Best Post Process from Raw to JPG

cybercordcybercord Registered Users Posts: 5 Big grins
Ok , real simple, what is the best post processing from RAW to JPG, in some Detail? I shoot 100% RAW and first process with LR CC. I know how to get JPGs from that , but also know how to do this via PS CC. Just wondering before starting to play around is it better, while in LR to edit with PS and then save as a JPG with the extra processing of PS? I want to take advantage of my cropped pictures to enlarge to get the best detail from prints or canvas.


  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,706 moderator
    edited May 16, 2017

    "Real simple", it's not that simple.

    Each image may have specific problems and remediations, special merits and treatments, which can combine to produce the best results for that image.

    In terms of image detail, the appropriate choice of noise reduction and sharpening, which may also require (for instance) individualized corrections for capture sharpening, global and local sharpening, contrast and saturation adjustments, output sharpening, etc. Knowing when to use the tools available in Lightroom (which I do not use) and Photoshop (or any other post-processing software), and knowing when it's best to make particular changes and corrections, is all a matter of years of experience, personal style and photographic intent for the image (including your "vision" for the image). No single workflow works best with all images.

    If the image is commissioned for a particular client, versus a general audience or a marketing image, that can temper both your attitude towards the image as well as particular treatments of the image.

    I think that the first thing you should do for a meritorious image, one that you recognize as having potential worthy of time and trouble, is to slow down and try several treatments.

    As far as maximizing detail, start with proper acquisition.

    For instance, does a particular "scene" warrant some extra attention in the initial capture? Might you be better using multiple overlapping images, stitched together in post-production? How about multiple images, stacked together for super-resolution? Does a particular RAW de-mosaicing engine work better on a particular image, or even just a particular region of an image?

    For single image capture using a single RAW file I do like to start with interpolating the image larger, in the RAW processor (ACR is my Adobe preference, but not what I normally use), than the photosite count (commonly called the "pixels" rating by the manufacturer). This yields the following advantages:

    • A much greater harvest of pixels for further noise reduction and sharpening algorithms, which simply gives greater control over halos, etc. (I greatly prefer to defer noise reduction for the post-RAW phase of image processing for critical work.) Specifically, High-Pass and Deconvolution sharpening can both get grainy rather quickly, so adding more pixels beforehand makes a lot of sense.
    • A demonstrable improvement over image rotation and straightening operations, even though Adobe does use sub-pixel rendering for those operations. Stair-stepping and aliasing issues mostly go away with the increase in pixels.
    • Using multiple captures of the same subject and then combining the images in post for resolution and detail increase and/or noise reduction also improves with RAW upres first, IMO.

    To summarize, use whatever software and methodology you have available, and use your own best judgment and experience, to process your images. Give yourself the time to learn and grow, and don't try to rush the process for important images.

    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,706 moderator

    I should add that my initial use or upressing images in the RAW processor started from reading this thread:

    Scroll down until you read the comment from Thomas Knoll, Nov 28, 2008 8:50 AM. (Thomas Knoll is the genius behind much of Photoshop code.)

    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • cybercordcybercord Registered Users Posts: 5 Big grins
    Ziggy , Thanks for the comments, but I understood all that and have been doing this for a few years. My days of shooting race events started in film around 1985. I shoot racing events so really hard to get multiple shots of the "subject" to take your advice on stacking or merging photos together. Slowest speed of my shots are around 70 MPH, if the wall is not impeding the progress. :). I was looking more into whether the RAW2JPG from lightroom is any better than LR tweaks then to PS and save as JPG to get the highest acccurate JPG as the end results. I understand all the other stuff matters before the final step. I have customers that want 16x20 and sometime 24x36 enlargements and no complaints yet about my shots. Thanks again. :)
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,706 moderator
    edited May 16, 2017

    I suggest that if you plan to use Photoshop then you might be better off using ACR/Bridge for ingest, capture sharpening and basic color correction.

    Lightroom basically has the same ACR engine to start, but in the transfer to Photoshop I believe that Adobe uses 16 bit TIFF files to transfer back and forth. It should not be much of a problem as 16 bit TIFF still has tons of data, but opening as a Smart Object may contain even more data (unsure about that).

    Hoping that others chime in here.

    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • RichardRichard Administrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,876 moderator

    @cybercord said:
    I was looking more into whether the RAW2JPG from lightroom is any better than LR tweaks then to PS and save as JPG to get the highest acccurate JPG as the end results.

    It sounds like you ought to be able to test that yourself with a few images. Make your raw adjustments in LR, then make a virtual copy. Open one copy and save it as a jpg in PS, then export the other from LR. Make sure that you use the same color space and save at the highest quality. I'm guessing that there won't be a visible difference, but if you want to do some pixel peeping, open both jpgs as separate layers in PS and put the top layer into difference blending mode. Anything that's not black represents a difference.

  • FergusonFerguson Registered Users Posts: 1,339 Major grins

    Adobe has the same ACR, and I would be very surprised if they used a different engine for conversion from their internal representation to jpg in LR vs. PS, so the differences there are going to be things you can do to it before export. E.g. content aware fill is much better in Photoshop than LR, but the underlying process for conversion is going to be the same (on similar versions at least).

    Now if you expand your question to whether other converters, e.g. Nikon, Canon, DxO, On1, etc. are better than Adobe, that's a more interesting question but a LOT more complicated, as the discussions always devolve into what the defaults are. Someone tries product X and product Y, and says "X is better as the colors are more saturated" (or some such) when in reality it is a function in most cases of how you set the default for conversion. There are real differences in the converters, but I have yet to see a really good analysis of "better" on the web, just how they differ. Which at least in part means it is largely subjective.

  • cybercordcybercord Registered Users Posts: 5 Big grins
    Being that I use LRCC and PSCC, sounds like the conversion is going to be the same. I was not going to the opinion chart of what is better, but just the process when comparing the 2 SW products against each other. I'm sure there are other SW programs that are great and tout their horn against Adobe products. So that is left to another day and discussion. Thanks all for the insight.
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