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Match levels

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  #1  
Old 01-15-2012, 09:01 AM
Eikon Eikon is offline
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Match levels

hey all... trying to figure this out and i cant quite get it.

so lets say i have my image, bring it thru ACR and its all nice and properly exposed to my liking. i make a copy of that, go back into ACR and bring the exposure down so its much darker... more shadow.

if i arrange these layers side by side i can see the normal version and the dark version.

by adding a levels (or curvers, or whatever) adjustment, i was thinking if i sampled the black, mid, and white point of the dark shadow image, i could get the same look on the normal image. basically recreating the exposure and applying it to the normal image to get it to look dark. this doesnt work, or im doing it wrong.

any idea how i could do about setting up some sort of adjustment layer that would mimic the exposure of the darker version of the image and make the normal exposure look the same?

thanks
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  #2  
Old 01-15-2012, 09:25 AM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Match levels

You might try to get some of that effect through combination of techniques.

Exposure uses an algorithm which is useful for keeping the dynamic range, yet introduces more noise that when applying curves or levels.

Try combo of curves and selective color. That should resemble the exposure of the initial conversion. Curves are way more precise than levels.
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  #3  
Old 01-15-2012, 09:37 AM
Eikon Eikon is offline
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Re: Match levels

exposure doesnt work. i find that adjustment pretty useless unless you have a 32bit image where there is actually enough dynamic range for it to be usefull. using it on 16bit just makes the image look grey.

i tried curves as well but also no success... though im not the best at curves in general.

im sure i could get there with a few adjustments stacked up, and doing it by eye till it was very close. the idea was seeing if there was a way that it was easily reproducable with a few clicks... hence the white, grey, and black sample points via layers (or curves).
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:44 AM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Match levels

I rarely take images that are more than half aa stop over or under exposed, and even then I do a few separate conversions. Exposure does introduce an insane amount of nosie, so I preffer using curves than and there combined with blacks fill light and recovery.
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  #5  
Old 01-15-2012, 02:14 PM
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Tony W Tony W is offline
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Re: Match levels

It is not exactly crystal clear to me what you are trying to achieve.

Have you considered using Smart Objects to alter ACR data on different layers?

In case you need it:
Open your file in PS via Camera Raw as a Smart Object.
After adjusting to get good image. Right click original Smart Object and select New Smart Object by copy.
You will now have two adjustable images on seperate layers that can be edited independently in ACR by double clicking the layer.
Fine tune the effect by changing opacity, blend modes and or masking may give you what you are looking for.
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  #6  
Old 01-15-2012, 03:58 PM
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John Wheeler John Wheeler is offline
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Re: Match levels

Hi Eikon

I agree with Tony that it would help to know exactly what you would like to achieve. Did you want to replicate a specific exposure with curves in Photoshop? Is it curiosity. Smart Objects were already mentioned yet you could just doulbe click into the Smart Object and change the exposure from there.

Here is an example of a pretty good match. I took a random pic of a stream as an example.
-The one on the left is brought into Photoshop without exposure adjustment
- The one in the middle is just through ACR with a -1.0 exposure adjusment
- The one on the right is a curves adjustment layer with the curve as shown in the image. This gives a pretty good match.

Screen-shot-2012-01-15-at-2.45-SFW.jpg

First, this curve will not work the same if you bring in from ACR in different color spaces (e.g. ProPhoto vs sRGB) because the black levels don't come in exactly the same. Also, I am not convinced that the exposure level is just an adjustment layer equivalent. Finally, if you want a different exposure, changing the curves would not be real easy.

There is a process to determine a match very similar to what Tony mentioned.
- I take the original ACR image with a curves adjustment layer above it.
- Above that I put an ACR version with a -1 EV adjustment and set the blend mode to difference
- above this final layer I add one more adjustment layer to amplify the difference result (so it is not so dark)
- Go back to adjustment curves layer (2nd Layer) and adjust until you can get the darkest final image you can. The darker it is the better match you have.

Hope the above is useful.
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  #7  
Old 01-16-2012, 07:57 AM
Eikon Eikon is offline
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Re: Match levels

hmm, i thought the explanation was pretty clear. copy/mimic the exposure accurately from 1 layer/image and apply it, via levels/curves, to another layer/image.

the point here is not to recreate something by eye, cause if i wanted to do that id just do it. the point was to see if there was a way to recreate the high/mid/low tones/values of an image (my guess was thru the eyedrop sampler), load those values onto an adjustment layer so that that adjustment layers gives those same values to whatever layer is above or clipped to.

maybe im looking for something that doesnt exist and ill just continue to do it by eye.
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  #8  
Old 01-16-2012, 08:46 AM
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Tony W Tony W is offline
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Re: Match levels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eikon View Post
hmm, i thought the explanation was pretty clear. copy/mimic the exposure accurately from 1 layer/image and apply it, via levels/curves, to another layer/image.
...
maybe im looking for something that doesnt exist and ill just continue to do it by eye.
Quote:
any idea how i could do about setting up some sort of adjustment layer that would mimic the exposure of the darker version of the image and make the normal exposure look the same?
It appeared to be quite unclear what you wanted due to the fact that you stated you are copying an image via ACR and on the second one you are changing exposure so that you have 2 different images one perhaps normal and your adjusted darker image. So you already have the darker copy that you seem to be striving for!

Then you want to just ignore the dark version and for some reason try and copy the effect using levels or curves on your original lighter version in PS. As you have found out you cannot do this accurately just selecting white, grey, and black points. ACR works quite differently than your method in PS.

The question still remains why on earth would you want to do this when you already have a superior image from your ACR conversion?

If you are talking about applying changes you make to one image to a series of different images then have you looked at the option of applying changes via Batch processing either LR or ACR or PS?
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  #9  
Old 01-16-2012, 08:59 AM
Eikon Eikon is offline
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Re: Match levels

if i didnt have a reason i wouldnt have asked. and thats all i wanted to know... since you said its not realy possible to do accurately, well then there we are! [sarcasm]case closed[/sarcasm].

edit: for those who cant read between the lines.

Last edited by Eikon; 01-17-2012 at 02:38 PM.
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  #10  
Old 01-16-2012, 09:25 AM
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Tony W Tony W is offline
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Re: Match levels

Fair enough, perhaps next time you could explain your reason for needing to do something you have actually already accomplished by another method. This may illicit a better response with more options - now case closed?
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