My workflow for non-IR images is to start in Lightroom 4 and then go to Photoshop if necessary. For my IR images I have started using Capture NX2 to open the RAW NEF file and set the white balance.
All good so far. If I save as a NEF and import into LR, the new whitebalance is lost and the image looks 'as shot'. As a workaround I have been using the CNX2 'Open With' option which goes directly to Photoshop. Photoshop opens the image as a tiff and preservs the new WB setting.
As an experiment in CNX2 I saved the image as a TIFF and then imported it into LR. Now the new white balance was preserved. So I can go from CNX2 to LR if I save the image in CNX2 as a TIFF. It didn't seem to make a difference whether I check the 'embed ICC profile' box.
So my question is why am I losing the wb setting if in CNX2 I save the image as an NEF (no XMP file seems to be created). Am I doing something wrong.
They are different programs with different ways of saving edit data. It's the same reason edits in the two programs also can't be read by Capture One or DxO. If you want to work with infrared images in NX2, but maintain a LR catalog and editing capability for everything else, you have to save your images as TIFFs.
Thanks Rick and Eric, That is what I found out from my experimentation but I just wanted to confirm that I wasn't missing something. So for IR I will add a first step to my workflow where I set the WB in CNX2 and then save as a TIFF.
You mentioned saving the file as a NEF. I was not aware that any program would save a file as NEF/RAW. One thing alluded to but I don't think was stated is that a RAW file does not have a white balance at all. It contains what the camera detected the white balance as and that is used to display the image but the raw converter sets the white balance and saves the file as jpeg, tiff, psd, or whatever.
It does seem that the camera assumed white balance could be edited in the RAW file but I haven't seen a way to do that. I use Lightroom to edit my IR shots without a problem, do you find that CNX2 does a better job?
CNX2 allows saving as a nef. I remember that some other program(s) (I can't remember which ones at the moment) allow raw edits. When you save the NEF is not changed but an xmp sidecar file is created that contains the edits so the process is non-destructive.
Initially, I was not able to sucessfully set white balance in Lightroom because the temperature slider starts off at the left at 2000 and slidng it right only makes the image pinker.
>CNX2 allows saving as a nef. I remember that some other >program(s) (I can't remember which ones at the moment) allow >raw edits. When you save the NEF is not changed but an xmp >sidecar file is created that contains the edits so the process >is non-destructive. > >Initially, I was not able to sucessfully set white balance in >Lightroom because the temperature slider starts off at the >left at 2000 and slidng it right only makes the image pinker. > > >One method that sort of let me set wb was to use adobe dng >profile editor >(https://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/product.jsp?product=195&platform=Windows) >to establish a camera profile for IR. If this camera profile >is selected in the LR Develop module a better wb can be set. >
>That being said I did not get good results using this method. >Others on this forum recommended CNX2 as the best method for >setting WB so I purchased it and find it very good. > >I am curious as to the method you use to set WB in Lightroom. >If you could post a before and after image it would be >interesting. I've had a drive failure here and am awaiting recovery, However I did find an example of before and after. Processed in Lightroom
Hi Jim, I think I see why there is a disconnect. I would like to see your image in LR after setting WB but before the black and white. Getting good 'color' is important in getting a good black and white. My ir filter is super-color and after setting wb I go into ps, do a red- blue channel swap and end up with a false color ir image.
Since you are staying in black and white you may have an inaccurate wb and not realize it.
>Hi Jim, >I think I see why there is a disconnect. I would like to see >your image in LR after setting WB but before the black and >white. Getting good 'color' is important in getting a good >black and white. My ir filter is super-color and after >setting wb I go into ps, do a red- blue channel swap and end >up with a false color ir image. > >Since you are staying in black and white you may have an >inaccurate wb and not realize it. > >Just a thought. >Steve
OK, I see the disconnect. I've never thought of "correct" white balance in IR just what I like. Is what you're calling "correct" meaning getting rid of color while still in RGB before further adjustments? I have had trouble doing that in Lightroom. I have done the red/blue swap in PS which I like but haven't done too much of I got side-tracked into HDR for awhile here. Jim
When you look at the ir. image it is pinkish. Ideally you would sample the color at a place in the image that was gray. For ir this could be what was a green plant or possibly a cloud. Ideally it would be a gray card. Then if you set the white balance based on that sample when you open the image in LR the sampled area should be gray. That's how you know the white balance is correct. Typically the sky will be reddish and the green plants bluish and gray objects will be gray. Then if you do a color swap the sky becomes blue and the plants become reddish or orangish and the gray objects remain gray.
>When you look at the ir. image it is pinkish. Ideally you >would sample the color at a place in the image that was gray. >For ir this could be what was a green plant or possibly a >cloud. Ideally it would be a gray card. Then if you set the >white balance based on that sample when you open the image in >LR the sampled area should be gray. That's how you know the >white balance is correct. Typically the sky will be reddish >and the green plants bluish and gray objects will be gray. >Then if you do a color swap the sky becomes blue and the >plants become reddish or orangish and the gray objects remain >gray.
I see where you're coming from and what you describe would work great on a color image. Infra red has no color visible to humans so a reading off a grey card and setting it to grey seems pretty arbitrary. Shooting black & white through colored filters is the way we old timers adjusted the look of monochrome and here any method that gives you the tone you're looking for seems fair.
I haven't dragged out my D100 IR for quite a while. You guys are inspiring me and certainly giving me good ideas to try.
If you set the wb accurately, you can then convert to black and white and be able to use the equivalent of the colored filters to alter the tonal range of the individual colors to get a pleasing b&w effect.
A lot of conversions allow some of the color spectrum to pass rather than a pure IR only image. While IR has no visible color, the adjoining spectrum is red. Having some color in the image allows better use of selective editing tools during post processing.
WB is helpful to correct color before conversion to B&W. If WB is wrong, the conversion won't be as good.
The examples in that thread were made with a D800 modified by Life Pixel to Super Color. ACR and LR work well for me, I get an accurate white balance, and the resulting images made with NX2 and ACR/LR (and later inverted in Photoshop) look virtually identical to me. The added benefit is that I don't break my workflow.
Currently, I am using NX2 as a file browser and for the initial WB of my IR images. My steps are as follows:
I browse the memory card with NX2. I open the NEFs that look like keepers and perform WB in NX2 and in some cases when necessary may apply exposure, contrast, and highlight/shadow recovery. Most images do not require the latter set of adjustments in NX2. I then save the NEF and TIF from NX2 to the appropriate folder in my image hierarchy. Next, I go to LR and "synchronize" the folder into my catalog. This step is essentially the same function as an import for non IR images. I open the TIF in LR, set the lens profile, check for out of bounds highlights or shadows, adjust if absolutely necessary, and then send the TIF to CS6 using the "edit in Photoshop with LR adjustments".
The above work flow does become a space hog, but it does allow for rework if I am unhappy with a result. e.g. I do not overwrite the NX2 generated TIF. In fact, I can re-open the NX2 generated TIF and perform another WB on a different part of the image if I find I need a different result.
I really want to get the work flow posted by Rick using LR instead of NX2 to work for me. So far, my images continue to come out flat using the described process. To be fair, I need to regenerate a DNG camera profile using a gray card and try again. It would be great to drop NX2 from the workflow.
To clarify, I use ViewNX 2 to get an idea of how the shoot went. NX2 follows with a closer look at the potential keepers and the first action of white balancing. I really don't consider ViewNX 2 to be part of the workflow since I make no changes with it just as I don't consider reviewing images on the camera's LCD to be a workflow step.
Yes, I did use the contrast and vibrancy starting points and the settings you mentioned for the DNG generated camera profile. LR does not want to WB anywhere near the temp and tint you mentioned for the Supercolor filter. The WB temp is much higher and the image remains dull even when pumped up.
Let's still consider this user error. As mentioned, I need to take a few shots with my gray card in early, mid day, and late day and regenerate the DNG profile(s) and see if that helps.
Just to clarify, if you get a much higher WB temperature than you were expecting, you need to reduce the temp off-set and potentially the tint setting from what I mention. I am happy to look at specific NEFs if anyone wants to send them to me, ideally ones that contain an item that will be used for white balancing. A DNG that's been reduced in size and compressed is even better.
I'm still having a problem with the way white balance is being discussed. I just opened an untouched IR shot of a barn, tree, and field. It was, as you would expect, very pink. Using the eyedropper white balance control I sampled what I knew to be a blue sky, a green tree, a red barn,and a dark grey roof. The balance settings I got were so close to equal that they made no visible difference in the image. All of the sampled points resulted in a temp of about 2000 and a tint of -145 to -150. I can see where different cameras and different IR filters would require different settings but what I sample makes no visible difference.
I guess I will add a couple more tweeks to this thread. Because Nikon CNX2 reads the camera settings and applies them when the image opens, I start with my in-camera Picture Controls set to Vivid, sharpening at 6 (one click right of center), and contrast at +1 (this is for a D90). CNX2 will use these settings and I can adjust them as necessary. Using in-camera Picture Controls will address many of the same issues Rick works with when he bumps the contrast to +25 and vibrance to +30 in his DNG profile.
My CNX2 workflow includes setting the white balance, straightening the horizon if necessary, and trying the autolevels function to see how the photo looks. Once this is done, I convert the photo to a TIFF and take it into Photoshop.
I sometimes open the TIFF file in Camera RAW which provides a versitile set of post-processing controls.
It is my opinion or experience that auto-levels work best using Photoshop (Image > Adjustments > Levels > Auto). However, once in a while auto-levels look better with CNX (Adjust > Light > Auto Levels). I try each... but usually Photoshop wins that task.