Linear Profile Follow-Up
First off, I want to offer a sincere “thank you” to everyone who has contributed RAW images to help expand the linear profile repository. There are now free linear profiles for nearly 170 cameras available on this site, and I hope to keep adding more. I also appreciate the feedback from photographers who have experimented with the linear profiles on their images. Many have let me know they’ve had good results. That’s not surprising. Linear profiles provide additional flexibility and often an improved RAW file conversion. Once installed, it’s super easy to try the linear profile during any RAW conversion in Lightroom or Camera Raw to see if it makes a difference. I hope you’ll try working with a linear profile on a few images and see what you think. Also, if your camera isn’t listed on the repository page, please contact me to get it added.
Here are a few of other things worth mentioning about linear profiles.
- You won’t apply a linear profile using the Camera Raw filter inside Photoshop. I show how to install the linear profile using Photoshop’s Camera Raw filter in the installation PDF, but installation and application are two different things. The linear profile can only be applied to a RAW file during the conversion process. That means using Lightroom or Camera Raw (not the same as the Camera Raw filter). Some people have written that they can’t see their installed linear profile. That’s likely because they are trying to use it on an image in Photoshop via the Camera Raw filter. That’s not going to work. A RAW file is the only image the linear profile can be applied to. So make sure you’re working with a RAW file in Lightroom or Camera Raw when you want to apply the linear profile in your workflow. You can then open the converted image in Photoshop to finish processing it.
- If you already have a dedicated color-matching workflow, I’m not advocating discarding it in favor of using a linear profile. There are people who have indicated they’ve found ways to combine color-matching with linear profiles (and several more who have asked about it), but this is not an area where I have any expertise. I use linear profiles simply because they help enhance creativity in my workflow. I go with what looks right when it comes to image color and am relatively unconcerned if my choice is correct relative to the original subject. So, if you already have a workflow that properly matches output color to your satisfaction, I’d stick with it until someone publishes additional information on how to incorporate linear profiles into the color-matching process.
- No linear profiles for “monochrome” cameras. RAW files from monochrome cameras, like some Leica models, can’t be imported into the Adobe DNG Profile Editor that’s used to create the linear profile. So I’m not able to profile these monochrome-only cameras.
- Linear profiles for cameras where the sensor has been converted for infrared photography are questionable. In fact, I’m not sure if linear profiles are even possible with these converted cameras or if they’d be as effective as linear profiles for color images. Page 8 of the documentation for the Adobe DNG Editor instructions discusses infrared-modified cameras if anyone wants to experiment with this.
Triple Play Actions
Dave Kelly has a good video on using the Lights and Darks Triple Play found in TK Actions menu of the TK7 Combo and Cx modules. The Triple Play can help improve brightness, contrast, and detail in the image. It creates a set of layers on the Layers panel in Photoshop, and users then turn on the visibility of different layers to achieve the desired effect. My favorite way to use these actions is using the Darks Triple Play to enhance image details, and Dave demonstrates how to do this. The Lights Triple play is best used for enhancing brightness and contrast in the highlights. Both actions are easy to use once you understand what they do. Watch Dave’s video and I think you’ll be ready to give both a try.
Luminosity Mask Workflow
In a second video linked below, Dave presents a simple Photoshop workflow involving luminosity masks. Lights, Darks, Midtone, and Zone masks are used along with the “mask-the-mask” technique to isolate the adjustments to specific parts of the image. One thing that comes through in this video is that luminosity masks aren’t restricted to making just brightness and contrast adjustments in the image. Dave also uses them for making Hue/Saturation adjustments, and this demonstrates the flexibility of these masks. Basically, once you’ve found the right mask to target what you want to adjust in the image, you can use whichever adjustment works best to accomplish your goal. Regardless of the type of adjustment, the self-feathering nature of luminosity masks insures all adjustments through these masks blend smoothly into the image.
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