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Colour correction in Lightroom/ACR

Discussion in 'Retouching and Post Processing' started by hillrg, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. I just worked through a shoot of family portraits taken outdoors in light that was filtered through deciduous foliage - mostly shade with some dappled sunlight. The general weather conditions were overcast, threatening a light drizzle, with occasional points where the sun tried to burn through.

    I was shooting with a D2X, 17-55 and 85/1.4. I did not use any fill flash. All shots are ISO 100, allowing for quite a bit of exposure latitude.

    I was dealing with quite a smorgasborg of colours, and had to under expose to hold some highlights. I quickly processed 75 shots in Lr, adjusting WB, fill, vibrance and contrast and was not that happy with the results - the skintones were all over the place. I decided to process the NEFs with NX and see if I could get better colour. For most of the shots I used D-Lighting with a shadow adjustment of 25, with no other changes. In almost every photo the NX result out of the box (with the DEE) looked pretty good to a little bit on the warm side - which looks better than the real thing to most.

    Now that I had something to compare to, I redid the Lr processing, including camera calibration and HSL saturation adjustments, which I did not use in the first run through Lr. Also, different from the first run, I used the "As shot" WB in Lr. I ran the final processing, using the Lr settings, through ACR 4.1, because I wanted to use the new sharpening, which is very cool :biggrin:

    The lightroom settings (this image) that I ended up using were:

    WB: As shot
    Exposure: + 0.42
    Fill: 39
    Contrast: 8
    Vibrance: +20

    HSL Saturation: Red -1, Orange -12, Yellow +3, Green +20

    Calibration: Tint -1, R hue -8, R sat +11, G hue +14, G sat -8, B hue +7, B sat +8

    I find the camera calibration settings, generated for my D2X using the Thomas Fors script with a colour checher shot in shade conditions to be quite subtle for most images, compared to the default Lr calibration. It is the HSL saturation adjustments that make the larger difference, reducing the orange hue in skin tones and adding some life to greens.

    Here is one example. Please note that I was processing 75 images (3 times) so I did not painstakingly adjust every shot.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    View attachment 102360

    Subjectively, I find the NX image more appealing and the Lr more realistic. I have tried applying the HSL and calibration adjustments to a variety of shots and find it to be a good starting point.

    So, if you are having problems with lightroom colours, try using the calibration and HSL adjsutments, and once you find the right adjustments, save them as a preset. If you do not have a colour checker to run the calibration then do a search of calibration settings for your camera - quite a number have been published.

    All this confirms that adobe engineers appear to have a predilection for favouring orange, so, if nothing else, try dialing down the orange saturation as a first step.

    Please note that this is not meant to start a thread on NX vs Lr, and which is better. I used NX because it gives reliable colours "out of the box" to help me with the Lr adjustments, and to provide you with a comparison.

    I hope this helps. Any comments or suggestions are most appreciated.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2007
  2. Very nice to see the differences in colour reproduction.

    Perhaps there's too much yellow in the NX version? The grass seems to be the biggest differences for me. Skin tones are a bit more saturated in NX version too.
  3. Agreed. I think the DEE is the culprit. I am sure this could be corrected in NX with a little extra effort.
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