Adobe Camera Raw, argh!! (colour space issues)


Linnl71

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Jul 2, 2009
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#1
I'm having problems with processing my RAW file with ACR. Everything was perfectly all right before till I tweaked some settings (I know I shouldn't and now I regret :cry:)

Introduction:
I shoot RAW from my Sony A500, use PMB (Sony's Utility) to view images and then use ACR & Photoshop CS4 to edit my shots. I am using Windows XP SP3 too.

In addition, my camera's colour profile is sRGB, ACR settings set to sRGB, photoshop CS4 colour space sRGB as well.

Problem:
Each time I open a RAW file using ACR, the image will look less saturated, slightly lower brightness and more flat, compared to viewing the RAW file from PMB itself.

However, opening JPEGs pose no issue as colour, brightness and everything are identical.

I then tried to first convert the RAW file to TIF using another Sony Utility (comes together with the Sony disc) and then open the TIF using ACR, no changes as well. Exactly identical.

Attempted Solution:
Because the problem arouse after tweaking the colour space settings, I tried to reset them back to default and the way it was before. Unfortunately, to no avail as well.

Then, I decided to reset photoshop's preferences totally through the Ctrl+Shift+Alt method; problem still persist.

Next, I decided to uninstall CS4 and deleted the camera raw plugin and reinstalled everything. Problem still persist...

I have run out of solutions and decided to post here hopeful that experts out there will be able to assist me.
 

grantyale

Senior Member
Oct 4, 2004
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#2
Ever had a time when RAW files from your A500 open with the right colors in ACR?
 

Linnl71

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#3
Yep, happened before. Now it's all messed up, dk why :(
 

metzzy

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May 9, 2009
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#4
Bro, all sony RAWs appear dull in ACR or Lightroom. Thats why adobe come out camera profiles to generate the camera's colour. You need to tweak the colours your own.
So in short, all those CS settings (inclusive DRO except for WB,Exposure Com & NR) in A500 does not appy to RAW in ACR/Lightroom.

You can google it? Cheers
 

Linnl71

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#5
I understand about camera profiles settings to replicate the colour of the camera's. However, my problem is not just about the colour. The brightness and contrast of the shadows is altered as well.

To illustrate my point, I have provided the following images as references.
I have converted the RAW file to 8bit TIF format and then greatly resized to reduce the file size for uploading. (Mentioned in my first post that converting the RAW file to TIF has no or little colour change etc.)

This image is how the RAW file is supposed to look like.



This image is how the RAW file looks after opening through ACR (no edits done at all).




As you can see, not only does the colour of the image change, but the contrast as well.

On top of all these issues, my ACR is showing me blue "noise" over some part of the shadows which is really very distracting and irrtating. The blue areas disappear once I hit the Open button.




Uploaded with ImageShack.us
 

metzzy

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May 9, 2009
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#7
Well bro, I think only answer to your problem is to shoot raw+jpeg. Which I did, sometimes with my A700. But after editing in lightroom, it somehow looks better for the raws. I even make my own presets to make my job easier and consistency.

Just to share my experience :)
 

metzzy

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May 9, 2009
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#8
Oh yeah the blue clipping are underexposed areas for previews. Red for overexposed. I think can swith off. Somehow.
 

Linnl71

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#9
Unfortunately, colour inconsistency is not the only issue. Change or contrast is also present :(. Thanks for the link though!

Well bro, I think only answer to your problem is to shoot raw+jpeg. Which I did, sometimes with my A700. But after editing in lightroom, it somehow looks better for the raws. I even make my own presets to make my job easier and consistency.

Just to share my experience :)
True. Or I could also use Sony's utility to convert to TIF and then process in photoshop which is wayyyy to troublesome if have to be done every time.

Oh yeah the blue clipping are underexposed areas for previews. Red for overexposed. I think can swith off. Somehow.
Yeah, I'll check that out meanwhile.
& thanks for your inputs on this matter.

Btw, this thread is still open for discussion if anyone out there knows the solution to my problem :(. Affecting my hobbyist workflow man, haha :confused:
 

theRBK

Senior Member
May 16, 2005
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#10
from what I can see of your screen capture of your ACR window, the exposure settings are at "Default"... when this is selected, all the shots that are run through ACR will be set to this particular exposure setting... and this setting would not take into account the camera settings from your DSLR, which I would guess the Sony provided software would take into account... this, I would hazard a guess, is why the contrast, brightness, colour, etc. is different between software...

if you had set the exposure setting to "Auto", ACR would make a guess as to what settings are required and try to optimize the image... this might have been how the image used to look "all right" before you had started tweaking the settings... put it to auto and give it a spin?

and you remove the blue "blocked shadow" warning by clicking on the little blue triangle icon to the top left of the histogram... the icon at the top right would be the "blocked highlight" icon...
 

theveed

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Apr 20, 2007
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#11
Try this. Open Photoshop, go to EDIT >> PREFERENCES >> CAMERA RAW. Uncheck the "Apply Auto Tone Adjustments" and check the "make defaults specific to camera serial number".
 

Linnl71

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#12
from what I can see of your screen capture of your ACR window, the exposure settings are at "Default"... when this is selected, all the shots that are run through ACR will be set to this particular exposure setting... and this setting would not take into account the camera settings from your DSLR, which I would guess the Sony provided software would take into account... this, I would hazard a guess, is why the contrast, brightness, colour, etc. is different between software...

if you had set the exposure setting to "Auto", ACR would make a guess as to what settings are required and try to optimize the image... this might have been how the image used to look "all right" before you had started tweaking the settings... put it to auto and give it a spin?

and you remove the blue "blocked shadow" warning by clicking on the little blue triangle icon to the top left of the histogram... the icon at the top right would be the "blocked highlight" icon...
Unfortunately, by setting exposure setting to "Auto", the image is severely brightened and much different as compared to the original file.

You're right, clicking on the top right icon removed my blue shadows clipping. Must be out of desperation I start clicking all over the place on ACR :confused:

Try this. Open Photoshop, go to EDIT >> PREFERENCES >> CAMERA RAW. Uncheck the "Apply Auto Tone Adjustments" and check the "make defaults specific to camera serial number".
Sadly, setting my preferences to what you mention does not solve my problem.

Now I realise, when viewing the RAW file from Sony's Utility and Adobe Bridge, the image look identical. It only looks different when I try to process it in ACR. That is really weird.. Which brings me to this, I think ACR is causing the inconsistency. But how do I go about resetting it back to default? I do not recall tempering with ACR settings previously except changing the settings as mentioned to users above.

Any ideas :dunno:?
 

Linnl71

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#13
After more thorough research, I have come to this conclusion.

Why there are colour/contrast inconsistency:
Though I shoot in RAW, the image that appears at the LCD of my camera is actually a processed JPEG image but somehow is in RAW format. I say processed JPEG because the camera has factored in the DRO settings (if any), creative style and maybe more to produce the image at the back of my LCD.

However, ACR reads the RAW format as really RAW, simpliest and purest without any "extra ingredients" added and shows the RAW image on my monitor. I have tried to off DRO and chose standard with 0/0/0 settings in my camera and RAW for output but am still unable to replicate what is actually shown using ACR. From my understanding, even Sony's PMB (Picture Motion Browser) shows the RAW file with the factors mentioned above factored in; therefore, the colour inconsistency between ACR and PMB as well.

I have however, found out that ACR is able to "install" camera profiles to actually replicate the same image shown on the camera's LCD. Unfortunately, my sources tells me that camera profiles available for download are only applicable to Canon & Nikon cameras. In order to source out profiles for Sony Alphas' I would have to rely on 3rd party profiles (which are quite hard to find).

Hence, if that is the case, I think my solution to this issue would be to live with it, or to not shoot RAW and all unless really needed.

Still, what actually puzzles me is, it is really weird that I have never faced this issue with colour inconsistency before I tweaked the I-forgot-what-I-did settings.

Experts, kindly correct me where I am wrong in my research & if there is actually a proper solution, do let me know.

In addition, I would like to hear from the Sony users on this matter if they face the same issue as me; the colour/contrast shown between PMB and ACR are different. (RAW format only)
 

theveed

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Apr 20, 2007
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#14
After more thorough research, I have come to this conclusion.

Why there are colour/contrast inconsistency:
Though I shoot in RAW, the image that appears at the LCD of my camera is actually a processed JPEG image but somehow is in RAW format. I say processed JPEG because the camera has factored in the DRO settings (if any), creative style and maybe more to produce the image at the back of my LCD.

However, ACR reads the RAW format as really RAW, simpliest and purest without any "extra ingredients" added and shows the RAW image on my monitor. I have tried to off DRO and chose standard with 0/0/0 settings in my camera and RAW for output but am still unable to replicate what is actually shown using ACR. From my understanding, even Sony's PMB (Picture Motion Browser) shows the RAW file with the factors mentioned above factored in; therefore, the colour inconsistency between ACR and PMB as well.

I have however, found out that ACR is able to "install" camera profiles to actually replicate the same image shown on the camera's LCD. Unfortunately, my sources tells me that camera profiles available for download are only applicable to Canon & Nikon cameras. In order to source out profiles for Sony Alphas' I would have to rely on 3rd party profiles (which are quite hard to find).
This is a given, and it's the same with all camera brands' RAW files. All RAW captures have an embedded JPEG to display on your camera's LCD and thumbnail previews on computers, but when the full file is opened, all the custom picture styles and parameters are shed unless you use the proprietary software supplied by the manufacturer.

Still, what actually puzzles me is, it is really weird that I have never faced this issue with colour inconsistency before I tweaked the I-forgot-what-I-did settings.
This is what puzzled me as well in your case.

My suggestion is to play with the Calibration tab in ACR. Shoot a RAW+JPEG with the picture style you often use (and prefer). Open both images side-by-side and adjust the Calibration sliders until you get the RAW as close as you can to the JPEG output. Save that calibration setting and use that as default for all your future RAW files.
 

Octarine

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Jan 3, 2008
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#15
Why there are colour/contrast inconsistency:
Though I shoot in RAW, the image that appears at the LCD of my camera is actually a processed JPEG image but somehow is in RAW format. I say processed JPEG because the camera has factored in the DRO settings (if any), creative style and maybe more to produce the image at the back of my LCD.
This is the embedded jpg file which you can find in the RAW file. The conversion is done after the shot is taken, using all your picture presets. So it appears nicely taken on the review screen. AFAIK, cameras cannot display RAW images directly.

Hence, if that is the case, I think my solution to this issue would be to live with it, or to not shoot RAW and all unless really needed.
What is important to you? To get the colours that you want (provided that your workflow is profiled) or to achieve some similar display of two different camera software products where one has all the knowledge and secrets of the camera manufacturer and the other one relies on goodwill and reverse engineering but still comes to good results?

I have also noticed differences in the results that different RAW converters show. To me, Capture One by Phase One had the best results and was able to show colours where the initial conversion of LR was really dull and flat. But after changing settings and parameters the result was the same to me. Canon DPP came out with roughly the same results as Capture One.
 

Linnl71

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#17
This is a given, and it's the same with all camera brands' RAW files. All RAW captures have an embedded JPEG to display on your camera's LCD and thumbnail previews on computers, but when the full file is opened, all the custom picture styles and parameters are shed unless you use the proprietary software supplied by the manufacturer.
Exactly, that is why I am trying to find camera profiles for the Sony Alpha camera compatibility for ACR haha.

This is what puzzled me as well in your case.

My suggestion is to play with the Calibration tab in ACR. Shoot a RAW+JPEG with the picture style you often use (and prefer). Open both images side-by-side and adjust the Calibration sliders until you get the RAW as close as you can to the JPEG output. Save that calibration setting and use that as default for all your future RAW files.
I guess doing a side-by-side calibration would be to adjust the colours correctly. However, there is still the issue of difference in contrast between the image as well. Really weird.

What is important to you? To get the colours that you want (provided that your workflow is profiled) or to achieve some similar display of two different camera software products where one has all the knowledge and secrets of the camera manufacturer and the other one relies on goodwill and reverse engineering but still comes to good results?

I have also noticed differences in the results that different RAW converters show. To me, Capture One by Phase One had the best results and was able to show colours where the initial conversion of LR was really dull and flat. But after changing settings and parameters the result was the same to me. Canon DPP came out with roughly the same results as Capture One.
I think that is important to me would be to have both applications to be able to show the same colour and contrast levels. Which means, what I see on my camera's LCD = image on monitor = image on PMB = image on ACR.

This was the case before & it was happily ever after untill now :bsmilie:

change yr cs3/cs4 settings to adobe1998 or adobeRGB
Tried that, doesn't work.

Probably I think its best I just have to live with it instead already I guess, nooooooooo.. :think:
 

Linnl71

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#18
I also realised that the image opened from ACR is Sharper & more noisy as well...
 

Octarine

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Jan 3, 2008
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#19
I think that is important to me would be to have both applications to be able to show the same colour and contrast levels. Which means, what I see on my camera's LCD = image on monitor = image on PMB = image on ACR.
Exclude the camera LCD, it's not profiled and just for quick view / settings / histogram.
I have noticed that different applications show different initial images. That's normal to me. Post-processing is to arrive where I want, the starting point can vary.
 

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