26 Replies Latest reply on Mar 14, 2008 4:35 AM by PECourtejoie

    Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds

      I'm using PSE 5 and ACR 4.3 on Windows. My camera is a Canon 350D and I shoot RAW+JPG.

      The problem I have is that photographs with deep/bright reds don't open properly in Camera Raw, but end up "washed out", so I have to really boost the saturation and play around with the white balance to get the reds back. The JPG file which I shot at the same time is absolutely fine, although sometimes the red channel is clipped.

      For example, look at the car in the following JPEG. This was taken with auto white balance, and is a fair representation of the actual colour of the car:



      Now look at ACR's attempt to open the corresponding RAW file. You can see how the red of the car is much more muted, and a yellower tone:



      Can anybody help, and explain how I can get back to nearer the colours captured in the JPEG?

      Thanks
      Andrew
        • 1. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
          Level 1
          With the limited toolset of Camera Raw in Elements, you'll be a bit hard pressed to do a lot of work on specific colors. Camera Raw 4 in Photoshop would give you a lot more tools in HSL (hue, saturation & luminance) with 24 sliders (8 each) and also the Camera Raw calibrate panel. But in Elements, those functions are not available.

          As it is, in Elements I would suggest increasing the tint slider and adding some saturation, not vibrance, saturation.
          • 2. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
            Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
            AKJ, <br /> <br /> You risk your images being deleted by a forum host when you embed them in your posts. The forum rules call for links instead. Many of us use the free pixentral.com, whick leaves you with clickable thumbnails instead: <br /> <br />c <a href="http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=17urFCLeMMt1EbMfJX2tCbz02lGBg0" /></a> <img alt="Picture hosted by Pixentral" src="http://www.pixentral.com/hosted/17urFCLeMMt1EbMfJX2tCbz02lGBg0_thumb.jpg" border="0" /> <br /> <br />c <a href="http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=14R8AUsyJfW9EgcSkT0U1Rw7jNhdBQ0" /></a> <img alt="Picture hosted by Pixentral" src="http://www.pixentral.com/hosted/14R8AUsyJfW9EgcSkT0U1Rw7jNhdBQ0_thumb.jpg" border="0" /> <br /> <br /> Click on each thumbnails to see the full image.
            • 3. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
              Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
              The issue of the reds in some raw files was recently discussed here:

              http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?128@@.3bb6a869.3c0530a0

              It's long thread that boils down to something like this:

              First, a caveat: there is no antagonism or criticism of any poster intended in my replies to this question. All my replies to posts on this issue are meant to stress that any differences between an ACR conversion and the conversions performed by the camera manufacturer's software may be normal, expected behavior.

              If anybody prefers the camera manufacturer's conversion, that too can be emulated in ACR and saved as your own ACR defaults or preset(s). This has been covered ad nauseam here by others as well as by myself. Please do a forum search. If only my posts show up, it means the others have scrolled off already.

              Here's the scoop:

              Camera manufacturers, Canon and Nikon in particular, perform in-camera RAW to JPEG conversions designed to generate the over-saturated, over-contrasty and over-sharpened images that appeal to the masses.

              Their stand-alone RAW conversion software also performs the same conversion to your RAW images.

              Noise is also hidden by compressing the shadows so you don't see much of the noise inherent in the image.

              In my experience, even the nominally "natural" default settings in these cameras and in the manufacturer's software perform these adjustments to the images, to a lesser but very real degree.

              Adobe Camera Raw, ACR, on the other hand, comes with default settings designed to give you the most detail possible (even if this sometimes means revealing some of the noise hidden by the camera manufacturers in their RAW conversion software), as well as the most natural images. This is only your starting point in ACR.

              You can calibrate your camera to ACR and come up with your own settings to produce exactly what you want, including the JPEG-look of the camera manufacturer, and save that as your profile.

              The key is to learn how to use ACR properly and to calibrate your camera to ACR.

              CLICK HERE for some essential reading.

              The ACR defaults are nothing more than a suggested starting point.

              The color temperature won't necessarily match either.

              These are not "changes" to the raw file. All raw files are very, very dark, linear, grayscale image with no colors. There is color information included, from which any and all raw converters must create the colors in the converted image according to the parameters of the design of each converter.
              • 4. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                As Jeff told you, ACR is substantially crippled in Elements.
                • 5. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                  Bill_Janes Level 2
                  >In my experience, even the nominally "natural" default settings in these cameras and in the manufacturer's software perform these adjustments to the images, to a lesser but very real degree.

                  And you should remember that ACR does not read the camera settings except for the white balance. The tone curve and saturation settings are ignored. The default settings on cameras vary with the manufacturer and camera model. Models directed towards the amateur market are more likely to have defaults such as Ramon mentioned.
                  • 6. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                    michael shaffer Level 1
                    > Many of us use the free pixentral.com, whick leaves you with clickable thumbnails ...

                    Good idea ... but I cannot find a reference or help page anywhere that describes how to embed a thumbnail(?)
                    • 7. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                      Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                      >how to embed a thumbnail

                      It's pretty straight forward. Once you upload your image to Pixentral, place your cursor in the HTML field that appears under your image on the Pixentral page, do a Command A to select the entire field (Control A in Windows), and paste the entire code in your post.

                      Do not use the "forum" field, only the HTML field.
                      • 8. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                        michael shaffer Level 1
                        > Do not use the "forum" field, only the HTML field

                        What do you mean "forum field" versus "HTML field"? -- I only see a "message:" box for replying to a post or for creating a new topic.
                        • 9. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                          Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                          Again: <b>HTML field that appears under your image <font color="red">on the Pixentral page</font></b> <br /> <br />c <a href="http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1uQDD1md68i2L2T1kzZz2HoJoM8" /></a> <img alt="Picture hosted by Pixentral" src="http://www.pixentral.com/hosted/1uQDD1md68i2L2T1kzZz2HoJoM8_thumb.jpg" border="0" /> <br /> <br />c Click on thumbnail for full image
                          • 10. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                            Level 1
                            Thanks for the earlier help. I understand that ACR won't by default apply the same level of saturation adjustment as the in camera processing, and I also accept that there might be some minor differences due to calibration and colour space, although my options here are somewhat limited as I only have elements, not full Photoshop.

                            However, that doesn't explain why ACR makes images with a lot of red much yellower than either the in-camera JPEG or other RAW convertors. Take a look at the following three images. (Apologies for posting the images directly, but I have kept them small - hope this is OK).

                            First, an in-camera JPEG from Mesa Arch. The dynamic range isn't great, but it captures the colour I remember very accurately (and I have a good colour memory):



                            The next is the companion RAW file converted using Bibble Pro, with default settings (i.e. "as shot" WB). It has a better dynamic range, but the saturation and colour hues are very similar:



                            Finally, the RAW file converted using ACR 4.1. The default settings (including "as shot" WB) give a very washed out image, so I boosted the saturation to 50 to provide a similar overall luminance. The colours are much yellower:



                            Why doesn't ACR render this with colour tones/hues closer to the original? This is not a "problem" image with blown highlights or a very wide dynamic range, and Bibble and the in camera processing both produce similar default results.

                            Any ideas?

                            (Please don't tell me to read a book, or that you prefer the ACR version.)

                            Thanks
                            Andrew
                            • 11. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                              Level 1
                              >Why doesn't ACR render this with colour tones/hues closer to the original?

                              There is no "original" per se. If you are shooting raw, YOU the user needs to adjust the rendering to suit you. While you may THINK you remember the way the scene looked when you shot it, the fact is that you really can't. First off, the white adaptation and dynamic range of your eyes are completely different than that of a sensor. What you are reacting to is, perhaps your first photographic representation which might have been on the LCD or the jpeg, but that's not "REAL" no more than any photographic representation of a scene would be real.

                              Camera Raw's default is just that. A default...no more right or wrong than any other rendering of a raw capture. And no, it will NEVER match the camera jpeg, nor will it match other raw renderings...they are all different and using different processing to achieve their rendering.

                              At this point, you are being limited in the processing capability of Camera Raw in Elements. Camera Raw hosted in Photoshop has a lot more tools.

                              >Please don't tell me to read a book

                              Well, if you understood the process, then no, you wouldn't need to read a book, but you do need to understand a bit better exactly what raw processing is.
                              • 12. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                                Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                >(Please don't tell me to read a book, or that you prefer the ACR version.)

                                The ACR default is nothing but a starting point. You HAVE TO learn how to use ACR. If you don't want to read the book, pay a private tutor to teach you.

                                Otherwise, use the camera manufacturer's software and be done with it.
                                • 13. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                                  Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                  As Jeff says, there is no such thing as "the original".

                                  From my post #3 above:

                                  All raw files are very, very dark, linear, grayscale image with no colors. There is color information included, from which any and all raw converters must create the colors in the converted image according to the parameters of the design of each converter.
                                  • 14. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                                    Panoholic Level 2
                                    Andrew,

                                    methink you need to calibrate ACR for your camera.

                                    Look around here:

                                    http://groups.google.com/group/acrcalibrator/topics?start=

                                    http://www.rags-int-inc.com/PhotoTechStuff/ColorCalibration/

                                    http://fors.net/chromoholics/

                                    and here there is a suggestion, specifically for the 350D:

                                    http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?act=Print&client=printer&f=5&t=17064

                                    Btw, was this shot made somewhere close to the Kodachrome Basin?
                                    • 15. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                                      Level 1
                                      This has to be one of the most hostile and pedantic "help" forums in existence. When I said "the original", I meant what I remember of what I saw when I took the photograph. I was there. I have a very good "colour memory" (proven over many years). The in-camera processing has captured the scene very well. ACR provides a "starting point" where a lot of red has been removed and yellow added, whereas Bibble provides a starting point much nearer "the orginal" (as I have defined it).

                                      I understand what a RAW file is. I am limited in my ability to tweak individual colour channels or calibrate ACR because these features are not available in the Elements version, but they should not have to be if the "starting point" was a bit nearer. As Tony Wellington stated in the post at http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?128@@.3bb6a869.3c0530a0 this seems to be something which has changed between ACR 3.X and ACR 4.X.

                                      Thanks to G Sch for a very positive post. I'll explore your other suggestions for help, but I suspect it may just be simpler to switch to another RAW plugin. G, in answer to your question the first (large) shot is near the Vermillion Cliffs in Arizona, and the second is Mesa Arch in Canyonlands.
                                      • 16. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                                        Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                        G Sch just told you in a more succinct way what you have been told before: you have to learn to use ACR. The book would tell you all about calibration, which is the point of G Sch's post.

                                        >but I suspect it may just be simpler to switch to another RAW plugin.

                                        That may indeed be the answer for you. Use the tool that meets your needs.

                                        >this seems to be something which has changed between ACR 3.X and ACR 4.X.

                                        No; we have had this discussion since the earliest versions of ACR. The late, lamented Bruce Fraser went out of his way to enlighten users like you countless times here over the years and in his book, now revised by Jeff to include CS3 and ACR 4.x.

                                        If you don't appreciate the answers you received here, there's nothing we can do about it. We can only point you in the right direction, what you do with that information is entirely up to you and does not affect us.

                                        What many have found, though, is that calibrating their cameras and learning how to use ACR improves their workflow compared to other RAW converters. In ACR you can emulate the results of any other raw conversion software if you want to. If you don't want to do that, then, as stated above, the answer for you is to use another RAW converter.

                                        ACR is designed to give you a natural starting point with the greatest dynamic range possible. ACR does NOT and in all likelihood will not in the future emulate the in-camera JPEGs.

                                        If having that explained to you sounds "pedantic" to you, so be it.
                                        • 17. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                                          As someone who has also been plagued with the reds shifting to yellowish tones and color dynamics being sucked out of my RAW files, I have exhausted all the so-called options by everyone I've run into for the past couple years and have come up short every time.

                                          Calibration, gretagmacbeth color checkers, tint sliders, HSL, and the like have STILL never recovered from that incredibly awful color shift in the reds. Sure, you can tweak the RAW file to get rid of it but at the same time you end up sacrificing another part of the color dynamic in the process. It's extremely difficult to offset this red shift without messing up the skin tones. I've spent hours upon hours with calibration and even manually adjusting calibrate tab sliders, HSL and tints and NEVER was satisfied.

                                          I am convinced that you CANNOT replicate the in-camera JPEG's color dynamics that is seen and being compared to from a RAW file in ACR. The defaults or however ACR interprets the color is just plain ugly and irreversible, it's not a "starting point" that I think anyone should have to work with. Hopefully manufacturers and Adobe can come together at some point but it probably won't happen.

                                          People say that the in-camera JPEG is overly saturated and noisy but I'll definitely take that over the ACR default or the version I tweak exhaustively that never comes close. I've compared the JPEG versions and I think people are exaggerating about the quality of the color in the in-camera JPEG. It's actually very rich and accurate in my opinion.
                                          • 18. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                                            Level 1
                                            I've found by far the simplest solution - use a better RAW convertor, one which can use the camera's tone curve rather than imposing its own.

                                            After giving up on ACR I've switched to Bibble, and I haven't looked back (although I've still got ACR if I partcularly want strong yellows in a shot). OK< it cost me a few quid, but reds and greens come out the colour I remeber them, so much so that I very rarely have to change the colour balance from what my 350D set "as shot".

                                            Andrew
                                            • 19. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                                              Level 1
                                              Hi Andrew,

                                              Just downloaded the trial version of Bibble. Unfortunately I still saw my cherry red wood flooring in my portrait studio shot shift from it's original color once it's fully loaded into Bibble's file browser. It did the same thing that bridge/acr does to my files. I'm wondering if I still have a corrupt monitor profile contributing to this.

                                              I did solve this problem a year ago by using a new monitor calibration tool so I'm pretty sure I'm past that. This current issue seems to be the same as everyone else where reds are more yellowish green.
                                              • 21. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                                                Omke Oudeman Level 5
                                                >but if the JPEGs look OK
                                                :-) :-)

                                                Weston and Andrew, I use a Mac and the screenshot of ACR 4.3 does not look like I'm used to but I'm sure there will be a tab with the HSL sliders. Try this one to adjust the way you want it to look, it is really not that difficult.

                                                And also try to dig in the calibration of the profile of your own dslr that you can make with a Color Checker card and the Fors script.
                                                • 22. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                                                  Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                  Omke,
                                                  >I use a Mac and the screenshot of ACR 4.3 does not look like I'm used to

                                                  That's because in Andrew's screen shot ACR is being
                                                  b hosted by Photoshop ELEMENTS.

                                                  Adobe Camera Raw is
                                                  b substantially crippled
                                                  in Elements by design. Thank you for pointing this out, Omke.
                                                  • 23. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                                                    Omke Oudeman Level 5
                                                    So you mean they don't even have the HSL option and I understand why have to pay a little more for the real thing...
                                                    • 24. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                                                      Ramón G Castañeda Level 4
                                                      Here's what Jeff said in post #1 back in November:

                                                      Jeff Schewe - 3:40pm Nov 21, 07 PST (#1 of 23)

                                                      With the limited toolset of Camera Raw in Elements, you'll be a bit hard pressed to do a lot of work on specific colors. Camera Raw 4 in Photoshop would give you a lot more tools in HSL (hue, saturation & luminance) with 24 sliders (8 each) and also the Camera Raw calibrate panel. But in Elements, those functions are not available.

                                                      As it is, in Elements I would suggest increasing the tint slider and adding some saturation, not vibrance, saturation.
                                                      • 25. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                                                        Level 1
                                                        Weston,
                                                        In Bibble you have the option to choose which "tone curve" you are loading. If you're getting odd colour shifts you should experiment with this setting.
                                                        Andrew
                                                        • 26. Re: Camera Raw Loses Saturation, Especially Reds
                                                          PECourtejoie Adobe Community Professional
                                                          And ACR 4.4 has been released today. might be worth checking.