LUT's vs Presets vs Develop Default Settings (at import)

Zenon

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I'm having another look at LUT's and trying to wrap my head around it. It seems more geared towards video. The process always winds up in Premier. I found a youtube video, the presenter was a still photographer and it also wound up in Premier.

So what is the difference between a Preset and a LUT? You make all your personal adjustments and export to create the LUT. Why just not use a Preset with the same adjustments?

I use Develop Default Settings that auto apply all my tweaks that include colour adjustments, lens corrections and NR and sharpening tweaks. I realize LUT's are for colour and basic panel adjustments, not sharpening or NR .

My colour adjustments are applied at import. I can apply a preset with colour tweaks and sync. What is the advantage in using a LUT?
 
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Lightroom does not use LUT's directly, but you can incorporate them into a profile. The main difference between presets and profiles is that profiles do not change any settings, so they can be used for relative corrections. Presets are always absolute corrections. Say you add a preset with +0.5 exposure. If your image already has a +0.5 exposure setting, then this preset won't do anything. But a profile that incorporates +0.5 exposure would come on top of the existing setting, so even though the slider would still show +0.5, the effect would be +1.0 by now. Relative corrections are an often asked feature.

Another advantage of a LUT could be more precise color changes (in a more limited range of colors) than you can do with a bunch of sliders in HSL.
 

CraigCohen

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FYI, using developing adjustments in the LIBRARY module, you can change most these settings as well and and they are relative. So you can highlight a group of photos and in the Library module, change the relative exposure, shadows, etc. by clicking on the arrows.
 
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Another way to look at this is:
  • Presets are recorded settings for Develop module options, like Clarity +20.
  • Profiles can affect the initial interpretation of raw photo data, outside of the ranges of Develop module options, so you can make a Profile that creates a look that is not possible by adjusting Develop options alone.
  • A LUT (Look-Up Table) is a way of replacing any existing colors with any other set of colors. For each color value in the image, look it up in the table, and replace it with the color in the table. This is not possible with a Preset, but a LUT can be part of a Profile.
You said you end up in Premiere when reading about LUTs. LUTs have been widely used in digital video for many years, because it's a quick and precise way to apply a look (color grade), or a hard-coded correction for a specific source (such as a camera set to record using a specific tone curve). LUTs were not widely used in still photography in the past, but they are now becoming popular because more still photographers are recognizing the usefulness of this tool that came from digital video editing.

Other raw photo editors took the lead in allowing LUTs to be used for photo processing, allowing them to do things that Lightroom could not do with presets. It became necessary for Adobe to add LUT support to Lightroom and Camera Raw (through the new Profiles feature) to catch up with the competition.

Because a LUT replaces colors instead of shifting them, a LUT is also the only way that Lightroom Classic can use a custom Gradient Map (not to be confused with a gradient fill or gradient mask). A Gradient Map is a powerful tool for advanced color grading and special color effects. The closest thing to a gradient map in Lightroom is the Split Toning feature, but the full Gradient Map feature in Photoshop is much more powerful. There are also some special color grading techniques in Photoshop involving Solid Color layers that you can’t do in Lightroom. That's why Adobe lets us make a custom LUT in Photoshop, and then include it in a Profile that can be brought into Lightroom or Camera Raw and applied to raw images. <<- This video probably demonstrates everything better than I explained it.
 
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