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Lightroom: General S-curve preset

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by WT21, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I've been working on a general S-curve preset. I've found a pretty basic formula that I like, though it really only works on landscapes and inanimate objects. It's too contrasty for people. I think the curve adds a bit more pop.

    From the Develop module, In the Tone Curve panel (2nd panel down on the right), I just did the following:
    Highlights +30
    Lights +10
    Darks -10
    Shadows -30

    Here's a shot cropped the same way, but the less contrasty one is LR default. The more contrasty one only has the above applied. This is from RAW on an EPL5 in LR4.4RC.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    If anyone wants to play with the RAW, and try your own, drop me a PM and I'll send you a link to a dropbox folder, or e-mail it to you (though the file is 14.5MB)

    What do other folks do for favorite presets?
     
  2. marcsitkin

    marcsitkin Mu-43 Veteran

    307
    Jan 24, 2013
    Harwich, MA USA
    Marc Sitkin
    I used Adobe's DNG Profile editor to make a customized profile for the camera, which incorporates an s-curve into the profile. Seems to be a bit better. I had been shooting at +1/3 EV, and have backed down to +1/6 EV with the new profile.
     
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  3. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    What/where is Adobe's DNG profile editor? Does that work in conjunction with LR, and does it only work on DNG?
     
  4. marcsitkin

    marcsitkin Mu-43 Veteran

    307
    Jan 24, 2013
    Harwich, MA USA
    Marc Sitkin
    You can download it from adobe labs. There are a few youtube videos that show how it works. Basically, you photograph a color checker, convert the RAW to a DNG file (lightroom can do this), then open the file in the DNG profile editor. You can then edit each color of the chart, as well as the tone curve to your satisfaction, and saving and naming it installs it in the proper folder on your computer. When you relaunch lightroom, it will appear as a custom camera profile you can apply to your images.

    I split my monitor, and compared the jpg of the color checker in LR to the color checker in the DNG editor, and tweaked it towards the jpg image. It got me a bit closer to what I want, but I need to do a little more testing when I get the time.
     
  5. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    For $10 each, I purchased Huelight profiles for my EPM2 and EM5. Well worth it, IMNSHO. : smile:

    --
    Sent from my phone. Please pardon my brevity!
     
  6. The tone curve is one adjustment that I don't include in the Lightroom presets that I have made for various cameras because it is so influential in the final look of an image. I edit the curve graphically and usually work with three or four intermediate points to manipulate the curve until the image looks right. Adjusting the tone curve also affects colour saturation which may need to be adjusted subsequent to the modification of the tone curve.
     
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  7. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    543
    Aug 18, 2010
    My thoughts precisely. I think a tone curve is unique to each image and trying to create any kind of generic curve that will be appropriate for all or even most images is an exercise in futility.
     
  8. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    So,you adjust a tone curve for each keeper image? Do you use presets at all?
     
  9. I do make up overall raw presets, and they include values for clarity, vibrance, highlight/shadow recovery, minor noise reduction, and sharpening which I change slightly to suit each camera. I make few adjustments to those values outside of the presets. Individually I evaluate and adjust each image for overall exposure, and I just play with the (graphical) tone curve until I like what I see. I know from looking at an image and it's histogram generally what shape curve I want to apply, but I don't have any saved tone curve presets.

    I'm not at my home computer now so I couldn't give you any examples, but depending on the image they may be anything from the most subtle S-curve to something pretty wild looking. The overall level of contrast in an image has a big bearing on how I shape the curve.
     
  10. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I think it can be handy to have a set of generic tone curves for different types of shots - eg, outdoor beach preset, indoor incandescent light portrait preset, etc. Once you know your presets, you know which one to pick for a given image, and it becomes the starting point for that image rather than an endpoint.

    Example: I often use this guy's Lightroom presets for B&W portraits, but again, just as a starting point.
     
  11. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I probably spray-and-pray too much in my shooting, but I often have 100s of shots to go through. I can't imagine adjusting each one, so I need presets. Like Amin, though, I have found them to be grouped by type of shot.

    On a side note -- I wish there was a way to permanently delete the LR built-in presets. There's too many that I never use, and they clog up the screen real estate.
     
  12. The volume of shots that you are churning through is definitely going to have a big bearing on your desire to develop presets. Mine is manageable enough that if I consider an image worth keeping then it's worth editing individually. Having said that, I am still madly trying to go through some older travel photos that I have never edited before in addition to more recent work so it can get a bit laborious at times.
     
  13. dcassat

    dcassat Mu-43 Veteran

    272
    Nov 16, 2011
    Cloverdale,CA
    Start simple

    I have a very basic import preset that I use. I set the WB, exposure, contrast, etc sliders to a 'safe' setting, it works as a starting point for most of my outdoor shooting.

    Then I choose a photo from each view in a shoot and rough adjust it and sync the others that share that view. I proceed to the next view and repeat.

    My point is that no preset is going to get me really close to my final result and that my LR process needs to be efficient and sound regardless.

    Ultimately as I find the photos to post, I completely readjust them to ensure that they are set optimally. I can't see a way around this process that would result in a higher quality photo. But I applaud that effort!
     
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  14. savvy

    savvy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    714
    Sep 28, 2012
    SE Essex, UK
    Les
    Right-click on preset name and choose Delete - Bam, it's gone. I've deleted most of the stock LR presets, gives you more real estate.

    Or, just select it and hit the Del key.
     
  15. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    543
    Aug 18, 2010
    Oh I don't do that. My first step in LR is to go through my shots and "flag as pick" the ones that are keepers. Then I filter based on that flag and go through them again to make sure that the ones I thought were keepers the first time through are still on the keeper list. Then once I have my keepers identified, I then start editing each image. Also many times there will be several images that were shot in the same light, same subject, etc so I simply edit the first one to my liking then paste those settings to the next one and so on, making any necessary fine tuning adjustments after pasting the settings.
     
  16. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    That's my approach, too. If I was to be literal:

    1. import into LR
    2. flag possible keepers, and delete obvious bad shots
    3. filter on keepers
    4. rotate or crop or change aspect ratio as needed
    5. apply pre-sets, or change to B&W as desired
    6. play with levels and/or local brush
    7. add vignette, sharpening, NR as/if needed

    But I find there are some common elements. Some lenses, e.g., have less contrast than others. My EPL5 has a slight magenta shift. So, I am exploring pre-sets. I also like a bit more contrast and punch, so that's the preset I shared. I was hoping others might share theirs, with their formulas. Trying out other people's formulas, after seeing examples of the shots, would help me learn a lot. I was thinking others might learn, too...
     
  17. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Don't they come back with the next LR update? That happened to me before, so I stopped trying to delete them. Maybe I should give it another go.
     
  18. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    543
    Aug 18, 2010
    I definitely see where you are coming from. Rather than attempting to create a one size fits all preset, you are trying to develop a small set of presets that cover most shooting conditions, lenses, etc. And in that I can definitely see a lot of value.
     
  19. savvy

    savvy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    714
    Sep 28, 2012
    SE Essex, UK
    Les
    I think I deleted them all in 4.2, if so they didn't come back upgrading to 4.3, but now you've got me doubting when I did it LOL!! I guess I'll have to check with the upcoming 4.4 update.
     
  20. savvy

    savvy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    714
    Sep 28, 2012
    SE Essex, UK
    Les
    I can see where you are coming from in wanting to develop and collaborate on presets, and your frustration that people are only discussing workflow.

    I thought I would really use presets a lot, but now I hardly use them at all. I find that by the time I've pruned down to my keepers that are worthy of PP, they are so varied in terms of lighting conditions, lenses, what I am trying to achieve with each image, etc., that a one or two size fits all preset(s) are not applicable. If I do get a few keepers with similar conditions, then after I've got one to my satisfaction, I just paste the settings to the others.

    After the import with Huelight profile, and pruning exercise I, as recommended by Scott Kelby, change WB from "As Shot" to "Auto" to see if that's better (quite often it is). Whichever is better, then tweak as necessary. Then do the same for Tone, Auto is quite often not bad as a starting point, but I nearly ALWAYS then adjust, often quite radically, from here. Then onto the fancy stuff, Curves, Gradients, Adjustment Brushes, etc.

    But, mostly individual, I'm afraid, so not much good for your "batch processing" requirements.

    So, not having developed any presets for my own work, I'm afraid I can't post any up for you to play with - sorry :frown: