Enhance Details Before or After Other Adjustments?

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    Topic: Enhance Details Before or After Other Adjustments? Read 574 Times
  • Chris Kern
    Chris Kern
    Participant
    Posts: 19
    Adobe Lightroom & Adobe Camera Raw
    on: July 20, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Is there any reason to invoke Lightroom’s Enhance Details feature before rather than after making other adjustments (tone curve, color, etc.)?  And if one approach is inherently better than the other, would that apply to both global and local adjustments?  I can’t find any “best practices” advice on the Adobe website and my limited experimentation hasn’t yielded a clear answer.

    My instinct is to make as many changes as possible before rendering the raw data, and thus save Enhance Details for the final step.  But since the whole point is to wring as much fine detail as possible out of the raw sensor data, I’ll do whatever yields the superior technical advantage.

    I’m primarily interested in Fuji X-Trans files, in case that makes a difference.  I haven’t seen much benefit in using the feature on other files (mostly Nikon NEFs) where I’ve tried it.

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    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Participant
    Posts: 230
    Re: Enhance Details Before or After Other Adjustments?
    Reply #1 on: July 20, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Hi Chris,

    One feature of working in LR is that the order in which you perform edits doesn’t matter to the appearance of the rendered photo – i.e. you can do the steps in any order you wish, LR will process them according to its own internal procedures and the outcome will be the same whatever the order. The only practical difference it makes is what you see on your display as you progress. So for example, because Enhance Detail and Sharpening have somewhat overlapping effects and you will sharpen regardless of any other adjustments, if you Enhance Detail before you sharpen, when you get to sharpening the screen appearance may appear overly crisp; whereas if you had sharpened first, then you would see as you start to apply “Enhance Detail” when to stop.

    Mark D Segal
    Author: Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, published by LaserSoft Imaging AG
    https://www.silverfast.com/downloads/92ed080ac1ae274ea6aeed756a504f7a/en.html

    Chris Kern
    Chris Kern
    Participant
    Posts: 19
    Re: Enhance Details Before or After Other Adjustments?
    Reply #2 on: July 20, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    One feature of working in LR is that the order in which you perform edits doesn’t matter to the appearance of the rendered photo – i.e. you can do the steps in any order you wish, LR will process them according to its own internal procedures and the outcome will be the same whatever the order.

    That’s certainly true in general, but since as soon is is applied the Enhance Details feature emits an intermediate rendered file—a linear DNG—I presume that means any subsequent adjustments made to that file involve modifying the pixels rather than just producing an edit list that will be applied to the raw sensor data according to Lightroom’s internal logic when an output file is generated.  (One exception: white balance, because, as I understand it, the linear DNG is still scene-referred.)

    Am I missing something here?

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    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Participant
    Posts: 230
    Re: Enhance Details Before or After Other Adjustments?
    Reply #3 on: July 20, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    That’s the key question – whether the DNG is a Rendered file – and I haven’t seen it addressed in the commentaries I looked at. DNG of course is a raw file format, but it can be used as a shell for rendered TIFFs, for example. Perhaps the best way of finding out what effect the processing order has on such a file is to experiment with a series of well designed edits done in different order – as to which you do on the DNG and which you do on the original, and see whether it makes a large enough difference to be concerned about.

    Mark D Segal
    Author: Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, published by LaserSoft Imaging AG
    https://www.silverfast.com/downloads/92ed080ac1ae274ea6aeed756a504f7a/en.html

    Chris Kern
    Chris Kern
    Participant
    Posts: 19
    Re: Enhance Details Before or After Other Adjustments?
    Reply #4 on: July 20, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    That’s the key question – whether the DNG is a Rendered file

    Apparently it is.  Sharad Mangalick explicitly refers to it as a demosaicing method in his Adobe blog entry introducing the feature and a number of other commenters, including Victoria Bampton, have described the file emitted by Enhance Details as a “linear DNG.”

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    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Participant
    Posts: 230
    Re: Enhance Details Before or After Other Adjustments?
    Reply #5 on: July 20, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Being a linear DNG I think could mean simply that the file is in DNG format with no contrast curve applied. But perhaps none of this matters. Let’s say you were to import a fully rendered TIFF file into Lightroom and edit the tone and colour in LR instead of in Photoshop. Here again the order in which you make the edits would not matter because LR will process them according to its own procedure; (however if you were editing in Photoshop the ordering of the layer stack definitely does matter – it’s the way the application works, not the file format). So what difference would it make between these two options in LR: (A) don’t edit much, create the Enhanced Detail version and do most of the editing on this version, or (B) do all the editing before implementing Enhanced Detail, then implement Enhanced Detail and do any finishing touches on this version. Given that all this editing, whether for workflow A or B is happening in LR, I kind of suspect the workflow order doesn’t matter except for the order in which you see the application of effects as I mentioned above. But also as I mentioned above, perhaps the only way to be sure may be to try it both ways on a sample of different types of photo and compare.

    Mark D Segal
    Author: Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, published by LaserSoft Imaging AG
    https://www.silverfast.com/downloads/92ed080ac1ae274ea6aeed756a504f7a/en.html

    Andrew Rodney
    Andrew Rodney
    Participant
    Posts: 56
    Re: Enhance Details Before or After Other Adjustments?
    Reply #6 on: July 23, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    Linear DNG’s, those produced from Enhanced Detail are partially rendered, not fully raw.
    LR and ACR will still apply the edits in the order the engineers believe is best approach, not user order but Linear DNG’s are partially baked which users should consider.

    Linear DNG’s are well described here:

    http://www.barrypearson.co.uk/articles/dng/linear.htm

    Author: “Color Management for Photographers”

    Chris Kern
    Chris Kern
    Participant
    Posts: 19
    Re: Enhance Details Before or After Other Adjustments?
    Reply #7 on: July 23, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Linear DNG’s, those produced from Enhanced Detail are partially rendered, not fully raw. . . .

    Linear DNG’s are well described here:
    http://www.barrypearson.co.uk/articles/dng/linear.htm

    Thanks for that link.  It’s a useful reminder of how much you can still do with a linear DNG.

    So it would seem that the only adjustments that really should be applied prior to invoking Enhance Details are the few global ones that are explicitly designed to manipulate raw sensor data: Transform (e.g., perspective correction), stitching, HDR—am I missing anything?—and that all the other Lightroom controls will have the same effect on the demosaiced linear DNG file as on the raw one.

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    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Chris Kern.
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