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RAW developing in ACR: which method?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by Zeus1, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. Need the input of the forum on this technical question.
    While shooting, I follow the ETTR philosophy, leading to very "white" RAW images that need development in ACR.
    As far as I know, there are two possible methods to manipulate the histogram:
    - using the sliders under the histogram
    - directly manipulating the 5 zones of the histogram itself
    During ETTR we overexpose the scene; therefore it seems logical to lower the exposure using the exposure slider in oder to obtain a good image. However, directly manipulating the histogram gives slightly different final results. I would like Your input on the question "what is the optimal method of developing the images; which technique do we use to obtain the correct result?"
    As an example three images: the image as opened in ACR from the RAW, one developed using the sliders, and one developed using the histogram zones.


    RAW: RAW.

    Using the exposure slider:
    Exposure.

    By manipulating the histogram zones:

    Histogram.
     
  2. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I'm confused - you used the exposure slider on both. In practice I would always adjust global exposure to a reasonable starting point first, then use the sliders to fine tune specific zones afterwards.
     
  3. Dragos101

    Dragos101 Mu-43 Regular

    68
    May 1, 2015
    Bucharest, Romania
    Dragos
    As demonstrated, pulling the histogram adjusts more sliders at once, not only the exposure. I personally wouldn't trust this and I would also first adjust the exposure and then adjust the sliders as I felt needed.
     
  4. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Moving the Exposure slider and moving the histogram from the centre do exactly the same thing. They are different ways of doing the same thing. You can also do the same thing as moving the Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks sliders by moving appropriate parts of the histogram. Once again the histogram and the sliders are different ways of doing the same thing.

    Why 2 ways of doing it? I don't know why Adobe provided 2 methods but there is an advantage to it.

    In ACR you only have 1 processing panel open at the one time. That may be the Basic panel with the exposure adjustments, but it is often another panel such as the Curves panel, the HSL panel, or some other panel. In Lightroom which also uses the ACR processing engine and code you can have more than one panel visible at the same time but the Basic panel isn't always visible when you're working in a different panel. No matter what panel is open in either ACR or Lightroom, you have the option of adjusting the Basic exposure adjustments while you are still working in a different panel without having to close the panel you're working in and reopening the Basic panel as you would otherwise have to do in ACR, or scrolling as you might have to do in Lightroom.

    Addition: In Lightroom which is what I use, you adjust Exposure in the histogram by moving the centre of the histogram. You move the other sliders by moving other parts of the histogram, and whatever part of the histogram you want to move, you do so by clicking in that part of the histogram and dragging it to the left or right. Doing that only moves one slider, not all of them at the same time.
     
  5. Dragos101

    Dragos101 Mu-43 Regular

    68
    May 1, 2015
    Bucharest, Romania
    Dragos
    That's right, I forgot about that, there are multiple grab points on the histogram, basically the sliders are mapped to these grab points. Depending on where you place the mouse on the histogram you affect different sliders.
     
  6. No, I only used the Exposure slider in the second image; manipulating the extreme zones in the histogram changes the exposure slider automatically.

    Both methods result in slightly different end results, look at the skye and the water parts of the images. Sometimes, with other images, there is also a change in certain colours.
     
  7. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oh I get it now. Two ways of doing the same thing I guess. I've been using ACR for 3 years and I didn't know you could drag the histogram.
     
  8. Dragos101

    Dragos101 Mu-43 Regular

    68
    May 1, 2015
    Bucharest, Romania
    Dragos
    There are different end results because you are doing different things. As explained above the histogram zones are mapped to the sliders. It's exactly the same as moving the sliders. Adjusting the exposure alone is not the same as adjusting the exposure, white and black point, highlights and shadows.