Upload & Sell: On
Gamma (iirc) is essentially a logarithm (maybe only multiplier) calculation whereas levels is an additive/subtractive calculation (from the endpoints). Someone else feel free to correct me on this.
We often hear about having our monitors set to Gamma 2.2 for sRGB, etc. Starting from your RAW, I simply set the Gamma slider over to .45 (i.e. 1/2.2) as a starting point. In this case, I just left it there. Sometimes I'll ratchet it up more (i.e. .38) or less (i.e. .50). To me, I use Gamma kinda like the difference between shooting Velvia vs. Ektachrome. Film had it's inherent profile, most notably Kodachrome that found its "sweet spot" for so many.
Personally, I would shoot FujiChrome 50 @ -1/3 ... as you can probably relate that to how I typically process. An Ektachrome shooter would likely "puke & gag" at how I process, citing how "unnatural" it looks, while the inverse would say Ektachrome looks "flat". We used to choose our "S&P to taste" by virtue of what we would load into our camera (predetermined by the OEM film engineers) ... now, it comes after we get the shot (infinitely variable by us). I use Gamma kinda like I would choose film ... as if that makes any sense.
ben egbert wrote:
The RGB step is first before creating layers.
My first order of business is always to duplicate the image to use as a sharpening layer.
I perform the WB adjust (in the Levels layer or Color Balance layer) before I work on the others, but it still resides "above" my sharpening layer. I do my sharpening layer this way for a very specific reason. Because everything @ levels, contrast, gamma, sharpening, etc. is so interrelated as to final output, I keep my sharpening on it's own layer. No biggie there.
But, in addition to being able to adjust opacity or mask adjust etc. ... I can also throw it away and replace it with another duplicate from the original in the event that my subsequent iterative process reveal that I want a different level of sharpening to work with the other calculations. Also, I can simply "insert" a second sharpening layer and mask them accordingly if I desire to do so.
Probably not anything you'll find anyone else suggesting, but I basically do WB first, and keep my sharpening "under" all other adjustments. A zillion ways to skin this cat ... but it is how my workflow evolved.