Fixing LR DNG colours for use in other DAMs?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mixel, Jul 12, 2015.

  1. mixel macrumors 65816

    mixel

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    #1
    Ok, this is going to be confusing.. (just posted this in the Affinity forums, thought I'd try here too)

    So, Affinity Photo came out so I'm trying other workflows outside of Lightroom/Photoshop, I've experimented with many now, but when I load my Lightroom converted .dngs (about a quarter of my photos) into Apple Photos, or Capture One - the colours go absolutely crazy.

    Then, if I load the same photo into LR or Affinity Photos the colours are normal. But then if I "develop" them in Affinity, save them out, and re-import them to Photos? They go back to day-glo colours after a second of previewing correctly.

    I'd thought it was Adobe's fault the dngs were displaying weirdly, and was getting annoyed at Adobe, but then - how come they view correctly in Affinity Photo? Is this Apple and the Capture One guys dropping the ball in their support for dngs? (Ive learnt my lesson and will use NEFs from now on, but it's too late to save these old photos!)

    Basically, I'm really confused and wondering if anyone has a solution to this. Maybe in Lightroom I can tell it to embed an ICC profile that Photos and C1 could use to display them correctly? I have no idea.

    Thanks in advance!


    PS: Terrible photo attachment but illustrate what I mean!

    Photos/Capture One they look like this (trippy as hell):
    Fullscreen_12_07_2015__09_37.png
    Lightroon and Affinity Photo they look like this:
    Fullscreen_12_07_2015__09_39.png
     
  2. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #2
    There are standards for defining the adjustments made by post processing software by name or by the formula behind the name of the adjustments. The only way you should expect to see similar results is by using products from the same company like Adobe's LR, PSE, and PS. And even that is no guarantee.

    That is why I have LR as my single DAM. I can use its raw converter or use DxO Optics as a plugin that returns a DNG to the LR library. Then I use use either the LR raw image of the DNG as the basis for further editing in LR Development module or in plugins such as PS, Nik, Topaz, or Perfect Photo Suite.
     
  3. tomnavratil macrumors 6502a

    tomnavratil

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    #3
    This.

    There's nobody to blame actually, as each software processes the colours in a different way, even though the names of the functions might be the same.
     
  4. mixel thread starter macrumors 65816

    mixel

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    #4
    I realise this, but importing the NEFs they all come out right in everything - so it's my mistake for letting LR convert stuff to DNG. These are without any adjustments other than import with default settings for my camera - the colours shouldn't be this weird. Either LR is saving out messed up dngs or other companies aren't supporting the colour profiles correctly - either way - i need to fix it. :)

    I don't want to be permanently tied into LR. Capture One's raw imports look nicer, while its dng from LR imports look clearly wrong.
     
  5. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68000

    Cheese&Apple

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    #5
    I see this type of comment a lot but don't clearly understand why it's so important for one raw conversion to look better than the next. The conversion is simply showing you the potential of an image. I can't say I've ever once not edited a raw file.

    If you're shooting professionally and need to process a ton of shoots quickly, I suppose it may make a difference but then maybe jpg would be easier.

    ~ Peter
     
  6. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    #6
    As others have said above, you need to remember that RAW files are not image files - they're just information about what the camera saw at the time of pressing the shutter. The reason all DAMs will render a preview image differently is that they generate an image based on this info, and all interpret the raw information slightly differently.

    I don't use DNG, so am certainly not an authority on it, but I do know there are different versions of DNG files. Some retain the original raw file inside the DNG container - did you save/convert using this option? If so, you might be able to salvage the original NEF files.

    I guess it's possible that during the conversion process, lightroom added some info to the DNG file that wasn't in the original raw file. Perhaps this extra info helps the image render in adobe products, but other DAMs cannot see or interpret it? I'm just speculating here - hopefully someone who uses DNG can advise.

    You said in your original post that you've learned your lesson - I think you're wise to stick with NEF moving forward, and perhaps the answer is just to open your DNGs in Adobe software. I know that's not ideal, but at least it's not your entire photo collection.

    Best of luck!
    Iain
     
  7. mixel, Jul 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2015

    mixel thread starter macrumors 65816

    mixel

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    #7
    I don't adjust most of my photos - So it's nice having more pleasant/"right looking" ones off the bat, say I want to do a print or compare multiple photos - My ability to compare/guage their subjective quality is dependant on it looking right.

    The "better" the initial Raws look, the less work needed tweaking if the shoot is set up a certain way - it's just nice to have it look as intended/as it looked on the camera when browsing on the DAM. I mean, just holiday photos for example, if they pop and look their best it makes the whole experience more pleasant.. I don't really see my DAM as just digital negatives, it's pretty much my photo albums 90% of the time too, so I want them as pretty as possible.

    I'm not knocking Lightroom by the way, I've got to a stage now where I definitely prefer it to Aperture - but I'm not so fond of the subscription thing and I love the picture quality that I get out of the gates with C1 and some other options, so I'm tinkering. I'd love to know why LR is doing this, and if I can fix it though. So I'll carry on experimenting and taking tips. I'm glad I figured this out now though, as it could impact on how I feel about using the Adobe Photography Plan in the future.

    Sadly not, so my original NEF data definitely seems to be up in smoke. I think it's a shame Adobe don't warn you it's not as well supported as the original NEFs, as I'm sure I wouldn't have enabled the option if I'd known about these sort of issues.
    That sounds feasible. On further exploring - Capture One is also using "DNG File Neutral" as its ICC profile on all my DNGs, which might be whats happening in Apple Photos too. If you try forcing it to use the camera's ICC profile it makes the crazy colours even more pronounced, so the ICC profile that works on a NEF doesn't work at all for a DNG of the same thing. So is it Photos and C1's fault for not including DNG support for various cameras? Seems odd if so, as Affinity Photo has no problem rendering them correctly.

    Thanks for that, i appreciate you taking the time to reply. :) Agreed it looks like DNGs being opened in LR is the way to go, or maybe.. Maybe I could just bite the bullet and save those ones out as JPGs if I do decide to move away from LR.

    This is pretty funny, here is the (C1) Preview thumbnails of 2 pics. the one on the left is correct (presumably the camera generated thumbnail embedded in the DNG) - the one on the right is after C1 (or Photos) has had time to process it. Everything goes tomato. The NEFs, in contrast - nothing much happens once the apps have processed them, as they're "right" already.

    CapOne.png

    And an stranger example! Here I am sharing a DNG (top) and a NEF (bottom) of the same image to a friend on skype so he can compare the files - even here the thumbnail for the DNG version is completely wrong. Is DNG support this wonky at an OS level for everyone, or is it specific to Nikons, or what? (this same thing is happening for D5200, D70 and D80 photos..)

    Skype.png
     
  8. robgendreau macrumors 68040

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    #8
    Every time you view a NEF or DNG you are looking at a preview. The preview might be stored in the RAW or NEF, or not. And even if it is, the software may choose to ignore that preview, and generate one of it's own (a rendering really since it may not necessarily be saved).

    So I have an ORF RAW. Lr ignores the camera-generated previews and makes its own; I only see the latter in Lr. If I view the same ORF in the Finder, the Mac OS ignores the camera-generated preview and makes its own. The Lr rendering and the Apple rendering look different. That's how it should work. Each renders the same file differently.

    If I make a DNG outta the ORF, Adobe makes another preview and embeds it. But Lr still uses its own rendering when I view that DNG in Lr. And Apple makes its own rendering as well. Just like with the ORF. Same result; each software product renders the DNG file differently, just like the RAW.

    So is your question: why is the DNG (made from the ORF) different from the ORF when viewed by the same renderer? If a DNG preserves all the RAW data from the original ORF, shouldn't each software rendering from the DNG be the same as from the DNG? It should.

    In my setup, img1234.orf and img1234.dng (created from the orf) do look the same when viewed with the same software at the same time (IOW both look the same in Lr, or both in Affinity, or both in Finder), but each pair would different than other pairs if viewed with different software.

    You have to compare a RAW and its DNG as a pair at the same time in the same software; the above examples don't make it clear if you're doing that, or I missed it, sorry.

    The Skype example isn't a good one since I don't know if it's using different embedded previews, since it isn't graphic software. A picture showing a difference between cat.nef and cat.dng in ONE graphics program, like AP, would be a better example.
     
  9. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68000

    Cheese&Apple

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    #9
    Have you tried shooting jpg? You may be able to shoot jpg with in-camera presets to get the result you're looking for straight out of the camera...no muss and no fuss. You can still make minor adjustments and possibly be quite happy.

    Some people shoot raw so that they can tinker and make multiple adjustments to extract every bit of detail possible from an image and because they enjoy doing it. Others shoot raw only because it's the trendy thing to do. Which camp do fall into?

    Raw is highly overrated if you don't want or need to take advantage of it's potential. Shoot what works for you and provides you the most time behind the viewfinder.

    ~ Peter
     
  10. mixel, Jul 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2015

    mixel thread starter macrumors 65816

    mixel

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    #10
    That's exactly what's happening in capture 1 and all the system level stuff (finder, Photos) the NEFs of a file are drastically different to the way it's displaying DNGs that have been converted by Lightroom. The colour casts its applying are so wacky you can easily blindly id a NEF from a DNG, especially if there's any grass, sky or humans involved.

    Cats in one app (thy look like this when you fullscreen them too so its not some sort of thumbnail discrepancy) :
    CapOne 2.png

    The DNGs have some colours washed out and others massively oversaturated. Its colour space must be all over the place as skin-tones end up going red, while some legitimately red things go the other direction. So, is that Lightroom's fault? or OSX? :) Lightroom displays them both the same as the NEF, as does Affinity. Everything else I've tried (preview, finder, *Capture One* skype (lol), Mylio, Photos) displays all my DNGs as grossly miscoloured. To show you how off it is - here's a simulation: (i cant do it with NEFs yet as it nuked them, but exporting and adding the jpgs to the library is the only easy way i could find to restore the colours outside of Lightroom - believe me, in lightroom they look exactly like the jpgs here and not the DNGs)

    - I'll do a batch conversion of a folder of old NEFs if you like, too.. this all might be useful to someone at affinity, adobe, apple - or somewhere - I guess. I don't see how I've done anything wrong here. this can't be standard behaviour. (ok, so if I use the *export to DNG* dialogue on NEFs it fixes the photos in the sense that now those are DNGs that have nice colours? Somehow the conversion for DNG to be used inside LR is different to the exporting DNG to go elsewhere? - scratch that, tried it, but although the finder previews it in the right cols to begin with, again C1 etc wonk up the colours)

    "Capture One* - Makes your NEFs look incredible, makes your DNGs look like they were colour graded by a chimpanzee!"

    * - also everything other than LR and Affinity.

    Fullscreen_12_07_2015__19_42.png

    Thanks for taking the time, I'm learning a lot about how Raw is treated but by software and other users. :)
     
  11. mixel thread starter macrumors 65816

    mixel

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    #11
    I shot JPG for years before switching to RAW for a number of reasons. Back on Aperture though RAW "just worked" for me generally. Though the majority of my photos don't need much tweaking, a lot of them do too. Switching back and forth between formats is probably sensible, but I love RAW when its working.

    In this case I just bit the bullet and converted these DNGs into JPGs, which means they're now stuck somewhat in a particular interpretation. If these photos were still RAW and not .DNG i could have loaded them into C1 or some other software and potentially got slightly punchier images, now I'm committed to their LR output. (No biggie, even a JPG can be tweaked, as you say - but it's a clunky way to have to do things - I'd really have rather kept hold of the NEF data.)

    So yeah, it is a considered choice to use RAW, as a pretty large storage space expense, for archival and future-project-proofing reasons. I'm not just using it blindly or because it's trendy. (the idea of trendy file formats is fun though.) And though I'm purposely sharing random family photos to illustrate the colour thing, that isn't the only type of photography I do. :)
     
  12. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    #12
    How does Aperture interpret the DNG files? Are the results the same as the crazy ones you get in Photos? I don't use Photos, so I'm unsure if Photos & Aperture use the same raw converter or if each has it's own. I know that Apple's own apps used to treat raw conversion at the OS level (unlike the competition), but not sure if that's still the case.

    I only ask, because Aperture has one of the most accurate interpretations of raw file renderings, and can usually extract far more information from raw files than the competition. Not saying this to start a Aperture / LR / C1 / DXO flame war - there's plenty of that elsewhere - just trying to throw other options out there. It might be worth trying to open the DNG in aperture if you haven't already, just to see what happens.

    I agree with what most of Cheese&Apple says on this thread & many others, but I disagree with this suggestion. Personally, I'd recommend everyone but the most casual shooter shoot raw. If you're usually happy with JPEGs then by all means shoot raw+jpeg, but it's always worth having the raw file. They contain so much more information it can mean the difference between a shot that can be edited into a favourite and one that's only fit for the trash.
    My personal experience was to start shooting jpeg. But looking back, I regret it now. I travelled the world 2005 and again in 2008 - all my photos are jpegs. That was enough for me at the time, but now that I'm more capable with editing software I really wish I had the raw files. If the raws take up too much space then you can easily batch convert them to jpegs down the line. But if you shoot in jpeg you will never be able to turn it into a raw.

    All the best!
    Iain
     
  13. mixel thread starter macrumors 65816

    mixel

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    #13
    i just tried aperture and got the same results as Capture One & Photos. :/

    Mushroom the cat is confused by being a test card.
    Fullscreen_13_07_2015__02_46.png

    if it is a system level renderer thing i suppose it could be El Capitan related even? A bug in how it deals with icc profiles maybe.

    heres the same nef and dng open in affinity..
    Fullscreen_13_07_2015__03_04.png

    thanks for keep trying new things. i think im probably running out of options other than keeping a weird little dng archive for safekeeping with jpg copies of these particular wonky seeming files for my future DAM use.. Then avoiding DNG like the plague. :D

    ---

    Did a bit more experimentation and its drastically worse on photos taken with the nikon d5200 that have been DNG'd - some of the differences with the older Dx cams you could claim were subjective choices (at a stretch) but the neon strangeness only fully kicks in on the d5200, so i wonder if apple just screwed up its profile somehow. i should have noticed earlier really.
     
  14. robgendreau macrumors 68040

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    #14
    I think it depends on how and when you converted or exported to DNG; I should have caught that earlier.

    DNG can store editing information, unlike a NEF. And then something that can render DNGs is gonna use that info. That's probably what's going on here.

    When you export a DNG from a NEF in Lr you have added that info to the DNG. So it gets shown. Since EVERY raw file has to be rendered for you to view it, Lr (like everything else) will apply default settings. So even if you don't touch a slider, something has been done, if only Adobe defaults. Your camera applies it's own defaults in the same when when it creates a JPEG preview.

    I think the Adobe Raw Converter works slightly differently, in that it is more conservative in writing a set of defaults to the DNG, and hence might produce a more neutral DNG than converting within Lr. Converting in Lr might have applied some default settings as well.

    I suspect that some applications just throw out the Lr-applied defaults and some don't. Or the preview. I noted that when I import a DNG into Aperture from Lr it will flash some of the edits I may have applied, then build its own preview.

    The important point is that these are just starting points. Nothing got altered in the RAW data, just the rendering of it.
     

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