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Recreating the embedded preview look on RAW?

atolkachev

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Joined
Mar 21, 2020
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17
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Classic 11.4
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  1. macOS 12 Monterey
I learned that I can use embedded previews for quicker switching between photos in Library mode, and on the last import used the option to import embedded preview.

So far so good. Scrolling through images is quick, as advertized.

Unfortunately, embedded previews looks much better than unprocessed RAW: better colors, light, everything. This was a beach sunset scene.

I don't know if the embedded previews were done by the camera based on the picture profile I had selected at the time. I shot Canon R6 in RAW with A (Auto) picture profile selected. A bit of a cop-out, but the last time I messed with picture profiles (and shot JPEG) I did not like the result, so this time I went RAW and, just in case it matters, selected Auto picture profile. Perhaps embedded previews are generated by Canon based on the same presets regardless of picture profile.

This is the question: I know that working from RAW I can make my photos look better than the embedded previews. I know that next time I may choose to shoot JPEG or RAW+JPEG. But for now, can I at least start from the place that the embedded preview showed me my picture should/could look like rather than from a dull, dark version of the same photo? Is there a single click or a trick to it?

Thanks!

P.S. It's not like I was not already aware that the initial preview in Lightroom don't look like the unprocessed "starting point" RAW. I have seen it in the past where I would scroll in Library mode, and after a few seconds the original look of the photo as it came in from the import would get replaced by a more subdued, duller version, on which I would then work. I understood it as follows: Lightroom originally imports embedded previews as a placeholder, and as soon as it senses that I am ready to work on the photo, it build an actual, let's say Smart or Full-size preview, and replaces the temporary pretty view with a "real" look that needs work. I was okay with it, just a little irked. But now that I made the embedded previews "official" at import, they are available on all photos I have scrolled through and will not get replaced perhaps until I start working on the photo. So I have the luxury of going back and forth and seeing what the shot "could have been". I know I can start increasing exposure, vibrance and contrast in Develop and perhaps the two views will start converging (or perhaps the embedded preview will be discarded at that point).
 

Woodbutcher

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Mar 3, 2015
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267
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Austin, TX
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I use the Faithful picture profile on both my Canon cameras. Not a lot of processing is done in camera for the embedded preview. I have an import preset that applies the Profile to be the Camera Faithful also. So I don't get much difference switching from the embedded preview and going into the develop module.

I suspect that if you picked an in camera profile you liked and used it so assign the Profile on import they would match up. I just use Camera Faithful because of the lack of adjustments. If you like one profile to use as a starting point, go for it.

What you are seeing though is the Develop profile doesn't match the embedded.
 

Woodbutcher

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Mar 3, 2015
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267
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Austin, TX
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Sorry, got distracted there. If you are getting A(auto) profile, it is picking one on its own and it you can't set LrC to Auto choose the camera profile on import. Or I don't think you can, but you can pick a single one to assign.
 

atolkachev

New Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2020
Messages
17
Sorry, got distracted there. If you are getting A(auto) profile, it is picking one on its own and it you can't set LrC to Auto choose the camera profile on import. Or I don't think you can, but you can pick a single one to assign.
Thanks! I had never used Camera Matching profiles in LR, didn't see the point and didn't take the time to figure how or how well they work. Like, does Adobe know what Canon R6 camera profiles are and know how to reproduce them? The names of the profiles seem to match the ones available in the camera (barring customizations, of course).

With that said, I spent the morning playing with the sunset photos in LrC trying to match the embedded preview look. I learned the following:

1. Not a single Camera Matching profile (Faithful, Neutral, Standard, Landscape, Portrait, Monochrome) match the look of the embedded preview. I need to shoot another controlled test in RAW with each picture profile selected in turn to see if the embedded previews will differ photo to photo. I suspect they won't.
2. The default (at least in my LrC) profile at import is Adobe Color and, compared to what the embedded previews shows me is possible, is absolutely useless. I think it is important to learn which profile is best for my style/subject and to remember to apply it at import to have a good starting point.
3. The closest Camera Matching profile to the embedded previews is Standard with the following tweaks: Shadows +40, Highlights -20, Vibrance +10, Saturation +5
4. I don't think there is a way to get from RAW to the embedded preview look with a single click or a shortcut. The shortcut may need to be created by saving the above tweaks to a user preset and either applying it at import or just having it handy.
5. With all the trouble of recreating the look of the embedded preview, I now see that it is not necessary. The embedded previews have flaws especially in highlights, compared to the RAW edits. My attempts to recreate the embedded preview look close, but also better that the embedded preview I set out to mimic. So, the point of this exercise became learning more about harnessing and customizing the available profiles.
 

Woodbutcher

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I think you nailed it with #4and #5. The profile only gets you closer to what the camera had, you really need to tweak it to get the final image you want.
 
Joined
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I guess it depends on which Camera model you use. I have an Olympus OM-D E-M1 that I have been using since 2015 and am pleased with the default Adobe Profiles and the Camera matching profiles created by Adobe.
Normally I shoot raw and have the camera white balance setting to Auto and concentrate on getting the exposure as best as possible. Other post process setting are set at import or after the import is completed.
 

atolkachev

New Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2020
Messages
17
I think you nailed it with #4and #5. The profile only gets you closer to what the camera had, you really need to tweak it to get the final image you want.
As to my #4, it’s worse than that. I tried applying the preset I described above, which successfully approximated the look of the embedded preview for a specific scene, to a different scene shot the same day but in different light. It did not come close to recreating the preview look. For one, it was off (darker) by almost a full stop. So the way the camera creates embedded previews is a complete mystery to me. As I said in #5, there is no point in aiming to emulate the embedded preview for the final edit, but at least I thought I could have a good starting point by applying a preset derived from the embedded preview look. And now I am finding that my preset works on exactly one photo (one scene) from the shoot.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Republic of Trinidad & Tobago
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Quote “For one, it was off (darker) by almost a full stop.”
Canon has a special setting that preserves extreme highlighted areas, if you are using that setting you will experience that, since Adobe cannot apply the adjustments applied by Canon camera firmware or application.
Trying to match the imbedded preview from the Camera is not what you should be focused on. I you need the Camera output then shoot raw + jpeg.
When you go to a Chinese restaurant do not expect Italian flavors, just a thought.
 

atolkachev

New Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2020
Messages
17
Quote “For one, it was off (darker) by almost a full stop.”
Canon has a special setting that preserves extreme highlighted areas, if you are using that setting you will experience that, since Adobe cannot apply the adjustments applied by Canon camera firmware or application.
Trying to match the imbedded preview from the Camera is not what you should be focused on. I you need the Camera output then shoot raw + jpeg.
When you go to a Chinese restaurant do not expect Italian flavors, just a thought.
You are right on principle, but consider the fact that the embedded preview is the first thing I see. It used to be for a split moment while LR was building a “real” preview, and now that I made embedded previews “official” in the import settings, I see it consistently — until I start editing. So I have time to get used to and appreciate it. It feels strange to start editing from a place of dull darkness when I believe I could be starting from a vivid, bright picture and making in better by taking advantage of RAW. It’s psychological mostly.

As I said, I will try I shooting RAW+JPEG to see what I see. I am very curious to see if the embedded previews match the out-of-camera JPEGs and whether embedded previews depend on the picture profile selected in camera. I know the JPEGs will.

Your post also gave me an idea to install the Canon software I am entitled to, but always ignore in favor of Lightroom. I have heard it said somewhere that it produces more pleasant photos from RAW. And it may have the same magic that creates the embedded previews that I am fixating on.
 
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