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is it better to start retouch with a flat image?

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  #1  
Old 04-05-2015, 03:44 PM
Renato Gonçalve Renato Gonçalve is offline
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is it better to start retouch with a flat image?

Hello everyone. I've been watching the forums for a while and never really had anything to say. Up until now.

I've been wondering if it is better to start of with a flat image or with a fairly close luminosity and contrast desired for the final image. See, as i understand, uncontrasting the image beyond the point of necessity would make it harder to bring back all the details compressed in the image, having to put way more work on luminosity and color correction that it would if you just started of with something close the final image.

Am i missing something about it? Like something about how photoshop works when extracting the data from the uncontrasted raw conversion?
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Old 04-05-2015, 03:50 PM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: is it better to start retouch with a flat imag

You start with an image that resembles the final results, going "flatter" means not introducing additional unnecessary contrast in the RAW converter. But, you want to make sure there is detail in some blacks, so you lift those a bit (not to make it flat, but to make sure there are no "empty" spots), you may or may not clip them later on in the retouching.

Obviously, sometimes you need separate conversions for blown out and clipped things, like the sky, black clothes etc. You don't do those to make an image "flat", but to bring detail where it's lacking in a single conversion.

Hope I helped.
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Old 04-05-2015, 04:02 PM
Renato Gonçalve Renato Gonçalve is offline
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Re: is it better to start retouch with a flat imag

Surely you did.
I'm asking that though because i have seen photographers starting to work, and i have been asked to start, on a fairly uncontrasted conversiona and tought that imay have missed something.
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Old 04-05-2015, 04:40 PM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: is it better to start retouch with a flat imag

Well, removing contrast by pulling the contrast slider is something I never do, but sure, adding some detail in the shadows or highlights using those adjustments is fine(blacks, darks, lights and whites for ACR/LR users).

More detail=less contrast in the image.

Just like more dynamic range=flat, but that is because all those finer transitions are present, rather than being clipped.
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Old 04-05-2015, 05:24 PM
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AKMac AKMac is offline
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Re: is it better to start retouch with a flat imag

It depends on the sort of image and the look you're aiming for. The default for ACR/LR is more or less flat, and it can look a bit washed out to start with. You have to work harder, but you've got more control. On the other hand, the default for Capture One tends to be more saturated and contrasty, and looks more seductive. Some people prefer a starting point that looks good and helps them to visualise the final look earlier on. Other people are more cautious and like to work the image up gradually.
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Old 04-06-2015, 01:25 PM
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andrewrodney andrewrodney is offline
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Re: is it better to start retouch with a flat imag

Quote:
Originally Posted by Renato Gonçalve View Post
I've been wondering if it is better to start of with a flat image or with a fairly close luminosity and contrast desired for the final image. See, as i understand, uncontrasting the image beyond the point of necessity would make it harder to bring back all the details compressed in the image, having to put way more work on luminosity and color correction that it would if you just started of with something close the final image.
Depends on the data; raw or rendered (baked). If the former, there's zero reason as all you are doing is creating instructions to render the image and unless the raw converter you use is rather poor, or you're rather poor using it, all you're doing is defining instructions to produce an image you'll take into (probably) Photoshop and 'retouch'. It's pointless to feed PS poor data and then attempt to 'fix' it.
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Old 04-06-2015, 07:20 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: is it better to start retouch with a flat imag

Luminosity is a loaded term. It just tells me that too many people don't understand the way RGB works. You want something that allows you to make sufficient changes as necessary. Sub-strategies exist to further that goal.
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Old 04-06-2015, 07:32 PM
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andrewrodney andrewrodney is offline
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Re: is it better to start retouch with a flat imag

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Originally Posted by klev View Post
Luminosity is a loaded term.
In fact, it's the wrong term as applied in Photoshop!
Brightness is a perceptual phenomena. Luminance (Luminosity) is a measure of the total radiant energy from a body. It has nothing to do with what a human perceives but rather describes the total radiant energy, such as watts/second of a source (the surface of a radiating object like a display). In Photoshop, the layer mode called luminosity is not what's occurring (I was told its something like the "Luma" which is an old TV RGB transform). If the luminance of a viewed light source is increased 10 times, viewers do not judge that the brightness has increased 10 times.

Lightness is a perceptually scaled component of color, the axis seen in Lab (Lstar) from light to dark. It IS the L in HSL.
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Old 04-06-2015, 09:13 PM
Renato Gonçalve Renato Gonçalve is offline
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Re: is it better to start retouch with a flat imag

Quote:
Originally Posted by klev View Post
Luminosity is a loaded term. It just tells me that too many people don't understand the way RGB works. You want something that allows you to make sufficient changes as necessary. Sub-strategies exist to further that goal.
Since you understood my doubt i will say that this is more about semantics than technical hehe. And altough that's a far to broad answer to what i'm asking it is clear enough to answer it.

thank you.
And also thank you Andrew.
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Old 04-07-2015, 02:45 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: is it better to start retouch with a flat imag

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewrodney View Post
In fact, it's the wrong term as applied in Photoshop!
Brightness is a perceptual phenomena. Luminance (Luminosity) is a measure of the total radiant energy from a body. It has nothing to do with what a human perceives but rather describes the total radiant energy, such as watts/second of a source (the surface of a radiating object like a display). In Photoshop, the layer mode called luminosity is not what's occurring (I was told its something like the "Luma" which is an old TV RGB transform). If the luminance of a viewed light source is increased 10 times, viewers do not judge that the brightness has increased 10 times.

Lightness is a perceptually scaled component of color, the axis seen in Lab (Lstar) from light to dark. It IS the L in HSL.
I didn't intend to spawn a technical discussion on it, especially as these things are defined in weird manners that are often split between derivation as a matter of watts per steradian and average cone response depending on color space. When people refer to luminosity in the context of photoshop, they imagine some some hue invariant mapping. In my experience it never works well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Renato Gonçalve View Post
Since you understood my doubt i will say that this is more about semantics than technical hehe. And altough that's a far to broad answer to what i'm asking it is clear enough to answer it.

thank you.
And also thank you Andrew.
Well it's difficult to come up with a perfect strategy. There are some things that are easier to do during raw processing, because you're working with a larger set of data. Upon processing the data, you typically export to a different color space. Anything that falls out of range is basically clipped/clamped. Perceptual conversions claim not to do that, but they are a lie (not sure why they were never removed).
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