3.

                                • 13. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                  TK2142 Community Member

                                  hsbn wrote:

                                   

                                  Michael Frye updated his workflow for LR4, you can watch the video here:

                                   

                                  Thanks a lot for that pointer.

                                   

                                  Note that at 9:14 Michael Frye says "Does that mean that Adobe finally came to its senses and took out the boost in midtones that the brightness default used to give and the boost in contrast from the contrast slider and the medium contrast tone curve? Ah, no. "

                                   

                                  He states "The defaults are the same, just the numbers have changed." (which is another way of saying "Now the numbers are lying").

                                   

                                  He furthermore says "I'm not thrilled about losing a true linear point curve. But I can live with it."

                                  He thinks that overall the PV 2012 improvements are worth a trade off but there is no doubt that he regards the new lying numbers as a negative.

                                   

                                  In particular, he notes that the new equivalent of a linear curve is now an inverted S curve with many points and refers to that as a "Very impractical starting point".

                                  • 14. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                    Dorin Nicolaescu-Musteață Community Member

                                    Who is Michael Frye?

                                    • 15. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                      Keith_Reeder Community Member

                                      TK2142 wrote

                                       

                                      (which is another way of saying "Now the numbers are lying").

                                       

                                      No it's not.

                                       

                                      It's another way of saying "the numbers are entirely arbitrary and can mean whatever Adobe wants them to mean".

                                       

                                      In other words, this proves nothing, and Frye's opinion continues to be just that, and worth no more  and no less, than anyone else's...

                                      • 16. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                        CSS Simon Community Member

                                        Michael Frye takes nice photos, but I think it is a mistake to assume that the old (PV2010) settings at zero were somehow neutral in an absolute sense.  He talks of "setting contrast to zero and a flat tone curve to see what the picture really looks like" (my emphasis added).  The old zero settings were no more an absolute zero/flat than the new ones.  It's rather like saying that a temperature of 0 Fahrenheit is a real zero but 0 Celsius isn't.  No, they're both arbitrary, and only 0 Kelvin is an absolute, and that isn't very useful for most every-day purposes.  Similarly, a flat raw image that has been converted from Bayer array pixel data to RGB data (but has had no tone curve added) isn't very useful as a starting point for photographers. 

                                         

                                        It's a matter of subjective judgement and personal preference as to where you like to start.  Some starting points are better than others, but the only true "absolute zero" of demoisaic-ed sensor data with no tone mapping is probably not one of the better ones. 

                                         

                                        If I'm wrong, could someone please define mathematically what tone curve to apply to sensor data to create this absolute-zero tone, true neutral image? 

                                        • 17. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                          Keith_Reeder Community Member

                                          Exactly, Simon. As has been explained before, all Raw files, when first "opened" - in any converter - must necessarily have some (again arbitrary) tonal/contrast/saturation etc. values applied to them just to give the photographer a place to start from.

                                           

                                          I'm not knocking Michael Frye, incidentally - I'm sure his work is a fine example of the genre - I just don't see any compelling reason for considering his opinion on this point to be definitive, and I imagine that the only reason his views are being given particular credence by the OP in this thread is because they happen to agree with the point he's trying to make.

                                          • 18. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                            TK2142 Community Member

                                            Keith_Reeder wrote:

                                             

                                            It's another way of saying "the numbers are entirely arbitrary and can mean whatever Adobe wants them to mean".

                                            Sure, Adobe can choose to let "0" mean "25" or "-100" or whatever, that's correct.

                                            Whether certain assignments are more misleading than others, is another question though.

                                             

                                            People tend to associate "neutral" with "0", in particular when it is in the middle of a scale ranging from -n to n.

                                            To associate that middle "0" point with anything else than "hands off" is misleading in my book. Your mileage obviously varies.

                                             

                                            There is really only one question which is why Adobe changed from being open about certain default develop settings being applied (LR brightness & contrast values which were not "0") to switching to "0" but keeping the non-zero effects. I understand it has to do with the fact that they wanted to align LR with Revel and the respective customers who do not care about what is right and what is wrong but only want to have things be "intuitively" right.

                                             

                                            Keith_Reeder wrote:

                                             

                                            In other words, this proves nothing, and Frye's opinion continues to be just that,
                                            and worth no more  and no less, than anyone else's...

                                             

                                            I have never said that Frye is the ultimate authority on image processing. That's your own strawmen you created there. Knock it over as many times you like.

                                             

                                            I only pointed to Frye's video because it demonstrates how certain default develop settings are unsuitable for certain images and that it is better for these images to start developing without any default boosts of brightness and contrast. For some images it will be better to start without auto-highlights and auto-blacks so these non-optional auto-adjustments should be made optional.

                                            • 19. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                              Jeff Schewe Community Member

                                              TK2142 wrote:

                                               

                                              For some images it will be better to start without auto-highlights and auto-blacks so these non-optional auto-adjustments should be made optional.

                                               

                                              You really need to understand the fundamental differences between "Auto" and "Image Adaptive"...

                                               

                                              PV 2012 doesn't do anything "auto" (unless you click on the Auto" button). What it does do is an image adaptive ranging of the various controls' range. Does PV 2012 get more texture out of highlights and shadows? Yes, it does. Is this an "auto" function? I would dispute that characterization…What PV 2012 really does is evaluate the image and set the un-modified (zero settings) to have a range that will operate most productively, given that image's range between fully saturated (clipped) and low end blacks.

                                               

                                              Is this a different approach? Yes, clearly…PV 2010's image adaptive controls were really only Fill Light and Clarity. Now the image adaptive control set includes everything in Basic other then Whites & Blacks (and Vibrance and Saturation).

                                               

                                              You really need to learn how to set aside the concept or notion that anything in a raw file could EVER be "neutral" except for an image processed into a linear gamma (which as we've seen isn't really all that useful). Zero is a non sequitur...it doesn't really exist. What you THOUGHT was a "zero" setting in PV 2010 wasn't.

                                              • 20. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                TK2142 Community Member

                                                CSS Simon wrote:

                                                 

                                                Michael Frye takes nice photos, but I think it is a mistake to assume that the old (PV2010) settings at zero were somehow neutral in an absolute sense.

                                                There is no denying that there are at least more neutral than PV 2012 at zero.

                                                 

                                                CSS Simon wrote:

                                                 

                                                It's rather like saying that a temperature of 0 Fahrenheit is a real zero but 0 Celsius isn't.  No, they're both arbitrary, and only 0 Kelvin is an absolute, and that isn't very useful for most every-day purposes.

                                                 

                                                As a matter of fact neither of them is arbitrary as they are both well-defined. But there is something fundamentally "absolute" about "0 Kelvin". It doesn't get colder than that. It is not arbitrary at all.

                                                 

                                                CSS Simon wrote:

                                                 

                                                If I'm wrong, could someone please define mathematically what tone curve to apply to sensor data to create this absolute-zero tone, true neutral image? 

                                                The only tone mapping that is required is a gamma encoding because the RAW data is linear and at the display end a gamma decoding takes place. Without the respective gamma encoding, the image will look too dark.

                                                 

                                                No additional brightness / contrast boost is neutral. Some may consider such boosts necessary all the time so they could have them as their default develop settings. I wouldn't mind if LR came with such boosts out of the box, but then the boost should be reflected in non-neutral slider settings.

                                                 

                                                Finally, I'm not saying that a completely neutral starting point is always the best. I have my own non-neutral starting point in LR3. But it is own I worked out for myself and that Iintimately know. If an image is not suited for starting with this default, I know exactly what to do to go back to neutral and start over. This is not easily replicated with LR4 because no neutral settings correspond to some arbitrary negative slider settings and most likely they will not exactly undo the hidden tone curve in the camera profile either. Surely, I can tinker with my camera profiles so that they have linear tone curves, it just shouldn't be that complicated.

                                                • 21. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                  TK2142 Community Member

                                                  Jeff Schewe wrote:

                                                   

                                                  PV 2012 doesn't do anything "auto" (unless you click on the Auto" button).

                                                   

                                                  Eric Chan himself mentioned "auto highlight recovery" and "auto black-point" functionality in LR4.

                                                  An image that shows blown highlights in LR3 will not show blown highlights in LR4 even when the same default develop settings are applied. That's because there is an automatic highlight recovery. This has nothing do with an "image adaptive" range of sliders.

                                                   

                                                  You really need to learn how to set aside the concept or notion that anything in a raw file could EVER be "neutral" except for an image processed into a linear gamma (which as we've seen isn't really all that useful).

                                                  Linear gamma does not make sense. Applying a gamma encoding that matches the output decoding (typically 2.2) makes sense. This defines "neutral". Period.

                                                   

                                                  There is really no debate about the fact that the LR3 and LR4 default settings are arbitrary. Someone decided that these particular brightness and contrast boosts are useful. Maybe there are useful to many but the particular choices are *arbitrary*. Now to claim that if you did away with these boosts that the resulting settings were "just as arbitrary" and "not more neutral" just doesn't make sense.

                                                   

                                                  You may be of the opinion that neutral settings are not useful for starting with image adjustments. Fine, then start with different settings. All I'm saying is that whatever you do to the RAW data (e.g., a brightness boost) should be reflected in slider settings, i.e., non-zero slider values.

                                                   

                                                  And all I'm saying regarding "auto" stuff is that when someone wants "film like" roll-off of highlights or auto black-point settings that's fine, but they should ask for it. Rather than everyone getting it and then having to fight it when it doesn't fit.

                                                  • 22. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                    Jeff Schewe Community Member

                                                    TK2142 wrote:

                                                     

                                                    Eric Chan himself mentioned "auto highlight recovery" and "auto black-point" functionality in LR4.

                                                    An image that shows blown highlights in LR3 will not show blown highlights in LR4 even when the same default develop settings are applied. That's because there is an automatic highlight recovery. This has nothing do with an "image adaptive" range of sliders.

                                                     

                                                    No, actually, it has EVERYTHING to do "image adaptive" rendering of highlight and shadow image data.

                                                     

                                                    I won't contradict Eric but I think what he was trying to do was simplify the explaniation of what PV 2012 was doing. If you to rephrase the terminology to be Auto-Ranging then that's different (although I would still argue about the characterization being an Auto-Highlights and Auto-Shadows which I think summarizes your misunderstanding of PV 2012).

                                                    • 23. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                      TK2142 Community Member

                                                      Jeff Schewe wrote:

                                                       

                                                      (although I would still argue about the characterization being an Auto-Highlights and Auto-Shadows which I think summarizes your misunderstanding of PV 2012).

                                                      *My* misunderstanding of PV2012?

                                                       

                                                      Here's what Eric Chan has written:

                                                       

                                                      In thread http://forums.adobe.com/message/4128876:

                                                      "Actually, the new defaults in PV 2012 are the same as the old defaults in PV 2010 rendering-wise, with the minor exception of the (now auto-calculated) black point." (emphasis is mine).

                                                       

                                                      In  thread http://forums.adobe.com/thread/948951:

                                                      "highlight recovery is always enabled in PV 2012".

                                                       

                                                      In thread http://forums.adobe.com/message/4166542, Eric acknowledges that the above two things have "no direct equivalent in Lr 3"

                                                       

                                                      Please do not accuse someone of not knowing what is going on when you are not sure.

                                                       

                                                      In any event, the non-optional "auto stuff" is a separate problem. I'm glad that we apparently made progress on the "what is neutral and what is not" front.

                                                      • 24. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                        Jeff Schewe Community Member

                                                        TK2142 wrote:

                                                         

                                                        In thread http://forums.adobe.com/message/4166542, Eric acknowledges that the above two things have "

                                                         

                                                        Uh huh...did you actually read what he wrote? "Dorin, the automatic aspect has to do with the endpoint (i.e., white point & black point) handling.  The shape of the curve is calculated automatically to make transitions smoother as you approach clipping (to pure white or pure black).  Otherwise you'd get the traditional digital "hard clip" which can be rather rough, esp. in the shadows."

                                                         

                                                        So, I ask again, do you understand what Eric is talking about? That the highlights and shadows aren't being automatically being set but the RANGE is? The "image adaptive" aspect is setting the end points for highlights and shadows? So that the range of the PV 2012 adjustments are image dependent?

                                                         

                                                        Again, that's considerably different that saying highlights and shadows are being set "Automatically".

                                                        TK2142 wrote:

                                                        Please do not accuse someone of not knowing what is going on when you are not sure.

                                                         

                                                        Well, I seem to be just a bit more sure of what's going on than you are...correct me if I'm wrong.

                                                        • 25. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                          Cornelia-I Community Member

                                                          Thanks for the explanation about "auto-ranging":

                                                          Now I have an idea why PV2012 does such a marvelous job with ETTR-images (exposed to the right, overexposed shortly before blowing out highlights). And why for a +2/3EV neither full-auto-dev nor I myself choose -0.66 in exposure slider, but other values for all five basic sliders.

                                                           

                                                          I have included PV2010 into my LR3-Frye-neutral-preset.

                                                          So when I think I do not achieve my vision in PV2012 it is one click away to be back at the start for setting the most usual 4 points into point curve.

                                                           

                                                          But I find I never do nowadays!

                                                          I even manage to reach the same result if I start from my default settings or if I start from full-auto-development and tweak back what looks overdone for my taste.

                                                          Very valuable is the shift-doubleclick on single sliders for the "slider-only auto-dev".

                                                           

                                                          I am still a dummy when it comes to use the point curve for some channels only, but this is a new avenue for me to explore and likely one limited to special causes.

                                                           

                                                          TK2142,

                                                          If you stick to absolute numerical values PV2012 will be a pain for you, because with Auto-Ranging the relative scale will be moved per image. In that sense it would be *even more lying*, because "highlights -12" does not mean the same thing for two different images. Either one can make peace with this new relative concept or one should not upgrade.

                                                          I have arrived at liking it very much.

                                                          Cornelia

                                                           

                                                           

                                                          Cornelia

                                                          • 26. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                            CSS Simon Community Member

                                                            "There is no denying that they [PV 2010 zeros] are at least more neutral than PV 2012 at zero."

                                                             

                                                            Quite a few of us do deny it!  As Jeff and others have explained, the zero settings in PV 2010 and in PV 2012 are both arbitrary. 

                                                             

                                                            The old PV2010 "zero" settings were pretty flat, but "flat" and "neutral" are themselves subjective terms, and your idea of neutral is not necessarily mine.  Again, my point is that choosing an arbitrary rendering and describing that as "neutral", the "absolute zero" is a highly subjective choice.  If it works for you (or Michael Frye) then great, but it is an arbitrary choice. 

                                                             

                                                            "As a matter of fact neither of them [Fahrenheit and Celsius] is arbitrary as they are both well-defined."

                                                             

                                                            They are both well-defined, but they are also arbitrary!  The choice of the freezing point of water as zero (Celsius) or the coldest temperature that anyone could at the time create (Fahrenheit) are both arbitrary. 

                                                             

                                                            "The only tone mapping that is required is a gamma encoding because the RAW data is linear and at the display end a gamma decoding takes place. Without the respective gamma encoding, the image will look too dark."

                                                             

                                                            Without gamma encoding, a raw image will certainly look too dark, I quite agree.  But gamma encoding is an arbitrary choice!  What value of gamma?  If you (and Michael Frye) are saying that a good starting point for adjustment is a very low-contrast image, then that's fine - and in many cases I agree with that.  But it is an arbitrary choice. 

                                                             

                                                            Have you seen the "Spinal Tap" movie, where the lead guitarist insists that their amps are louder as the volume control goes to 11 rather than 10?

                                                            • 27. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                              TK2142 Community Member

                                                              Jeff Schewe wrote:

                                                               

                                                              So, I ask again, do you understand what Eric is talking about? That the highlights and shadows aren't being automatically being set but the RANGE is?

                                                              If what you are saying were true then the following statement from Eric Chan wouldn't make sense:

                                                               

                                                              From http://forums.adobe.com/message/4138532#4138532:

                                                              "Yes, Victoria, you can use a scene-referred starting point in PV 2010, update to PV 2012, and save that result (not just the point curve in the Tone Curve tab, but also the other resulting settings in the Basic panel) as a preset.  That will be close to a scene-referred starting point for PV 2012.  It won't be exact for a few reasons (e.g., highlight recovery is always enabled in PV 2012), but in many cases it may be close enough."

                                                               

                                                              In other words, it is NOT the case that the LR4 "auto behaviour" only influences the range of the curves. The auto-calculated end shapes of the curves already influence the rendering when sliders are at default positions.

                                                               

                                                              Often that can be just what you want, sometimes it isn't. And instead of making it easy to get what you want when you need it (activate recovery), LR4 makes it hard to counteract the behaviour when you don't need it. If there is consistency amongst the feedback for the LR4 basic controls I've read about is that people love it when it works (for most of the images) but hate it when it doesn't work (for a few images). With less "we know what users want"-attitude the commonplace love/hate relationship could have been a love-only relationship.

                                                              • 28. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                                Jeff Schewe Community Member

                                                                TK2142 wrote:

                                                                 

                                                                With less "we know what users want"-attitude the commonplace love/hate relationship could have been a love-only relationship.

                                                                 

                                                                If you want to argue the relative merits of optimizing image adjustments with Thomas Knoll, you go right ahead.

                                                                 

                                                                Thomas isn't a dope...he kinda started this whole digital imaging thing ya know?

                                                                 

                                                                He signed off on the PV 2012 (and added to it along with Eric Chan and Mark Hamburg who started Lightroom). You go right ahead and argue with these guys if ya want...I do on very rare occasions (when I have a real point and can make the case–so far you haven't). So far your arguments haven't gotten a lot of traction...wonder why? Could it be that you might, just possibly be wrong? Think about it...

                                                                • 29. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                                  TK2142 Community Member

                                                                  CSS Simon wrote:

                                                                   

                                                                  The old PV2010 "zero" settings were pretty flat, but "flat" and "neutral" are themselves subjective terms, and your idea of neutral is not necessarily mine. 

                                                                   

                                                                  It is not "my" idea of neutral. It is a technical definition. People can repeatedly claim that there is no "neutral" rendering for RAW files till their blue in the face, it doesn't make it true.

                                                                   

                                                                   

                                                                  CSS Simon wrote:

                                                                   

                                                                  But gamma encoding is an arbitrary choice!  What value of gamma? 

                                                                   

                                                                  The gamma encoding is not arbitrary. In the past there was a difference between Macs (1.8) and PCs (2.2) but nowadays Apple also uses 2.2. ACR could even access the current display gamma from the display profile and use it accordingly.

                                                                  • 30. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                                    TK2142 Community Member

                                                                    Jeff Schewe wrote:

                                                                     

                                                                    If you want to argue the relative merits of optimizing image adjustments with Thomas Knoll, you go right ahead.

                                                                     

                                                                    I'd love to because I know a discussion with him would have logic as a common ground and he would not resort to quoting "authorities" when he runs out of arguments.

                                                                     

                                                                    You may also acknowledge that I didn't say that the whole "image adaptive" approach is flawed. I only take issue with "0" not meaning zero and with certain behaviour being non-optional, as useful it may be in the majority of cases.

                                                                     

                                                                    By quoting Eric Chan I demonstrated that your statements were wrong and now that you don't have to say anything anymore you appeal to authorities and claim I haven't gained any "traction". I give you that, I give up trying to achieve "traction" with you.

                                                                     

                                                                    P.S.: FYI, I've listened to many George Jardine Adobe podcasts featuring Thomas Knoll and others, including you. What Thomas Knoll said always made sense and you may remember that he now and then disagreed with what Mark Hamburg or you said.

                                                                    • 31. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                                      CSS Simon Community Member

                                                                      "It is not "my" idea of neutral. It is a technical definition."

                                                                       

                                                                      Can you point me to that technical definition?

                                                                       

                                                                      "The gamma encoding is not arbitrary. In the past there was a difference between Macs (1.8) and PCs (2.2) but nowadays Apple also uses 2.2."

                                                                       

                                                                      So, you mean it used to be arbitrary, but it isn't any more? 

                                                                       

                                                                      The main purpose of gamma correction is to provide perceptually uniform encoding.  It's not about providing any particular "look" to an image.  And, in fact, the gamma curve is removed before display by an inverse curve (allowing for the response of the display device).  Macs before Snow Leopard used a look-up table in Quick Draw with a transfer function of approximately 1.8 gamma.  Now it's the same as PCs with 2.2 gamma. 

                                                                       

                                                                      "ACR could even access the current display gamma from the display profile and use it accordingly."

                                                                       

                                                                      Now that really would be a bad idea!  The gamma information from the monitor profile is correction information to overcome non-linearity in the monitor.  In addition, a gamma of (typically) 2.2 is conventionally imposed - but the colour management process of mapping an image from the program's working space to monitor space is designed to deliver an overal linear gamma. 

                                                                       

                                                                      The purpose of photography (before we apply "artistic interpretation") is to produce an image that matches the original scene.  Therefore the overall system gamma from camera through to to display must be linear.  Otherwise the image won't look like the original scene. 

                                                                      • 32. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                                        TK2142 Community Member

                                                                        CSS Simon wrote:

                                                                         

                                                                        Can you point me to that technical definition? 

                                                                        I have already explained what neutral RAW development means in this thread.

                                                                         

                                                                        CSS Simon wrote:

                                                                         

                                                                        So, you mean it used to be arbitrary, but it isn't any more? 

                                                                        No. There used to be two incompatible systems and images could only be correctly encoded for either of them.

                                                                         

                                                                         

                                                                        CSS Simon wrote:

                                                                         

                                                                        The purpose of photography (before we apply "artistic interpretation") is to produce an image that matches the original scene.  Therefore the overall system gamma from camera through to to display must be linear.  Otherwise the image won't look like the original scene. 

                                                                         

                                                                        What you are trying to say is that the gamma encoding must match the gamma decoding value. Otherwise the non-linear encoding inbetween will result in tonal distortation.

                                                                         

                                                                        That is why the gamma encoder (here, the RAW converter) must always use the same value as the gamma decoder (here the display). That's why I said the RAW converter could consult the display about which gamma value to use. In most cases 2.2 would be just fine to use, but some people prefer 1.8 or other values because they want to optimise for printing output or compensate for viewing conditions.

                                                                        • 33. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                                          CSS Simon Community Member

                                                                          TK, we're probably talking slightly at cross purposes.  The gamma curve applied to an image is a matter of coding efficiency to minimse quantisation error and noise.  This doesn't realy matter in 16-bit systems, but in 8-bit systems (such as jpeg) then if you don't apply a perceptually uniform coding system (a gamma of 1.8, 2.2 or the quaint sRGB curve) then you end up with more noise.  The exact gamma number you use doesn't really matter, so long as the display system removes it.  In a colour-managed system, the software will remove any curve in the source image and apply the curve that the destination device is expecting, to make the overall system linear.  The only time a user needs to interfere with this and specify a gamma is if the system isn't end-to-end colour managed. 

                                                                           

                                                                          I think this is the same as you are saying, forgive me if it isn't.

                                                                           

                                                                          The tone curve used internally in a program's working space is somewhat arbitrary.  For example: Lightroom uses linear mapping for most processing, but with an sRGB tone curve for displaying histograms and Adobe RGB with 2.2 gamma for the library previews.  For exporting it uses whatever you say (e.g. sRGB tone curve) and for display it uses whatever the monitor profile says. 

                                                                           

                                                                          A separate issue is tone mapping for subjective or artistic reasons, and where this thread started (I think), was "is there a neutral starting point for subjective/artistic tone mapping?". 

                                                                           

                                                                          In this respect, in theory you're right and I was wrong (sorry about that), but I think not in practice!

                                                                           

                                                                          That is, in theory, a neutral starting point is a raw iamge with any sensor non-linearity removed and no other tone curve applied (other than as part of the colour management process).  This is where my knowledge of colour science as applied to image (sensor) data rapidly runs out, and a wiser man than I would shut up at this point.  However, my (limited) understanding is that in practice a flat scene-rendered tone mapping (as close as possible to the tone mapping of the original scene), won't necessarily look neutral.  This is where the subjective element comes in to decide "what is a neutral tone rendering?"  Adobe go further and make that default mapping adaptive to optimise the two ends of the scale. 

                                                                           

                                                                          I'm not aware of any raw convertor that attempts a truly neutral scene-related tone mapping.  Neither PV2010 or PV2012 do that, and I'm not sure it would be very useful as a starting point. 

                                                                          • 34. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                                            Bill_Janes Community Member

                                                                            Jeff Schewe wrote:

                                                                             

                                                                            TK2142 wrote:

                                                                             

                                                                            In thread http://forums.adobe.com/message/4166542, Eric acknowledges that the above two things have "

                                                                             

                                                                            Uh huh...did you actually read what he wrote? "Dorin, the automatic aspect has to do with the endpoint (i.e., white point & black point) handling.  The shape of the curve is calculated automatically to make transitions smoother as you approach clipping (to pure white or pure black).  Otherwise you'd get the traditional digital "hard clip" which can be rather rough, esp. in the shadows."

                                                                             

                                                                            So, I ask again, do you understand what Eric is talking about? That the highlights and shadows aren't being automatically being set but the RANGE is? The "image adaptive" aspect is setting the end points for highlights and shadows? So that the range of the PV 2012 adjustments are image dependent?

                                                                             

                                                                            Again, that's considerably different that saying highlights and shadows are being set "Automatically".

                                                                            TK2142 wrote:

                                                                            Please do not accuse someone of not knowing what is going on when you are not sure.

                                                                             

                                                                            Well, I seem to be just a bit more sure of what's going on than you are...correct me if I'm wrong.

                                                                            The "image adaptive" adjustments that ACR7/LR4 performs are not clear to me (and apparently others). Certainly, the technical paper on LaPlacian operators is incomprehensible to me and likely most other readers of this thread. Rather than attempting to parse Eric's statements, a bit of empirical observation can shed some light on the matter.

                                                                             

                                                                            A Stouffer wedge is a good way to evaluate the tone curve, since each step is 0.1 OD or approximately 3 steps per f/stop. Here is the wedge exposed so that step 1 is just short of clipping in the green channel and rendered into sRGB with ACR 6.6 with a linear tone curve (sliders 0 on the main tab and point curve set to linear). The image is approximately scene referred and approximates how the wedge appeared to the eye.

                                                                            http://bjanes.smugmug.com/Photography/ACR7/i-jsM2cJQ/0/M/05ACR66LinearExpMinus05-M.jpg

                                                                            Step one has an OD of 0.05, but I placed it at a pixel value of 255. Steps 8 and 9 are near mid-gray (18%). Calculated values are shown in this Excel spreadsheet. The values A, M and B correspond to the steps on a Kodak Q14 chart which represents the values in many real scenes for highlight, midtone, and shadows.

                                                                             

                                                                            http://bjanes.smugmug.com/Photography/ACR7/i-LdkHbvW/0/O/ExcelValues.png

                                                                            Here is the ACR 7.0 PV2010 preview with the rendered sRGB values. An exposure of -0.5 EV was necessary to allow for the BaselineOffset that PV2010 uses.

                                                                            http://bjanes.smugmug.com/Photography/ACR7/i-G9dJC2z/0/L/05PV2010Linear-L.png

                                                                            And here is the PV2012 view with default settings. The highlights are too bright and scrunched together.

                                                                             

                                                                            http://bjanes.smugmug.com/Photography/ACR7/i-bNWQVjM/0/L/05PV2012Native-L.png

                                                                             

                                                                            And here are the settings needed with PV2012 to approximate the linear curve in PV2010. I had to invoke the point curve to place the midtones as I could not get the proper values for the mid-tones with the sliders.

                                                                             

                                                                             

                                                                            http://bjanes.smugmug.com/Photography/ACR7/i-C3Cx8ww/0/L/05PV2012LinearFinal-L.png

                                                                             

                                                                            And now to the subject of automatic highlight recovery. It is necessary to use a special program to reveal the true status of the raw file, and I used Rawdigger. The histograms of the normally exposed image (05) and an image overexposed by 2/3 stop (image 03) are shown. In the overexposed shot the green channels are clipped and the red and blue channels are short of clipping, enabling highlight recovery.

                                                                             

                                                                            http://bjanes.smugmug.com/Photography/ACR7/i-3csbFz2/0/O/D3Stouf0005-Sel-1206-1306.png

                                                                             

                                                                            http://bjanes.smugmug.com/Photography/ACR7/i-hSDpnfX/0/O/D3Stouf0003-Sel-1206-1306.png

                                                                            And finally, here is the overexposed image (03) with the default PV2012 settings. It is clear that automatic highlight recovery has been performed as step 1 is now at a pixel value of 254 (I used an exposure of -0.05 EV to show that the pixel value was likely not clipped to 255). This is OK with me, but it does mean that proper ETTR exposure is diffucult to judge with PV2012 because of the automatic recovery. I anticipate that some readers will reply that they take photos of real scenes and not stepwedges and that scene referred images appear flat.

                                                                             

                                                                            http://bjanes.smugmug.com/Photography/ACR7/i-FLGCNLK/0/L/03PV2012NearDefault-L.png

                                                                             

                                                                            Personally, I am quite pleased with the changes in PV2012 for processing of real world images, but one does need to learn how to best use the new tools.

                                                                            • 35. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                                              Jeff Schewe Community Member

                                                                              TK2142 wrote:

                                                                               

                                                                              I'd love to because I know a discussion with him would have logic as a common ground and he would not resort to quoting "authorities" when he runs out of arguments.

                                                                               

                                                                              I've not run out of aurguments, I was simply addressing your statement "With less "we know what users want"-attitude the commonplace love/hate relationship could have been a love-only relationship." and letting you know who the "we" is...

                                                                              • 36. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                                                TK2142 Community Member

                                                                                Bill_Janes wrote:

                                                                                 

                                                                                Rather than attempting to parse Eric's statements, a bit of empirical observation can shed some light on the matter.

                                                                                 

                                                                                Great stuff, Bill, and visual proof of the mess LR4 creates in order to implement what someone else decided what "is good for me, always". It would all be fine (and perhaps I'll end up using the auto stuff for most real world images myself) if all this were optional.

                                                                                 

                                                                                There is another thread in which someone complains that LR4 auto-corrects his white product shot backgrounds for him and that he cannot blow them out with a single slider without washing out the product as well. His pain wouldn't be necessary if the auto highlight recovery were optional.

                                                                                 

                                                                                I furthermore cannot understand why there isn't a single slider anymore (was "exposure" in LR3) which allows me to negate any exposure compensation I chose as a camera setting. It seems in LR4 that one has to use a multitude of sliders to achieve that simple step.

                                                                                • 37. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                                                  TK2142 Community Member

                                                                                  Jeff Schewe wrote:

                                                                                   

                                                                                  I've not run out of aurguments, I was simply addressing your statement "With less "we know what users want"-attitude the commonplace love/hate relationship could have been a love-only relationship." and letting you know who the "we" is...

                                                                                  It does not matter who the "we" is. The only thing that matters in a discussion based on logic is who is right. I could just as well claim that there are only four elements (earth, air, fire, water) because Aristotle said so.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  BTW, maybe an apology is in order. Or should we adopt the notion that there is no automatic highlight recovery in LR4 because you say so, despite all the evidence to the contrary?

                                                                                  • 38. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                                                    Lee Jay Community Member

                                                                                    Mess?  Let's talk about a mess.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    I tried PV 2010 zeroed, and that is a massive mess.  It's like the ultimate "make my image look like crap" button - horrible skin tones, nasty colors on everything.  The only way that would be usable is if I also created a custom color profile designed for that tone curve.  The first thing I did was use the controls to undo most of what it did.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    The profiles and the tone curves are designed to work togethger to produce a "pleasing", rather than scientifically accurate image.  The second is really only usable for science (spectroscopy, for example).

                                                                                     

                                                                                    This is all a major tempest in a teapot in my opinion.  PV2010 zeroed on the top, PV2012 defaults on the bottom.PV2010 zeroed versus PV2012 defaults.jpg

                                                                                    • 39. Re: Why "0" should be Zero
                                                                                      Jeff Schewe Community Member

                                                                                      TK2142 wrote:

                                                                                       

                                                                                      BTW, maybe an apology is in order.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      I would be happy to accept your apology…the upside is that after all this time (and discussion) maybe you've learned something? Heck even Micheal Frye has said "I'm not thrilled about losing a true linear point curve. But I can live with it."...

                                                                                       

                                                                                      If he can, why can't you? Do you have some sort of personal agenda?

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