Linear Processing of RAW Image Files .

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by luis-a-guevara, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. Some images carry their message in their lower tones and some do it with their midlle tones and highlights, like this one:
    [​IMG]
    Normal RAW processing spreads the image tones evenly across its Dynamic Range , thus , abnormally ,compressing the highlights and expanding the Shadows , something that will not work well with this type of imagery .
    Linear processing workflows , instead ,compress the shadows and devote the rest of the Color Space to Midtones and highlights making it the perfect Complement to this type of imagery ,that results from frontal lighting.
    I am inviting all members to discuss this advanced technique and share their experiences with the rest of us.
     
  2. Choosing a linear response curve is an option in all versions of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. For some iamges it is useful for making the photo look the way yu want it to look.
     
  3. That's a very delicately lit image, nice work with it. Can you say more about the workflow you use for "linear processing?" I use Lightroom and generally use the "linear" setting for curves but I'm not sure if that's doing what you describe.
     
  4. Sure Roger , that is the whole idea of this posting. This image was processed using dcRAW-X which is an alternate RAW converter for the Macintosh , but versions exist for other platforms . It was output as a 16 Bit Linear PSD file . The file was opened in photoshop CS3 and asigned a Custom Adobe Prophoto profile that was only modified by changing its Gamma setting to 1.0. If you dont use a Custom Profile , since Linear RAW files are not Tagged to any color space , Photoshop , unless instructed to do otherwise, will convert them to the working Color Space , and if none has been selected in the preferences it would default to sRGB , the most restrictive color space. In essence turning the LINEAL raw back to a plain vanilla NON LINEAR RAW file with the sRGB Gamma value of 1.8 , not different than what the camera would have produced . I use Lightroom and its Linear option, but it does not work out the same . When I opened the image in Photoshop seem to have followed the same process that I just described , since Photoshop obviously knows about Lightroom exotic options . The only difference , if any, is that you dont have to asign a Linear Custom Profile. When I open dcRAW-X files the situation is very different , the images are dark and the Histogram is concentrated at the lower end , as any Linear image should . When you asign or convert to the Custom Linear Profile of Gamma 1.0 you are not really changing the distribuition of Tones , but giving meaning to its Colors . You will have to do a Manual Tone Mapping (Or Re Mapping if you wish ) to expand the tones that have been concentrated in the Shadow portion of the Histogram . I will be creating a Tutorial that I will post in my website when ready.
     
  5. Luis, Most image editing programs have a curve function with linear being the default and tweaking it is easy to do. So what exactly is the point you are trying to make? It seems to me that you are reinventing the wheel.
     
  6. Hi Frans . Those curves that you are refering to are really just describing the behavior of the Midtones of the image, in fact the end points are fixed and your options are limited to defining the Slope of the curve at the Mid Point , which as you described , by default is lineal , meaning no transformation takes place. However the Data that you are trying to work on is already non lineal , since as soon as you open it in a RAW Converter , before it is even separated into our familiar 3 RGB chanels , a Gamma of 0.45 is imposed on it, to counteract the Display Gamma of 2.2 , a very necessary step , since we expect the image to be ,overall ,a lineal representation of the Scene, in spite that the Display is highly unlineal. If you choose a Midtone Curve of Lineal value , then all the intrinsic non linearity of the converted RAW file is passed along untouched

    What this means is that our RAW Data that was Linearly captured ,thanks to the painstaking efforts of the Sensors Designers ,is artificially DISTORTED when it hurts the most , right before the Color Channels and the Color Balance are created from it. The RAW file is just a Matrix of Data with no Color Channels , Color Spaces or even Color , for that matter.

    So what is LINEAR PROCESSING AGAIN?

    Simple. I am sure that you will agree that is simple. Linear processing is removing the introduction of this Inverse Gamma at the point where it hurts the most ,and reintroduce it as one of the last steps , where it hurts the least.

    You can do this in the Adobe products Lightroom and ACR , but only if you go deep into the advanced preferences for conversion ,and choose LINEAL , instead of the default embed Original RAW file.
    This is very different than the tweakings that you are talking about , since by removing the compression of tones introduced so early in the process you will have more tones to TWEAK .

    So the point that I am trying to make is that when Utmost Image Quality matters , linear processing is the way to go. Lineal Image Converters , like dcRAW-X and others , not only remove Gamma but also , Compression , Sharpening ,Denoising , Antialiasing and Interpolation. What you want is that your chanels are made from data that has been touched the least . Ideally ,not touched at all.

    All this , Compression , Sharpening ,Denoising , Antialiasing and Interpolation, can be best done taylored to the image type, under the control of the Artist and not by invisible factory presets that only work for Generic ,Average Scenes.</ P>
    Luis
     
  7. Luis, Maybe you could start by posting an example of an image processed both ways to demonstrate possible advantages.
     
  8. Good Idea . Here you have it one NON LINEAR RAW and the best one , at the end ,the LINEAR RAW:
    IN THIS ONE THE TONES HAVE BEEN SPREAD EVENLY ACROSS THE HISTOGRAM BY THE GAMMA FUNCTION

    IN THIS OTHER ONE THE LINEAL RENDERING PUTS THE TONES AS THEY WHERE ON THE ORIGINAL SCENE:

    You tell me which one you like best, bost have the same "tweaking" except for the different Gammas</ P>
    Luis
     
  9. Luis, Thanks for explaining such a somewhat complicated subject in a not so complicated manner. Very informative. What versions of ACR can you get this linear output through its preferences? And what profile did you assign to the bottom image? Was it the custom 1.0 gamma ProPhoto RGB which can be made using Photoshop's CustomRGB within Color Settings? How was color temp/white balance applied? Did you apply further tweaks to contrast after assigning the 1.0 gamma profile to the bottom image before posting it here? Very interesting. A much better and more accurate looking rendering.
     
  10. Would you be willing to post or email the original raw file so I can try it myself and compare?
     
  11. Thanks Tim .
    What versions of ACR can you get this linear output through its preferences?
    I am not sure when was the first time that ACR included Lineal Output , but I have been using it at least for the last Versions that started with Photoshop CS2.
    Lightroom , as far as I know included the option since V1. But I dont generally use them , like I said I use a program called dcRAW-X , that I know exactly what it does , being a Programmer myself ,while Adobe products are shielded in Commercial Secrecy.

    Was it the custom 1.0 gamma ProPhoto RGB which can be made using Photoshop's CustomRGB within Color Settings?
    Yes . You go Color Settings , select your desired profile , in this case Prophoto, and then go down to the Gamma settings , that by default would be 2.2 and type in 1.0. Now Save this alongside all the other profiles with a convenient name . Foe example I use "Linear Prophoto"
    How was color temp/white balance applied?
    The Header portion of every RAW image file, contains non user readable Metadata that includes a Sub-section called "Exif " where all the camera settings in force at the time of the capture are stored . The RAW converter reads this info and uses it to color balance the image. This particular Image was shot in the shade under a Blue sky , illuminated by reflected light from the sky , so I had , correspondently set the camera Color Balance to "Shadow" . As you can see the Non Lineal version shows the Yellow Bias imposed by the "Shadow" setting , to counteract the Bluish illuminant.
    The Lineal RAW image ,instead, does not have the Yellow color bias imposed on it , and therefore contains more Blue , Truer to the Scene.
    Did you apply further tweaks to contrast after assigning the 1.0 gamma profile to the bottom image before posting it here?
    Yes , of course . When you open a Lineal image and assign a Custom profile of Gamma 1.0 three things happen :
    1-You prevent Photoshop preferences settings for Untagged Images from taking effect ( This means assigning the Users Workspace preference ,if exist , or P.S. default's , sRGB)
    2-The colors of the Lineal Image now have a Context that defines the meaning of its color values.
    3-The Most Important Part. No Gamma transformations are applied to the tonal distribution , in essence passing it right through , as it is , with its original Gamma 1.0
    Because of this last part ( Which is at the heart of the reasons why you choose to do a Lineal Processing ) the image will have a visual aspect that is Lineal , but with the uncompensated Monitor Gamma of 2.2 Riding on it skewing the Midtones to the Left . (Remember Gamma is the slope of the Levels Curve at its Midpoint ). So Yes , you have to either Reinstate the Gamma Encoding that you removed early in the Game ,where it hurt the most , or do a Manual Tone Mapping ( This is better ) Either way you are doing it after the image have already been built from the maximum data available , which is the point where any Tweaks will hurt the least.( All Tone Manipulations produce data Loss, so you want to delay them until after the Image has already been created from the RAW Data into 3 RGB channels , on which the Color Balance will be based upon )
    This last part ,Tone Mapping , is something that every good artist would always do to every image , regardless of it being Linear or Not , to account for each image needs, that are , obviously , different all the time.
    The great benefit of this Lineal Processing is that it enables you to use all the Data captured ( Applying Gamma different than 1.0 ,always shrinks the Tonal Range ) and because the High tones are up to this point ,untouched , they can deliver a lot more detail ( Shrinking the upper tones means the tonal differences are minimized between adjacent tones , therefore detail suffers) . This is a good thing because our eyes are less sensitive to detail in bright lights .
    At the end , when your are satisfied with your image , save it as a Master Image in PSD format , then convert it to Adobe sRGB color space , change image to 8 Bit mode and save it again as JPEG with a compression of 6 , for web display.
    The end result is , like you said "A much better and more accurate looking rendering"
    P.S. Roger I am creating a small tutorial using another , similar ,image of the same Scene , that will include a link to download the RAW file .The other image is already part of my Fine Art Gallery right here at photo.net . My RAW files are X3f files from a Sigma SD9 camera and Leica lenses , so you will have to use either Lightroom or Photoshop to do the conversion.
    More on this will follow soon.Luis
    00RIe2-82953584.jpg
     
  12. Thanks Tim .
    What versions of ACR can you get this linear output through its preferences?
    I am not sure when was the first time that ACR included Lineal Output , but I have been using it at least for the last Versions that started with Photoshop CS2.
    Lightroom , as far as I know included the option since V1. But I dont generally use them , like I said I use a program called dcRAW-X , that I know exactly what it does , being a Programmer myself ,while Adobe products are shielded in Commercial Secrecy.

    Was it the custom 1.0 gamma ProPhoto RGB which can be made using Photoshop's CustomRGB within Color Settings?
    Yes . You go Color Settings , select your desired profile , in this case Prophoto, and then go down to the Gamma settings , that by default would be 2.2 and type in 1.0. Now Save this alongside all the other profiles with a convenient name . Foe example I use "Linear Prophoto"
    How was color temp/white balance applied?
    The Header portion of every RAW image file, contains non user readable Metadata that includes a Sub-section called "Exif " where all the camera settings in force at the time of the capture are stored . The RAW converter reads this info and uses it to color balance the image. This particular Image was shot in the shade under a Blue sky , illuminated by reflected light from the sky , so I had , correspondently set the camera Color Balance to "Shadow" . As you can see the Non Lineal version shows the Yellow Bias imposed by the "Shadow" setting , to counteract the Bluish illuminant.
    The Lineal RAW image ,instead, does not have the Yellow color bias imposed on it , and therefore contains more Blue , Truer to the Scene.
    Did you apply further tweaks to contrast after assigning the 1.0 gamma profile to the bottom image before posting it here?
    Yes , of course . When you open a Lineal image and assign a Custom profile of Gamma 1.0 three things happen :
    1-You prevent Photoshop preferences settings for Untagged Images from taking effect ( This means assigning the Users Workspace preference ,if exist , or P.S. default's , sRGB)
    2-The colors of the Lineal Image now have a Context that defines the meaning of its color values.
    3-The Most Important Part. No Gamma transformations are applied to the tonal distribution , in essence passing it right through , as it is , with its original Gamma 1.0
    Because of this last part ( Which is at the heart of the reasons why you choose to do a Lineal Processing ) the image will have a visual aspect that is Lineal , but with the uncompensated Monitor Gamma of 2.2 Riding on it skewing the Midtones to the Left . (Remember Gamma is the slope of the Levels Curve at its Midpoint ). So Yes , you have to either Reinstate the Gamma Encoding that you removed early in the Game ,where it hurt the most , or do a Manual Tone Mapping ( This is better ) Either way you are doing it after the image have already been built from the maximum data available , which is the point where any Tweaks will hurt the least.( All Tone Manipulations produce data Loss, so you want to delay them until after the Image has already been created from the RAW Data into 3 RGB channels , on which the Color Balance will be based upon )
    This last part ,Tone Mapping , is something that every good artist would always do to every image , regardless of it being Linear or Not , to account for each image needs, that are , obviously , different all the time.
    The great benefit of this Lineal Processing is that it enables you to use all the Data captured ( Applying Gamma different than 1.0 ,always shrinks the Tonal Range ) and because the High tones are up to this point ,untouched , they can deliver a lot more detail ( Shrinking the upper tones means the tonal differences are minimized between adjacent tones , therefore detail suffers) . This is a good thing because our eyes are less sensitive to detail in bright lights .
    At the end , when your are satisfied with your image , save it as a Master Image in PSD format , then convert it to Adobe sRGB color space , change image to 8 Bit mode and save it again as JPEG with a compression of 6 , for web display.
    The end result is , like you said "A much better and more accurate looking rendering"
    P.S. Roger I am creating a small tutorial using another , similar ,image of the same Scene , that will include a link to download the RAW file .The other image is already part of my Fine Art Gallery right here at photo.net . My RAW files are X3f files from a Sigma SD9 camera and Leica lenses , so you will have to use either Lightroom or Photoshop to do the conversion.
    More on this will follow soon.Luis
     
  13. Luis, Thanks for the explanation. I was wondering if you could post the image with just the assigned custom linear ProPhoto RGB profile before any edits so we can see how much work is involved in this process. I'm amazed at the local contrast detail in the image you posted and I want to see if it's due to working on the linear data or if you used Highlite/Shadow tool or some kind of sharpening routine. Also wondering if you're able to bypass the traditional raw converter's internal color table this way and work strictly from the RGB ratios straight off the demosaiced sensor data. I'm assuming you must be getting different hue/saturation results by assigning linear ProPhoto RGB to linear data in Photoshop over what you'ld get from a traditional raw converter. Just liked to see how much off it is.
     
  14. LINEAL RAW PROCESSING</ ©LUIS A GUEVARA luis@sigmacumlaude.com

    This is one of the most elusive Digital Concepts , because ,when seen globally , all Digital Processing Systems are Lineal. Otherwise the images we make will not make any sense to us.
    We expect a Scene to look the same way whether we look at them through a window , through a Roof mounted Video camera , at the Computer Screen or in a Print hanged in the wall . This would not be possible if their overall processing systems did not respect all the tonal relationships of the Scene , such as color balance , Illumination Dynamic Range , Contrast , Sharpness ,etc. When it does , we say that the system is Lineal and that there are no distortions introduced by the process itself.
    In practice our systems are lineal to a degree that we call "Realistic", and we recognize that some combinations of Hardware and Software brands produce better "Image Quality" or that there is an improved "Realism" in their resulting images.
    Finally when dealing with this kind of elusive concepts , we can reach another plateau in the Image Reproduction arena, that is referred to as "Three Dimensionality".
    When the image quality achieved is so highly realistic we say that it has achieved "Three Dimensionality" , that is ,it can fool the eye into believing that is real.
    The European Renaissance painters refereed to this concept ,as "Trompe-l'œil " (trick the eye")
    So what do we mean by Lineal Processing as opposed to Lineal Systems?

    Simple. Although as a whole all the elements of an Imaging System behave Linearly , their individual Components are mostly Non Lineal , but their non linearity has been compensated at different points to achieve the final desired overall System Linearity. The tool used to do this is called Gamma Encoding.
    Gamma is nothing but the slope of a function graph that describe the relationship between the input and the output of a system or a system element.
    [​IMG] >The image shown is a Monitor Gamma Curve that is definetily non linear and non uniform
    Gamma 1.0 , on the other hand ,means that the output divided by the input equals ONE. No transformation takes place , and we call it LINEAL. The output equals the input.
    We certainly want linearity in all our overall systems , be they music amplifiers or Digital Cameras .However in Digital Imaging this is harder to achieve because our Computer Monitors , Cameras LCD Displays , and all Printing Devices are Highly Non Lineal . Monitors for example have a Gamma of 2.5 and more, but our Camera Sensors are very Lineal with a Gamma very close to 1.0 , so how do we conciliate this disparity ?
    Simple , again , but largely unknown to most people, in spite that this has been with us since the creation of Video Cameras :
    An artificial Gamma Correction is introduced to the Captured RAW Data that is exactly the inverse of the Display Gamma so that the overall effect is that they cancel each other out.

    Since today imaging systems operate within Standardized Color Spaces , each one designed with its own Target Display Gamma , of which the most ubiquitous is the sRGB Color Space that was designed to represent the Gamma of the Average , Uncalibrated , PC CRT Monitor , of Gamma 2.2 , then the inverse of this 1/2.2=0.45 , is applied, as a transformation function, to the RAW data ,DURING ITS CONVERSION from RAW DATA to Displayable Image File .
    This is done in the RAW developer, as a first step , right before before any other necessary processes of the conversion from data to image ,have taken place.The following graphic illustrates how the two ,opposite curves combine , mathematically, to produce a Mean Value of 1.0 , the straight Gray Line you see in between .
    [​IMG]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Gamma_correction
    That is ,our RAW Data that was Linearly captured ,thanks to the painstaking efforts of the Sensor Designers , is artificially DISTORTED when and where it hurts the most , right before Color Channels and Color Balance are created from it.
    The RAW file is just a Matrix of Data with no Color Channels , Color Spaces or even Color , for that matter.It is not an image file. For more on RAW , please see my article "The Raw Story" at: http://www.sigmacumlaude.com/ The_Raw_Story.aspx
    SO , WHAT IS THIS LINEAR PROCESSING AGAIN?

    Simple. I am sure that you will agree that is simple. Linear processing is avoiding the introduction of this Inverse Gamma at the point where it hurts the most ,to reintroduce later, where it hurts the least ,as one of the last steps of the Image Optimization , rather than at the Image Creation. A big substantial Difference.
    Of course we must reintroduce it , to achieve again the necessary overall System Gamma of 1.0. If we don't , we will end up with an image that possess the same Gamma as the display does , that is G2.2 , which for most people is VERY DARK AND CONTRASTY and TOTALLY UNUSABLE. ( Please take a mental note of this , because when you process Lineal Images and you forget to reintroduce the compensating Gamma of 0.45 , your image will be like that , dark and concentrated at the lower tones.)
    For example , this is a RAW image , converted into a LINEAL Photoshop file,that was opened without assigning it a Custom Lineal Profile. As you can see because is missing the Gamma encoding , the image looks dark , because nothing is counteracting the Monitor Gamma.

    As you can see its color settings are indicating sRGB , my preference as a Workspace for those images that don't come with a Gamma Tag. SRGB has a Gamma of 2.2 , so we end up with 2.2 + 2.2 = 4.4 , instead of the desired Gamma 1.0 . No wonder it looks so dark and Contrasted.
    [​IMG]

    When I change it to Adobe Prophoto , that has a Gamma of only 1.8 , as seen here , the Colors get better , but theTones , although slightly brighter ,are still wrong and harsh .Detail is poor in the HIGHLIGHTS and barely acceptable in the Mid Tones . But clearly we are moving in the right direction.</ p>

    .[​IMG]

    NOW THIS IS THE SAME IMAGE , AFTER CHANGING THE PROFILE TO MY CUSTOM PROFILE , THAT I HAVE NAMED AS "LINEAR PROPHOTO" As you can see here the Custom Profile is nothing but a Prophoto RGB profile where the Gamma was changed to 1.0:
    [​IMG]
    This a very impressive Visual difference , that comes from the fact that all instructions that the camera writes to the Metadata of the RAW file have been stripped from it , by my LINEAL CONVERTER OF CHOICE , "DCRAW-X"
    This 16 Bit Photoshop PSD file was created, directly, in Adobe PROPHOTO RGB Color Space , without even opening the image in a Viewer , so that I could quickly get to open it in Photoshop in the most Pristine condition possible.
    Some people do not believe this , so here you have a screen shot of the RAW file Metadata , as presented by Photoshop CS4;
    This is the Metadata of the Lineal PSD image .It is very short containing mostly creation information Please notice how both Photoshop and Camera RAW frames are showing the File number IMG30989.psd :
    [​IMG]</ p>

    FOR COMPARISON , HERE IS THE EXTENSIVE METADATA FOR THE SAME IMAGE , THIS TIME AFTER A NON LINEAL , ORDINARY A.C.R. CONVERSION: ,
    YOU CAN CLEARLY SEE ALL THE EXTRA INSTRUCTIONS , HIGHLIGHTED IN BOLD, and the file number in RED
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    THIS SECOND METADATA EXAMPLE IS SO LONG THAT I COULDN'T MAKE A SCREEN SHOT OF IT AND HAD TO COPY AND PASTE , INSTEAD.
    So the point that I am trying to make is that when Utmost Image Quality matters , linear processing is the way to go. Lineal Image Converters , like dcRAW-X and others , not only remove Gamma but also , Compression , Sharpening ,De noising , Anti aliasing and Interpolation. What you want is that your color channels are made from data that has been touched the least . Ideally ,not touched at all.
    All this , Compression , Sharpening ,De noising , Anti aliasing and Interpolation, can be best done tailored to the image type, under the control of the Artist and not by invisible factory presets that only work for Generic ,Average Scenes.
    If you want to download the 7 MB IMG30989.X3F Zip file, to try all this by yourself , please click here , but please remember that all this document is copyrighted.
     
  15. The image 30989.x3f looks like a very different image than the one you posted in this thread. Is that intentional? It also appears to be somewhat blown out. I don't see this image anywhere in your photo.net or pbase or deviantart gallery to compare your processing with mine. Am I missing something? Your images are very strong, by the way. I'd really love the raw version of the image at the top of this thread to compare.
     
  16. Luis, I hate to rain on your parade, but something doesn't add up in your story. If as you say "linear processing workflows compress the shadows and devote the rest of the Color Space to Midtones and highlights" then, if further processing is applied correctly (meaning the finished image should show no changes in tonality and color as compared to "normal" processing) this would result in less posterization/more detail in the midtones and highlights at the expense of more posterization/less detail in the shadows. However, that's not what your examples show; they show dramatic differences in tonality and color; that's NOT what linear processing should result in. Somewhere along the line you are introducing these dramatic changes in tonality and colors and either a) that's unintended but needs to be resolved or b) you want that in addition to the linear processing characteristics but then you would need to make that abundantly clear. As is stands right now, you are causing changes you don't realize or you are not telling the whole story.
     
  17. Luis, Good work. I take it this was your tutorial you were planning on posting. The only raw converter I have where I can actually get this dark linear unprocessed rendering is in Raw Developer (Mac only). Its core algorithms were built upon DCRAW. I never thought of using RD's Unprocessed setting because I didn't know what source profile to assign because I was with the understanding that digital sensors have no color space. I'm going to give it a try on one of my own Pentax PEF's and see what I get. I can't find a setting in ACR 3.7, the only version I have at the moment which came with CS2 that gives the same dark rendering as Raw Developer. What peaks my interest in your process is the unusual and quite unique and beautiful color renderings in the images here and in your gallery and was wondering if this is due to the linear process, dcRAW-X or the camera sensor RGB spectral response and lens combo. However, what I don't understand about your images is why there are so many posterization artifacts along high contrast edges and within tonal transitions in out of focus bokeh backgrounds.
     
  18. Hi again Tim .
    Good work. I take it this was your tutorial you were planning on posting.
    The only raw converter I have where I can actually get this dark linear unprocessed rendering is in Raw Developer (Mac only). Its core algorithms were built upon DCRAW. I never thought of using RD's Unprocessed setting because I didn't know what source profile to assign because I was with the understanding that digital sensors have no color space. I'm going to give it a try on one of my own Pentax PEF's and see what I get.
    Thanks . The setting for conversion in ACR is buried as an option for SAVING as DNG ! While you are in the Conversion Screen , click "Save Image..." at the bottom and the "Save Options " will pop up. Choose Format > Digital Negative andnew options will appear for DNG , that are "Embed Original RAW" ,or "Convert to Linear Image"B , as you can see highlited in Yellow here:
    [​IMG]

    Nobody knows exactly what they mean by "Lineal Image" since Adobe is very Cryptic about it. To me Lineal means not only NO GAMMA , but no Compression , Sharpening ,Denoising ,
    Antialiasing and no Interpolation, as well as no Vignetting or Chromatic corrections .
    This is the only way that our color channels can be made from undisturbed data , meaning that it has been touched the least . Ideally ,not touched at all.
    I can't find a setting in ACR 3.7, the only version I have at the moment which came with CS2 that gives the same dark rendering as Raw Developer.
    Like I said I use DCRAW-X , a free Lineal Converter for MacIntel that does strip Gamma and Color profiles. You can download it for free at http://www.frostyplace.com/dcraw/index.html
    What peaks my interest in your process is the unusual and quite unique and beautiful color renderings in the images here and in your gallery and was wondering if this is due to the linear process, dcRAW-X or the camera sensor RGB spectral response and lens combo.
    Well , clearly, the image quality of the Foveon sensor ,paired to Leica or other German lenses , is much superior to unmodified cameras or Bayer sensor, in terms of 3 Dimensionality and richness of color, and that is why I sell Converted cameras and Mount Replacement kits at Sigma Cum Laude , but as your intuition is telling you this Synergetic combination only comes alive with Linear processing .
    However, what I don't understand about your images is why there are so many posterization artifacts along high contrast edges and within tonal transitions in out of focus bokeh backgrounds.
    I have not seen any of this , but it could be that I am using a Color Managed Browser at a 24 Million Colors depth ,on Mac OSX Leopard , with a Color calibrated 23inch Apple Cinema Monitor . Some of my images are very large , in the order of 900 mB , and when compressed as JPEG do suffer a lot . Unfortunately there are no ways around that.However do look at your Display preferences to see if you are in Millions or only in Southends. Many Mac models use main memory shared with the Monitor , so if you are low on it it might automatically bring down the Display Resolution.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Well I gave it a try and it seems Raw Developer's creator Brian Griffith's internal color table profile is more accurate in rendering skintone and other primary colors for my Pentax K100D PEF's. I could not get Luis's color style in my renderings, so it's probably due to a combination of his camera's Foveon sensor, lens and dcRAW-X native output profile. Not sure. In email exchanges with Brian Griffith, Raw Developer's creator, I was discussing creating my own source profile using RD's custom ICC color matrix profile creator and Brian indicated that the color space of my Pentax, according to his research on Japanese based Bayer sensors, was closer to NTSC. And he was kind of right. I found assigning a linear version of Joseph Holmes Ekta Space RGB gave more accurate looking results than a linear NTSC on the majority of images. Assigning linear ProPhoto RGB gave the typical over saturated magenta hue to skintones to my PEF's. The only advantage using linear process for me is being able to use better color and tonal editing tools and faster live preview updating in Photoshop over doing it in Raw Developer but I don't have access to RD's noise and chroma artifacts tools which is very useful.
     
  20. You haven't seen these artifacts? Here's two screenshots of images in your gallery as viewed on my i1 Display calibrated 20" G5 iMac with S-IPS panel in Mac OS 10.4.11 in Safari:
     
  21. Whoops! Some kind of server glitch occurred. Here goes again.
    00RK81-83623684.jpg
     
  22. Here's the second one...
    00RK84-83623784.jpg
     
  23. You haven't seen these artifacts?

    Sorry those images were not converted using a linear process . But I will make it a point to develop those two in DCraw-X and present the results a some point.
     
  24. Roger Smith , Oct 28, 2008; 09:24 p.m.
    The image 30989.x3f looks like a very different image than the one you posted in this thread. Is that intentional? It also appears to be somewhat blown out. I don't see this image anywhere in your photo.net or pbase or deviantart gallery to compare your processing with mine.
    Am I missing something?
    Your images are very strong, by the way.
    I'd really love the raw version of the image at the top of this thread to compare.

    Roger like I said that image is already in my Fine Art Gallery so I decided to give everybody a chance to work on a new image , before I presented you with my own rendering of it.
    You are not missing anything , Lineal RAW images will enable you to utilize the FULL DYNAMIC RANGE that you captured , so that gives you an extra Stop of room over the highlights that you can , and SHOULD capture by adding extra exposure , unless you wanted them waisted as usual. So all my images have an intentional , lets call it overexposure , of about 2/3 of a stop , because they are intended for Lineal processing.
    From the point of view of Lineal Processing that is PROPER EXPOSURE , but if you process it normal it will look overexposed because it is HITTING THE LIMITS OF THE CONVENTIONAL PROCESS.
    Frans Waterlander , Oct 29, 2008; 12:21 a.m.
    Luis,
    I hate to rain on your parade, but something doesn't add up in your story. If as you say "linear processing workflows compress the shadows and devote the rest of the Color Space to Midtones and highlights" then, if further processing is applied correctly (meaning the finished image should show no changes in tonality and color as compared to "normal" processing) ........
    DONT WORRY FRANS , YOUR POINTS ARE WELL TAKEN and they are indeed indicating that you are taking my statements seriously and ,thinking hard
    What happens here has to do with the fact that the order of things in the process DOES have an influence on the outcome . I explain:
    DEMOSAICING , or the creation of the 3 color channels. is done NOT FROM THE ORIGINAL CAPTURED DATA but from DATA THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN ALTERED by GAMMA . It is from this , somewhat distorted Color Channels that Color Balance will be determined. more so ALL THE SUBSEQUENT STEPS OF IMAGE CONVERSION will build on this Gamma encoded Data , incrementing the deviation , since every step is modifying data that was already modified by the previous step.
    All Sensors will go through Interpolation of the 3 Color Channels , Anti Aliasing filtering , and , to counteract it, some degree of Sharpening , followed by Contrast and Saturation enhancements , before finally compressing the data into the chosen camera Color Space, as a RAW data file.

    If you apply Gamma AFTER the Demosaicing and color balance have taken place you will have a very different result because all this
    additive deviations from the original data,will be acting on pristine data. If you remove Gamma and leave out Compression and Color Space
    you will achieve greater dynamic range with more highlight detail and richer color .

    However, that's not what your examples show; they show dramatic differences in tonality and color; that's NOT what linear processing should result in. Somewhere along the line you are introducing these dramatic changes in tonality and colors and either a) that's unintended but needs to be resolved or b) you want that in addition to the linear processing characteristics but then you would need to make that abundantly clear. As is stands right now, you are causing changes you don't realize or you are not telling the whole story.
    On the contrary . Your statement reflects that you are taking Linearity as something that should be happening between the final image and the initial image, and therefore because the RAW file I provided , as seen through your processing looks very different to my final image you think it is not lineal , however the Linearity I am interested on is in reference to the original Scene , the RAW file is just a means to an end. You cannot possibly know the validity of this , because you never saw the scene. If we were just interested on being faithfull to the way our RAW files look ,we will not be looking into this or any other process and we will be all happily busy doing conversions the old way.

    The confirmation of the advantages of lineal processing lies in the fact that you CANNOT arrive to the same rendering of tones I made from that RAW file , unless you process it Linearly and Display it using a Lineal Prophoto Profile of Gamma 1.0

    ....................this would result in less posterization/more detail in the midtones and highlights at the expense of more posterization/less detail in the shadows.

    This is an exellent point and very valid one . A 12 Bit Linear binary file of recorded intensity values will have 2048 levels available for the upper highlight stop , that if you can use it, (And you can if you use Linear processsing) will give you a lot of tones for very delicate highligts with lots of detail and color nuances, but at the other end of a typical Six stop Dinamic Range , you will only have 64 Tones to describe your shadows , leading to posterization and loss of detail in the shadows.

    That is why my opening statement was :
    "Some images carry their message in their lower tones and some do it with their midlle tones and highlights, like this one:
    Normal RAW processing spreads the image tones evenly across its Dynamic Range , thus , abnormally ,compressing the highlights and expanding the Shadows , something that will not work well with this type of imagery .
    Linear processing workflows , instead ,compress the shadows and devote the rest of the Color Space to Midtones and highlights making it the perfect Complement to this type of imagery ,that results from frontal lighting."


    Image IMG30989.X3F is another image carrying its message with its upper tones and therfore benfited in an inimitable way from Lineal Processing:
    [​IMG]
     
  25. Luis, You have not convinced me one bit. The 2 side-by-side images early on in this thread show tremendous color and tonality shifts. So, either your first image is the most true to reality and the second one, obtained with linear processing, shows horrendous color and tonality shifts or the second image is the most true to reality and the first one, obtained with "normal" processing, shows horrendous color and tonality shifts. So what it comes down to is that either your "normal" process is way out of whack or your linear process is way out of whack. This also would mean that untill you find out which process is out of whack your comparison between the two processes is meaningless.
     
  26. I gave it go comparing dcRAW-X with Raw Developer's Linear Unprocessed setting and I'm left scratching my head. Apparently dcRAW-X either has a completely different color table profile for the Sigma raw format or it truly is pulling all source color rendering tables/matrices and delivering exact RGB ratios straight off the sensor. Raw Developer is applying the default color profile because changing from it's default ICC version to Extended Gamut slightly changed the preview even with Disable Processing checked which is suppose to turn off all color management. I got two completely different renderings as posted below. All I did on both was apply curves which I've included in the screencapture. As you can see my dcRAW-X doesn't look anywhere near Luis's. In fact I kind of like mine better. It looks more real. Just used dcRAW-X's default settings, applied Linear ProPhoto RGB and converted to regular 1.8 ProPhotoRGB which gave the same rendering editing in curves only I could get better control of black point roll off. It was a tight fit placing edit nodes in the shadow areas to the point it was taking to long making adjustments using curves without converting. The same was done with Raw Developer. And I'll also include an edited ACR 3.7 version which I didn't spend a lot of time on.
    00RKJd-83705584.jpg
     
  27. Now Raw Developer's version...
    00RKJe-83705684.jpg
     
  28. And ACR's straight rendering...
    00RKJg-83705784.jpg
     
  29. Luis version with no curves applied ( But converted to sRGB for Internet display)
     
  30. Tim , I dont know the inner workings of the Mac version of DCRAW , that is very elemental as interfaces go ,however the Windows version provides abundant processing options and information.

    In case it helps you figure out the answer to your questions here is some info:

    [​IMG]
    I have not been able to reach the developer of DCRAW-X , perhaps you have more luck and I have plenty of my own questions for him , if you do.

    I like the way you work. Very methodical and keeping good records. Your results are very interesting and look close to my image , but they do look flatter , with less detail and tonality in the highlights and shadows
    Your image :
    [​IMG]
    My Image:
    [​IMG]
    Again , it is very hard to compare images processed in different computers with different Displays and Display profiles. It is even harder , and perhaps futile to attempt to do so across the internet. My monitor is calibrated using Pantone Colorvision Spider hardware calibrator.
    I have the original Profile and the Color Vision generated profiles and if I switch between them , I do see a difference, and I will provide a link for a Q.T.Video that I made to illustrate this point. Luis
     
  31. So what did you do different from my simple approach? Did you change dcRAW-X defaults? Could you post the slider adjustment numbers so we can all understand what's going on here. Something isn't adding up, Luis. As you can see from my first image just using the default settings and assigning Linear ProPhoto RGB made the narrow tree trunk with the sunlit highlight positioned below the flowers a strong magenta color instead of the putty color in yours. This can only be achieved with a color table/matrix number adjustment. Adjusting color temp/white balance sliders alone from the 5 raw converters I've dealt with can't correct for this much of a color error. And in your version you adjusted the white balance toward cyanish/blue which would make the magenta tree highlight worse. I don't see any other slider in dcRAW-X that can correct this type of color error since there's no preview to work from in this simple app. How many trial and error conversion sessions did you have to go through just using the color temp sliders before you arrived at the results seen in your final posted image? And I hope you don't think I'm badgering you on this. I want to learn just as much as the next fella'. But I've been down this investigatory road before "hound-dogging" similar long threads in the past for several years where someone comes up with a new and unusual approach to image processing that looks quite promising benefiting the photography and digital imaging community by offering a better mousetrap and finding it was all a waste of time because all information wasn't disclosed. I mean I can't even use dcRAW-X because it doesn't support my Pentax K100D PEF's so it's already useless to me, but you seem to be on to something significant, but as Fran pointed out you seem to not be totally upfront with us.
     
  32. Dang it! I didn't update the page before my last post so you already answered some of my questions. Computer platforms and display calibration doesn't have anything to do with this since there was no physical editing by eye of your image. But now that you indicated you've been using a Window's version with an "abundance of processing options" this is the rub I've been looking for in this discussion. Another waste of time going down another rabbit hole. It would've been nice to know this from the start.
     
  33. ...........Raw Developer is applying the default color profile because changing from it's default ICC version to Extended Gamut slightly changed the preview even with Disable Processing checked which is suppose to turn off all color management................. ..........Computer platforms and display calibration doesn't have anything to do with this since there was no physical editing by eye of your image......... .........But now that you indicated you've been using a Window's version with an "abundance of processing options" this is the rub I've been looking for in this discussion...........

    Tim , you are not making sense. You got confused somewhere. I do not use RAW DEVELOPER and I am not familiar with its options. I use DCRAW-X that is, as its X in the name indicates , a Mac OSX only application that I use on my Mac on OSX Leopard as I indicated previously. It is not sufficient to select a wider gamut profile , you have to CHANGE ITS GAMA TO 1.0 as indicated at the beginning. If you dont , you'll remain at Gamma 1.8.
    The "abundance of processing options of Windows version of DCRAW" (notice the absence of "X" ) was only posted for your benefit, since you are interested on its inner workings, and is a screen shot picked up from the internet .
    I am more interested in its PRACTICAL working and that will not work if you don't follow the recipe; first you do a lineal conversion to 16 Bit PSD in DCRAW-X , then in Photoshop you change the color settings for the file to a CUSTOM PROFILE OF GAMMA 1.0, then you do whatever you think is needed in terms of reinstating some of the things that the Linear Converter removed ,such as SHARPENING etc., then Convert the file to sRGB ,and save it as JPG with an embedded sRGB profile.
    Make sure that your Monitor is calibrated to sRGB standard of Gamma 1.8 ,White point D65.
    00RKiq-83869784.jpg
     
  34. The standard gamma of sRGB according to microsoft and HP, the inventors of this color space, is 2.2. But it doesn't matter what gamma a display is calibrated at, color managed apps compensate the gamma of images that are assigned or tagged with the color space they were created in. Again this is not the issue and I am not confused. The Raw Developer ICC profile comment was to illustrate the NO PROCESSING linear results obtained and compared to dcRAW-X's results. I never said you used Raw Developer. My point was to show dcRAW-X clearly delivering different linear unprocessed data from the same raw file than Raw Developer's unprocessed setting. I did change the wider gamut profile (ProPhoto RGB) to a linear 1.0 gamma version creating it in Photoshop's Custom RGB menu in Color Settings. I assigned this 1.0 gamma version to both the Raw Developer and dcRAW-X linear versions when first opened in Photoshop and both needed a strong curve to correct for lack of contrast as illustrated in my post. We must not be speaking the same language cuz something is getting misread here. Again I'm asking what were your dcRAW-X settings used for your version of this image? When you say lineal conversion in dcRAW-X do you set its Brightness slider to 1 instead of the default 5 or do you leave all sliders at default? I don't know how I can make myself more clear.
     
  35. OK, cross post again. Didn't see the added dcRAW-X screen capture. Those are my settings as well, but we both got different results. I give up I don't know what's going on.
     
  36. One thought occurred to me as to the cause of the differences we're getting. Data that influences color results may be being stripped from the .x3f file during either download and/or during the unzipping of the file.
     
  37. I get this error message when first dragging the .X3F file onto dcRAW-X icon and I don't know what it means.
    00RKmm-83893584.jpg
     
  38. You have two dialog boxes shown in there . The bottom one is telling you that you have not selected a folder to receive the output. That is strange because DCRAW-x will retain the last one used . the other dialog box is because this is an application that originated as a Window /Lunix and in its Mac incarnation ,requires you to Drag the RAW File into the specified place in the dialog box. It will not work by dragging a file on top of the application and that message will pop up. Tim , I will try to make a Quick Time video showing the process from the beginning to the end.You are right about the sRGB Gamma 2.2 . Typo.
     
  39. Luis, A quick question from an interested observer who has used dcraw. You mention several times that you process the raw file with dcraw to obtain a PSD file. How is this possible. The options (shown in the screen capture above) are only TIFF and PPM.
     
  40. Hi Mike. It seems that you missed a link to an image showing the output preferences , here it goes again:

    [​IMG]
    Welcome to this discussion . Luis
     
  41. Hi Tim ,Mike and everybody . I did create a small Quick Time Movie , that I hope you will be able to see directly here :
    Please excuse all the deficiencies of it , but I am very tired.Here it goes:

    [​IMG]Lineal processing Video

    Hope you like it and that it helps.Luis
     
  42. Luis, I'd really appreciate if you would react to my posts above. Given the dramatic differences between what you show as normally processed and linearly processes images the question still stands: which of your processes is out of control to cause such differences?
     
  43. Franz , watch the movie please. Maybe the answers are already there.Luis
     
  44. Luis, Thanks for the response. I am running Windows O/S and execute dcraw from the command line interface (no GUI such as you have shown for the Mac). The output options are (as far as I know) just those specified in the screen capture of the command line posted above (i.e. TIFF or PPM). Is there an additional, undocumented, parameter that will cause output file to be PSD?
     
  45. Not that I know Mike . It is weird that each platform have advantages over the other one. The windows version has a lot more control through all those Parameters , but the Mac version offers a more practical PSD output.
     
  46. I wanted to keep up with this thread but have been busy. Attached is my version using the original raw file and only processing it with Lightroom (not "linear" or otherwise special). It looks different than what Luis did but is hopefully better than the ACR conversions above and retained some of the delicacy in the flower while keeping the overall look of the plants realistic.
    00RL3S-84015584.jpg
     
  47. Excellent work Roger . Lightroom is my software of choice for managing my files and it does an excellent work indeed , but don't get confused , it is not Lightroom being better or ACR being worse , because Lightroom is based on ACR just like Photoshop is. The difference is that you seem to know how to use it well. Your non lineal image is closer to my Lineal one than what I got in Lightroom myself. Congratulations! By the way your Liza and Adam's Wedding Gallery is the MOST PERFECTLY NEUTRAL COLOR BALANCED IMAGES I HAVE EVER SEEN.! Please don't miss the video I posted a bit earlier . Luis
     
  48. Luis, No, the video didn't help at all. My issue is not with any of the details of your processes, but is much more basic than that and centers around your side-by-side examples in the 8th post of this thread. As I've already stated before, there must be something fundamentally wrong with your "normal" process, your linear process or both. It is extremenly hard if not impossible for me to believe that those radically different examples represent the results of correctly executed "normal" and linear processes. I would expect a way more subtle, way less dramatic difference, which makes me believe that something is out of whack here.
     
  49. Luis, Your video stops after a few seconds and I can't get it to work again. Why don't you comment in a few words why those two radically different images correctly represent normal and linear processing? As I have said before it looks to me like your normal process or your linear process or both are severely flawed.
     
  50. Frans, do you not like the linear result? What do you not like about it? Did you see the result I did using Lightroom which would be "normal" processing?
     
  51. Hi Luis... I haven't read every last thing posted in here, so I apologize if what I mention is already explained above. I've got a couple of points of confusion. 1. I was of the understanding that gamma is applied towards the end of the image processing pipeline. This is based on my recollections of similar discussions over at Luminous Landscape. Unfortunately I haven't been posting there much for a while now, and my memory may be a bit fuzzy. Tim, I know you hang out there a bit, what is your understanding of this issue? 2. You say you are importing a 16bit linear image to photoshop, and then doing your tonal adjustments there. It's my understanding that Lightroom/ACR/DCRAW and many others operate with floating point calculations (when working on a raw file), but photoshop (at least up to the early CS versions) doesn't calculate this way. Hence, you are better off doing your adjustments in your raw converter than doing so in photoshop and suffering rounding errors. This might explain why Rodger was able to get a very good rendering also of your raw file. Let me know if I've got some of that wrong, or if I missed something from earlier on in the discussion. Cheers, Bernie.
     
  52. Roger, It's not an issue of what I like or dislike; I haven't seen the subject so I can't judge whether the "normal" processed image or the linear processed image (the first two side-by-side images that Luis posted) is closer to reality and that also is not the issue. The issue I have is that those images are so radically different in colors and tonality that it looks to me like either Luis' "normal" process or his linear process or both are severely flawed.
     
  53. Luis, I have watched your linear processing video. While it makes some things clear, it leaves a couple of questions in my mind: 1. Apparently the Mac version of dcraw-X does not allow you to choose an Output Colorspace for the converted file, while the MS version does so (parameter -o [0-5]). What is the colorspace tag of the lineal file produced by dcraw-X, or is it simply untagged (raw or no profile)? 2. I note from your screen shot of Photoshop Color settings that you have selected "preserve embedded profile" and that you have not checked to request a warning when the file is untagged (missing profile). I note that you only change the PS working space to Lineal-ProPhoto (gamma=1.0) but you do nothing to assign this space to the file just opened. Is this because the file has no embedded profile and the default behavior of your setup is to assign the working space profile?? I am guessing this is the case because, with a file having an embedded profile already open, simply changing the PS working color space would not alter the appearance of the file.
     
  54. Luis, Through your testing and experience you’ve established that you obtain better results when you convert raw images using dcRAW-X’s 16-bit Output option rather than 8-bit. This is not entirely surprising if you look beneath the covers a bit and read the FAQ for dcraw.c that dcRAW-X references as the basis for the program. Specifically, the 16-bit options store the image using a color space containing a gamma of 1.0 (i.e. a linear file), though the color space is not defined with an embedded profile. Presumably it would just use the native color space of the camera sensor given the comment on the dcRAW-X page that “the right way to do it, is to assign a custom camera color profile to the linear file.” The 8-bit option appears to do additional processing that would explain the differences between the images you posted above, but this is just a hypothesis that I’m unable to test as I can’t run the program. You then extrapolate your finding to ask the more general question about whether the advanced technique of using “Linear processing workflows” is preferred by others and later assert that “when utmost image quality matters, linear processing is the way to go”. This is quite a leap. Just to be clear, what you’re asking here is whether it’s better to digitally represent an image using a color space with a gamma of 1.0 vs. a color space with a gamma of something other than 1.0 – 2.2 being the most common. To explore this topic requires an understanding that a color space is basically a way of interpreting the numbers in an image file to a specific color as viewed by an observer. It is analogous to a ruler. An engineering drawing of an object with associated numerical dimensions would be meaningless without an indication of the units of measure and a standard providing physical meaning to the units. In other words, to build what the diagram is depicting requires knowledge that the numbers represent inches, mm, etc. and a standard bar (i.e. ruler) with markings showing the distance of a standard inch, mm, etc. A color space provides the equivalent for the numbers in an image file, so asking if one is better than another is analogous to asking whether one ruler is better than another. It depends. You mention that sRGB is “the most restrictive color space”. However, if the image being stored doesn’t contain any colors outside of the gamut that can be represented by sRGB, then not only is it sufficient but is actually preferred to a wider color space because it would be able to record smaller variations in color assuming the same number of bits per pixel/color were used to record the data. In other words, if the 256 possible values of red don’t have to cover as wide of a range of reds as within a wider color space, then more subtle variations in red may be recorded in the file. In this example the gamma of the color space defines how “equidistant” each recorded value of red is from its neighbor. In other words, are the 256 recorded points established after the same increase in intensity of red, or does the change in intensity vary between points from one end of the color definition to the other. How these values get mapped to color intensities in the recorded file is what you’re essentially asking about. My experience with recording scanned film using a gamma of 1.0 was that the level of detail in the shadows was horrible. This seems also to be evident in the file you show being processed in the first movie you’ve uploaded. After defining the color space to have a gamma of 1.0 the dark sections are very splotchy – something very similar to what I saw when experimenting . After you apply the auto tone correction the darks are better but still speckled. You refer to it as noise but the effect appears to impact a larger group of pixels than what would be seen with sensor noise. It’s hard to tell without the file. Have you had someone process it using another raw converter and compared the amount of detail that can be extracted from the shadows? For this image you’re okay masking this effect using a levels adjustment to pull more pixels to black, and perhaps this is acceptable for most of your images, but this seems to be a required step of the “linear workflow”.
     
  55. Oh dear....... First, the luma space color space of all films and ccd sensors are far less inclusive than the human eye, so the data is 'compressed' from the outset. Then, the various RAW formats compress that data even more. I know most people don't want to hear that, but to my knowledge, there are no true 16 bit RAW file types. If that has changed, I'm sure a poster here will update me. Bill P.
     
  56. "It's not an issue of what I like or dislike; I haven't seen the subject so I can't judge whether the "normal" processed image or the linear processed image (the first two side-by-side images that Luis posted) is closer to reality and that also is not the issue. The issue I have is that those images are so radically different in colors and tonality that it looks to me like either Luis' "normal" process or his linear process or both are severely flawed." This doesn't make much sense to me. To me a raw file is like a color negative (something I spent years balancing before switching to digital). Sure you can do a relatively neutral proof sheet for color negatives but there are no absolute correct renditions as you can map the tremendous brightness range in many ways for viewing in a monitor or print. Ditto for raw files. I think the goal of raw conversions is to be able to render files in a way that matches your vision of the scene. Whether or not it is "real" is irrelevant as no versions are "real" and literal conversions often look far flatter and duller than the original scene. I personally like conversions that look realistic and don't have viewers screaming "fake." I don't think Luis' linear renderings are literal renditions of the scene at all. I don't have a problem with that. You can download the raw file and see what it looks like for yourself. A couple of things I did with my Lightroom (ACR) rendering- I started by reducing exposure until artifacts began to show up around bright edges, and then restored brightness with curves. I increased black point and then used fill light to bring up shadows. I used the highlights slider to impart a warm cast to the highlights and make the flower closer to Luis' version.
     
  57. Well my AT&T DSL Motorolla modem just died yesterday and I'm using my local library's Dell machines that won't let me view the video tutorials. All the systems here are slow as hell for some reason and waiting 18 minutes to download would take up my allotted time allowed by the library. I'm still with Frans and now William on this. The two different linear raw output samples from two converters confirms what William stated. Besides that notice in Luis's previous thread of his PS Color Settings screenshots showing the differences between assigning sRGB, ProPhoto RGB and finally 1.0 gamma ProPhoto RGB to the dcRAW-X image and see that he got similar results in color (magenta highlight on the tree trunk) but not density contrast than my linear ProPhoto RGB version which required a strong correction curve for mine where his did not. Same OS, Mac computer, calibrated display and raw converter settings but different results.This is assuming he assigned his monitor profile and converted to sRGB for posting here. If he didn't then this might explain the density differences. But now look at his final image which is noticebly processed with an added vignette, the tree trunk is nolonger magenta, the leaves are a different green hue and the highlighted flower petals have lost all the fucia pink shown in the assigned linear ProPhoto RGB screenshot. It's this additional processing that on top of the differences in his screenshot comparison that is not explained. And if it is explained in the video then I stand corrected. But the hole point of this better way of processing linearly from a pro photographer's standpoint is to determine if it is faster requiring less processing to get desired and better results and is it consistent and predictable. The answer from what's been demonstrated here is NO. And those that get blotchy shadows assigning linear ProPhoto RGB to the dcRAW-X linear file, to get rid of it just convert to regular ProPhoto RGB or any other working space of choice, but then that defeats the "don't apply gamma to the untouched linear data" way of doing things. I can't remember from past Adobe forum discussions why this occurs but I think it has something to do with assigning profiles with unknown black point and Photoshop's slope delimiting algorithm screwing up previews. I could be wrong.
     
  58. This seems to be the root cause of so much disension . I hope it helps because I cannot keep up reacting individually to everybodys posts:
    Gamma by definition is the slope of a curve.The problem is that Curves , unlike Straight Lines ,do not have ONE Gamma Value that defines them , they have an infinite number of them . One for each point along the curve , so to define a Gamma value for a CURVE the Gamma of the Midpoint is used , because ,in the case of human vision we have better vision at the Mid Tones than we do at Highlights or Shadows.
    Because of this, Color Balance is also done at the Mid point , which ,on an image that has been Gamma Encoded ,corresponds roughly with its average midpoint in the Histogram .consequently COLOR BALANCE BECOMES OPTIMUM AT THE MID TONES AND DETERIORATES TOWARDS THE WHITE AND BLACK POINTs . Dont confuse this whith White point , which is just the neutrality of the whites.
    For the same reason Tone Separation in GAMMA ENCODED images is LARGEST around THE MIDPOINT AND COMPRESSES TOWARDS THE END POINTS. This gives posterization of the Highlights and Shadows .
    LINEAR GAMMA , instead , is defined by a Straight Line of uniform, constant slope , so it does not introduce any compression of tones , but leaves the tone distribution at the mercy of Binary numbers , that are strongly compressed at low Bits values and very spread apart at the high bit values . The end result is excellent separation of the high tones with possible posterization of the low tones.
    Neither of this processes is better per se , they are just tools in the toolbox of the resourceful artist . If your image has delicate Highlights that you want to preserve or enhance ,then Linear processing will be your best tool , but if it is a dramatic low key image with abundance of low tones , definitely Gamma encoded RAW processing is called for .
    If your image has Both (HDR)Delicate , expresive highlights and interesting detail in the Shadows, then Double Processing , combining Linearly generated images to non linear ones is what it needs to be done.
    [​IMG]

    LUIS A GUEVARA
     
  59. "The problem is that Curves , unlike Straight Lines ,do not have ONE Gamma Value that defines them , they have an infinite number of them . One for each point along the curve , so to define a Gamma value for a CURVE the Gamma of the Midpoint is used" Nothing could be farther from the truth for the type of curves we are discussing here, where in your image editor you pull the straight-line curve up or down at one point only. Mathematically this new curve is defined as: new brightness value = old brightness value x p to the power of gamma, where p is the percentage of where you are on the tonality scale (anywhere between 0 and 100%). So the gamma involved applies to any and all points on the curve. So all your reasoning about color balance deteriorating and tone separation compression is incorrect. And Luis, you still haven't answered my question as to why your side-by-side examples are so drastically different.
     
  60. Roger, You totally miss my point; I don't care about realistic one bit in this discussion. My point is that the two side-by-side examples are so radically different that one or both processes are introducing horrendous tonality and color shifts. I don't need linear processing to do that: Photoshop is chockful of tools to do that. So what the heck is the advantage of linear processing? Sorry to say, but Luis hasn't answered that question or demonstrated it with meaningful side-by-side comparisons.
     
  61. " I don't need linear processing to do that: Photoshop is chockful of tools to do that. So what the heck is the advantage of linear processing? " I am impressed by the look of Luis' first image and in the delicate tones of the flower in the second. I don't care if the images have tonal and color shifts (Relative to what? None of us have seen the original scene!) and as you say there are a variety of tools which produce different looks. This is one more. If you think the approach is worthless and do not think any of the examples have any redeeming value why are you posting in this thread to begin with? You clearly know all you need to already so why waste your time? I'd like to see your conversion of the file Luis posted for download using your preferred tools and techniques. What do you think of my ACR/Lightroom conversion?
     
  62. Roger, I like to understand how exactly this linear process is different/better than the tools already available and I haven't seen any of that clearly defined/demonstrated. Luis claims a number of specific advantages/characteristics of this process over "normal" processing but hasn't delivered on demonstrating that.
     
  63. A quote from the beginning of the thread. "Hi Frans . Those curves that you are refering to are really just describing the behavior of the Midtones of the image, in fact the end points are fixed and your options are limited to defining the Slope of the curve at the Mid Point , which as you described , by default is lineal , meaning no transformation takes place." Not true. The end points of a Curves adjustment layer are movable just like any point you make along the curve. They are also not restricted to midtones, each section of the Curves layer corresponds to shadows, midtones and highlights.
     
  64. The ongoing unsettling thought I have: the majority of images processed in this manner are going to look way too dark. I gather that's a given, and for the sake of this exercise is ok. But from a practical point of view, I don't think this is, well, practical ;)
     
  65. Well, it looks more and more like a "new toy syndrome". The advantages, if any, haven't been clearly described or demonstrated. The only sure things as far as I can see are that linear processing makes your images look way too dark (I would have thought that somewhere later in the linear process you would apply a gamma of 1/2.2 or 0.45 to compensate, but that's apparently too sophisticated), that different people get different results and that there is a lot of confusion and misinformation. Oh well, maybe somebody will clarify it all and make sense out of it, but for now it looks like a very unscientific "look what I just did" exercise that could easily be done with your regular image editing software (but don't ask me why you would want to do it in the first place) at no additional cost and no need to try to figure out a new piece of software (and apparently that is not easy given the comments here).
     
  66. Frans, I couldn't agree more! You said...."Well, it looks more and more like a "new toy syndrome"..... and...." Oh well, maybe somebody will clarify it all and make sense out of it, but for now it looks like a very unscientific "look what I just did" exercise that could easily be done with your regular image editing software (but don't ask me why you would want to do it in the first place)....." That pretty much sums it up for me. It's easier for me to get the lighting and exposure right in the first place. If that's not possible, a quick "tune up" in a small editing program should do the trick. If I needed to do more than that, it would be time for me to re-evaluate my artistic skills! Bill P.
     
  67. Please dont blame me for your failure to apply this process properly . The instructions , quoted here from my tutorial posted earlier in this Thread , and from the first video , clearly say: "SO , WHAT IS THIS LINEAR PROCESSING AGAIN? Simple. I am sure that you will agree that is simple. Linear processing is avoiding the introduction of this Inverse Gamma at the point where it hurts the most ,to reintroduce later, where it hurts the least ,as one of the last steps of the Image Optimization , rather than at the Image Creation. A big substantial Difference. Of course we must reintroduce it , to achieve again the necessary overall System Gamma of 1.0. If we don't , we will end up with an image that possess the same Gamma as the display does , that is G2.2 , which for most people is VERY DARK AND CONTRASTY and TOTALLY UNUSABLE. ( Please take a mental note of this , because when you process Lineal Images and you forget to reintroduce the compensating Gamma of 0.45 , your image will be like that , dark and concentrated at the lower tones.)" If you dont get get it , nobody can take care of your inability . It might look like like a "new toy syndrome"..... for you , that are clearly disconected from what is going on , but Linear Processing has been around since the early 2000 , Canon has it ,as part of its RAW processing options , and so does Adobe in Lightroom and Camera RAW Converter. They might have a good reason to be spending time and money in extra lines of code. Linear processing is all over the place . Jonathan Wienke , in 2004 posted an excellent article on Hibrid Linear processing, at Luminous Landscape here: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/hybrid-conversion.shtml, there is many others ,if you care to do some Google research. "When you point to the moon with your finger , the fool looks at the finger.. " Old saying.
     
  68. Luis, The only thing you have clearly demonstrated is that linear processing can result in really dark images with vast color shifts, things you can easily do in almost any image editing program you already own, if you are so inclined. Besides, some of your assertions are severely flawed. And yes, I have read Wienke's article and have some opinions on it as well. And googling hasn't resulted in any useful information. The only possible advantage of linear processing may be the potential for reducing posterization in the highlights. How much of an issue this is and how much linear processing would help hasn't been addressed at all in this thread. If I may be so bold, you seem to use linear processing not as a technical tool to improve the image but as an artistic tool to express yourself. Nothing wrong with using artistic tools to express yourself, but there are way simpler, more intuitive and cheaper (free) tools to do that.
     
  69. Oh dear..... Gamma correction has been used in the television industry forever. In the early days, the video camera was very nonliear, less so today, but still nonlinear. I keep my monitor calibrated to something close to the NTSC standard, I assumed everybody ran tightly calibrated monitors. Yes, I know the gag, "When you assume....." I watched "The Odd Couple" too. Bill P.
     
  70. Cheaper than a free Program? Doubt it. Frans .You are clearly in denial . You don't seem to take the time to digest what you read and , therefore you are stuck in old technology . As one that knows what it feels to have the fingers wet in Pinacryptol ,developing film negatives by visual inspection , in search for those elusive tones in the highlights , I welcome the technical advantage of doing that very same thing with my "Digital Negatives" in both a quest for , both , improve my images , and second and inseparably from the first one, express myself. Too bad that you are not listening.
     
  71. By the way , Where are your images?
     
  72. Luis, You have demonstrated that linear processing can darken images and distort colors. Linear processing may have real advantages, but you have not defined nor demonstrated those. See, I'm very interested to learn about ways to improve images, but you haven't convinced me one bit yet that linear processing does that. And come on now, Luis, do you really need to boast about your wet darkroom experiences and questioning my qualifications?
     
  73. Just show your images.
     
  74. Luis, How does that have to do with anything we are discussing here? YOU claim that linear processing has advantages but fail to define and demonstrate those and now you want to see MY images? Where is the logic in this?
     
  75. Maybe If you do that I will be able to choose one of yours that can be improved by linear processing , if you care to make the RAW file available to us . Maybe somebody else would like to do the same . There is no other way .
     
  76. Luis, So now you need one of my images because you can't define and demonstrate advantages of linear processing with your own images? Now that's funny. I can take any of my own or anybody else's images and make them darker and distort the colors without the need for linear processing. See what I'm saying?
     
  77. Why all the 'processing' ? Try it my way. It's easier for me to get the lighting and composition correct, push the button and publish the results. Keep in mind that a computer monitor is a transmittive process, and a print is an absorptive process. Two completely different optical systems here. The only true answer to the question is what the print looks like. Before you see the print, you can't know for sure. The Adobe folks have the entire photography community beliveing that they can't take a proper photo and that it MUST be processed to death in their thousand dollar 'suite'. Remember, talent's NOT included, no matter what it says on the box. Before you assume that I do, since just about everybody does, let me mention that I do not use photoshop. Bill P.
     

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