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Thread: Optimum order of PP steps?

  1. #1
    dragonaxe's Avatar
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    Optimum order of PP steps?

    Ok a real newbie question here Is there a prefered order involved in PP?
    Is it preferable to sharpen, reduce noise, then adjust curves etc? or does it really not matter which order things get dealt with?

  2. #2
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    I have seen this workflow recommended on the web ..

    1. Transfer Your Photos (get images from your camera/card into your computer)
    2. Edit Your Pictures (delete bad images, rename images etc)
    3. Convert RAW Files (including basic editing of white balance, exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpen etc)
    4. Crop Your Images (get rid of parts of the images that are distracting)
    5. Clean up and Enhance (clone out problems, manipulate the image in any way that changes elements of your shot)
    6. Check Contrast (using Levels palette to get full range of tones)
    7. Check Colour Balance (if needed use Levels, Colour Balance or Variations to tweak your colour balance).
    8. Save the Layers
    9. Flatten and Sharpen Up (flatten layers into one and do final sharpening)
    10. Save the Final Image

    Google 'Digital Photography workflow' for a host of information.

  3. #3

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    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    Hi Mike,

    Not a "great" workflow that you've found, in my opinion.

    Just a few thoughts that pop to mind ...

    If one uses Adobe Bridge then one can select the keepers ... move them to a PC ... rename them ... and convert them to DNG all in one operation.

    In the RAW converter one normally should do pretty much anything one CAN do, as (a) it's non-destructive, and (b) the image is still in a linear gamma at this stage, so the converter can simply tailor the conversion so that all global adjustments get done in 1 hit, as opposed to multiple adjustments when an image is open in a photo editing program (which is more destructive). The exception I make is capture sharpening; Canon recommend 300%, 0.3 pixels for my camera, and ACR won't do a radius of under 0.5 pixels.

    In Photoshop proper I normally start by fixing dust bunnies (even before capture sharpening) - then capture sharpening - and then "into whatever needs doing". Sometimes I'll crop early, but often (especially with portraiture) I'll rotate the image (sometimes quite a lot), and if you crop before doing that then you're sunk. Initially I'm often also not quite sure what I'm going to do with the image, and cropping too early can reduce those kinds of choices.

    I normally don't do content/creative sharpening until I've finished "pixel pushing" (as this can disturb the sharpening halos) (so I do it towards the end of the editing process), and then I'll do a final check of levels & saturation etc before printing. One would normally also apply output sharpening before printing, but because I ususally print in the region of 22 to 44 inches (long dimension), I don't need this bit.

  4. #4
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    Hi Gareth,

    When I used Elements (and 'simple' ACR), here's what I did.
    I don't say it's right for all and I will vary it if the picture content demands it, further, having just got CS5, I may well change it in future.

    1) Transfer images to PC via card reader
    2) Review and discard duff shots, including flicking to 100% to weed out the soft ones
    3) Basic RAW adjustments (white balance, exposure, brightness, contrast, straighten - but not a significant crop yet)
    4) Open in Elements, if necessary, Noise Reduce (Neat Image) - before even capture sharpening and certainly before cropping
    5) Crop, Capture sharpen, Local Contrast Enhance
    6) Optionally save as a 16 bit psd because with Elements, you'll need to convert to 8 bit before continuing further, but I did as much as I could in 16 bit first and as much in ACR as possible before that
    7) Cloning, selective (dodge, burn, etc.) and layer work as necessary
    8) Save as 8 bit psd with layers
    9) Flatten, then down size for web use, final sharpen USM, save as jpg

    The reason for saving at different stages (with different filenames, of course) is so that when someone here says "why didn't you ...", I can reopen a good quality (non jpg) version at the most suitable point in the workflow and take it from there rather than start afresh from the RAW.

    Also, I always leave the file open in Elements while I upload; often one doesn't see the blinking obvious until then, so if the image is still open in the image editor, a few undo clicks undoes step 9 and you can tweak whatever you forgot at full resolution, with no quality loss, then downsize, sharpen and re-save again (because that bit takes < 1 minute).

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 19th September 2010 at 09:49 PM.

  5. #5

    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    Tired/drunk methodology

    1) Transfer images to PC
    2) Look at images
    3) Delete the images
    4) Go to bed. Optimum order of PP steps?

    What was the question again?

  6. #6
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    ...Not a "great" workflow that you've found, in my opinion.
    I don't disagree or use it, but a quick Google search found what looked a fairly simple approach. I personally use Lightroom for both cataloguing and about 75% of my edits only moving to CS5 for more involved selective adjustments.
    Mike

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    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    Tired/drunk methodology

    1) Transfer images to PC
    2) Look at images
    3) Delete the images
    4) Go to bed.

    What was the question again?
    Yes, but you're a professional. Us amateurs have to work at it just to feel more professional.

  8. #8

    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    I do what Colin does. But I can't be rsd to type that lot out when he's already done so.

  9. #9

    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clactonian View Post
    Yes, but you're a professional. Us amateurs have to work at it just to feel more professional.
    Ok, OK, I can see I will have to take this seriously...

    1. Download images by direct telepathic thought transference.
    2. Interlace my fingers and do that cracking business.
    3. Sniff some Jasmine salts (or something else)
    4. Hit the new 1000 computer with the baseball bat because it needs to buck it's damn ideas up!
    5. Take five for an Indian head massage from the young lady next door.
    6. Look at my images
    7. Despair
    8. Take another Prozac
    9. Fiddle with some things in the raw... no, sorry, wrong forum... fiddle with some things in the RAW processor!
    10. Move them to Photoshop and work some eeby-jeeby magic on them
    11. File them on my PC for the next 500 years so that in 2510 a technology archaeologist will discover them and proclaim "What the f...."

  10. #10
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    I think we can all see where we're going wrong now Rob. No wonder you're hair is standing on end.

  11. #11

    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clactonian View Post
    I think we can all see where we're going wrong now Rob. No wonder you're hair is standing on end.
    It takes skill, practice and long hours of dedicated idleness. You either have it... or you don't.

  12. #12

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    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clactonian View Post
    I don't disagree or use it, but a quick Google search found what looked a fairly simple approach. I personally use Lightroom for both cataloguing and about 75% of my edits only moving to CS5 for more involved selective adjustments.
    Mike
    Hi Mike,

    Yes - I appreciate that it's a workflow you found, not one you use personally

  13. #13
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonaxe View Post
    Ok a real newbie question here Is there a preferred order involved in PP?
    Is it preferable to sharpen, reduce noise, then adjust curves etc? or does it really not matter which order things get dealt with?
    It all depends on what your doing and what programs you have got: if you have CS5 life must be very easy, but I don't and I have chosen a selection of programs to keep things 16 bit and lossless as long as possible. I never record anything in jpeg in camera and I don't think I have ever done so. Might have once just to see if it works like the auto mode got used once on my first dslr after 6 months of having it just through curiosity.

    Transfer raw files; actually I have a CF card and I do this stuff on the CF and if I want HDR now I'm having problems with white balance and Digital Photo Professional can convert to 16 bit tiff a white balanced image that I can then use in Picturenaut, although Picturenaut turfs out something without a colour profile it is easier to work with than if I put raw straight in. Don't know why, it used to work on raw that had the white balance set by (DPP) but now it doesn't.

    Now we get to the most important bit, and this is where PSE comes in; if we ain't doing HDR this is the first application and basic white balance, black point ect is done in Adobe Camera Raw but if it is the second due to HDR then just open the image in PSE.

    I have a couple of plugins that are 16 bit, Topaz Denoise5 and Topaz Detail. Choose noise reduction first unless you only plan on doing a 6 x 4 print in which case there is no point doing anything, reduce noise but don't sharpen.

    Then Topaz Detail is used very carefully to sharpen; the large detail is the same as local contrast but with medium detail gives more control. The deblur is RL deconvolution which is a fancy word for something that sharpens without halo artifacts. There is also some sliders for changing light and I like these a lot but wished they had included a graph because I almost always blow red or yellow, not that it is easy to tell.

    Now I'm nearly done, if I want to do special effects I have to change the mode to 8 bit but mostly I try to keep it 16 bit right up to the end.

    I have another 16 bit application called Helicon Filter, the old version was great and now it is updated I have loads of trouble with it, but essentially I am only going to fix distortions, clone, fix CA crop and put a frame round it. Now I save to 8 bit jpeg and only now.

    The only other thing I do is resize for this place in PSE and use a high pass filter saving a smaller lower quality copy in a special CiC folder.

    The main point is I keep it 16 bit for as long as possible and do noise reduction as early as possible and always before sharpening. cheers

  14. #14

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    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    methodology

    1) Transfer images to PC
    2) Look at images
    3) Delete the images
    4) Go to bed.

    Some days, I find it better to skip 1 & (especially)2....

  15. #15
    Rhoads238's Avatar
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    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    Ok, OK, I can see I will have to take this seriously...

    1. Download images by direct telepathic thought transference.
    2. Interlace my fingers and do that cracking business.
    3. Sniff some Jasmine salts (or something else)
    4. Hit the new 1000 computer with the baseball bat because it needs to buck it's damn ideas up!
    5. Take five for an Indian head massage from the young lady next door.
    6. Look at my images
    7. Despair
    8. Take another Prozac
    9. Fiddle with some things in the raw... no, sorry, wrong forum... fiddle with some things in the RAW processor!
    10. Move them to Photoshop and work some eeby-jeeby magic on them
    11. File them on my PC for the next 500 years so that in 2510 a technology archaeologist will discover them and proclaim "What the f...."
    hahahaha that gave me a good laugh

  16. #16

    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    Quote Originally Posted by proseak View Post
    methodology

    1) Transfer images to PC
    2) Look at images
    3) Delete the images
    4) Go to bed.

    Some days, I find it better to skip 1 & (especially)2....
    Well, actually, (and I know this is a family forum), but some days if I have been indulging in my step #5 (see above post #15) I will skip 1, 2, and 3, and go straight to 4.

    Something tells me I'm about to get a PM from Sean telling me I'm not taking member's threads seriously...

  17. #17
    dragonaxe's Avatar
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    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    Please don't take all posts seriously!!! There's so much for a newbie to learn, it'll just be too imposing if everyone's too erudite!!

  18. #18
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    My preferred sequence for Post Production

    1. Take Picture
    2. Show Client LCD
    3. Take money
    4. END

    ***

    Serious comment, I never CROP anything, until all the PP is done.

    WW

  19. #19

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    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    My preferred sequence for Post Production

    1. Take Picture
    2. Show Client LCD
    3. Take money
    4. END

    ***

    Serious comment, I never CROP anything, until all the PP is done.

    WW
    Shouldn't Step 4 be REPEAT?

  20. #20
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Optimum order of PP steps?

    Yeah . . .


    But I'd have to take another Photo.

    Crikey what a Slave Driver!

    Cheers and Beers,

    Bill

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