I'm finding out, through reading posts here, that there is a method to the madness when it comes to the digital darkroom.
In reading the sharpening post I see that most prefer to sharpen as the last step which got me to thinking...
What are the correct/accepted work flow steps for RAW images?
If this has been beat to death before then a link to a good thread perhaps?
#1. "RE: Workflow" | In response to Reply # 0
Fri 16-Apr-10 01:04 PM
I think your question relating to workflow can be read in two different ways. Do you mean workflow in case of a single image: in what order should white balance, levels, saturation, sharpening, cropping, ect. be applied? Or do you mean an overall workflow for a big bunch of images: how to import them into a cataloguing program and how to extract the images to an external editor?
As to sharpening, an ideal workflow involves sharpening in three separate phases: capture sharpening to compensate for the demosaicing (creation of one multi-color pixel from three or four single-color subpixels), effect sharpening (sharpening points of interest and possibly blurring the rest), and output sharpening (compensating for image degradation due to rescaling).
#2. "RE: Workflow" | In response to Reply # 1
TerryMc Nikonian since 25th Oct 2008Fri 16-Apr-10 01:50 PM
>I think your question relating to workflow can be read in two
>different ways. Do you mean workflow in case of a single
>image: in what order should white balance, levels, saturation,
>sharpening, cropping, ect. be applied? Or do you mean an
>overall workflow for a big bunch of images: how to import them
>into a cataloguing program and how to extract the images to an
Should have been more specific, sorry. This has to do with post processing on a single image and, as you stated, what order should thinks like , WB, cropping etc should be applied.
#3. "RE: Workflow" | In response to Reply # 2
Mon 19-Apr-10 06:34 AM
Sorry I couldnt reply earlier, I was travelling most of the weekend.
For me, the first step is deciding what the theme, mood or message of the picture is. The attached picture was actually taken by my wife but I do the postprocessing for her. The scenery was magnificent but there was quite a bit of mist or haze. The picture is from Big Sur coast, and it was an eerie feeling for Finnish tourists like us to stand at a spot from which you take a straight line and sail to China, Japan or whatever. In southern Finland, there arent too many places where you can stand on the continent and see the horizon, because it is usually blocked from view by the archipelago. So lets call the theme vastness.
The next thing is to decide how the various parts of the image contribute to that them, mood or message. To convey the message of vastness in front-to-back direction, the foreground needs to be have more contrast, saturation and sharpness than the background. To convey the message of vastness in left-to-right direction, I wanted to accentuate the flow of mist from the ocean over the coastline. It was self-evident that the rock near the center should serve as the focal point.
If the picture had any elements that will always be cropped out, it would be best to crop first, to prevent the cropped portions from influencing the histograms. Likewise, straightening needs to be done early, before setting any color control points, because the control points dont relocate when you straighten the picture.
With Capture NX2, I think it is best to start with white balance and overall tonality (levels, black & white points), saturation and contrast. In pictures like this, I like to set the overall tonality for picture portions that need the least amount of boosting.
After the overall tonality, lets do the regional fixes via gradients. In the Big Sur picture, I did two contrast and saturation boosts, one above the horizon and one below it, such that the region near the horizon, which is farthest away from the viewer is least affected. The next thing is local fixes via color control points. I generally increased contrast and saturation for elements near the viewer, but for the mist arising from the ocean, I did the opposite.
The last thing is usually sharpening. I used a moderate amount of USM for the overall picture, some high-pass sharpening for the edges near the viewer and a more aggressive high-pass, plus additional contrast enhancement, for the sharp rock which is the focal point.
By the way, we were told by a local that the pink floating stuff is not pollution but shell bits from crustaceans, which is why the overall saturation boost for the ocean was acceptable. Had the pink stuff been pollution, I would have restricted the saturation to the blue channel.
Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)
#5. "RE: Workflow" | In response to Reply # 4
tomhob Registered since 10th Jan 2009Mon 19-Apr-10 10:34 PM
I am not a pro, so don't take my advice seriously; but, when I'm in Capture NX2 with a normal batch of photos, while still in RAW, I used the "Adjust" menu to check my shots.
I start with "Light" (Sometimes checking the effects of auto color and D-Lighting, which sometimes helps and sometimes not
Second I go to "Color" and try some of those adjustments for effect.
Next I go to "Control" and click on auto distortion control.
Last I go to "Focus" for "Unsharp Mask" and I only use this at 100& magnification. And usually end up using a little adjustment on the 'Threshold' to tone down the noise after I've used intensity and radius. Then I look at it in 50% magnification for how it might look when I print it.
Typically, I only end up using the "Control" for auto distortion and some minor tweaking in "Focus" unsharp mask.
The :Adjust" menu is my definition of NX2 for Dummies.
But, there is no image flow that will turn a bad shot into a great shot.
If I have a really great shot that I want to be extremely careful with, then I use Jason Odell's "Photographers Guide to Capture NX2."