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Thread: Simple Camera Raw trick I just discovered

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Simple Camera Raw trick I just discovered

    (Most people probably know this, but I only just discovered it. It's probably part of that camera Raw 101 course I skipped because I was out looking at birds. Or asleep. Or both.)

    Granted, Adobe's AUTO settings are generally horrible. But sometimes they are handy.

    Today I spent ten minutes trying to take pictures of Welcome Swallows on the wing. (For non-birdy people, this is the avian photographic equivalent of trying to invent a carburetor which will allow your car to run on water.) We all do it from time to time and, if we are nice people, we wash our hands carefully afterwards and don't mention it to Granny.)

    So I took several hundred shots, giving the new 7D II a real workout, and stupidly under-exposed the whole lot. (I'm not used to the 7D II yet. For some reason known only to Canon and possibly God, they have stuffed around with the image review system such that I haven't yet worked out how to make it go properly. OK, OK, I should RTFM, but I've owned close to a dozen Canon DSLRs so I shouldn't need to read the damn manual just to review an image.) Anyway, they are all under-exposed by maybe a couple of stops - i.e., rescuable with a careful raw conversion, but too dark to judge which of them (if any) is worth the bother.


    This is where Adobe's AUTO exposure settings come in. They won't produce very usable images, of course, but I only need them to be good enough to decide which ones (if any) are worth doing properly.

    First I culled out the obvious duds - ones I could pick just from the silhouette. That left 114 possibles to convert. I looked up how to do it, and only two usable methods emerged from a remarkably thin Google result set. (a) Use Lightroom. (I'd rather spend six hours driving back to Peterborough and return plus ten minutes taking another set of pictures. Easier and more pleasant all round.) Or (b) muck about creating custom Photoshop actions. No thanks.

    Well, what if I just do a few manually? (Open, hit AUTO, save, close.) That works. Takes forever though.

    Will Photoshop crash out if I open the whole lot at once? For a wonder, no. It chugs for a while - it's 2.5GB worth of images after all - but accepts the task. Now you can just select each one and hit AUTO.

    Better yet, it turns out that inside Camera Raw you can select ALL open files, hit AUTO once and it does an individual auto setting for each of the 114 open files. Then hit save, and maybe five minutes later, the job is done.

    Quite possibly, people who only shoot raw and convert all their raw images as routine know all this stuff backwards. (It's new to me as I have never wanted to do more than one conversion at a time before.) In that case I've just wasted 30 seconds of your time and senselessly murdered another couple of billion electrons posting this. Sorry.

    (Oh, and after all this, are the swallow pictures any good? Dunno. I haven't looked yet. Probably not. Swallows in flight is a fool's game.)
    Tony

    It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.

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    Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch jim's Avatar
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    Well, I didn't know that and it might come in handy. Ta.

    A bunch* of Welcome Swallows once spent twenty minutes charging up and down the northern wall of my house for reasons known only to themselves (they've never been back since) and I spent the whole time trying to photograph them. Got maybe forty or fifty frames with a bird actually in them, only three or four of which were recognisably birds. None sharp, of course.

    *Technical term.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    So PP one of the photos in ACR. Then go into Bridge and select all the other photos, right click on them and select Develop Settings then click on previous conversion.
    Last edited by Mark L; 21-07-2017 at 10:05pm.

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    Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch jim's Avatar
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    Do you know Mark? I've never used Bridge.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    Do you know Mark? I've never used Bridge.
    I didn't but know do now.
    I'm sure there's other things it's useful for but I just use it to batch convert ACR stuff.

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    Thanks Mark. Useful tip.

    I am much more experienced with Bridge than Jim, I have used it at least twice, possibly as many as three times.

    About every five years, I forget why I uninstalled it the last time and try it out again. That usually last for about ten minutes. I did have a vague notion before I started that Bridge was probably an answer, but reinstalling it just for one job seemed like too much trouble.

    But if you did it that way, wouldn't you be setting all the files to the same adjustment? The way I did it, each file was individually auto-adjusted, presumably not in the same way. (Not that it would have mattered much in this case - I only wanted a very rough adjustment so that I could eliminate the obvious duds.)

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    I'd have done it in Lightroom, it uses the exact same RAW converters as ACR. You do it to one image, then select all you want to, then hit sync, then go turn on the espresso machine and make a cuppa, well a mug for me, but that's beside the point. I love Lightroom for the initial batch things, like setting custom colour & light profiles based on an X-Rite colour card image taken under each different light condition and lens combination, etc...

    Edit
    Scratch that process above I mentioned! That would indeed end up with them all having the same adjustment applied, but you can do what you did in ACR in Lightroom also, by selecting them all and THEN hitting Auto, allowing each image to have its own adjustment, independent of each other. Sorry for the mix up.
    Last edited by Plays With Light; 21-07-2017 at 11:07pm. Reason: Not auto-iso just auto...

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    Hmmmm ... there are quite a few decently sharp images, but they are very noisy. It's going to require some heroic post-processing to do much with them. I think I'll re-shoot. Easier. Hell, it's not me that has to focus the darn things, that's the camera's job.

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    Have an update in regards to Lightroom and trying to get it to change numerous images all at once. It actually won't allow you to select a whole range of images and then make a one click change to their auto lighting setting or anything else for that matter, you have to go via the sync button and that will just copy and paste the same settings (that you select) for all the images. Looks like ACR is the only way to select a batch of images and then hit the auto lighting button, making unique changes to each image! Sorry for the mistaken advice, Tony! I swear you used to be able to, but just discovered that you can't. I'm on the latest iteration of Lightroom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Plays With Light View Post
    Have an update in regards to Lightroom and trying to get it to change numerous images all at once. It actually won't allow you to select a whole range of images and then make a one click change to their auto lighting setting or anything else for that matter, you have to go via the sync button and that will just copy and paste the same settings (that you select) for all the images. Looks like ACR is the only way to select a batch of images and then hit the auto lighting button, making unique changes to each image! Sorry for the mistaken advice, Tony! I swear you used to be able to, but just discovered that you can't. I'm on the latest iteration of Lightroom.
    I didn't think you could, so I'm glad you cleared that up before I went home and tried to discover how it's done .
    For adding a couple of stops to every picture sync would have done fine.
    I rarely have two shots the same but action sequences, such as sport or, in this case, BIF, can benefit from the sync in LR. I tend to process the first and then sync the others as a starting point. Sometimes no further tweaks are necessary.
    The auto button in LR I find to be a funny one. Occasionally it does a very good job. Often it gets close ish and a bit of white and black point adjustment is all that is needed, and occasionally it's so far off I wonder what it was thinking.
    Generally though I only really care about converting a RAW and making sure highlights and shadows are right, before taking the image to PS.
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    That's one thing I fairly often find the auto settings useful for, Hamster. Sometimes when I'm a bit lost with what to do with a conversion, I flick the auto on and pay attention to what it thinks is a good idea. Usually, it's doing most of the right things but way too much of them, and by fixing some things wrong with the image (albeit at the cost of messing other stuff that was OK to start with up) it gives me some hints. For example, auto might add a lot to the whites, blacken the shadows, and increase the overall exposure. The result as-is is often pretty yuck, but all of a sudden I can see (say) that my problem is that I need more punch in the whites without changing the darker tones, so I go back to scratch and do my own thing but add extra lift to the whites and get a good result. (A dark room wizard wouldn't need hints, but a dark room wizard I ain't.)

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    Ausphotography Addict martycon's Avatar
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    Tony thanks for an interesting and discursive thread and discussion. I made the same suprising discovery only a few weeks ago. I now do a batch auto as a starting point to any similar group of images.
    cheers marty

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
    That's one thing I fairly often find the auto settings useful for, Hamster. Sometimes when I'm a bit lost with what to do with a conversion, I flick the auto on and pay attention to what it thinks is a good idea. Usually, it's doing most of the right things but way too much of them, and by fixing some things wrong with the image (albeit at the cost of messing other stuff that was OK to start with up) it gives me some hints. For example, auto might add a lot to the whites, blacken the shadows, and increase the overall exposure. The result as-is is often pretty yuck, but all of a sudden I can see (say) that my problem is that I need more punch in the whites without changing the darker tones, so I go back to scratch and do my own thing but add extra lift to the whites and get a good result. (A dark room wizard wouldn't need hints, but a dark room wizard I ain't.)
    Yeah, I know exactly what you mean, that describes it very well.

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    Thanks. Great read and I too discovered this a few ago for processing bulk lots of images taken at the same time.

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    Ausphotography Regular J.davis's Avatar
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    This might help
    LR, Develop, Settings, Match Total Exposures.
    Highlight master pic and then Shift or Control to select a group or individual pics. All selected pics have their Exposures adjusted to the master.
    Regards
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    Ausphotography Addict vharperv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    Do you know Mark? I've never used Bridge.
    very weird I used bridge for the first time today .. trying to learn merging photos with layers again.. used to be really good at it and forgot altogether. bridge seems to be the easiest way to open several photos as layers.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by martycon View Post
    Tony thanks for an interesting and discursive thread and discussion. I made the same suprising discovery only a few weeks ago. I now do a batch auto as a starting point to any similar group of images.
    cheers marty

    yes this works well as a starting point and even after using auto and then working out some of your own settings for the batch .

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    Ausphotography Regular John King's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
    So PP one of the photos in ACR. Then go into Bridge and select all the other photos, right click on them and select Develop Settings then click on previous conversion.
    Mark, in two sentences, you got it absolutely spot on!

    Photoshop is immensely powerful, and arcane and obscure. Probably because it predates both Apple and Windows GUIs (which they both stole from Xerox PARC ... ).

    I agree with Tony about Lightroom ... However, Photoshop actions (really just macros) are pretty easy after you jump through the initial stupid hoops!

    Oops. Meant to add that I never use automated processing on RAW files, but I can see the utility of Tony's approach to his swallow problem.
    Last edited by John King; 07-03-2018 at 8:14pm.
    Regards, john

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