Help on editing sunsets from RAWS

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by ian_watt|3, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. I take a lot of photos before sunrise and after sunset or around that time like many other photographers. I take RAWS alongside jpegs. Although the jpeg looks good color wise there are invariably noise and other issues. So what I try to do is edit a RAW to near the colors of the jpeg or better. Using CS4 with Nikon D700. I always get problems trying to get the colors right in the RAW edit before opening in photoshop. I don't have this problem with normal daylight shots just some of my sunsets. I know that you are pushing the camera to its limits with light values and intensity but sometimes it pays off. So any help on which color adjustments i should use or other tips would be greatly appreciated.
  2. What about using your Nikon software for conversion? I know Canon settings for the jpeg are supposed to carry over into the default Raw settings for that file. In such a case, the color should be pretty close and yet still have the greater dynamic range. Otherwise, it is probably better not to look at a comparison and just work to what you like. Trying to match something else is always frustrating, even if it is what you did before!
  3. What's different about the colors? Is the RAW more washed out? Then use the vibrance (not saturation) slider. Is it more dull? Use the exposure or fill light sliders plus a little black. And of course you can bring out the reds alone, etc.
    Could you post an unprocessed jpg of the RAW? It's more efficient to make recommendations that way.
  4. If you are not getting a good color match with the jpeg output, the first place to look is the Camera Profile setting in Adobe Camera Raw (found on the Camera Calibration tab). Select Camera Standard assuming you are using the Standard Picture Control setting on your D700, or choose Landscape or whatever you are using. If that doesn't solve the problem, check the White Balance setting. If that doesn't solve the problem, it would be helpful to know more about your camera settings and exactly how the colors in the jpeg differ from the raw output.
  5. OK thanks for the response.
    1. I don't use Nikon software, never got on with it.
    2. Colors. The difference is nothing to do with saturation. On the jpeg the color is as you would expect close to the scene as visualised. The RAW is a weird brown plum color that I cannot correct with color temp.
    I will try to up load a photo if I can remember how. Thanks again
  6. As John points out, part of the disconnect between the JPEG and raw is the color profiles you can select and the default rendering settings. The initial preview you see, after ACR or Lightroom renders it is based on the default settings you have. They can and often do need to be changed. Its like expecting the first color print you make in a darkroom with the last filter pack to be just right, usually it isn’t. The various profiles supplied (or those you can make) attempt to better match to the JPEG and along with proper rendering settings, saved as a new default, can make a match between the two far closer.
  7. The wierd brown plum color sounds like what happens if you display the image at say sRGB, but the image was brought in as a ProPhoto RGB RAW file. If so CONVERT to sRGB or Adobe RGB. Or tell camera RAW you want a differnt colorspace (ProPhoto is default). But still print in ProPhoto.
  8. The camera is set to Adobe RGB with Raw out put to the same or sRGB.
  9. The camera is set to Adobe RGB with Raw out put to the same or sRGB.​
    If you are shooting raw, the camera settings play no role in that data, only the JPEGs and the on-screen previews. In a raw converter (certainly LR and ACR), the weird brown isn’t a color space issue, its the rendering and camera profile issue.
  10. the jpeg out of the camera
  11. Sorry but it just looks more saturated and lighter to me.
  12. Sorry that was in my browser. I opened the original in PS and it definitely looks like it came in as a ProPhoto.
    passed through photoshop to sRGB on default settings​
    Does that mean you CONVERTED to profile or ASSIGNED to profile?
  13. The jpeg was coverted to sRGB. The RAW, I selected sRGB before opening in photoshop. So is it a color mode issue rather than the difference between what the camera is processing and what is left for me to do in a raw edit. Whatever the reason I am struggling to get the colors I want from the RAW.
  14. Hmmm. I'm out of ideas. There isn't an ACR version update issue for the D700 is there?
    The only difference is that the camera is converting internally. There must be a reason. Have you tried the Nikon forum?
  15. Thanks. I presume that the camera is ok. I will email Nikon for some answers.
  16. You can get a trial of NX2 for 90 day (or you used to be able to). It would be interesting to open in NX2. That will give the same settings as the jpg file. Hopefully, it would look the same as the jpg. You can then convert to TIF and move to photoshop for whatever else you want. The white balance issues from NEF come through better with NX2, IMO.
  17. Looking at the two files, I would say you have some banding that might be expected in the jpeg. Your colors are exaggerated and sort of garish as well in the jpeg. The raw is showing more dynamic range and is softer in the transitions--as I would expect and want myself.
    I don't know why there would be any color profile issues as they are not generally egregious when they are converted on import. In fact, except in rare cases, you don't see a difference. I work in a profile not mentioned here and routinely process out of Raw in ProPhoto and AdobeRGB. I don't have any color issues, but then I don't compare to a camera jpeg.
    Our eyes like nice punchy stuff at first, but then after examining see the issues I see here with this jpeg and realize it really isn't very attractive. I started shooting jpegs with my raws for proofing, but quickly stopped because of all of the banding and color issues that made me want to throw everything out the window! These comparisons don't look odd to me at all.
  18. In ACR increase yellow and orange saturation slider in HSL panel=(+60 respectively). Works great in 16 bit ProPhotoRGB even on the posted Raw version in jpeg. NO BANDING!
    The orange you get in ProPhotoRGB especially on a calibrated wide gamut monitor will make the jpeg version look like tinker toy color.
  19. There is nothing in the JPEG that you cannot acheive through proper and careful development of the RAW file. Chances are you have the D700 set to the VIVID setting (which generically only affects the JPEG file/rendition of the underlying RAW file). I don't know what you're doing during your conversion, but it is definitely not a problem either with ACR or with Lightroom or with Photoshop (which would essentially be an ACR issue anyway) - it's just your settings and your conversion process.
    Personally, I'd study a book or tutorial (or something) on RAW conversion and learn (and test) the effects of all sliders and options - I can guarantee that you can end up with the same (if not better) image from your RAW file that your JPEG ever will be...;-)))
  20. The jpeg was coverted to sRGB. The RAW, I selected sRGB before opening in photoshop. So is it a color mode issue rather than the difference between what the camera is processing and what is left for me to do in a raw edit​
    The difference is in the raw conversion.
    If you like the jpg, you have to use Nikon sw (or shot in jpg mode).
    Using a different converter you can be able to get a color rendition more or less (it depends on specific converter) similar to Nikon, but you have to work to get the result.
  21. The D700 is set to standard. I have played around with the HSL panel and am now getting much closer to my aim. Not sure how far you can tweak the sliders without problems.... I guess less is more. I wonder how important it is to control clipping in a particular color channel. Thanks for the feedback.
  22. I could have start this post... What a realize is that I don't have a very good understanding of all the adjustment and the effect they have on a picture but I'm getting to it. (I use LR).
    I'm very near the point of stopping shooting both RAW and JPEG. I'm appreciating more and more all the possibility that RAW offers.
  23. I'm very near the point of stopping shooting both RAW and JPEG.​
    Probably a good idea. Unless you have to access an image ASAP, JPEG isn’t useful. It takes up more space, you have no control over the rendering and trying to get a match isn’t easy since the processing in camera (from the raw data of course) is all proprietary. The JPEG is a baked representation and the raw is digital clay, waiting for you to shape it.
  24. Ian:
    I am not sure if your question has to do also with post processing: but if it does, here is what I’ve learned/discovered in CS4:
    Before I open the image, the “clarity” slider in Bridge is very important, along with “vibrance” and “intensity”.
    Next, once I open the file in CS4, I check the “levels” adjusting layer to see if there are any adjustments needed to the blacks and to the highlights.
    The next most important layer to me is the “exposure adjustment” layer. By adjusting the “gamma” and the “offset” the image just jumps out at me and comes alive.
    Without these initial adjustments most of the “RAW” images just look bland.
    My point is this: if you know what to do with the RAW files, you’ll never go back to JPEG again. But if you want some decent results without much manipulation, then the JPEG is preferable. I used to shoot RAW and JPEG: now I shoot everything in RAW only.
  25. Ian, in sunset shots like this I wouldn't worry about histogram clipping in these kind of colors. What you want to avoid is banding and posterization.
    Your first attempt isn't as intense as what I got applying HSL to your posted jpeg.
    Since you have the color horsepower of linear ProPhotoRGB and 16 bit you need to push the HSL panel as far as possible viewing at 100% to watch out for any posterization or banding starting from the sun outward. Disregard the histogram.
    Just remember sunsets are where you can become creative. You may not remember exactly how the hues in that sunset looked so try adjusting Hue as well. Try the Vibrance slider. In my experience it often gives nicer looking hues and enriches blues and purples. Also try different camera profiles. I'm sure with the Nikon D700 Adobe's included plenty to choose from.
  26. Here's some creative sunset color from a dull, boring Raw image using only ACR's editing tools. I used a custom curve to bring out definition and color differentiation in the color strata in the sky.
    The scene when I shot it didn't look that colorful, but by the time I got home with the image I couldn't remember anyway. For sure editing color in 16 bit Raw is like sculpting clay. You can really push the color to extreme without introducing any noticeable artifacts.
    Drag and drop the image and view the edits I applied in the EXIF data in Lightroom or ACR.
  27. Thanks....I've tried pushing to the limits in ACR just to see how far you can go, interesting exercise and probably better to do there than in photoshop.
  28. Ian, you might want to adjust the top and bottom Color Temp sliders to add orange and magenta. The hue of orange kind of looks a dull orange. See below.
  29. Yes I agree.
  30. Some things to try.
    Open the RAW file in View NX (or Capture NX2). Does it look correct? If so, save it as a TIFF file. Open the TIFF file in PS. Does it look correct?
    Now, open the RAW (NEF) file in PS and see if you can get it to match the colors of the TIFF file. This might be difficult; don't worry if you can't get it.
    If you DO nail the colors, remember what adjustments you made and apply these to similar photos.
  31. Try out Split Tone panel in ACR. Pretty fun effect.

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