Making OM-D raw files look like Jpeg

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by Kadmos, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. Kadmos

    Kadmos Mu-43 Regular

    26
    Oct 4, 2012
    Hi there,

    Ok I know I am supposed to use the raw files from my OM-d in post processing when tweaking my pics so as to have more room for error and achieve the best possible results, but every time I start editing I end up just taking the easy route and using the jpegs . The raw files seem to need too much work just to get them to look half decent..They are especially very noisy!

    I might be imagining things, but in adobe raw I think the settings are automatically chosen to mimic the default jpegs rendered by olympus right? If not what should I do?

    The difference is the most obvious in lightroom though..

    So I wanted to know what others are doing, and if there is some sort of action or preset to get the pic as close to the jpegs, as a starting point before doing other changes...

    Other than recovering shadows / highlights what are the things that would make one want to use the raw files instead of the jpegs? I can't say for sure coz I haven't printed out any photos yet, but on my screen it looks like I have gotten away so far with just using the jpegs even after running crazy photoshop actions on them..

    Hope to hear ur feedbacks.. Tnxxxxxxx in advance..
     
  2. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    543
    Aug 18, 2010
    First of all the JPGs from the Olympus m4/3 cameras are excellent -- easily among the best of any camera. So if you are happy with they way they look, use them. Don't feel like you have to use RAW just because others say so.

    Having said that, the RAW files give you more latitude in post production in a number of ways. The most important in my opinion is white balance. If you shoot JPG and the white balance is off, you could have a very hard time making the colors look right. With RAW, you have access to all of the WB presets that are available in the camera in post processing so you have a lot more to work with in order to get it right.

    You already mentioned recovering highlight and shadow detail and that is another biggie for sure. The RAW files also give you a lot more leeway in exposure compensation so if you need to, you can process the RAW three times -- once for EV0, once for EV-1 and once for EV+1 for instance, then combine them in order to achieve a final product with more dynamic range than you could get with JPG.

    Those are just a few thoughts off the top of my head. I'm sure others will chime in with more info.
     
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  3. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    No, they're not. They're designed to give a reasonably neutral starting point for post-processing.

    Generally, Olympus JPEGs have higher contrast, higher saturation and significantly more chroma noise reduction than the Adobe defaults. But if you really want the JPEG look, it's probably easier just to shoot RAW+JPEG.
     
  4. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    414
    Dec 6, 2012
    Netherlands
    Jan (John) Kusters
    Our out of camera Jpegs are just getting too good :smile:

    Getting good with RAW takes time and practice; you really need to learn how to use the program that you use for converting them. First aim should just be to get your own processing up to a level where you can convert RAW files into jpegs of similar quality as the OOC jpegs.

    One should be able to do this quick and without hassle. I see friends converting their RAW by trail and error; a good way to learn, but at some point it shoudl turn into knowing what to do without too much trying. Once that point is reached, it gets easier to get the most from RAW, and only marginally slower than PP on Jpegs. The real bonus is not just in correcting wrong settings afterwards, but also in squeezing detail from a picture, and in playing with curves to get the tonal qualities. As for noise, partial noise reduction can perform miracles...
     
  5. Kadmos

    Kadmos Mu-43 Regular

    26
    Oct 4, 2012
    Thank you all for ur great replies! Guess I will need to gather more courage to experiment with those raw files :)
     
  6. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    Raw processing is a skill. Just because all the sliders are clearly labelled doesn't mean it's a simple or intuitive thing to do. It's easy to get frustrated but it's not your fault. LIghtroom, especially, doesn't really attempt to mimic the jpeg settings, as explained above. But you can download profiles (have a look at the Huelight profiles. There's a thread here about them) and presets that others have made to get you started. Then you can develop your own style from there.

    I think it is worth the time to spend some time on youtube and the web looking at some of the free resources about Lightroom. Start with Matt Koslowski's Lightroom Killer Tips and then go from there.

    Gordon
     
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  7. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    Kadmos,
    I will humbly offer my opinion (e.g., my $0.02 and IMHO) on the subject:

    dhazeghi said:
    "Generally, Olympus JPEGs have higher contrast, higher saturation and significantly more chroma noise reduction than the Adobe defaults."

    But this of course would depend to some degree on how you have set your OM-D to affect its JPG outputs (which you have a significant control over). And perhaps dhazeghi meant the Oly default JPG output (I don't recall how the defaults are set - I almost always have mine set for "vivid" with increased sharpening.

    And Janneman said:
    "Our out of camera Jpegs are just getting too good" (and he was very happy about that).

    But in fact when you save a JPG you lose the ability to sharpen (or affect in any way) some of the extreme detail that is saved in a raw file. This is of course (as you all know already) because the JPG tends to "clump" the pixel detail into larger "clumps" of data to conserve file space. Most of the time this may not matter, but if you are shooting for extreme detail and you want to sharpen at nearly the pixel level, you will have to use your raw file.

    In closing I will say that I only use the ACR to get my raw files into PS/CS (although I wish I knew a different way - I am still no expert with Oly raw files), and I have learned that ACT is so complex that I am at times tempted to ignore PS/CS and just use ACR for PP. Now if I could find an authoritative resource on ACR (can anyone suggest a good reference here?).
     
  8. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    Not really. Jpeg algorithms are designed to compress areas of low detail more. Most areas of high detail are relatively untouched at high quality settings. It's highly unlikely there's any real world additional detail in a raw file over a high quality jpeg. And if you set the appropriate sharpening in your camera settings then additional sharpening should be unneccessary. There are exceptions (Leica makes terrible in camera jpegs) but Olympus and Fuji are renowned for retaining high detail levels in their jpeg files especially in the super fine setting.

    The biggest issue with jpeg vs raw is more to do with bit depth. Jpegs being an 8 bit file will lose some colour information compared to the 12 bit raw file. But again if you can't see it it probably doesn't matter that much.

    There's also the effects of locking in white balance and contrast as well as overly agressive white and black point clipping but bit depth will generally have the most impact on how aggressively a file can be pushed in post processing.

    Gordon
     
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  9. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    I disagree Gordon, primarily because edge sharpening can be really significant and access to the edges of JPG compressed areas are very limited, so you see, sharpening is easier with the raw files in that regard.
     
  10. Kadmos

    Kadmos Mu-43 Regular

    26
    Oct 4, 2012
    Ok I have a follow up question. When you open a raw file in photoshop and a window pops up for Adobe Camera Raw, after you make the adjustments and hit ok the window closes and ur file opens up in Photoshop. At this point is the file still raw or from there on it has lost all extra info preserved in the raw file? What I mean is if once in photoshop u keep adjusting things, say pulling details in shadows , selecting areas to increase sharpness or whatever..will u get more out of ur file as opposed to using the original jpeg version..
     
  11. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    Once you are in PS you're working on a baked file (ie: destructive style edits). However you are not working on a compressed file as it hasn't been saved yet, so unless the changes are significant there will be little visual difference. You could open the file as a smart object which would allow you to revisit the image in camera raw to make further changes though.

    Gordon
     
  12. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    Disagreeing is your right, of course.

    I'm not 100% sure whether you mean that sharpening a raw file is superior to only a jpeg file (compressed) or all baked files (TIFF and jpeg). But in either case I have yet to see a significant visual difference between sharpening upon raw output, or woith a multi stage sharpening workflow.

    When you sharpen a jpeg file you're not working on a compressed file. The file needs to be uncompressed first. If a high quality setting was used, there's very very little detail loss in high detail areas due to the way a jpeg compression algorithm works. Almost no one could pick a first generation jpeg from an 8 bit TIFF file. Careful sharpening would give an almost identical visual result to, say, an 8 bit TIFF or raw file in the same colour space in 99% of cases..

    When I learned the three stage sharpening workflow (input, image, output) only one of those sharpened the raw data (input which was supposed to be kept at a very low level). Image and output sharpening were used on baked files (ie: destructive sharpening in photoshop). Now with LR I, like many others, have moved to a two stage workflow, sharpen and output (mainly because we don't want to punt every image to PS for image sharpening) and there's no real world differences in image quality except that a baked file (jpeg or TIFF) can be selectively sharpened (sharpen in some areas and not others). Until that happens doing all sharpening at a raw data level won't yield superior results. The latest versions of CR and LR do have a selective sharpen/blur brush option but it's using a pretty crude 4x4 algorithm at the moment.

    What I have noticed is that just using the sharpening in camera raw or LR and not using the output sharpening (which is based on Jeff Schewe's commercial sharpening package) or a separate sharpening program (like Nik Dfine) yields inferior results to a multi stage workflow,

    Of course YMMV.

    Gordon