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  • Non-destructive workflow and double raw conversion

    Hi there,

    I was wondering if there is any efficient way to have a non-destructive workflow for multiple raw conversion ?

    I mean, when I make a multiple raw conversion and bring everything in PS as smart objects, it only helps me to choose the blend modes and tweak the RAW parameters in Lightroom again if needed.

    My concern is that once you start really working on the image (which is now a combination of multiple RAWs), you cannot tweak anymore any of the RAW without bringing in inconsistencies between your healing layers (or D&B or whatever) in PS and the new RAW version you just made.

    Yeah I know decisions must be made at some point, of course ... but I am referring to a client changing his mind about a look for example. If he does not like the look from the double raw conversion anymore, does that mean that I have to redo all my corrections ?

    So, am I missing something or is it just the way it is ?


    Thanks

  • #2
    Re: Non-destructive workflow and double raw conver

    Saving a copy of your RAW file somewhere else on your hard disk solves all your concerns.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Non-destructive workflow and double raw conver

      No.

      This does not solve the inconsistencies between :

      - the healing layers that were created from a first set of settings of the raw files
      AND
      - the healing layers that should be created from a new set of settings of the raw files.

      I suppose it is the way it is then
      :P

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Non-destructive workflow and double raw conver

        Yes, once you make pixel level modifications in PS on top of a smart objects, your options for additional raw modifications are limited.

        There are two ways to minimize the pain:
        - Limit your raw conversion to things really done better in raw, and do everything else in PS. For example I only do white balance and basic exposure range adjustments in RAW but any curves, color, contrast, B&W, etc in PS, and usually on layers above the D&B. With that, I don't actually ever go back to the RAW parameters. I also never crop the image in RAW as I want the flexibility to crop the final output in different ways.

        - If that's not an option, if the RAW changes are localized, you could put a mask on your original D&B to exclude the inconsistent area and then redo the D&B in the modified area. If you make globalized changes in RAW afterwards, things are more tricky. It depends a bit on your D&B technique - if you D&B with rasterized layers (e.g. actual D&B, or painting into a 50% gray layer w/ color), those will always reference the original pixel values and you're hosed. If you D&B with adjustment layers (e.g. mask on opposing curves layer), those are relative operations and will adjust to changes in RAW. For that reason, it's always desirable to apply as many changes in adjustment layers and avoid rasterized methods. For the same reason, any filter run on your layer stack (e.g. unsharp mask, grain, etc.) should use a smart object, as you can update the smart object from changes lower in the stack and then rerun the filter.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Non-destructive workflow and double raw conver

          Originally posted by jklier View Post
          Yes, once you make pixel level modifications in PS on top of a smart objects, your options for additional raw modifications are limited.

          There are two ways to minimize the pain:
          - Limit your raw conversion to things really done better in raw, and do everything else in PS. For example I only do white balance and basic exposure range adjustments in RAW but any curves, color, contrast, B&W, etc in PS, and usually on layers above the D&B. With that, I don't actually ever go back to the RAW parameters. I also never crop the image in RAW as I want the flexibility to crop the final output in different ways.

          - If that's not an option, if the RAW changes are localized, you could put a mask on your original D&B to exclude the inconsistent area and then redo the D&B in the modified area. If you make globalized changes in RAW afterwards, things are more tricky. It depends a bit on your D&B technique - if you D&B with rasterized layers (e.g. actual D&B, or painting into a 50% gray layer w/ color), those will always reference the original pixel values and you're hosed. If you D&B with adjustment layers (e.g. mask on opposing curves layer), those are relative operations and will adjust to changes in RAW. For that reason, it's always desirable to apply as many changes in adjustment layers and avoid rasterized methods. For the same reason, any filter run on your layer stack (e.g. unsharp mask, grain, etc.) should use a smart object, as you can update the smart object from changes lower in the stack and then rerun the filter.
          Thanks for your input jklier.
          I understand perfectly what you are saying because it's exactly my problem.
          What I use the double raw conversion the most for is :
          - taking the color from one raw conversion
          - taking the luminosity from another

          I like the particular look I get from this, especially if you push the settings very hard. But sometimes, I work on healing, D&B and other stuff and then I notice I am not happy (or worse : my client is not happy) with the settings coming from the double raw conversion.

          Hence my question ...

          So the only workaround I found until now is to work roughly on the general look at first. Setting up adjustement layers and their masks I need for the look, even with very rough selections and then reviewing that with the client, tweaking as needed. Once he's happy with the direction it takes, then I do the healing, D&B, etc ...

          So it looks like it will be that way then
          :P

          Thanks

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Non-destructive workflow and double raw conver

            That seems reasonable to do. Don't spend the time on pixel level detail until the overall image is roughed in.

            The other option is to see if there ways to achieve your look with other PS techniques instead of double raw conversion. As always there are infinite ways to achieve the final outcome, all with their own pros and cons.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Non-destructive workflow and double raw conver

              PS: One thing you might consider depending on your specific goal of the double raw processing - instead of the raw processing for luminosity, use a luminosity mask. It can easily be regenerated and manipulated above your D&B layer.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Non-destructive workflow and double raw conver

                Here's were a few of Lightroom's Virtual Copies would do the job, you'd render them when you wish to combine pixels data and then work in Photoshop.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Non-destructive workflow and double raw conver

                  Originally posted by jklier View Post
                  PS: One thing you might consider depending on your specific goal of the double raw processing - instead of the raw processing for luminosity, use a luminosity mask. It can easily be regenerated and manipulated above your D&B layer.

                  The problem with this is that I feel I have better control over the luminosity look I want to achieve by generating this layer through LR, not PS.
                  :P

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Non-destructive workflow and double raw conver

                    Originally posted by andrewrodney View Post
                    Here's were a few of Lightroom's Virtual Copies would do the job, you'd render them when you wish to combine pixels data and then work in Photoshop.
                    Can you detail a bit more please ?

                    Because I also use LR virtual copies to generate my double raw conversion but I don't see how this can help. The images coming from LR are still unretouched at all and if I modify them after having already created healing layers in PS, they won't match anymore.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Non-destructive workflow and double raw conver

                      Originally posted by ronfya View Post
                      The problem with this is that I feel I have better control over the luminosity look I want to achieve by generating this layer through LR, not PS.
                      That seems surprising to me. Outside of raw conversion, everything in LR has a PS equivalent and then some. May require some experimentation to find the right formula.

                      I played with it a bit yesterday. I generated a luminosity mask with Tony Kuyper's action, and applied it to a curves layer. I also made a curves adjustment to the mask itself to raise it's contrast a bit. I did a layer comp with that result to a double raw conversion, and with a bit of playing had identical results, yet had much more things to play with on the various curves layers if I wanted.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Non-destructive workflow and double raw conver

                        Originally posted by jklier View Post
                        That seems surprising to me. Outside of raw conversion, everything in LR has a PS equivalent and then some. May require some experimentation to find the right formula.

                        I played with it a bit yesterday. I generated a luminosity mask with Tony Kuyper's action, and applied it to a curves layer. I also made a curves adjustment to the mask itself to raise it's contrast a bit. I did a layer comp with that result to a double raw conversion, and with a bit of playing had identical results, yet had much more things to play with on the various curves layers if I wanted.
                        I completely agree with you, there are equivalent ways in PS indeed.
                        It's just that I find some things easier to do in LR.
                        That's why I said "I feel I have better control over the luminosity look I want to achieve by generating this layer through LR, not PS"
                        Yeah one thing easier there just brought me a tough question here.
                        Hahaha it's a little ironic.

                        Maybe I should fiddle with the settings and compare LR and PS from this point of view.

                        Thx.

                        R.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Non-destructive workflow and double raw conver

                          While I'm certain, given the time and complexity, one could mimic anything done in LR/ACR in Photoshop why? And the bigger issue: while you can produce the same visual results in most cases (white balance is really tough on rendered images), the way the editing is produced and applied plus the data the edits are applied upon are vastly different in the two processes.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Non-destructive workflow and double raw conver

                            Originally posted by andrewrodney View Post
                            While I'm certain, given the time and complexity, one could mimic anything done in LR/ACR in Photoshop why?
                            In most cases it may not matter, or one may be easier/better than the other.

                            However, as outlined in the thread if your read it carefully, this is not a question of which tool is better, but a question of workflow. The OP wanted to find out if there are ways that changes could be made to the tonality element of a double-raw conversion even after D&B was applied without creating inconsistencies.

                            That can only be achieved if the tonality adjustments come after the D&B in the workflow (i.e. layer stack). And since LR/ACR are not suited for D&B, that means the tonality adjustments would have to be made in PS, not LR/ACR. Totally doable with the use of luminosity masks.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Non-destructive workflow and double raw conver

                              Originally posted by jklier View Post
                              In most cases it may not matter, or one may be easier/better than the other.
                              Based on using Photoshop on a lot of images since 1990 and Lightroom and ACR since before they were released, I'd say in most cases, short of fine pixel editing (retouch work), using a raw process to produce as optimal an image is faster and produces superior data.

                              However, as outlined in the thread if your read it carefully, this is not a question of which tool is better, but a question of workflow.
                              Exactly. But one is pixel editing and one is pixel creation where the creation from raw is ideally produced such that you'd just use Photoshop's unique tools that are unavailable in a parametric (instruction based) raw processor. I see zero reason to apply a global edit in say Photoshop's curves when I can adjust that faster, truly non destructively and without any of the overhead Photoshop forces on this process in ACR/LR.

                              Comment

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