Massive Auto Tone difference.. in a baaaad way

epicaricacy

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I recently upped to LR4, and noticed a major issue with the way auto tone works with the new 2012 profile - it wants to seriously underexpose my pics - 2 or 3 stops worth.

Here are three sample images, 1 as taken, 1 as auto tone via the 2010 camera calibration , 1 as auto tone via the 2012 camera calibration

1 - As taken
nothing.jpg

2 - 2010 Calibration
LR42010.jpg

3 - 2012 Calibration
LR42012.jpg

This has happened with a large number of images - though not all of them, ranging from images 'freshly' imported into LR4, and those that were already in my 3.6 catalog...

All 3 were RAW, but the problem does not occur with just RAW images.
 

b_gossweiler

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I can see the same behaviour as you see with this photo. I suggest you send this sample image (Raw if possible) to Eric Chan (madmanchan2000 at yahoo dot com) explaining what you see. Eric is an ACR developer at Adobe and - as I've read in another forum - interested in sample images where AutoTone does not behave well.

Beat
 

Jimmsp

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I too have seen a few photos recently where auto tone drives the photo too dark.

I'll ask him if he wants one or two raws.

Jim
 

Marsu42

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I have more than one or two... I have tons! I will email him...

Please do report this - this change from the beta makes Lightroom nearly unusable for me, since I always apply autotone and then batch-apply differences from one manually edited picture.

The problem always occurs when there is a strong highlight in the picture (like a flash reflection on glass), Lightroom seems to be set to pull down this highlight in expense of everything else. I can hardly understand how this bug made it into a final version. Furthermore, the "final" autotone make much too heavy use of white and black cutoffs.

The best thing would be able to get back to the autotone algorithm of the beta, or at least leave the user a choice.
 

b_gossweiler

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An interesting trick posted over at the U2U forum by Jeff Schewe:
Jeff Schewe said:
And here's a trick to not use Auto for Exposure but to get Auto from the other sliders, do a Shift / Double Click on the setting's name. That gives you a per setting Auto. This is a variation on the regular Double Click to get back to default.
I find Auto Highlights, Shadows, Whites & Blacks to be pretty good AFTER I have set the Exposure to my tastes...I'm still on the fence on Auto Contrast.

Beat
 

ukbrown

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Loving the auto tip, shame Auto is not quite right. Gives a good starting point for me then I just tweak exposure and it pretty much is there, but it can make some pictures way too dark and a few a bit bright.
 

ukbrown

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Cheers, upgraded and now need to learn more lots more. Might stop lurking !
 

Carmen

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Loving the auto tip, shame Auto is not quite right. Gives a good starting point for me then I just tweak exposure and it pretty much is there, but it can make some pictures way too dark and a few a bit bright.

I find this as well in general in LR4 it does seem to make photos a lot darker than 3 did.

Cool tip about the individual slider auto setting I never knew that.. I can tell I'm going to learn loads here!
 

miketja

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I'm seeing issues with LR4 and auto-tone as well, but even between pictures that are very similar. Apologies for the subject, it's just some self-portrait snaps of me as I was simply fiddling with my new NEX-7. Photos were taken as RAW, and don't have this difference with the 2010 process. Clean import, nothing changed, just hit the Auto button in Tone, and it set the exposure for the first picture as -1.2, and the second as +0.35. I can see there's a bit of additional light on my face on the first pic (from an overhead bulb) but is this really expected behaviour? They were taken seconds apart and the overall image/view hasn't changed that much between shots. I rely on auto-tone as a starting point for all imports, but this seems to be quite a significant change from PV2010.

20120313-Me-023.jpg
20120313-Me-024.jpg
 

miketja

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At the risk of embarrassing myself further (with more bad self-portraits) here's the same photo (Nikon RAW) processed three ways: as shot, straight PV2012, all sliders reset to normal; PV2010 (with auto-tone, no other changes) and PV2012 (with auto-tone, no other changes). In PV2010, LR4 dropped the exposure down by -0.85 and with PV2012, LR4 upped the exposure by 0.85. Basically, the opposite of what the OP saw. I'm a bit baffled, as the PV2012 version looks over-exposed to my eyes. The auto-tone in PV2012 seems very inconsistent and unpredictable to me, but is that just because I'm not used to it yet? Does anyone think that version three below is the correct starting point for processing this pic, i.e. increasing the exposure and then tweaking from there? I'd naturally go with the PV2010 viewpoint and would've dropped the exposure as my first action, as without any changes the photo already starts off as a bit "bright" to me.

As shot
LR4 As Shot.jpg

PV2010 with Auto-tone
LR4 PV2010 Auto.jpg

PV2012 with auto-tone
LR4 PV2012 Auto.jpg
 

Jimmsp

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First time I have seen a "too bright" one from 2012.
Most of my misses with 2012 have been too dark.

For what it's worth, I would start processing with the 2nd one, the 2010 version.
 

ukbrown

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Top down through the buttons after an auto seems to work ok for me. Auto, change exposure to your liking seems to be OK for me. YMMV.
 

Marsu42

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Auto, change exposure to your liking seems to be OK for me. YMMV.

... but, then, it isn't exactly auto anymore, is it :p ? Because of the unexpectedly too bright or too dark pictures, autotone and then manual or batch doesn't work for me anymore in LR4.

I can see there's a bit of additional light on my face on the first pic (from an overhead bulb) but is this really expected behaviour?

This is exactly what I've come to expect from the broken autotone in LR4 - one skylight darkens the picture beyond belief, while a dark spot (like a dark eye of an animal) brightens it way too much. Imho, this is simply because Adobe changed the algorithm from the "beta 1" to the final without issuing a "beta 2" for user feedback. I really hope there will be a LR4.01 or LR4.1 soon.
 

ukbrown

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Tou are right, but the video i saw once from Kelby Training had this development process that made it quick and easy, it was the four step tango, first step was always White Balance, step 2 AUTO to give you the tonal range of the image (to give you pure blacks and pure whites). this was for LR3.
 

epicaricacy

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I have written to Eric Chan as per the 2nd post, and he has said he will take a look.

Hopefully this will be fixed in an update, as it seems to be quite a common issue.
 

miketja

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I haven't tried any of the 4.1 RCs, but I'm guessing this issues hasn't been resolved, as I'm sure someone would've said something. So, if it's not fixed, or improved, in 4.1, has anyone had any feedback from Adobe, or Eric Chan, as to whether they plan on fixing this in 4.2?? Has Adobe even acknowledged this is an issue?
 

donoreo

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I find Auto Tone to be useless now. It used to be a good place to start and then go from there. Now, it is a waste of time.
 
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I find Auto Tone to be useless now. It used to be a good place to start and then go from there. Now, it is a waste of time.
It does indeed seem to be broken in LR4.x for PV2012. I still use it mostly because I haven't bothered to Update my Import Preset. Except for picking exposure, It does generally work and usually the only 'tone' modifications I need is to decrease the exposure adjustment by 1-1.5 stops.
 

chris02

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I like to use the "Shift / Double Click on the setting's name, that gives you a per setting Auto" mentioned earlier, but how can I set up a preset for this that takes account of the individual photo properties.

Many thanks
 
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It does indeed seem to be broken in LR4.x for PV2012. I still use it mostly because I haven't bothered to Update my Import Preset. Except for picking exposure, It does generally work and usually the only 'tone' modifications I need is to decrease the exposure adjustment by 1-1.5 stops.
NOTE: the previous post was written in reference to Pentax DNG RAW images. Since I wrote that post, I got a new camera - a Nikon D800. I created an Import preset for the new camera that includes:
  • AutoTone = true
  • CameraProfile = "Camera Neutral"

Except for the continuous clipping of Whites in AutoTone, I only rarely need to tweak the Development adjustments beyond what I have established for my Import Development preset
 
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