Why can Picasa get it right, but I can't?
/forum/topic/1167200/0



Rob Whiting
Registered: Sep 05, 2006
Total Posts: 489
Country: United States

I'm having the worst time getting these photos right in ACR. The images looks great in Picasa (don't laugh, it's what I use to view/catalog.. it just works for me). When I open the raw files in ACR, I just can't seem to get it right.

Setting the white balance to the background makes her skin too yellow, and dress too purple.I can't get her face exposed properly in ACR (right) without seriously under exposing her dress, but Picasa (left) has no problems with this.. I've never been good with skin tones, but these are just driving me insane. Anyone have any suggestions?



howardm4
Registered: Feb 08, 2008
Total Posts: 2965
Country: United States

isn't Picasa just using the jpg that is embedded in the raw image (vs. actually rendering the raw data like ACR does)?

You may want to include a whibal or colorchecker chart/target in a test shot to help w/ WB. Or create a camera profile to apply to the raw image (requires a colorchecker or xrite passport)



redcrown
Registered: Sep 10, 2004
Total Posts: 774
Country: United States

As howard said, where did that Picasa display on the left come from? Is if from the jpeg than is embedded in the raw file? Is it Picasa's conversion of the raw file? In either case, has any additional Picasa processing been applied (WB)?

Let's assume it's the jpeg with no additional processing. In that case, it's the result of the camera's auto white balance, contrast, sharpening, and color vibrance settings. The backgrond of this jpeg as a blue cast. Maybe that is "right", maybe not. We don't know the true color of that background. But that white balance makes the skin tones less yellow.

You clicked on the "white" background in ACR to set white balance, and made it neutral. No blue cast. As a result, the skin tones are warmer, more yellow. Maybe that is right, maybe not. If you don't like it, just lower the temperature until you do like it. Right or wrong, it's what you like that counts.

As for the exposure on the dress, ACR is applying some camera profile. If you have not changed that setting, you are probably getting "Adobe Standard". Try some of the other profiles to see what happens.

The Adobe profiles each have a tone curve built in. Some will darken shadows and brighten highlights more than others. They vary by camera model. On my Canon 5D2, the "Camera Faithful" profile has a softer tone curve than Adobe Standard, but that may not be the case with your 7D.

ACR will definitely give better results from RAW images than what in-camera jpegs produce, but there is a learning curve. The advantage of ACR becomes greater when the image capture is less than perfect. ACR can correct white balance and exposure errors much better than any program (Picasa, Photoshop) can do when working on a jpeg that has those errors "baked in."

With white balance, it's a major challenge finding a "true" neutral area to use. Many things that look neutral to the human eye are not really neutral. White walls or clothing are rarely true white. In fact, they are usually a bit blue.



Rob Whiting
Registered: Sep 05, 2006
Total Posts: 489
Country: United States

Thanks all.. I ended up loading them up in DPP and had a much easier time getting the colors right. No matter what profile I used in ACR, I just couldn't get the skin & dress right at the same time.



howardm4
Registered: Feb 08, 2008
Total Posts: 2965
Country: United States

thats because DPP can read all the magic sauce recipe that is buried in the raw file whereas 3rd party converters (ala ACR) cannot and you have to play these sort of games. Same thing happens w/ Nikon images and their NX2 software.



Jeffrey
Registered: Nov 12, 2002
Total Posts: 9808
Country: United States

Don't do the color correction in ACR. Do most of what you can, then in PS, where you can select the background and work it separately, fix the color and then do the same for the exposure of the face. The power of masks! Couldn't live without them.



theSuede
Registered: Jul 31, 2008
Total Posts: 2260
Country: Sweden

howardm4 wrote:
thats because DPP can read all the magic sauce recipe that is buried in the raw file whereas 3rd party converters (ala ACR) cannot and you have to play these sort of games. Same thing happens w/ Nikon images and their NX2 software.


There is no, absolutely no, definitely no "magic sauce" in either Nikon's or Canon's raw file EXIF information anymore. The only thing that's different is the type of color profile used.

The offending part in this case is almost certainly the "Adobe Standard" profile used with ACR. It's notoriously bad on blue-purple and yellow-orange transitions with Canon cameras.

"Bad" in this case means non-linear (and also with a Munsell hue-twist) and mostly geared towards getting a "punchy" picture - which is not what you want in most cases. Also, most of the camera profiles included in Adobe ACR makes all blue and purple hues tend a bit towards magenta (most often seen in Canon/Adobe "blue skies" that almost always turn out with a magenta cast when you WB for the rest of the scene).

It's been a long time since I did any work in DPP, so I can't tell about the last few versions - but the ones I tried were atrocious. The raw converter gave good results, but the workflow was enough to make a grown man cry in despair.

Unfortunately Adobe doesn't always give the best results with the included camera profiles, but at least that's easy to remedy.



JameelH
Registered: Apr 23, 2005
Total Posts: 1800
Country: United States

Make your own profile using color checker and adobe profile generator software. You can create multiple profiles under different lighting condition as well.