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Annie Leibovitz and Norman Jean Roy looks

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  #11  
Old 03-25-2017, 01:52 PM
Sara86 Sara86 is offline
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Re: Annie Leibovitz and Norman Jean Roy looks

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Originally Posted by marameo View Post
There is a backstage video of Paolo Roversi where he is tethered shooting and images appear on the monitor with the style above mentioned. Could be that a sort of input profile (device link or abstract) is involved just to make the client happy during the session. I assume the images then go by traditional retouching and the input effect is undone.

But otherwise one can be just happy with density masks and apply image (calculations) to isolate part of the image to color correct.
There is a reverse-engineered Roversi effect or two in the pack. I've not played around with them much but they are very similar in shifting neutral color mid-tones towards cyan and desaturating the skin.

It's not inconceivable the file we had could have been from a shoot where they have the preset look either baked in on set. Whether the profile added the effect or adjusted for it? I've seen very retouched looking shots on videos with Annie Leibovitz shooting tethered. I think the Keith Richards shoot for example. With the Rembrandt-like shadows and blue and yellow tones, that looks like it's had an hour's recoloring done on it.
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  #12  
Old 03-25-2017, 01:56 PM
Sara86 Sara86 is offline
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Re: Annie Leibovitz and Norman Jean Roy looks

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Originally Posted by skoobey View Post
I would think that custom ICC profile has to do more with where they intended to print the work in the end, rather then how to get to it on the monitor, but I could be wrong.

What do you consider to be an extreme curve, Sara? Like a roller coaster or?



Now, I just can never get to that point. If you want to affect the specific brightness range, it always ends up being a choppy mask, due to the clipping necessary not to affect unwanted areas. Sure, it's a gradient, but a very choppy one. Blurring or adding median noise only makes it blotchy.
More like the black point at 80 and the white point at 120. All flat from recollection. Different layers for Red, Green and Blue. Like the image he was importing was as flat as RAW video, with the black and white points all over the place.

I'm fairly sure it was not a technically sound way to work. The typical before image was a lot like the second image I posted, with everything quite muddy orange, and not anywhere near as flat as this processing suggested. clearly not white balanced. The afters have this effect of lots of cool tones in the shadows and background, yellows in the highlights and a warm skin. The only thing I'm sure they were doing somewhere along the line was isolating skin tones and applying a sort of crossprocessed effect to everything else.
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  #13  
Old 03-25-2017, 04:00 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: Annie Leibovitz and Norman Jean Roy looks

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Originally Posted by Sara86 View Post
It's way outside my technical scope. Someone who worked with Roy once told me he started with film, but now uses (maybe) Phase One or Hasselblad digital backs now. But the custom ICC they think stays the same.

A lot of these guys are very untechnical, so I wonder if someone's mapped a coloring process to an ICC for him and his people to work with more easily. But how it differs from a LUT in practice I have to confess I'm still not entirely clear.
These guys could be using trial and error. They could have some very technically inclined assistants. They could be doing a lot of things. The only thing I'm sure of is that their group has some collective knowledge of what worked well without creating reproduction nightmares.

As for ICC profiles vs LUTs, they aren't fully distinct. ICC profiles can contain LUTs. They represent a specification for describing color spaces. The color spaces may be abstract (Adobe 1998), a generic hardware description (the sRGB family, implementations differ by small amounts), or something more concrete, like the characteristics of a canon 5D outdoors mid-day. These things are described with respect to a reference color space, such as XYZ or LAB. Discussing LAB is more complicated, so I omit it.

An LUT isn't primarily a model. It just defines a set of outputs for a set of inputs without any implicit context. Most RGB profiles don't use that. They use matrix transformations, so to convert rgb1 to rgb2 you have <rgb2> = (A2) * (A1)^-1 * <rgb1> where A2 maps xyz to rgb2 and A1^-1 maps rgb1 to xyz.

An LUT on the other hand just takes a set of inputs and directs them to outputs. If you have an LUT, and you give it that same <rgb1>, you will receive an output which only depends on the LUT used. It does not take the source of the data into account as long as that data is properly formatted and encoded (otherwise that's an error).

This last part seems a little unclear. I'm saying that if given a particular piece of software such as photoshop and an LUT, the output values of the LUT do not depend on the profile assigned to the image, whereas a matrix based transformation (typical for converting between color spaces in photoshop) is dependent on the origin and destination spaces.


Does that help?

Last edited by klev; 03-25-2017 at 05:18 PM.
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  #14  
Old 03-25-2017, 05:45 PM
Sara86 Sara86 is offline
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Re: Annie Leibovitz and Norman Jean Roy looks

I think if I look up Matrix transformations I might just get it! I'm essentially seeing one as more contextualized and the other decontextualized? And as mentioned VSCO uses ICC profiles presumably to remap linear colors to nonlinear film colors like a LUT?

We used to do quite a bit in LAB back in the early days. I remember steeping the curves on A and B channels was a preferred way to control saturation.
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  #15  
Old 03-25-2017, 09:03 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: Annie Leibovitz and Norman Jean Roy looks

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Originally Posted by Sara86 View Post
I think if I look up Matrix transformations I might just get it! I'm essentially seeing one as more contextualized and the other decontextualized? And as mentioned VSCO uses ICC profiles presumably to remap linear colors to nonlinear film colors like a LUT?

We used to do quite a bit in LAB back in the early days. I remember steeping the curves on A and B channels was a preferred way to control saturation.
RGB effectively represents an infinite number of color spaces. Matrix transformations give you a way to convert between these in a principled manner by referring to each RGB color space with respect to the same (non-RGB) reference space. To do so, you need to be able to convert to and from any RGB space and the reference space. To do this, you need a set of equations

a11*X + a12*Y + a13*Z = r
a21*X + a22*Y + a23*Z = g
a31*X + a22*Y + a33*Z = b

You can represent the "a" coefficients by a matrix A. If you have matrix A, and you have x,y,z, then A*[x,y,z]^T = [r,g,b]^T (T is for transpose here, meaning they should be in column form. If you want you to convert the other way, you need A^-1 * [r,g,b]^T. Since they're only 3x3 matrices, this isn't a big deal. Here's a popular page on this subject.

The term non-linear is somewhat contextual, and it may not always align with what you're thinking.

VSCO applies these things in Lightroom as input profiles to raw images whenever possible. It's not quite the same as applying a tweak in photoshop, as it's applied to an input state based on the hardware used to create the input and the desired result.

Still though, I suspect if we see a lot of developments in this space, it will be taking something akin to a machine learning approach.
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  #16  
Old 03-26-2017, 10:52 AM
Sara86 Sara86 is offline
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Re: Annie Leibovitz and Norman Jean Roy looks

The machine learning idea is interesting. When it comes to film emulation, I'm not sure it's a processing problem so much as a capture problem. Putting a Tiffen Low Contrast filter on the lens seems to get you much closer to the aesthetic than just messing around with the colors. You get a better latitude and a more natural diffusion of light. Between lens filtering and Film Convert, I think you can make an image aesthetically indistinguishable from film.

But machine learning to emulate the work of a retoucher could be interesting. Presumably training the neural network on enough images, it would learn to identify the subject by the different nature of the processing on those parts of the image. There's a newish technique I believe called Elastic Weight Consolidation which might give scope to train a single network to reinterpret images a number of different ways.

Whether you want to take the human element out of the equation, I'm not so sure. At least it could make for great iphone filters.
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  #17  
Old 03-26-2017, 02:53 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: Annie Leibovitz and Norman Jean Roy looks

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Originally Posted by Sara86 View Post
Whether you want to take the human element out of the equation, I'm not so sure. At least it could make for great iphone filters.
I haven't tried a low contrast filter, but film does tend to have a lower contrast appearance throughout most of its range. You can still get clipped highlights, but shadows rarely ever reach 0, regardless of exposure. If you normalize 0 to the film base, it just looks weird.

I wasn't thinking about retouching so much. VSCO, afterlight, etc generally try to match the results or aesthetics of old film processes, not so much their post aspects. Presets and things typically handle the minimally creative stuff. They're more about reproducibility of targets, not so much about individual judgement. My suspicion is that a lot of those companies would adopt different technical strategies if they were starting out today. Most of them were started under 10 years ago, so it's a pretty shocking pace.
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  #18  
Old 03-28-2017, 12:51 PM
Sara86 Sara86 is offline
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Re: Annie Leibovitz and Norman Jean Roy looks

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Originally Posted by klev View Post
I haven't tried a low contrast filter, but film does tend to have a lower contrast appearance throughout most of its range. You can still get clipped highlights, but shadows rarely ever reach 0, regardless of exposure. If you normalize 0 to the film base, it just looks weird.

I wasn't thinking about retouching so much. VSCO, afterlight, etc generally try to match the results or aesthetics of old film processes, not so much their post aspects. Presets and things typically handle the minimally creative stuff. They're more about reproducibility of targets, not so much about individual judgement. My suspicion is that a lot of those companies would adopt different technical strategies if they were starting out today. Most of them were started under 10 years ago, so it's a pretty shocking pace.
I find Film Convert very good. I'm not sure what technology it uses, but I assume it's LUT based.

I've got all the VSCO packs because they allow me to cycle through looks I wouldn't otherwise come up with, and occasionally it gives me something unbelievably perfect. But Film Convert (the main Kodak and Fuji preset in particular) really can make digital images feel more organic. It particularly tames some of the crazier colors.

I'd call low contrast filters a secret weapon. With an Ultra Con 3, you'll almost never get anything hitting 0, unless you really underexpose. They can flare a bit, and are no use with studio strobes, but my camera feels naked without one.
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