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colour banding in gradient

Ruth

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Hi all, I am having trouble to remove banding from a gradient (gradient was used for the sky of a landscape photo). I have tried to decrease clarity and increase grain, but I am not really satisfied with the result. The banding mostly disappears when I increase the grain to 20+, but it compromises the quality of the photos. The photo is going to be printed in A3, and it would be nice to have a smooth gradient on the print. Thanks!
 

LouieSherwin

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Hi Ruth,

It is not uncommon to see banding in image preview as you edit especially in broad expanses of sky (blue). This can either be with how the Color Management System (CMS) is dealing blue tones that are beyond the range (gamut) that your monitor can display. Or it could be due to the fact that there is a limited rang of blue in the original image.

Is the original image raw or perhaps JPEG?

-louie
 

Ruth

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Hi Louie, thanks for your reply! The photo is in RAW format, and the gradient is subsequetly added with the lightroom linear gradient filter. The banding does not only show up in the preview, but also is seen on a test print, thus it is independent from the monitor. If the banding is caused because the colour is beyond the gamut, than changing the colour slightly might help? I changed the blue tones in the sky by using the lightroom option to give highlights and shades different colour tones. Thanks!
 

LouieSherwin

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The photo is in RAW format, and the gradient is subsequetly added with the lightroom linear gradient filter.
In that case you should back off the settings you are using in your Graduated Filter. Whatever they are they are creating highly saturated blues that simply not able to be rendered. Saturated blues are particularly difficult and banding is often a symptom of poorly constructed profiles.

If this is an ongoing problem than it would warrant a deep look at your CMS components from your monitor, colorimeter, printer and print output profiles. Upgrading any or all of these elements could dramatically improve your ability to make pleasing edits.

The place to start is with your monitor and monitor profiles. What monitor do you use and how do you make your monitor profiles now?

Also if you wish you could export the image you are having difficulty with to a DNG and be sure to include all the develop settings and put it in DropBox or other file sharing site and I will be glad to upload it and take a look to see if what is going on.

-louie

PS I am going to move this topic over to the Editing Photos in Lightroom forum
 

Ruth

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I just reset all gradient changes to the photo and started from scratch, backed off the gradient and used a slightly different toning to it, and it is looking much better. Thanks a lot once more!
 

Ruth

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In that case you should back off the settings you are using in your Graduated Filter. Whatever they are they are creating highly saturated blues that simply not able to be rendered. Saturated blues are particularly difficult and banding is often a symptom of poorly constructed profiles.

If this is an ongoing problem than it would warrant a deep look at your CMS components from your monitor, colorimeter, printer and print output profiles. Upgrading any or all of these elements could dramatically improve your ability to make pleasing edits.

The place to start is with your monitor and monitor profiles. What monitor do you use and how do you make your monitor profiles now?

Also if you wish you could export the image you are having difficulty with to a DNG and be sure to include all the develop settings and put it in DropBox or other file sharing site and I will be glad to upload it and take a look to see if what is going on.

-louie

PS I am going to move this topic over to the Editing Photos in Lightroom forum
Hi Louie, I got a new print and there are still a few bands in the picture, here is a dropbox link to the file
Dropbox - Lightroom example - Simplify your life

I am using an 4k retina iMac monitor, as I send the photo to a shop to be printed, I have no details on printer profiles. Cheers, Ruth
 

happycranker

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Did you check using the Soft Proofing option in the Develop module, to see if there are any out of gamut colours for your printer? For this to work you do need a printer paper ICC profile!
 

Ruth

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I asked the shop for the ICC profile, but they didn't have it, I can ask for the model number, maybe Epson has ICC profiles online, However, I can also see a slight banding on my iMac monitor, so it can't be the printer profile alone
 

LouieSherwin

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Hi Ruth,

I was able to download the DNG file today and take a look at it in Lightroom. I am not seeing any banding while examining it in Lightroom directly and under several soft proofing settings, my own printer profiles and sRGB as well.

What is the profile setting for your monitor (System Preferences -> Displays -> Color)?

Also what are your Export settings used to create the image file that you send to your print lab?

-louie
 

Ruth

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Two more things, what is your OS version and your Lightroom Version?
The monitor settings are still on default (iMac profile, medium coulor temperature), the export settings are jpeg, sRGB, 300dpi, unlimited file size, no enlargement, size was set to 42cm long side, updated version of Lightroom classic CC, Os Mojave. The bands are a bit less vivsible since I backed up the development settings, but they are still there when I go on full screen mode (F). And they were on the print. Thanks a lot!
 

LouieSherwin

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Hi Ruth,

Here is a good discussion about color banding, causes and remedies. Color Banding in Library but not in Develop mode.

One of your problems is that you do not have a good monitor profile created using hardware calibration (colorimeter and calibration software). Without a good quality monitor profile you are subject to all sorts of problems ranging from banding to color mismatches. With out this you are going to be limited in how well you can edit and print.

Regarding the banding in your print, double check your export JPEG quality settings. I generally keep the JPEG quality settings to 80 or higher. This is a good balance between file size and image quality. Especially when sending to an outside lab I would probably use 90 for the quality. Using more than 90 only makes the file much bigger with no observeable quality improvement.

As you said yourself the adjustment setting in the graduated filter in the sky is quite strong and is a contributing factor. You might try cropping off alot of the white sky instead. Then if you use a big soft (100% feather) adjustment brush to bush on some fairly strong highlight reduction (I tried -40) that will bring out a lot of detail that is otherwise hidden.

-louie
 
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