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Having taken advice I've gathered that Alamy don't intend default RAW sharpening (25) to be turned off completely. I'm having some success  at 100ISO and, surprise surprise, they tend to be a bit sharper than the jpegs.

However at default I get a stippling effect at high ISO.

Should I back off the sharpening, then process, then apply it at the end? Thanks for any pointers.

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Presumably you mean noise when you say stippling. Noise gets much worse at higher ISO, even on the better noise-controlling cameras (Nikon D700 and D800 series) and noise  is greatly exacerbated by any sharpening at all. However if you apply noise reduction, you will soften the image. It doesn't matter what order you apply NR or sharpening. It's a no win situation I'm afraid. The solution is simple. Back off the high ISO if you want to have sharp images with low noise - use a tripod if necessary. Downsizing does seem to reduce noise though and will sharpen things up a bit.

 

If I understood you correctly in the other thread, you apparently could not see the noise in the failed image you posted. This suggests a monitor and/or sight problem as the noise was clearly visible in the background and was horrendously bad.

Edited by MDM
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There is no simple one off setting which suits all images in LR it is a matter of making small adjustments to NR and sharpening till you hit a happy medium.

 

It becomes easier to gauge what is required with practice so becomes a memory thing which suits your own established workflow after a while.

 

I know this does not seem to be of much help but if you want to go down the RAW route it is what needs to be done.

 

It does become easier with use.

 

Allan

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Presumably you mean noise when you say stippling. Noise gets much worse at higher ISO, even on the better noise-controlling cameras (Nikon D700 and D800 series) and noise  is greatly exacerbated by any sharpening at all. However if you apply noise reduction, you will soften the image. It doesn't matter what order you apply NR or sharpening. It's a no win situation I'm afraid. The solution is simple. Back off the high ISO if you want to have sharp images with low noise - use a tripod if necessary. Downsizing does seem to reduce noise though and will sharpen things up a bit.

 

If I understood you correctly in the other thread, you apparently could not see the noise in the failed image you posted. This suggests a monitor and/or sight problem as the noise was clearly visible in the background and was horrendously bad.

I know what noise is. This looks like an overlay of black spots. IM (very limited) E the order of processing does seem to make a difference and I was asking for ideas on that specifically.

That image didn't fail for noise and I'm not looking for any more opinions about it. I am simply asking for advice on improving high ISO processing beyond 'don't do it'.

 I usually need the high ISO performance for situations where a tripod wouldn't be usable. But thanks anyway.

Edited by spacecadet
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Presumably you mean noise when you say stippling. Noise gets much worse at higher ISO, even on the better noise-controlling cameras (Nikon D700 and D800 series) and noise  is greatly exacerbated by any sharpening at all. However if you apply noise reduction, you will soften the image. It doesn't matter what order you apply NR or sharpening. It's a no win situation I'm afraid. The solution is simple. Back off the high ISO if you want to have sharp images with low noise - use a tripod if necessary. Downsizing does seem to reduce noise though and will sharpen things up a bit.

 

If I understood you correctly in the other thread, you apparently could not see the noise in the failed image you posted. This suggests a monitor and/or sight problem as the noise was clearly visible in the background and was horrendously bad.

I know what noise is. This looks like an overlay of black spots. IM (very limited) E the order of processing does seem to make a difference and I was asking for ideas on that specifically.

That image didn't fail for noise and I'm not looking for any more opinions about it. I am simply asking for advice on improving high ISO processing beyond 'don't do it'.

 I usually need the high ISO performance for situations where a tripod wouldn't be usable. But thanks anyway.

 

 

 

The black stippling is almost certainly luminance noise in contrast to the evident color noise in your posted image. That image may not have failed for that but if it hadn't failed for SoLD, then it should have failed for noise.

 

I have never seen nor heard  that there is any difference between the order in which you apply NR versus sharpening. Correcting the luminance noise in LR will definitely soften the image.

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I haven't posted an image showing the effect and unfortunately photobucket don't acept tiffs.

The image you are talking about was an original jpeg and jpegs don't show the effect.

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I haven't posted an image showing the effect and unfortunately photobucket don't acept tiffs.

The image you are talking about was an original jpeg and jpegs don't show the effect.

Extremely odd. Surely you don't mean saving or exporting the tiff as a jpeg removes the effect? Why are you using tiffs?

 

In any case, your description of black stippling is very reminiscent of luminance noise - like heavy film grain. It's back to the same thing as film in fact. Underexpose at high ISO and overdevelop - grain. The digital equivalent is digital noise.

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If sharpening is applied to images in LR, you might also find it helpful to use the 'masking' slider (just below the sharpening slider in LR4) to control where the sharpening is applied. For example, if I have an image with a blue sky, I will typically set the masking slider to about 60, so no sharpening is applied to the blue sky. If you hold down the Alt key (Windows) while adjusting the masking slider, it will also show the mask itself, the darker the mask, the less sharpening is applied. Using this facility (where applicable/appropriate) helps to avoid unnecessary sharpening on certain areas of the image that would otherwise make it look more noisy/grainy. Hope this helps.

 

Phil

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I haven't posted an image showing the effect and unfortunately photobucket don't acept tiffs.

The image you are talking about was an original jpeg and jpegs don't show the effect.

Extremely odd. Surely you don't mean saving or exporting the tiff as a jpeg removes the effect? Why are you using tiffs?

 

I tried uploading a tiff to photobucket to show the effect. Exporting to jpeg removes the effect, or rather smears it out into something else.. Thanks to Phil also for the tips.

Edited by spacecadet
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Mark - The sliders in the right handle panel in the LR develop module are designed to be used in the order they are from top to bottom.

 

Can I give you a tip that helps manage noise? Using the masking slider correctly really helps. If you press option/alt when using the slider you will see the mask. When it is at zero the mask is white and everything is being sharpened. If you carry on moving it to the right black appears. Black areas are not being sharpened. A good way to see what is happening is to try it on an image say of a tower against a blue sky. In the left panel there is a sharpening preset called Scenic. Select that and it will move the sliders on the sharpening section on the right. If you then hold option/alt and slide it to around 40 you should see the building is being sharpened and the sky is not. This really helps with controlling any noise in the sky.

 

Hope that helps

Michael

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Phil and Armstrong thanks very much for the help. Scales have fallen from my eyes.

I'd already rejected that one, I just used it as a clear example of the stippling I was having trouble with.

I'm going to be printing out some of this thread and sticking it on my monitor. Thanks.

Edited by spacecadet
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On a related note... If you are new to a RAW workflow learning how to user Import, Develop and Export Presets is a massive time time saver.

 

Think of it as way of it getting it 80% of where you need to be.

 

For example I have made a 'People preset' for Portraits. On input it applies the following sliders: Clarity, People Sharpening, lens profile and camera profile. A separate preset also applies my Copyright Info etc. I can then make individual adjustments to each image such as exposure or spot removal. I then gave a variety of presets depending on the end use ie Full size JPEG for printing, reduced size JPG with watermark for my website.

 

Michael

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Just another thought. For jpegs I have an import preset of clarity 50 and saturation 20. Presumably I should apply this, if at all, after sharpening and NR for raws? The example I posted has it applied. It accentuates the stippling.

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Even exportiing at JPEG level 12?

Somewhat preserved at LR 100

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y180/markrhdunn/DSC09476.jpg~original

 

 

Mark, as the others have already mentioned: that's classic luminance noise.

 

I had a look at your JPG and tried myself- Using the noise reduction sliders in Lightroom (left side is corrected for noise): 

http://postimg.org/image/qh9ijmyxx/full/

 

It's certainly very far from perfect, but I would think working from the RAW you should(?) be able to get a much more acceptable result, especially in potential combination with downsizing.

 

Sharpening/Noise Reduction in Lightroom (as with the rest of the program) comes with a significant learning curve. You just have to spend some timing fine tuning the sliders on a number different types of images. Masking is very important, but as well radius and detail (use Alt in combination with the sliders to visualize the effect of the adjustments). You will have to read up about these functions to understand the difference. Some images will need a higher radius, some more detail, some extra masking (to prevent sharpening of low-detail areas) etc. Every image is different and only experience and trail and error will teach you what works in a given situation.

 

Sharpening and Noise Reduction are rightfully placed into the same module in LR, as the two are rather interdependent in the final rendition and clarity of the final image. An image with a higher ISO may require more NR, which will in turn occasionally require slightly more sharpening (in combination with masking) to compensate.

 

-Jason

 

ps. I feel like I can't help but mention that that particular image is another one that would have benefited from being shot at a lower ISO with a tripod, rather than at 1600 indoors in a darkened room.

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Just another thought. For jpegs I have an import preset of clarity 50 and saturation 20. Presumably I should apply this, if at all, after sharpening and NR for raws? The example I posted has it applied. It accentuates the stippling.

 

50 clarity is extremely high. Clarity will always accentuate any noise or banding present in the image.

 

-Jason

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Just another thought. For jpegs I have an import preset of clarity 50 and saturation 20. Presumably I should apply this, if at all, after sharpening and NR for raws? The example I posted has it applied. It accentuates the stippling.

Be very careful with clarity. It. It can have an effect similar to sharpening. 50 is a very high number especially on a JPG. You really risk 'over cooking' your photos like that. On a RAW I think the most I have ever applied to an Alamy image is between 15 and 20 and that's not a regular thing.

 

Apply clarity before NR and sharpening. Stick to the order of the sliders.

 

Edited to add: Try using vibrance instead of Saturafion. It's much more subtle. Saturafion boosts everything equally. Vibrance doesn't increase Saturafion on skin tones or on already heavily saturated colours.

 

Michael

Edited by Armstrong
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Just another thought. For jpegs I have an import preset of clarity 50 and saturation 20. Presumably I should apply this, if at all, after sharpening and NR for raws? The example I posted has it applied. It accentuates the stippling.

 

 

50 clarity is extremely high. Clarity will always accentuate any noise or banding present in the image.

 

-Jason

Agreed and also make noise worse.

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I discovered clarity as a way of cutting through airborne dust in Dubai where it worked fine and it stuck. Perhaps I am overdoing it now and I suppose with other processing on top it could have tipped some of mine over the QC line. Thanks.

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If previously you were shooting jpg and then importing and adjusting in LR then effectively you were 'baking the cake twice'. Effectively the JPG is an in camera RAW conversion.

 

If it helps these are the values I never exceed in LR on RAW files. I use a camera profile so that gets me most of the way already,

Exposure: as little as needed but the max the file can take is about 0.7 of a stop before it starts to be really noticeable.

Clarity: On average about 15.

Saturafion: Never

Vibrance: Hardly ever (as the camera profile adds that). No more than 10 if I do.

Input Sharpening: Never more than default/people preset/landscape preset with masking to only sharpen essential areas.

Output Sharpening: Never for Alamy.

Noise Reduction: Avoid unless essential. Never more than 10. If more than this is needed I consider the file to be unusable for Alamy.

 

If the RAW file is good enough you shouldn't need to be spend much time on it. Multiple dust spotting and 100% checks take more time for me than Develop module processing.

 

Michael

Edited by Armstrong
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If previously you were shooting jpg and then importing and adjusting in LR then effectively you were 'baking the cake twice'. Effectively the JPG is an in camera RAW conversion.

 

If it helps

Michael

It does. Thankyou.

I have got used to a bit of saturation to make the thumbs 'pop' a bit but I will have a rethink as I haven't used vibrance before.

Where does a camera profile come from?

Edited by spacecadet
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Just another thought. For jpegs I have an import preset of clarity 50 and saturation 20. Presumably I should apply this, if at all, after sharpening and NR for raws? The example I posted has it applied. It accentuates the stippling.

 

Deja vu: http://discussion.alamy.com/index.php?/topic/3708-am-i-doing-it-right/page-2?hl=clarity

 

As I said in that link from February, and as others have said here, clarity is effectively a sharpener, increasing midtone contrast. Clarity of 50 is massive. If you need such massive effective sharpening, presumably on top of in-camera jpeg sharpening, then there are serious problems with your images. It's got to be time to re-think everything.

 

 

For a start, there are loads of excellent video tutorials on Lightroom by Juleanne Kost on the Adobe site and if you can afford to invest £20 - 30 and can learn from books, Martin Evening is excellent. You could save yourself a lot of time and money by reading Martin Evening. After all, if you are going to Dubai or elsewhere and coming back with many unusable images and continually failing Alamy QC, then you are wasting a lot of time and money.

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If previously you were shooting jpg and then importing and adjusting in LR then effectively you were 'baking the cake twice'. Effectively the JPG is an in camera RAW conversion.

 

If it helps these are the values I never exceed in LR on RAW files. I use a camera profile so that gets me most of the way already,

Exposure: as little as needed but the max the file can take is about 0.7 of a stop before it starts to be really noticeable.

Clarity: On average about 15.

Saturafion: Never

Vibrance: Hardly ever (as the camera profile adds that). No more than 10 if I do.

Input Sharpening: Never more than default/people preset/landscape preset with masking to only sharpen essential areas.

Output Sharpening: Never for Alamy.

Noise Reduction: Avoid unless essential. Never more than 10. If more than this is needed I consider the file to be unusable for Alamy.

 

If the RAW file is good enough you shouldn't need to be spend much time on it. Multiple dust spotting and 100% checks take more time for me than Develop module processing.

 

Michael

 

I agree with most of this except for Noise Reduction and I'm not sure exactly what you mean by 10 there. I find that most images, especially from ISO 200 up on my kit, need color noise reduction, increasing with the ISO. This is with no capture sharpening (including clarity) at all. I also add a small amount of luminance noise reduction from ISO 400 up, again increasing with the ISO. The effects of color noise reduction are pretty negligible on sharpness at the settings I use  (about 25-50-50 until I get into  high ISO) but luminance noise reduction can cause significant softening above ISO 800 or so. I use about 25-50-0 as a starting point for luminance noise at ISO 400 depending on the image and can see little serious softening until I start to up the ISO and the noise sliders. Obviously the effects will depend on the other sliders as well but there are too many permutations to make general statements.

 

Also where did you see/hear about the order of the sliders being important in LR/ACR? I've never heard this before. I'm genuinely interested.

Edited by MDM
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