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10-01-2010, 03:45 AM   #1
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Color Rendering in RAW--DCU4 vs. LR 3.2

I know there have been other posts on this, but I've been experimenting with comparing color rendering between DCU4 and LR 3.2. I am finding that, all else being equalized, the colors on DCU RAW conversions are a lot more saturated compared to ACR 6.1 conversions in Lightroom. Even though DCU renderings often apear oversaturated, it is difficult to get the exact same color quality from ACR, even after adjusting saturation. It's obviously not a problem to get a pleasing rendering with LR, but it produces a somewhat different look nonetheless.

Here is a little experiment I did with one RAW photo. First version is Lightroom/ACR 6.1, set at identical color temp as DCU. It is tweaked only with a little + exposure and a fair amount of tint (to the green side) to match DCU rendering by eye. It is further processed in Photoshop with Topaz Adjust. Second shot is from the same RAW file, converted in DCU (slight exposure adjust, no tint or any other adjust) to jpg, brought into Photoshop and then given only the identical settings with Topaz Adjust. The Lightroom rendering looks more natural by comparison (DCU appears oversaturated), but the colors don't pop as much and there is less contrast between different colors. The LR version can be brought pretty close to the DCU rendering, but with a lot of tweaking, especially in Hue/Saturation/Luminance panel.

Having DCU4, LR 3.2 and Photoshop CS4 on hand, I am concluding that I would rarely want to depend solely on DCU4 conversions for the best look. If I feel I want to use DCU4--maybe for something that thrives on saturation like sunset scenes--I would still want to bring it into LR to use its flexibility and array of tools, and tame the DCU excesses in the process. In LR, it's possible to make a wide variety of rendering styles starting from scratch with completely different sets of adjustments. With DCU, not so much.

The third shot is an example of starting from scratch on LR using a completely different variety of settings (although still using Topaz Adjust, which I am getting a lot of use from and highly recommend!).

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10-01-2010, 04:13 AM   #2
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I like the third best.
10-07-2010, 02:08 PM   #3
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How can you compare the two programs if you have made manual adjustments?
You said you tweaked the tint in # 1 to match, by eye, #2. To my eye, they don't match at all. The first appears much cooler than the second.
This is especially evident in the clouds at center right.
10-13-2010, 02:09 AM   #4
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Parallax, you're right, the LR version IS much cooler than the DCU version. But this is primarily the result of the color temp, not the tint. Color temp is between yellow and blue; the tint takes you between green and magenta. So when I adjusted by eye, I was trying to get the LR tint as close as possible to the DCU tint to show the difference between the two programs when temperature is identical. As I moved the tint slider on the first image to green, you can see it lost some of the magenta in the sky in an attempt to recover green. I used the wrong wording when I said I 'matched' tint by eye. I should have said I attempted to approximate tint as best I could.

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