Is there any way to turn off auto-recovery in LR4 2012 process engine?
No. There was a heated discussion about this during the beta - bottom line: no can do.
Consider going here to provide feedback to Adobe:
Is reverting to process 2010 a viable option in such cases? It should overcome the new algorithms...
Yep - it does.
but then 2010 does not have the same overall performance.
Yep again - thus is the conundrum.
If you must process as quickly as possible en batch and have 100% white backgrounds, using 2010 may be the best option, but if you can afford a minute to paint out the recovered backgrounds, final result may be better using PV2012.
Thanks for the repsonses. I tried out photoninja the other day, but it does exactly the same thing, so dismissed it quite quickly (well for white seamless work anyway). Bit of a goof on the developers' part? I'm sure it's very clever and does great work a lot of the time, but it's a fail for white backgrounds.
I'll post some feedback as suggested. Can't see how this generated a heated debate - In this situation, it's pretty black and white really. It hurts your exposure/lighting ratios in PV2012 and not in PV2010, but 2010 isn't as good at other stuff.
Hi Missis LR Queen I tried man-handling the whites slider, and the problem is, it affects skin tones as well. You seem to need to give it quite a boost rather than a minor tweak, even from a starting point of 97%-98% white. And then you end up brushing back in reduced highlights on youre subject, and tweaking skin tones, which is hard enough to do shooting Nikon.
It's just all extra fluffery in post, that if you took the care to expose properly in camera you shouldn't and don't have the time or inclination to do.
I think the workaround for me will be shooting white seamless in PV2010 until something can be sorted. I feel bad for the developers, as they probably worked really hard and clever on this, but to me it's akin to a camera with only auto exposure mode. I need manual, so it's my decision on a per shoot basis, not down to a piece of software, which in this case get it's wrong every time.
We almost need a PV for white seamless, and let the clever code do it's stuff on everything else. And please - no auto black compensation either !
If you can provide more detail on the following it might help to find a solution using PV2012:
I gradually bring up the background lights until I see the raw file just blowing out as I want it, at my shooting aperture.
What do you mean by "I see," what are you looking at?
With LR4 and auto-recovery - using this method of 'metering' if you like - I'm adding 2-3 extra stops of light than I would expect before this happens
Are you using live view and shooting tethered with a watched folder in LR (i.e. monitoring the histogram)? If not please explain what you're actually doing to determine the exposure setting.
I have limited experience shooting with a white backdrop, but here's one I did for a product shot with LR settings for both PV2012 and PV2010:
It's not a human subject, but the background and product are virtually identical with minimal adjusting required in LR.
Say I want to shoot my subject at f/8 incident. I'll meter the white background with a spot meter to get f/8, so now I know I'm at mid-grey, (18%). If I then raise my lights by appx. 2 & 1/3 stops, I should be at pure white, so I can set my key light up for f.8 now and be good to go. (18% x 2 = 36%, 36% x 2 = 72%, and just over a third of 72% hit 100%). I did this - shooting tethered in to LR and was no-where near blowing out anything with PV2012. Found out later - it probably would have been fine in PV2010 without the auto-recovery. I found I had to add at least another two stops to get blown highlights showing in red on the background. - This was waaay too hot and started flaring and wrapping around my subject.
I will try again with PV2010 and hopefully it'll work ok.
Here's a screenshot of the above image showing white clipping with a -.16 Exposure and +40 White:
The raw file is about 1/3 stop below clipping:
I know PV2012 isn't working for you, but it may be due to incorrect exposure setting. You can download RawDigger and check one of the raw image files:
Under the Y-axis range check the 'Log scale' box, which will make it easier to see white clipping.
Perhaps reds42 should consider posting a raw that he (she?) has been struggling with (containing 2 clearly labeled snapshots saved in xmp: best PV2010 effort, and best PV2012 effort). DNG would be good (lossy or reglar - either would be fine), or zip of raw+xmp, posted using yousendit.com or dropbox.com...
Say I want to shoot my subject at f/8 incident. I'll meter the white background with a spot meter to get f/8, so now I know I'm at mid-grey, (18%). If I then raise my lights by appx. 2 & 1/3 stops, I should be at pure white, so I can set my key light up for f.8 now and be good to go. (18% x 2 = 36%, 36% x 2 = 72%, and just over a third of 72% hit 100%).
Just so you know, spot metering on white and opening 2.4 stops (the normal white to 18% difference depending on spot meter) worked pretty well with film that had maybe a 6-8 stop dynamic range...this same procedure with a digital sensor that might have 10-12 stops of dynamic range isn't going to work regardless of the LR PV.
If you want to clip a white background to pure white, you are going to have to either alter the way you light the subject to help pin the background to white or learn how to make image adjustments to make the white background clip. This would be very easy to do with an Adjustment Brush set to Auto Mask and a plus Highlights adjustment.
Sensors have a far wider dynamic range than film used to have (at least transparency film, B&W neg film had a very high dynamic range depending on the film and the developer).
And no, there's no way to defeat the auto highlight recovery built into PV 2012–which for the vast majority of users is a "good thing".
Here's the sort of thing I mean. Did a brief test to illustrate my point tonight.
Shot 1 at f/8, 1/125, ISO 100. Background softbox spot metered in the middle @f/38. Screen grab with PV2012
Screen grab 2: Same picture - just change PV to 2010, no other changes.
Shot 3. New image - pushed strobe power up to get all the background blown out using PV2012. Spot metered in the middle at f/76, or f/90 for a bit more of the edges. I needed f/45.4 with PV 2010 to get a similar shot with PV2010. (Final image).
f/45.4 with PV2010
So we've come right back to where we started with your original post. Did you even try any of the suggestions, did they not work, and can you elaborate? It sounds like you're trying to use LR's histogram and clipping indicators to set your light levels. This is bass-ackwards and not going to help you at all. All raw processors apply a tone curve and color correction as part of the camera profile and now PV2012 automatically sets the highlight recovery. This prevents using the histogram as a "raw image" clipping indicator with PV2012 OR PV2010. The same is true for your camera's histogram and clipping indicator, which is based on an "in-camera" processed JPEG created from the raw image file.
If you really want to determine the clipping level you'll need to use a raw analyzer like RawDigger. Give it a try with a few images.
Jeff Schewe's recommendations are a much better approach to achieve backdrop clipping "in-camera" and retain highlight detail in the model. I also agree with Jeff that you can achieve the same using LR's adjustments without any clipping in the raw image file. My example proves that and PV2010 does not work any better than PV2012.
So what is your point? I'm still not getting it!
No, you're clearly not getting it are you and I'm not sure I understand why. I am using LR for my entire worksflow. So I am absolutely relying on it to gauge when I have pure white. When I'm tethering, if I see 100,100,100 on my background in the develop module, then I'm done. No further background tweaking reqd. One (big) less step in post for every keeper. It's called getting it right in camera.
I agree with Jeff's comment about DR on modern cameras, although arguably negative film would give you a run for your money in the highlights to this day. The old school metering technique is still a good starting point you can quickly get to when setting up your lights, and then work from there.
Right now - as I push my light power up, LR is auto-pulling the exposure in the higlights back down, fighting what I want to acheive.
I want my software to auto-correct my intention about as much I want my camera to attempt to second guess any manual exposure settings I make.
I'm interested running an efficient headshot session for a client, not digging around in raw files, looking at charts and histograms, third party software and poring over calculators. And much less auto-masking & tweaking a white background in post, because my chosen software won't let me shoot it in camera, without going nuclear on my lights.
Maybe it's not critical for shooting purple whatever they ares in your sample pics, but the least masking and fiddling with global adjustments and local brushes for the sake of a background, that might affect skin tones, the better. They are sometimes hard enough to get right as it is, until I can bag a Phase-1 IQ when my lottery ticket comes in.
I appreciate that RAW engines interpret files in order to display them, that's fine - I can work with that. But to attempt some extra 'auto fix' variable after that should be a human, not a software choice.
Leica got it right with the Monochrom - proper RAW histogram you can rely on in camera. When it's clipped, it's clipped. Simples. (and before you say it - I know this isn't the same for anything with a Bayer filter on it). ;-)
No, you're clearly not getting it are you and I'm not sure I understand why.
We (users) can't change Lr4/PV2012. The best we can do is try and help each other use it as best we can.
I think it's safe to say it can be more of a challenge to clip white backgrounds in PV2012 than PV2010 due to the excellent and always-on highlight recovery.
Doable? - yes. Maybe more work (and/or require modified shooting/lighting technique)? - yes2.
Once you've let your voice be heard (by Adobe) on the feedback site, there ain't much left to do except decide which tool to use, and how best to use it.
If it's any consolation, I understand exactly what you are saying and why...
At the risk of speaking for trshaner, I suspect he understands too. But also, the more experience you have with PV2012, the less time it will take to clip the background and ultimately get better results than with PV2010. The nice thing about PV2012 when shooting models against white backgrounds is that you can get great (better) separation/definition of the hair against the background.
You have to unlearn the "get it right in camera and have it same in raw-processor" mentality. What the camera is showing you is manufacturer jpeg clipping, not raw clipping. Since raw processor (Lr) recovers more highlights, you have to change lighting if you want background clipped from the get-go in Lightroom.
Personally, I want Lightroom firmware in camera. I hope sigma or some hardware-oriented camera mfr teams up with Adobe, so one can better shoot in a fashion conducive to using Lr for post.
I know where you're coming from, having shot and processed my own film and print images starting in 1970. I also understand what you're trying to do, but disagree with your approach on two points:
1) Use of the raw processor histogram to determine raw clipping.
2) Expecting the raw processor to understand that you want a specific area to be 100% clipped. Normally this is NOT the case.
For #1: The following link explains how you can set your camera to make its histogram accurately display raw clipping. It's called Universal White Balance (UniWB) and once you've established the proper in-camera settings you can save them to a "custom function" dial setting (C1, etc.). When set properly the camera's preview image will have an ugly green cast, but will correctly indicate highlight clipping. By using a custom function for these settings you can easily switch between normal camera preview mode and UniWB mode.
You can find camera specific UniWB information by doing a Google search on uniwb + camera model, for example uniwb D800.
For #2: Use the top-down approach for setting PV2012's Basic panel controls with your white clipped images:
1) Exposure: Set for natural looking 'midtones.'
2) Contrast: I find it easier to adjust after making all of the other settings, but rarely use more than ±25.
3) Highlights: Set negative to maximize the highlight detail against the backdrop, such as hair.
4) Shadows: Set positive to the same value as Highlights works well (EX- +20 with -20 Highlights).
5) Whites: This is where you reestablish the backdrop white clipping level that PV2012's autohighlight recovery removed. (Holding the ALT key down lets you see the clipping real-time.)
6) Blacks: Set negative to establish the desired black clipping level (Holding the ALT key down lets you see the clipping real-time.)
7) Clarity: For models a slightly negative -Clarity setting can help to bring out highlights in hair, and nicely softens the image while maintaining detail.
8) Vibrance & Saturation: Don't be afraid to use these together with "opposing" (+-, -+) settings to help correct specific colors that are over or under saturated.
We haven't even touched on the proper Camera Profile for this subject, which affects the overall appearance of the image.
Once you've established the proper Basic panel settings for a particular lighting setup, I suggest saving it as a Develop preset with all of the Basic panel settings and any other settings you made that deviate from your LR Develop default settings. You can then easily apply the Develop preset to images from a previous or future assignment.
By using a custom function for these settings you can easily switch between normal camera preview mode and UniWB mode.
Thanks for the tip! (I haven't digested it all yet, but I get the idea of it...)
It looks like the download links are broken at the UniWB site, but can be easily corrected. Here's the link for the UniWB Chart:
Simply copy the portion of the URL from 'http://, which is the following for the UniWB Chart:
The simplest method is to use the file under UNIWB RAW FILES DOWNLOAD for your camera. For example the correct D800 the link is
It does work!
To my way of (twisted?) thinking there's merit in UNIWB for acheiving ETTR and hopefully minimising noise. It should also be a more effective approach to acheiving the 'correct' background on a copy shots straight out of camera. btw I could not get UNIWB7D.cr2 to download - (Chrome QuickTime plug in failed!) But DPreview has a link which produced the same usable file. But then there is also this 'quick' method http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=485349 which got me to a workable UNIWB in a few seconds
The links are broken – Just copy the last part of the URL in your browser from http://______ as I outlined above. For the 7D the correct link is:
A Simpler Method To Create Your Camera UniWB Raw File
Set the camera's Color Space to Adobe RGB and Picture Style to Neutral. Shoot a uniform color wall or ceiling using a long manual exposure (1 sec. or more) and ISO 800 or higher so that the raw image is 100% clipped. With this image selected use your in-camera White Balance menu control to create a 'Custom' WB setting. Ignore any warnings that the custom WB may not be correct. You can then register these menu settings along with your normal shooting mode settings to a Camera User mode (C1, C2, C3). When you shoot an image with the newly created UniWB mode the picture preview should have a distinct green cast in the cameras LCD screen.
If the image does NOT have a green cast then your camera doesn't support custom WB with a clipped image. No problem! Follow the same process, but instead create a 100% Black clipped image. You can do this by shooting a raw image with the lens cap on in low light at your highest shutter speed, F16, ISO 100.
It sounds too simple to work, but it is the most accurate way to set your WB for uniform sensor response. You still have the camera's Picture Style tone curve applied, but by using the Neutral setting this is minimized and negligible. This will give you a much more accurate in-camera histogram and clipping indicator. I don't normally leave my cameras in the UniWB mode since it puts a greenish tint on the preview image. It's only used for critical work or shots with difficult lighting.
It is ideal for establishing light levels in a fixed studio lighting environment that uses multiple light sources. Take as many shots as required in UniWB mode to setup the lighting, ISO setting, and shooting aperture, and then you can revert back to normal camera preview mode.