28 Replies Latest reply on Oct 21, 2010 8:48 PM by Hudechrome

    Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?

    StanWelks Level 1

      If I adjust the white balance and then make other changes to the image, and then decide to change the white balance again, do I need to start over since the white balance was changed?

       

      Thanks.

        • 1. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
          JW Stephenson Level 4

          Stan,

           

          As you probably expected ... it depends.  I find (and others may not) that if I forget to fix white balance first, I indeed sometimes have to revisit some of the basic panel adjustments in order to return to a satisfactory result, but not always.  It certainly depends on how far off the WB was to begin with.

           

          In addition, If you use the auto tone feature, it appears to take into account curve and WB adjustments prior to making its attempt at proper tone so you would have to re-apply that feature if it is in your workflow.

           

          Jeff

          • 2. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
            Jeff Schewe Level 5

            But...Camera Raw is a parametric editor so there is no reason to "start all over" if you decide to change the white balance. Camera Raw always processes the file in the processing pipeline's optimal order, not the order you make changes. So it doesn't matter what order you make changes to the image.

            • 3. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
              Hudechrome Level 2

              What sets the optimal order, and is it controllable by the user?

              • 4. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                Jeff Schewe Level 5

                Hudechrome wrote:

                 

                What sets the optimal order, and is it controllable by the user?

                 

                The Camera Raw engineers have determined that and no, it's not controllable by the users (nor should it be).

                • 5. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                  Hudechrome Level 2

                  Well, I'm of the opinion that locking down can be detrimental to choices

                  available, even if some of those choices might be very inadvisable. But I'll

                  leave that alone for now.

                   

                  Could you please explain the use of the term "Parametric Editor"? I am well

                  acquainted with parametrics (such as parametric amplifiers). What parameters

                  are controlling which others? What impact does it have on editing?

                   

                  Thank you.

                  • 6. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                    Jeff Schewe Level 5

                    Parametric editing means you edit the parameters, not the pixels. Nothing done in Camera Raw has any impact on the original file and only modifies the pixels at the end, when it's processed through the pipeline. That's also why you seriously don't want to have any user input in the order of processing...only the parameters that will be applied upon processing.

                    • 7. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                      Hudechrome Level 2

                      Good! Making more sense.

                       

                      So then, even things like Adjustment Layers or Smart Objects fall under the concept of Parametric editing.

                       

                      Anyway, here it is, Saturday night and there has to be more to life than messing with PS details! Certainly in Chicago anyway!

                       

                      Is Rush Street still the place for Jazz and other night club entertainment? I used to work at the corner of Rush and Walton, and thereabouts was the place to be on Saturday night.

                       

                      But that was way back in about 1960!

                       

                      Portland? Well ...it ain't Chicago!

                      • 8. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                        Jeff Schewe Level 5

                        Hudechrome wrote:

                         

                        Is Rush Street still the place for Jazz and other night club entertainment? I used to work at the corner of Rush and Walton, and thereabouts was the place to be on Saturday night.

                         

                         

                         

                        Only if you are a "tourist" these days...The Green Mill is ageless...if you want to see the scene, check out ChicagoJazz.com.

                         

                        Besides, I just finished watching Wisco beat Ohio St. and now watching Oregon St vs Washington...while checking the forums...

                        • 9. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                          Andrew_Hart Level 2

                          Jeff Schewe wrote:

                           

                          But...Camera Raw is a parametric editor so there is no reason to "start all over" if you decide to change the white balance. Camera Raw always processes the file in the processing pipeline's optimal order, not the order you make changes. So it doesn't matter what order you make changes to the image.

                          Does Camera Raw, as part of "the processing pipeline's optimal order", process noise reduction before processing tonal and colour corrections? I ask because it is my experience that luminance noise is exacerbated by any tonal or colour corrections and I have hundreds of 35mm black and white negative and colour slide scans (scanned as 16-bit TIFF images at 4000 ppi on a Nikon 5000 ED) of which many contain a lot of luminance noise.With these images, I find it necessary to perform noise reduction as the first step in my workflow. It would be nice to be able to do that noise reduction in Camera Raw whilst I am there correcting White Balance and making other corrections which Ps either can't do or which Camera Raw performs better.  

                          • 10. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                            MadManChan2000 Adobe Employee

                            Another way to describe what Jeff said: When using ACR, your results will depend on the numbers you set the sliders to, not the order in which you set them.

                             

                            For example, if I set White Balance to Temp = 3200, Tint = 7, and then set noise reduction's Color slider to 18, I get the same end result as if I set the controls in the opposite order.

                             

                            To summarize: What matters in the final image is the values of sliders & popups, not the order in which you set them.

                            • 11. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                              Andrew_Hart Level 2

                              Eric,

                               

                              This does not answer my question in the post immediately above yours. I appreciate that it matters not in what order we set the controls in ACR, it will apply the edits in a predetermined order. What I want to know is what that order is. It would be helpful to know what the complete sequence is, but more specifically, for my purposes in controlling/reducing significant noise, is noise reduction processed before tone and colour corrections in the predetermined order? Surely that is not a proprietary secret?

                              • 12. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                Jeff Schewe Level 5

                                Andrew_Hart wrote:

                                 

                                What I want to know is what that order is. It would be helpful to know what the complete sequence is, but more specifically, for my purposes in controlling/reducing significant noise, is noise reduction processed before tone and colour corrections in the predetermined order? Surely that is not a proprietary secret?

                                 

                                 

                                Since you can't change the order of the pipeline, I'm not sure knowing what order the processing is done will help you at all. The order is the order and only the ACR engineers know the exact order-in point of fact, it's a lot more complex than you might think. The order is designed to provide the optimal processing pipeline for raw images. While ACR can open non-raw files, the pipeline is designed for raw files.

                                • 13. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                  Andrew_Hart Level 2

                                  Thanks Jeff,

                                   

                                  Why I need to know is simple. From my original post, you will see that I am dealing with scanned TIFF images that contain a lot of noise. Since making tone and/or colour corrections exacerbates that noise, then I don't want ACR to do tone/colour corrections before noise reduction. That would increase the inherent noise and then try to reduce that increased level of noise instead of reducing the original amount of noise.

                                   

                                  From your reply, to the effect that only the Camera Raw engineers know the precise order in which edits are applied by ACR to an image, it would seem that this information in not made pubically available. I only want to know about a very limited aspect of the edit sequence (noise reduction before or after tone/colour corrections). With your acknowledged connections with the Camera Raw crew, do you think you could ask Eric Chan or one of the other developers if he/they is/are able to answer just this specific, limited question?

                                  • 14. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                    Level 4

                                    Andrew,

                                     

                                    Without for a split second presuming to speak for Jeff Schewe or being remotely in the same league as the ACR team members, allow me to contribute a few remarks that Mr. Schewe may not want to address for reasons of elementary modesty.

                                     

                                    Jeff Schewe is not just a leading guru in things related to Camera Raw, but the gentleman actually and literally wrote THE Book on Camera Raw, now in its fifth revised edition:

                                     

                                    http://www.amazon.com/Real-World-Camera-Adobe-Photoshop/dp/0321713095/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s =books&qid=1287480136&sr=1-1

                                     

                                    To suggest or imply that he may be in need to consult with Eric or other members of the ACR team is at least condescending, or insulting at worst.  Mr. Schewe has been intimately involved with the development of Camera Raw from the very beginning, and he has been instrumental in the inclusion and design or modification of some of its features.

                                     

                                    Two reasons immediately spring to mind why your question is really irrelevant:

                                     

                                    • The conversion from raw is carried out by Camera raw in a nanosecond or so, most likely taking into account the cumulative effects of all adjustments contained in metadata and converting the file accordingly.  I chuckled at the mental image of ACR summoning the adjustments one by one in a sequential manner. 

                                     

                                    • Your described workflow, bringing scanned images into Camera Raw, is less than optimal, as Mr. Schewe often likes to put it. 

                                     

                                    If you're not starting out with raw files from a digital file, there is very little to be gained by feeding already-cooked, scanned TIFFs into Camera Raw for post-processing as compared to doing it in Photoshop or, in the case of noise reduction, MOST ESPECIALLY at the scanning stage, through the scanning software's noise and grain reduction.  All kinds of scanning applications have robust noise reduction capabilities you can apply while scanning, even taking into account the film's grain.  Remember, noise and grain are two different animals.

                                     

                                    When it comes to non-raw files like scanned TIFFs, I am convinced one gets much better results during the scanning process and then in Photoshop, than in ACR.  I certainly do myself.

                                     

                                    Really, what I would advise doing, is reading up on scanning.  There's a wealth of information available out there.  You could start here:

                                     

                                    http://www.scantips.com/

                                     

                                    Admittedly, the quick-and-dirty conversion in ACR sounds awfully convenient and tempting, and it's probably (maybe) OK for lowly, non-critical JPEGs (which I practically never use); but for critical photography work with images derived from scanned TIFFs, the scanner software in combination with Photoshop and sundry filters and other plug-ins will give you superior results—at least in my experience.

                                     

                                    Just my ¢2.

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                    ____________

                                    Wo Tai Lao Le

                                    我太老了

                                     

                                    Message was edited by: Tai Lao

                                    • 15. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                      Level 4

                                      Personally, when faced with the need to reduce the noise in an image, I like to apply noise reduction selectively in Photoshop by masking different areas of the image.  Some areas will easily stand more aggressive noise reduction than others, and I might find that a different noise reduction filter can do better in other areas.

                                       

                                      Just my preference.

                                       

                                      ____________

                                      Wo Tai Lao Le

                                      我太老了

                                      • 16. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                        Andrew_Hart Level 2

                                        Thank you, Tai, for your posts numbered 14 &15.

                                         

                                        First, I would never intentionally give offence to anyone without severe provocation (certainly absent here), let alone Jeff Schewe, who gives us all much of his time gratis, for which we are all grateful. I am also well aware of his status as a Camera Raw guru, but he did state quite plainly that only the Camera Raw engineers know the order in which edits are applied by Camera Raw. As far as I am aware, despite his expertise, he is not one of the programmers of Camera Raw, and that is the only reason why I asked if he could consult them. I doubt very much that anyone, in these circumstances, would have any justifiable reason to take offence or be insulted by any of my posts in this thread, and I am confident that Jeff is made of sterner stuff than that.

                                         

                                        Secondly, the speed at which edits may be applied by ACR is irrelevant. The simple fact is that they must of necessity either be applied sequentially or, in a multi-threaded environment, in a time frame that results, when executed threads are recombined, either in noise reduction having been applied either before or after tone/colour corrections. If before, as I have stated, in my experience, that exacerbates the noise and makes it all the harder to reduce it.

                                         

                                        Thirdly, I cannot agree that bringing scanned (TIFF) imahes into ACR is less than optimal. No reason has been given for this proposition by you, Jeff Schewe or anyone else. If you can support this assertion with evidence I would be most interested to consider it. ACR is probably the best solution for correcting white balance and offers other advantages over Photoshop - Fill Light, Recovery and Snapshots come immediately to mind.

                                         

                                        Fourthly, I'm well aware of the difference between grain and noise, and the blurring effect noise reduction whilst scanning can have on an image. I own, and have read every single page of Wayne Fulton's "A few scanning tips", several times, and all before undertaking the scans I made with the Nikon 5000 ED scanner - one of the best in the business. Unlike you, my experimentation, over several years, proved conclusively, to my satisfaction, that noise reduction applied during scanning is almost always so detrimental to the quality of the final scan that it is best left unused. Just my experience, however, gained during the scanning of several thousand colour slides and black and white negatives for myself and friends. However, all that is history. I now have noisy images and must deal with them.

                                         

                                        Fifthly, like you, I have until now done most of my noise reduction of the TIFF scans in Photoshop because, again like you, I have found it necessary to reduce noise selectively from only certain areas of my images. That is something ACR cannot do. But for images that could benefit from overall noise reduction it would be nice to be able to do it whilst in ACR, provided that it is processed before tone and/or colour corrections.

                                         

                                        Thanks again for the time and effort you took in replying to my posts.

                                        • 17. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                          Level 4

                                          Andrew,

                                           

                                          Far be it from me to waste any more time and effort trying gathering "evidence" of any kind for you. I gave you what input I had, and your workflow is not for me to change.

                                           

                                          There is a saying around the 20th parallel north that loosely translates as everyone makes a kite out his own behind.  Maybe you have a similar saying on your side of the pond.  Cheers.  

                                           

                                           

                                          ____________

                                          Wo Tai Lao Le

                                          我太老了m

                                          • 18. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                            Jeff Schewe Level 5

                                            Andrew_Hart wrote:

                                             

                                            But for images that could benefit from overall noise reduction it would be nice to be able to do it whilst in ACR, provided that it is processed before tone and/or colour corrections.

                                             

                                             

                                            Since the order of processing can't be changed, it doesn't really matter what order the engineers have determined is optimal. As far as actually using noise reduction, it's pretty simple to just do it by eye...the problem with trying to use Camera Raw (and any of it's toolset) for rendered files is that the gamma and color space of the TIFF you are bringing into Camera Raw is already baked in. And while Camera Raw can be used for TIFF and JPEG processing (and used very well) the lack of a true linear gamma (as you would get from a raw file) and predetermined color space will limit what can be done to the files. For example, trying to use Recovery on a rendered file really can't do much at all because Recovery attempts to create usable texture detail beyond the first clipped channel. There is simply no head room in a TIFF or JPEG in which to accomplish such recovery.

                                             

                                            When processing a TIFF or JPEG, Camera Raw essentially converts the embedded profile into ProPhoto RGB color coordinates in a linear TRC. The color and luminance data are treated separately for processing. Local adjustments based on masks are processed in and the final transform in the pipeline is to process the image into the color space set in the Workflow Options.

                                             

                                            The exact order is, I think considered proprietary. Some info on processing can be gleaned by reading the DNG Specification-a slight warning, it's designed to be read by engineering types.

                                             

                                            So, I'm pretty sure you not gonna get your wish to know exactly what order each step in the pipeline is done. And, again, it's moot since you can't change it. What you can do is test out ACR processing on your own work to determine whether or not noise reduction should be done before bringing in a rendered image into Camera Raw...knowing the order that Camera Raw processes isn't really important in that decision, what the image looks like after processing is. And remember, Camera Raw was designed first and foremost as a raw processing tool.

                                            • 19. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                              Andrew_Hart Level 2

                                              Jeff,

                                               

                                              Thanks for that very detailed response. I think I understood most of what you said.

                                               

                                              The limitations of ACR with respect to edits of TIFFs and JPEGs (in particular, Recovery) are something I had not fully appreciated before now. Guess I will now also have to abandon using ACR for white balancing noisy TIFF and JPEG images because WB changes colour.

                                               

                                              One rather disappointing conclusion, with respect to noisy RAW images, seems to arise from what you have said. If we don't know, and probably can't know because it is proprietary information, in what order ACR processes edits, and it turns out that noise reduction is performed after tone/colour corrections, then we cannot optimise luminance noise reduction in ACR. Pity.

                                              • 20. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                                Jeff Schewe Level 5

                                                Andrew_Hart wrote:

                                                 

                                                One rather disappointing conclusion, with respect to noisy RAW images, seems to arise from what you have said. If we don't know, and probably can't know because it is proprietary information, in what order ACR processes edits, and it turns out that noise reduction is performed after tone/colour corrections, then we cannot optimise luminance noise reduction in ACR. Pity.

                                                 

                                                 

                                                Then you haven't actually tested this thesis...you would be wrong. ACR 6.2 is particularly good at reducing high ISO raw capture data. The Process 2010 version and the new luminance noise and color noise reduction is excellent and substantially reducing noise in raw captures.

                                                 

                                                Again, you just need to get past the fact that the discreet steps of the raw processing pipeline aren't fully described and disclosed. You don't need to know what order ACR is using...this really is a situation where the Camera Raw engineers know better.

                                                • 21. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                                  Level 4

                                                  Jeff Schewe wrote:

                                                   

                                                  …ACR 6.2 is particularly good at reducing high ISO raw capture data. The Process 2010 version and the new luminance noise and color noise reduction is excellent and substantially reducing noise in raw captures…

                                                   

                                                  That I can vouch for personally, after having worked on a good number of raw files in ACR 6.2 on other people's machines.

                                                   

                                                  It is such an outstanding combination, that I would feel fully confident in justifying the purchase of a new Intel-Mac just to run ACR 6.2—if I could afford it.

                                                   

                                                  I don't give a darn about other CS5 features, ACR 6.2 by itself makes the upgrade worth it, just like ACR 5.7 by itself justified the upgrade from CS3 to CS4.

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  ____________

                                                  Wo Tai Lao Le

                                                  我太老了

                                                  • 22. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                                    Andrew_Hart Level 2

                                                    Jeff,

                                                     

                                                    You're correct that I have not tested the thesis. However, that does not necessarily make it wrong.

                                                     

                                                    If we accept my basic premise advanced in this thread, namely that tone/colour adjustments exacerbate inherent luminance noise, which is my invariable experience, and one which neither you nor anyone else has sought to dispute, and accepting for argument's sake that ACR does process tone/colour corrections before noise reduction, then unless ACR now (in version 6.2) has the ability to reduce the enhanced noise to the same extent that it could have reduced the inherent noise, then my thesis would be correct.

                                                     

                                                    Is that your proposition, namely that ACR 6.2 can now in fact reduce the enhanced noise to the same extent as the inherent noise without degrading further the apparent sharpness of the edited image? If so, I'm really impressed!

                                                    • 23. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                                      Jeff Schewe Level 5

                                                      Andrew_Hart wrote:

                                                       

                                                      If we accept my basic premise advanced in this thread, namely that tone/colour adjustments exacerbate inherent luminance noise, which is my invariable experience, and one which neither you nor anyone else has sought to dispute...

                                                       

                                                      I will dispute that the ACR processing pipeline does anything the make noise worse, yes. I think you are trying to bring Photoshop experience where doing tone (more than color) corrections will bring out noise in an image that makes noise reduction more difficult and somehow paint Camera Raw with that same brush. Again, since the user has no control over the order of the processing, I suggest you move past this. It's a simple test to bring a scan in as a TIFF file and see if Camera Raw can do a good job with tone, color AND noise reduction. If it does, use it. If it doesn't, you may need to adjust your workflow.

                                                      • 24. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                                        Hudechrome Level 2

                                                        It seems that a simple test can determine which conclusion is correct.

                                                         

                                                        Make 3 copies of the unadjusted scan.

                                                         

                                                        Run copy 1 with all adjustments.

                                                         

                                                        Run copy 2 using Previous, but drop either color or noise

                                                         

                                                        Run copy 3 using the Previous from copy one, and drop the opposite of what you dropped in copy 2.

                                                         

                                                        Now complete 2 and 3 by running them back in ACR, starting from No adjustments and adjusting only that which was left out.

                                                         

                                                        Compare all three. One will have noise first, one will have color first, one will have all at once.


                                                        Conclusion?

                                                         

                                                        Now there may be a caveat here, and Jeff can address this and that is, if you reopen an already adjusted image in ACR and add to it, will it run all the operations all over again so that the ordering is maintained as the engineers intended, or will it leave the adjustments as is and run only the additional adjustment? I suspect that, since it is parametric in the fashion Jeff indicated, that ACR will reorder all the tweaks as if they were made together. If that is so, then you will have to open Copy 2 and 3 into Photoshop, Save  and then open again in ACR. That will drop the data and provide a copy without ACR knowing any of the earlier work on that file.

                                                         

                                                        I hope this is clear!

                                                         

                                                        I well understand Andrew's concern, because the order that operations are performed which exacerbate noise, in PS itself, does make a difference when it comes to compensating for that noise.

                                                        • 25. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                                          Jeff Schewe Level 5

                                                          Hudechrome wrote:

                                                           

                                                          I well understand Andrew's concern, because the order that operations are performed which exacerbate noise, in PS itself, does make a difference when it comes to compensating for that noise.

                                                           

                                                           

                                                          But that's Photoshop where there IS no built in processing order and as a result, the results DO depend on the order in which a user does something. And, again, since the order is fixed in ACR, there's really no need to obsess over it because you can't change it anyway.

                                                          • 26. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                                            Hudechrome Level 2

                                                            Agreed, but by separating the process steps, one can come to a conclusion whether or not to allow the process to run as designed, or take the more laborious route. Certainly, a test of such can be informative.

                                                             

                                                            We are confronted by compromises when doing this work. Whether it's internal to the engineering of something like ACR, or external by our own choice, compromises are present. What we want, and what Photoshop does provide, is alternate paths which we can employ in our workflows to optimize the images as we envision (pre-visualize) them to be. In order to do so, we give up a little more A to get a bit better B.

                                                             

                                                            When it comes to Noise, Sharpness, Distortion and CA, I come down on the side of quantitative analysis and application, not qualitative (objective vs subjective). In order to obtain best results, I eschew the provisions in ACR with respect to those four properties in favor of DXO, which takes the path that the DUT is the source of our information, not our personal desires. DXO sets noise, distortion, sharpness and CA according to standards obtained by the DUT itself, ie, how far from perfect does the device lie, and what do we do to compensate? It works superbly well, (the rest of DXO isn't so useful; I prefer PS because that is where qualitative analysis comes into play, and PS allows greater freedom than DXO when it comes to color and tone controls, at least, IMO).

                                                             

                                                            I'm sure you can recall the annoyance felt by many owners of Canon products when in a earlier ACR, a number of Canon owners were convinced that detail was being lost even with NR at -0-. I think it was Chis Cox that pointed out that when detail becomes so minute, the difference between noise and detail becomes masked, and that confusion as to what is noise and what is detail, undecidable. To deal with this, systems that use the output of the device itself, with no reference whatsoever to any image, becomes the order of the day, and not our subjective impressions,

                                                             

                                                            So that is where I land on these issues. There is more, like when extreme adjustments generate more noise. (I have a good workaround for that as well), but that is another subject.

                                                            • 27. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                                              MadManChan2000 Adobe Employee

                                                              Yes, if you increase contrast & saturation, you will boost noise. This can happen to any image, regardless of the source. It just means you'll need to apply more noise reduction, or apply weaker tonal changes (i.e., balance the increase in noise with the increase in contrast/saturation).

                                                              • 28. Re: Do you need to start over after changing the white balance?
                                                                Hudechrome Level 2

                                                                Yes Eric, that was the most uncomfortable aspect of early extreme trials of S/H! Adding to that pushing b&W conversion and you complete an image that, while startling in it's transformation, was even more startling in the artifacts and noise generated! In retrospect, I should have been prepared for this possibility as I well know that all we do when editing is to cut pixels. So now I spend time balancing extreme b&w against noise reduction, and in many cases, I abandon the more extreme adjustments entirely, as the price to be paid is too high.

                                                                 

                                                                What I would love is a Technical Pan sensor! micro pixels (nano?) extended red sensitivity and relatively immune to noise problems.

                                                                 

                                                                The best I can do for the moment is a grid array consisting of a minimum of 4 components for the grid. The Nikon D90 at ISO200 produces it's optimum for  large format work at this level. More is better, but with diminishing returns.

                                                                 

                                                                Channel Mixer for monochrome as well as conversion in ACR are both kinder to the image but not as extreme either. ACR has the advantage of being able to use the camera profiles and Vibrance as a subtle means of controlling the scale. At time, I see a great b&w emerge but when I switch back to color , OMG! How garish!